Day Of Arafah
The Day of Arafah (يوم عرفة, Yawm Arafah) is an Islamic holiday that falls on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic Calendar. It is the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the day after is the first day of the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. At the dawn of this day, Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mina to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafah and the Plain of Arafah. It was from this site that Muhammad gave one of his last famous sermons in the final year of his life. Muslims hold that part of the Qur’anic verse announcing that the religion of Islam had been perfected was revealed on this day.
Mount Arafah is a granite hill about 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Mecca in the plain of Arafah. Mount Arafah reaches about 70 m (230 ft) in height and is known as the “Mountain of Mercy” (Jabal ar-Rahmah). According to Islamic tradition, the hill is the place where the Islamic prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.
On 9 Dhu al-Hijjah before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafah, a barren plain some 20 kilometers east of Mecca, where they stand in contemplative vigil: they offer supplications, repent and atone for their past sins, seek the mercy of God, and listen to Islamic scholars giving sermons from near Mount Arafah. Lasting from noon through sunset, this is known as ‘standing before God’ (wuquf), one of the most significant rites of Hajj. At Namrah Mosque, pilgrims offer Zuhr (Dhohr) and Asr prayers together at noon time. A pilgrim’s Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the afternoon on Arafah.
As Husayn ibn Ali recited the prayer during the Hajj at Mount Arafah on 9 Dhu al-Hijjah, Muslims during the Hajj recite the Arafah prayer from Zuhr prayer to sunset. This day is called prayer day, specially for people who stand on Mount Arafah. On the day of Arafah, Shia Muslims go to holy places such as mosques and graves of Shi’a Imams to recite the Arafah prayer.
Fasting on the Day of Arafah
Fasting on the Day of Arafah for non-pilgrims is a highly recommended Sunnah which entails a great reward; Allah forgives the sins of two years. It was narrated from Abu Qatadah that Muhammad was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he replied:
It expiates for the past and coming years.
Imam An-Nawawi mentioned in his book al-Majmu’, “With regard to the ruling on this matter, Imam As-Shafi’i and his companions said: It is mustahabb (recommended) to fast on the day of Arafah for the one who is not in Arafah. As for the pilgrim who is present in Arafah, Imam As-Shafi’i in his book Al-Mukhtasar and his followers declared ‘It is mustahabb (recommended) for him not to fast’.”
Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the hajj. Above all, Muhammad did not fast while he stood before Allah offering supplications in Arafah. On the other hand, those who are not performing their hajj may observe fasting to gain the merits of the blessed day.
Occurrence in hadith
Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrated that Muhammad was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah, whereupon he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year. Also about fasting on the Ashura (10 Muharram) he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year.
In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from Aisha that Muhammad said:
There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His fulfillment to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia