Arafah: A Stand of Forgiveness
Salam, I want to know about the importance and etiquette of standing on Arafah. Please tell me what supplications pilgrims say while standing there. Thank you.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
It is a Sunnah to leave for Arafah after the sunrise of the 9th day of Dzul-Hijjah. This is while uttering takbir, which is saying: Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest), tahlil, which is saying: Lā ilāha ila-Allāh (there is no God but Allah) and talbiyah, which is saying: “Labbayka Allāhumma labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Innalhamda Wan-N’imata Laka Walmulk. Lā Shareeka Lak”. (Here I am at Your service.O my Lord, Here I am. No partner that You have. Here I am. Truly, The Praise and the Provisions are solely Yours, and so is the Dominion. There is no partner You have.)
The importance of this stand is related to the amount of forgiveness and mercy bestowed by God on His pilgrims. The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) spent the day at Arafah until almost sunset. Then the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:
"O Bilal! Ask the people to be quiet and listen to me." Bilal (radiallahu`anhu) stood up and asked the people to be quiet and listen to the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) . When they were quiet, the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "O People! A little while ago Gabriel (peace be upon him) came to me, gave me salutations from Allah, and informed me that Allah has forgiven those who spend the Day at Arafah…" At this, Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiallahu`anhu) stood up and asked: "O Allah's Messenger is this for us only?" The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "This is for you and for all those who will come after you, until the Day of Judgment…" Umar (radiallahu`anhu) exclaimed: "How plentiful and blissful Allah's bounties are!"
[At-Targhib wat-Tarhib and authenticated by Al-Albāni]
The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also said:
"Allah frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day. Allah comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels: ‘What do these people want and seek?!'"
In fact, the importance of standing on the Mountain of Arafah during the journey of Hajj is highly confirmed in the Prophet's (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) very words: "Hajj is Arafah." [An-Nasa'i]
Most scholars are of the opinion that the time to spend in Arafah begins from noon of the 9th day of Dzul-Hijjah until dawn of the 10th of Dzul-Hijjah. They mostly agree that any part of this period of time, day or night, may be spent in Arafah to fulfill its condition, as being an anchor of Hajj.
Staying at Arafah means physical, as well as mental presence in any part of Arafah. This is whether one is awake, asleep, riding, sitting, lying down or even walking.
It is recommended to seek forgiveness of Allah as much as possible, glorify Allah, and supplicate for one's well-being and welfare in this life and in the Hereafter. It is also recommended to supplicate for the welfare of others. This is to be done sincerely with fervor, attention and with hands raised humbly in supplication.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:
"The best supplication is that of the Day of `Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said, is:
"La ilaha illa allahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa `ala kulli shai'in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.)
According to Sunnah, pilgrims should leave Arafah quietly and peacefully after sunset. The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) left Arafah very peacefully and quietly, while saying:
"O people, walk calmly; rushing or making hast is not a virtue…"
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The inner peace to be felt then is a reflection of the pilgrim's certainty that one has been accepted. This in itself is a sign of faith in Allah, because it is His promise to accept those whom are granted that blessed stand.
It is highly recommended for non-pilgrims to observe fasting on the Day of Arafah.
The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) exhorted us to do good deeds during the first ten days of Dzul-Hijjah and fasting is one of those good deeds. Abu Qatadah al-Ansari (radiallahu`anhu) reported that:
"…. He (the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah, whereupon he (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year."
He (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) also said:
"There is no day in which Allah frees a greater number of His slaves from the Hellfire than the Day of Arafah."
As for pilgrims, they are not allowed to fast on the Day of Arafah so that they will be strong enough to worship and supplicate Allah on this great day.
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam):
“Forbade fasting on the day of Arafah for one who is actually at Arafah."
The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) himself did not fast the Day of Arafah when he performed Hajj.
Umm al-Fadl bint al-Harith (radiallahu `anha) reported:
”Some people argued about the fasting of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) on the day of Arafah. Some of them said that he (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had been fasting, whereas the others said that he Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had not been fasting. I sent a cup of milk to him while he (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was riding his camel at Arafah, and he (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) drank".
And Allah knows best.
[Via On Islam (Ask about Islam) 2010/10/21]