The Day of Arafah

The Day of Arafah (Arafat)

The Day of ‘Arafah is on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah and is one of the most important days in the Islamic calendar. This year, the Day of ‘Arafah is expected to fall on Saturday, 15th June 2024. This sacred day holds immense significance for Muslims worldwide, particularly those performing Hajj. In this article, we will delve into what the Day of ‘Arafah is, why it is so important, and the recommended actions for this blessed day.

What is the Day of Arafah?

The Day of ‘Arafah is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar. On this day, Allah (SWT) perfected His religion, completed His favors upon His beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and approved Islam as a way of life. As Allah (SWT) refers to in Surah al-Maidah of the Holy Qur’an, “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion” (Quran 5:3).

The Day of ‘Arafah is also known as Yawm Al-Waqf, or the Day of Standing, referring to the fact that pilgrims stand in front of their Lord for long periods, asking for His Divine Mercy. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ‘Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on ‘Arafah), and then He reveals before His Angels saying, ‘What are these people seeking?’” (Hadith, Muslim).

Why is the Day of Arafah so Important?

The Day of ‘Arafah is incredibly important for several reasons. It is a day of immense divine forgiveness, mercy, and blessings. It offers Muslims a chance for redemption, purification, and seeking Allah’s pleasure. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his farewell sermon on this day during his final pilgrimage, emphasizing the significance of this day in Islam.

For those performing Hajj, the Day of ‘Arafah is the most important day. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Hajj is Arafat” (Abu Dawud), highlighting that the essence of Hajj is encapsulated in the events of this day.

What are the Recommended Actions for the Day of Arafah?

Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah

Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah is highly recommended for those not performing Hajj. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah expiates the sins of the previous year and the coming year” (Hadith, Muslim). Fasting on this day is a powerful way to gain blessings and become closer to Allah (SWT). It is a Sunnah and expiates sins, purifying the soul and drawing one nearer to Allah.

Increase Acts of Worship

On the Day of ‘Arafah, increasing acts of worship is highly encouraged. This includes offering Nafl (optional) prayers, reading the Qur’an, and sending Salawat (salutations) upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). Devoting oneself to Dhikr and seeking nearness to Allah is particularly important on this virtuous day.

Make Lots of Dua

The Day of ‘Arafah is a day of acceptance of dua. Allah showers His mercy and forgiveness on those who turn to Him. Muslims are encouraged to make abundant heartfelt duas for themselves, their families, and the Muslim ummah, asking Allah to forgive their sins, fulfill their needs, and allow them to become closer to Him. It is also Sunnah to recite the Tahleel (Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and Tahmeed (Alhamdulillaah) frequently on the Day of ‘Arafah and on the days of Eid – 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah.

Give Sadaqah

Giving sadaqah (charity) is one of the most virtuous acts of worship, especially on this blessed day. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire” (Hadith, Tirmidhi). Muslims are encouraged to remember their brothers and sisters in need across the globe and give sadaqah to gain blessings.

Reflect and Show Gratitude

The Day of ‘Arafah is a time for introspection and reflection. Muslims should reflect upon their actions over the past year, seek to rectify their shortcomings, and ask for forgiveness for their sins. It is also a blessed time to reflect on the blessings Allah (SWT) has provided and to express gratitude. Strengthening ties with family and friends, exchanging greetings, and sharing food are ways many Muslims celebrate this day.

What Do Pilgrims Do on Hajj on the Day of Arafah?

Praying Fajr in Mina

Pilgrims performing Hajj begin the Day of ‘Arafah by praying Fajr Salah in Mina. After this, they head to the Plains of Arafat, reciting istaghfar (asking for forgiveness) and making supplications. Upon reaching the plains of Mount Arafat, pilgrims observe shortened Dhuhr and Asr prayers (two rakats instead of four).

Sermon at Masjid al-Nimra

On this day, there is a sermon delivered from Masjid al-Nimra on Mount Arafat. Pilgrims are encouraged to listen to this khutbah if possible, and many groups facilitate translations of the sermon in various languages.

Standing on the Plains of Arafat

Pilgrims stand on the Plains of Arafat and make numerous duas, asking Allah (SWT) for forgiveness. This standing (wuquf) on the plain of ‘Arafat from noon until sunset symbolizes the essence of Hajj. Pilgrims gather in humble submission, raising their hands in supplication and reciting the Talbiyah, a declaration of faith and devotion.

What is Hajj?

Fasting on the Day of Arafah

Virtues of Fasting

Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah is highly virtuous for non-pilgrims. It is a means of attaining Allah’s forgiveness for the sins of the previous and upcoming year. This practice not only cleanses one’s soul but also aligns with the broader spiritual goals of this sacred day.

Guidelines for Fasting

While fasting, it is important to maintain an attitude of humility, patience, and devotion. The fast begins at dawn (Fajr) and ends at sunset (Maghrib). Muslims are encouraged to engage in additional acts of worship during their fast, such as reciting the Quran and making dua. Pilgrims who are performing Hajj do not generally fast as they are travelers, and fasting would be difficult for them. The main focus for them on this day is dua.

Dua for Day of Arafah

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said of the Day of Arafah dua:

“The most excellent dua is the dua on the Day of Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said is “There is nothing that deserves to be worshipped in truth except Allah; he is Alone and has no partner, to Him belongs the dominion and to Him belongs all praise, and He is All-Powerful over all things.'” (Muwatta)

لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له ، له الملك ، وله الحمد ، وهو على كل شيء قدير

  1. Making Tahleel, Takbeer, Tahmeed and Tasbeeh

It is a Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH) to recite the Tahleel, Takbeer, and Tahmeed as many times as possible on the day of Arafah and also on the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah).

