Prof. Imad Benjelloun

Imad Benjelloun

June 26, 2023

QUESTIONS

  1. What is Arafa?
  2. Why is Arafa important?
  3. How to spend Arafa: The Best Day of the Year?

ANSWERS

1. What is Arafa?

Arafa is the 9th day of Dhul Hijja of the Islamic calendar, right before the major annual Islamic feast of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha. It is the day when pilgrims are required to gather in the place called the mountain of Arafa in the Holy City of Mecca.

It is also called Arafat. A possible difference between the two names is that Arafa is the name of the day and Arafat is the name of the place, a mountain where the pilgrims gather on such day. Another possible explanation is that Arafa is singular whereas Arafat is its plural form.

2. Why is Arafa important?

Arafa is important because Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “The best of days is Arafa.”[1] Its countless benefits and blessings include:

  • Arafa is the day when Satan is awfully disgraced:

Arafa is the day when Satan is awfully disgraced because of God’s immense mercy on such day during Hajj, and because of the loud and repeated chanting of “labbayka allahomma labbayk” (Here I am my Lord, here I am) by millions of believing men and women answering the Call of their Lord Almighty.

  • Arafa is the 9th day of a sacred month, Dhul Hijja:

God Almighty says: “Surely, the number of months according to God is twelve (per year) (as written) in the Book of God since the day He created the heavens and the earth, four of which are sacred.”[2] (Quran 9:36). The four sacred months are Muharaam (1st), Rajab (7th), Duhl Qi’da (11th), and Dhul Hijja (12th). A sacred month is a month when fighting is forbidden except for defense against unprovoked aggression.

  • Arafa is the 9th day of the best 10 days of the year:

Ibn Abbas, God be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of God, God bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is no righteous deed dearer to God than in these days, that is, the first ten days of Dhul Hijja. They (the Companions) asked: Oh Messenger of God, not even jihad for God’s cause? He said: not even jihad for God’s cause, except a man who goes out with his life and property, and does not return with any of them.”[3] (Bukhari)

  • God Almighty praises the pilgrims during the day of Arafa:

Abu Hurayra, God be pleased with him, narrated that Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “Surely, God, Most High, praises the people of Arafat to the people of Heaven, telling them, ‘Look at My servants who have come to Me disheveled and dusty’”[4] (Ibn Khuzayma). This hadith is about the pilgrims who gather during the day of Arafa.

  • Arafa is a unique annual opportunity to advance well to your Lord:

Given the limitless virtues of Arafa during the highly blessed days of Hajj, turning to God Almighty in worship on such day is a unique annual opportunity to get extremely closer to Him and so get more help, support, strength, forgiveness, mercy, energy, and motivation to advance well in your success in this life and the next.

  • Arafa is a must for Hajj, the 5th pillar of Islam:

Abu Hurayra, God be pleased with him, narrated that Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “Hajj is Arafa”[5] (Ahmad). So, as a pilgrim, your Hajj is not accepted if you do not gather with the other pilgrims on the day of Arafa at the Arafa location to worship God Almighty and supplicate to Him.

  • Fasting on the day of Arafa expiates the sins of its prior year and the current one:

When Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, was asked about fasting on the day of Arafa, he said that “it expiates the sins of the prior year and the current one.”[6] (Narrated by Abu Qatada, God be pleased with him, reported by Muslim). This Hadith could mean that God Almighty grants so much mercy and reward that are enough to expiate the sins committed in the prior year and any sins that might be committed in the current year. It could also mean that God Almighty will protect you from committing sins in the current year. And what is meant by sins are the minor ones, not the major ones that can be expiated only by God’s mercy and a sincere repentance process.

  • Arafa is the day when supplication (du’a) is best:

Abdullah Bnu Amr, God be pleased with him, narrated that Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “The best of supplication (du’a) is during the day of Arafa”[7] (Tirmidhi). This hadith is true for both the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims, and could mean that the most likely answered supplication and the most highly blessed and rewarded dhikr are those made on the day of Arafa.

