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I was reading the Qur'an (in English) and stumbled upon this:

And when they commit a Fahisha (evil deed, going round the Kabah in naked state, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.), they say: "We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded us of it." Say: "Nay, Allah never commands of Fahisha. Do you say of Allah what you know not? -- Qur'an 7:28, Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali translation

This took me quite aback; people were doing a kind of "nudie run" (in Australian slang) around Islam's most sacred site. (And it's not something I would expect would happen frequently in Saudi Arabia, either).

I tracked it to this hadith:

... Abu Bakr sent me along with other announcers to Mina to make a public announcement: "No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year and no naked person is allowed to perform the Tawaf around the Ka'ba. ... -- Sahih al-Bukhari 369 (sunnah.com)

So apparently going around the Kabah naked was a thing until the Prophet forbade it. This raises the question as to who was actually doing this.

Question: Who went around the Kabah naked before Prophet Muhammad forbade it?

  • I don't think there is any reference to indivuals who did this but it probably was a pagan ritual so the pagan people would do it. – Armaan Jun 10 '17 at 13:08
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This was a custom of the pagans to perform Tawaf around the Kaabah while naked.

The verses of the Quran that outlaw this practise include:

Quran 7:31 O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.

Quran 7:32 Say, "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?" Say, "They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection." Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know.

Narrated in Sahih Muslim:

Ibn Abbas reported:

During the pre-Islamic days women circumambulated the Ka'ba nakedly, and said: "Who would provide cloth to cover the one who is circumambulating the Ka'ba so that she would cover her private parts?"

And then she would say: "Today will be exposed the whole or the part and what is exposed I shall not make it lawful."

It was in this connection that the verse was revealed:"Adorn yourself at every place of worship" (7:31).

From Tafrsir Ibn Kathir:

ابن عباس قال كانوا يطوفون بالبيت عراة، الرجال والنساء، الرجال بالنهار، والنساء بالليل، وكانت المرأة تقول اليومَ يبدو بعضُه أو كلُّه وما بدا منه فلا أُحِلُّه فقال الله تعالى { خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ }

Ibn Abbas said, "The idolators used to go around the House while naked, both men and women, men in the day and women by night. The woman would say, "Today, a part or all of it will be unveiled, but whatever is exposed of it, I do not allow." Allah said in reply: "Take your adornment to every Masjid".

Narrated in Sahih Bukhari:

Narrated Urwa:

During the Pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, the people used to perform Tawaf of the Ka`ba naked except the Hums; and the Hums were Quraish and their offspring.

The Hums used to give clothes to the men who would perform the Tawaf wearing them; and women (of the Hums) used to give clothes to the women who would perform the Tawaf wearing them.

Those to whom the Hums did not give clothes would perform Tawaf round the Ka`ba naked.

...

Regarding specific names, there is one in Tafsir Al Qurtubi:

وهذه المرأة هي ضُباعة بنت عامر بن قُرْط؛

This woman was Zubaiah bint Amir bin Qurat.

Tafsir Al Qurtubi also narrated a variant of Urwah's narration:

ويقولون نحن أهل الحَرَم، فلا ينبغي لأحد من العرب أن يطوف إلا في ثيابنا، ولا يأكل إذا دخل أرضنا إلا من طعامنا. فمن لم يكن له من العرب صديق بمكة يُعيره ثوباً ولا يَسارٌ يستأجره به كان بين أحد أمرين: إما أن يطوف بالبيت عُرياناً، وإما أن يطوف في ثيابه؛ فإذا فرغ من طوافه ألقى ثوبه عنه فلم يمسه أحد. وكان ذلك الثوب يسمى اللَّقَى

The Quraysh used to say "We are the People of the Haram. It is not proper for the arabs that they perform Tawaf in other than clothes provided by us ... when they have entered our land then they will not eat except our food."

Hence, when the outsider Arabs came for the Tawaf to Mecca. If they didn't have friends from the Meccans who gifted them clothes, nor did they have enough money to purchase them then they had two choices:

Either they had to perform Tawaf naked.

Or they could do the Tawaf in their own clothes and after the Tawaf they had to take off and throw away their clothes ... and this dress was called Al-laki.

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The different saying according to Tabari, related to that verse:

كانوا يطوفون بالبيت عُراة

They (the pagans) used to go around Kabah naked.

كان قبيلة من العرب من أهل اليمن يطوفون بالبيت عراة

A tribe from The Yemen Arabs used to go around Kabah naked

كان نساؤهم يطفن بالبيت عراة،

Their women used to go around Kabah naked

In Tafsir Tabarsi it mentions a reason why they did so:

فكان يطوف الرجال والنساء عراة يقولون نطوف كما ولدتنا أمهاتنا ولا نطوف في الثياب

The man and the women used to go around Kabah naked, (and their excuse was) saying we go around it naked as we was born (naked) and we do not go around it with clothes.

Ibn Al Kathir mentions that most of the woman who used to go around Kaabah naked, was in the night:

وأكثر ما كان النساء يطفن عراة بالليل

Here is a translation of Ibn Kathirs comments of that verse:

say, the Arabs, with the exception of the Quraysh, used to perform Tawaf naked. They claimed they would not make Tawaf while wearing the clothes that they disobeyed Allah in. As for the Quraysh, known as Al-Hums, they used to perform Tawaf in their regular clothes. Whoever among the Arabs borrowed a garment from one of Al-Hums, he would wear it while in Tawaf. And whoever wore a new garment, would discard it and none would wear it after him on completion of Tawaf. Those who did not have a new garment, or were not given one by Al-Hums, then they would perform Tawaf while naked. Even women would go around in Tawaf while naked, and one of them would cover her sexual organ with something and proclaim, "Today, a part or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it I do not allow it.'' Women used to perform Tawaf while naked usually at night. This was a practice that the idolators invented on their own, following only their forefathers in this regard. They falsely claimed that what their forefathers did was in fact following the order and legislation of Allah. Allah then refuted them, Allah said,

Conclusion

No names seems to be mentioned in the tafirs (at least in the 8 that I've read in this moment). The verse is speaking about the polytheists, the Arab mushriks, not about the Muslims. Some sayings are explicit to the Yemen Arabs, while some say Quraysh didn't practice this. Even women is said to have done this.

Also, about your phrase "before Prophet Muhammad forbade it". The verse doesn't mean the Prophet forbade it when the verse was revelead, it was likely already forbidden islamically in the first place just as idolatry always has been forbidden in the Islamic philosophy , whereas the hadith just proves that it was implemented in Kaabah when the muslims where ruling the land.

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