The Blessed Day of ‘Arafah
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.
The Day of ‘Arafah (the 9th day of Dzul-Hijjah)
After the sun rises on the Dzul-Hijjah 9, the pilgrims clad in their Ihram would converge at ‘Arafah for Wukuf [Grand Essembly]. The wukuf in ‘Arafah is a major pillar of the Hajj. As such the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) stressed: "Hajj is [the assembly at] ‘Arafah." [An-Nasa'ie]
The importance of The Day of Arafah is correlated to the amount of forgiveness and mercy bestowed by Allāh Subhanahu wa Ta’ala on His pilgrims. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) spent the day at Arafah until almost sunset. Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu '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 (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam). When they were quiet, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "O People! A little while ago Gabriel (`alaihissalam) came to me, gave me salutations from Allah, and informed me that Allāh has forgiven those who spend the Day at Arafah…" At this, Umar ibn Al-Khattāb (radiallāhu`anhu) stood up and asked: "O Allāh's Messenger is this for us only?" The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "This is for you and for all those who will come after you, until the Day of Judgment…" Umar (radiallāhu`anhu) exclaimed: "How plentiful and blissful Allāh's bounties are!"
[At-Targhib wat-Tarhib and authenticated by Al-Albāni]
The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also said:
"Allāh frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day. Allāh comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels: ‘what do these people want and seek?!'"
The day surpasses other days in virtue and merit and therefore it is worth being discussed independently in order to clarify the aspects of its excellence and honor:
Firstly: It is the day of Allāh the Almighty perfected the religion and completed His favor.
It was narrated that the Jews said to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattāb (radiallāhu`anhu):
"Indeed you recite a verse which if had been revealed to us we would have taken that day as a day of celebration." ‘Umar (radiallāhu`anhu) said, "Indeed I know where and when it was revealed, and where the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) was when it was revealed! [It was revealed] on the Day of ‘Arafah, while we were, by Allāh, on ‘Arafah." Sufyān said, "I am uncertain whether it was a Friday or not." Allāh Almighty Exalted Says (which means): “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Al-Māidah, 5:3)
Indeed, the Islam was perfected on that day because Muslims did not perform the obligatory Hajj before that day. Consequently, their religion was perfected by completing all the pillars of Islam. Also, Hajj was performed according to the methodology of Ibrāhīm (`alaihissalam) and polytheism and polytheists were excluded. On that day, none of the polytheists joined the Muslims.
As for completing the favor of Allāh Almighty, this was attained by the forgiving of the pilgrims' sins by Allāh the Almighty. The favor is not completed unless sins are forgiven, as Allāh the Exalted Said (what means) to His Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam):
“That Allāh may forgive for you what preceded of your sin and what will follow and complete His favor upon you and guide you to a straight path.”
Secondly: It is a day of ‘Eid (Islamic festival).
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Umāmah (radiallāhu`anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam), said:
"The day of ‘Arafah, the day of Nahr and the days of Tashrīq are our ‘Eids, for us Muslims. They are days for eating and drinking."
Thirdly: Fasting the day expiates the sins of two years.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam) said about the virtue of fasting the day of ‘Arafah (for non-pilgrims):
"It expiates (the sins of) the past year and the coming (year)." [Muslim]
Fourthly: It is the day of forgiving sins and exemption from Hell:
‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam), said:
"Allāh exempts more of His slaves from Hell on the Day of ‘Arafah than on any other day, and Allāh draws near and proudly says to the angels, 'What do these people want and seek?'"
Commenting on the Hadīth, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (rahimallah) said, "This indicates that their sins have been forgiven, as Allāh would not boast of sinful and wrongdoing people unless after their repentance and His Forgiveness. Allāh knows best."
The prescribed deeds on the Day of ‘Arafah.
The Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "…I hope Allāh that fasting the day of ‘Arafah expiates sins of the past year as well as the next year…." [Muslim]
Fasting during that day is prescribed only for those who are not pilgrims, as it is not permitted for pilgrims to observe fasting on that day. Controlling one's bodily organs from doing prohibited matters is asserted on that day.
In a Hadīth narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās (radiallāhu`anhu) the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:
"On this day (i.e. the day of ‘Arafah) whoever guards his hearing, seeing and tongue will be forgiven."
It is known that guarding the body’s organs preserves one’s fasting and Hajj. Consequently, many factors which enjoin towards obedience and abandoning disobedience are collected.
Secondly: Frequent remembrance of Allāh and supplication
In a Hadīth, 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: 'Lā ilāha illallāhu wahdahu la sharīka lah, lahul mulk wa lahul hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadīr (There is none worthy of worship except Allāh Alone and He has no partners, dominion and praise belong to Him, and He is over all things Omnipotent)." [At-Tirmidzi]
Commenting on the Hadīth, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (rahimallah) said, "The Hadīth stands as evidence that the supplications on the Day of ‘Arafah are most probably answered and that the best of remembrance of Allāh is to say, 'There is none worthy of worship except Allāh'."
Al-Khattābi (rahimallah) said, "The Hadīth means that the most frequent words with which the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to commence his supplication and give it precedence over his request is praising Allāh Almighty. One who supplicates Allāh starts with praising Allāh the Almighty and says it before asking Allāh for anything and therefore praising in this Hadīth was called supplication."
Thirdly: Takbīr (saying Allāhu-Akbar)
As it is mentioned in the deeds of the ten days of Dzul-Hijjah, it is recommended to repeat Takbīr in all times and at every place where it is permissible to mention the Name of Allāh the Almighty. The scholars said that there are two types of Takbīr:
First: The Takbīr which is not restricted to a specific time, which is prescribed in every time during the night and day. It starts with the start of the month of Dzul-Hijjah and lasts until the last day of the Days of Tashrīq.
Second: The Takbīr restricted to a specific time, which is prescribed after prayers. According to the chosen opinion, Takbīr is said after all prayers, whether obligatory or voluntary. It is starts from Fajar (Dawn) prayer of the Day of ‘Arafah and lasts until the last day of the Days of Tashrīq.
Repeating Takbīr on the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of ‘Eid as well as the Days of Tashrīq is both prescribed at all times, and this is the type which is not restricted to a specific time, and it is also prescribed after prayers and this is the type which is restricted to a specific time.
[Via Islam Web November 14, 2010]