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Importance of Arafat day and its place in Hajj

Name and location

Mount Arafat lies 22 km east of Makkah in the plain of Arafat.[Rahiqul Maqtum, pp. 608, 610, 611, 612]  Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m in height and is also known among people as the mount of mercy.

The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is called Arafat day because Hajj pilgrims spend their whole day in the plain of Arafat.

The rituals on the Day of Arafah

• Staying at Arafah is one of the essential components of Hajj. The Prophet ﷺ said: “(The essence of) Hajj is Arafah.”[Sunan ibn Majah, no. 2441; graded Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani ]

Hence, Hajj would be invalid if a pilgrim failed to spend the required time at Arafah.

• Pilgrims must move towards the plain of Arafat on the 9th day after praying Fajr at Mina. “The Prophet ﷺ remained at Mina until the sunrise and moved out until he reached Arafat where a tent was pitched for him at Namirah. He ordered that Al-Quswah (his she-camel) to be readied for him.” .[Rahiqul Maqtum, pp. 608, 610, 611, 612]

• It is recommended for the pilgrims to move at a modest pace. Usamah bin Zaid was asked, “How was the speed of Messenger of Allah ﷺ while departing from Arafat during Hajjatul Wadaa (farewell pilgrimage)?” Usamah replied, “The Prophet ﷺ proceeded on with the modest pace and if there was enough space, he would make his camel go very fast.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 1616 or 1608]

• Combining the two salah with one adhan and two iqama. The pilgrims will pray Dhuhr and Asr in this way. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 1605]

• It is recommended for the pilgrims to pronounce the Talbiyah, Takbir, Tahleel and Tasbeeh when going from Mina to the plain of Arafah.[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 1614]

• At Arafah, the pilgrims engage in du’aa to Allah and cry seeking forgiveness.

• After praying Dhuhr and Asr, the pilgrims move to Muzdalifa where they pray Maghrib and Isha together.

What non-pilgrims do on Arafat day

• Engage in Takbir

• It is recommended to fast on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah for the non-pilgrims.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah and he said, “It expiates for the past year and coming year.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 1162)

• As for the pilgrims who are present in Arafah, it is mustahhab (recommended) for them not to fast, because of the hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari:

It is narrated from Maymoona t that the people were not sure whether Prophet ﷺ was fasting on the Day of Arafah, so she sent some milk when he was standing at Arafah and he drank it whilst the people were looking on. [Majmoo Fatawa Ibn Uthaymeen, part 20, no. 404]

Arafah day of the Prophet ﷺ in 10H

Let’s trace back to the Arafah day of the Prophet ﷺ and see what he did. We know that it was the Farewell Hajj of the Prophet ﷺ.

“Prophet ﷺ, on the 9th day, ordered Al-Qaswah (his she-camel) to be readied for him. Hence, the saddle was placed on it and he ﷺ went down the valley where 1,24,000 or 1,44,000 people gathered around him. He stood and delivered the following speech:

“O people, listen to what I have to say, for I do not know whether I will ever meet you at this place after this year. (Indeed) your blood, property, and honor are as sacred as this day, this month and this city (i.e. Makkah)…..

….. People, fear Allah concerning your wives. Verily, you have taken them on the security of Allah and have made their lawful for you by the words of Allah….”

In the end, he said:

“And when you are asked about me, what will you say?”

The people replied, “We bear witness that you have conveyed the message and fulfilled your mission.” The Prophet ﷺ then raised his forefinger skywards and then moved it down towards people saying:

“Oh, Allah! Bear witness.” (Thrice)

As soon as Prophet ﷺ said this, the following ayah was revealed to him:

“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”

Upon this, Umar رضي الله عنه cried. When asked, he said, “Nothing succeeds perfection but imperfection.” .[Rahiqul Maqtum, pp. 608, 610, 611, 612]

Significance of the Prophet’s speech

• Scholars considered this speech very important because this was the last and longest speech by the Prophet ﷺ.

• The blood, property and honor of a Muslim are compared to three sacred things: (i) Day of Arafah; (ii) Month of Dhul-Hijjah; (iii) City of Makkah.

• Prophet’s ﷺ concern for the Ummah regarding the message being conveyed and the Sahabas’ reply.


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