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What is the day of Arafat?

The Day of Arafat (Yawm Al-‘Arafah), falls on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic calendar. It is regarded as one of the holiest days in the Islamic Hijri lunar year.

The day of Arafat falls on the second day of Hajj, a pilgrimage to Makkah that Muslims are expected to embark on at least once in their lives.

What happens on the day of Arafat?

The Day of Arafat is a key component of Hajj. This is because;

Al-Hajj ‘Arafah,” meaning “‘Arafah is the Hajj.”

Ahmad

At dawn, nearly 2 million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from the town of Mina to a nearby hillside called Mount Arafat, otherwise known as the Mountain of merc. This is located about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from Mecca, the final destination for the pilgrimage. 

It is believed that the beloved Prophet (pbuh) gave his final sermon on Mount Arafat in the last year of his life.

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”

A snippet of the Prophet’s (pbuh) last sermon

Every Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Makkah once during his or her lifetime, and the pilgrimage itself is not considered complete unless the stop at Mount Arafat is also made.

On the Day of Arafat, from before noon until sunset, Pilgrims spend the day on the Mountain. They take their stand (wuqûf) before God, earnestly asking for His mercy and forgiveness.

During the afternoon, Muslims stand unified in supplication, listening to Islamic scholars speak on issues of religious and moral importance. It’s an emotional evening as people recite words of prayer.

The scene is set — a sea of bodies, none distinguishable from the next, gathered together as equals before their Lord no matter their ethnicity, background, age or job. Subhanallah.

For many Muslims, the Day of Arafat proves to be the most memorable part of the Hajj pilgrimage, and one that stays with them forever. 

For those who are physically unable to complete this portion of the pilgrimage, it is observed by engaging in a fast. It’s important to note however that a fast is not practised by those making a physical journey to Mount Arafat.

The Day of Arafat — for the Pilgrims and all the believers — is the best day for worship and supplication in the entire year. The Prophet (pbuh) stated:

“On no day does Allah emancipate people from the Fire [of Hell in the Hereafter] as He does on ‘Arafah. Near does He draw to them [the Pilgrims upon ‘Arafah]. Then does He exalt [them] before His angels, saying: AND WHAT DO THEY SEEK?”

Tirmidhi
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