Tahleel is to say “Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah”

Takbeer is to say “Allahu Akbar”

Tahmeed is to say “Alhamdulillaah”

Tasbeeh is to say “Subhanallaah”.

  1. Seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“On this day, Allah, the most Exalted, descends to the nearest heaven, and He is proud of His servants on the earth and says to those in heavens, look at My servants, they have come from far and near, with hair dishevelled and faces covered with dust, to seek my Mercy. Even if their sins are as much the sand or the froth of the sea, I shall forgive them.”

The Power of Supplication

Dua, or supplication, is a powerful act of worship, especially on the Day of ‘Arafah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasized the significance of making dua on this day, stating that it is the best time to supplicate and seek Allah’s mercy and blessings.

Suggested Supplications

Muslims are encouraged to recite the following dua on the Day of ‘Arafah: “Laa ilaaha ill-allaahu, waḥdahu laa shareeka lah, lahul-mulku wa lahul-ḥamdu, wa huwa ‛alaa kulli shay’in qadeer” (Translation: “None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner. To Him belongs sovereignty and all praise and He is over all things omnipotent”). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best supplication is the supplication on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best words that I and the prophets before me have said are ‘La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la sharika lahla hul mulk wa lahul hamd wa huwa ala kulli shayin qadeer’” (Hadith, Tirmidhi).

It is also Sunnah to recite the Tahleel (Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and Tahmeed (Alhamdulillaah) frequently on the Day of ‘Arafah and on the days of Eid – 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah.

Day of Arafah Hadith

Importance of Hadith

Hadiths related to the Day of ‘Arafah provide valuable insights into the significance of this day and the recommended practices. They offer guidance on how to maximize the spiritual benefits of the Day of ‘Arafah and inspire Muslims to engage in acts of worship.

Key Hadiths

One key hadith states, “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah” (Sahih Muslim). Another hadith highlights the virtue of fasting, where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

The Farewell Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

The Farewell Sermon, delivered by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his final pilgrimage, stands as one of the most significant and comprehensive addresses in Islamic history. This profound sermon encapsulates essential principles of justice, equality, and morality, forming the bedrock of the Islamic ethical and social framework. Delivered on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, 10 AH (632 CE), at the plain of Arafat, the Farewell Sermon continues to resonate with Muslims worldwide, reminding them of their duties and responsibilities as followers of Islam.

Context and Setting of the Farewell Sermon

The Farewell Sermon, also known as Khutbat al-Wada, was delivered during the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) only Hajj pilgrimage after the migration to Medina. This sermon was delivered on the Day of ‘Arafah, which is a significant day for Muslims, especially those performing Hajj.

The Prophet’s Last Hajj

In the tenth year of the Hijra, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) announced his intention to perform Hajj. This announcement attracted a large number of Muslims who wished to accompany him on this sacred journey. The Prophet’s Hajj, often referred to as the “Farewell Pilgrimage,” provided a pivotal opportunity for him to deliver a comprehensive message to the Muslim ummah (community).

The Gathering at Arafat

On the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stood at the plain of Arafat, surrounded by over 100,000 followers. From here, he delivered his Farewell Sermon, which addressed critical aspects of human rights, social justice, and personal conduct.

Key Themes of the Farewell Sermon

The Farewell Sermon encompasses several key themes that continue to guide Muslims in their personal and communal lives. These themes include the sanctity of life, equality, justice, and the importance of adhering to the core tenets of Islam.

Sanctity of Life and Property

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the inviolability of life and property, stating, “O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust.” This declaration underscores the importance of respecting the lives and possessions of others, establishing a foundational principle of Islamic ethics.

Equality and Brotherhood

The Farewell Sermon is notable for its strong emphasis on equality and the abolition of racial discrimination. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) declared, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab; superiority is only by piety and good deeds.”

This statement asserts all humans are equal before Allah, with piety and good deeds as the only criteria for superiority. This message remains a cornerstone in the fight against racism and inequality within the Muslim community and beyond.

Justice and Fairness

Justice is a central theme in the Farewell Sermon. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) admonished against oppression and exploitation, declaring, “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” He also addressed the issue of financial transactions, specifically condemning usury (riba) and calling for the fair treatment of women, saying, “You have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you.”

Adherence to Islamic Principles

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) urged Muslims to adhere strictly to the fundamental principles of Islam, including the observance of the Five Pillars of Islam and the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. He said, “I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my Sunnah, and if you follow these, you will never go astray.”

The Lasting Impact of the Farewell Sermon

The Farewell Sermon has had a profound and lasting impact on the Muslim ummah. Its timeless principles continue to guide Muslims in their daily lives, promoting a society based on justice, equality, and compassion.

Preservation of Human Rights

The Farewell Sermon laid the groundwork for the preservation of human rights within an Islamic framework. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) established essential human rights, declaring the sanctity of life, property, and honor.

Promotion of Social Justice

The sermon emphasizes justice, fairness, and prohibiting exploitation, continually reminding us of social justice in Islam. Muslims are encouraged to act justly in all their dealings and to stand against oppression in all its forms.

Emphasis on Equality

The clear stance against racial and ethnic discrimination in the Farewell Sermon remains a powerful message for equality and inclusivity. This message promotes unity and brotherhood among Muslims, transcending racial and cultural boundaries.

Guidance for Personal Conduct

The Farewell Sermon urges Muslims to live righteously, emphasizing piety, ethical behavior, and adherence to Islamic principles. This guidance helps Muslims to navigate the complexities of modern life while remaining true to their faith.

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