  • Arafa is the day when God Almighty perfected Islam and completed His favor:

Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, preformed his first and only Hajj in 632, which is the 10th year after his migration to Medina. It is called Farewell Hajj because he died three months later in the same year on June 8, 632. During his Hajj, precisely on the day of Arafa, Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, received the revelation of the verse 3 of chapter 5 (al-maa’ida – The Table Spread) of the Holy Quran in which God Almighty declared that: “Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My favor upon you, and I have approved Islam for you as religion.”[8]

The divine declaration of the perfection of the Islamic Faith on the day of Arafa makes such day exceptionally important and highly virtuous.

A Jew told Master Omar Bnu al-Khattab, God be pleased with him, “Oh leader of the believers, there is a verse that you read, but if it was revealed to us, we would have made the day of its revelation a day of feast. Master Omar asked him, “what is such verse?” The Jew replied, “Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My favor upon you, and I have approved Islam for you as religion.” Master Omar then commented, “we known when and where this verse was revealed on Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, which was while he was standing at Arafa on a Friday.”[9] (Bukhari)

  • Arafa is the day when the highest number of people are saved from Hell:

Lady Aisha, God be pleased with her, narrated that the Messenger of God, God bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is no day on which God saves more people from Hell than He does on the day of Arafa.” (Muslim)

3. How to spend Arafa: The Best Day of the Year?

Given the countless benefits and blessings of Arafa, the best day of the year, it is highly recommended to use it as a once-a-year unique opportunity for:

  • Self-purification by seeking God’s forgiveness; He is the oft-forgiving.
  • Self-refection on one’s relationship with God Almighty and how to strengthen it, and self-refection on one’s entire life and daily works in the past year, whether they are truly the best they can be to earn God’s pleasure.
  • Renewal of ones’ intention and determination to advance in the grades of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan.
  • Revival of one’s ultimate purpose of gaining God’s satisfaction and seeing His Face in the Hereafter.
  • Fasting, if you are not performing Hajj
  • Standing up in prayer during the last third part of the night (qiyamullayl) preceding the day of Arafa
  • Supplication with sincere humbleness, high concentration, and deep reflection
  • Reading and listening to the Holy Quran
  • Glorifying, praising, and pronouncing the oneness of God Most High by repeating: allahu akbar allahu akbar allahu akbar, laa ilaaha illallah, allahu akbar allahu akbar, walillahil hamd (God is Greater, God is Greater, God is Greater, there is no god but God, God is Greater, God is Greater, and to God all praise is due)
  • Making other forms of dhikr such as praying for the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace
  • Displaying high character and exemplary attitude
  • Donating for good causes
  • Performing good deeds

[1] Narrated by Jabir, God be pleased with him. Reported by Ibn Hibban. [أفضل الأيام يوم عرفة]

[2] [إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًۭا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌۭ]

[3] [ما من أيام العمل الصالح فيها أحب إلى الله من هذه الأيام – يعني أيام العشر – قالوا: يا رسول الله ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله ؟ قال ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله إلا رجل خرج بنفسه وماله ثم لم يرجع من ذلك بشيء]

[4] [إنَّ اللهَ يُباهي بأهلِ عرفاتٍ ملائكةَ السماءِ ، فيقولُ: انظُروا إلى عبادي هؤلاءِ ، جاءوني شُعْثًا غُبْرًا]

[5] [الحج عرفة]

[6] [صيام يوم عرفة، أحتَسِب على الله أن يكفِّر السنة التي قبله والسنة التي بعده]

[7] [خير الدعاء دعاء يوم عرفة]

[8] Quran 5:3 [ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًۭا]

[9] [عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، مِنَ الْيَهُودِ قَالَ لَهُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، آيَةٌ فِي كِتَابِكُمْ تَقْرَءُونَهَا لَوْ عَلَيْنَا مَعْشَرَ الْيَهُودِ نَزَلَتْ لاَتَّخَذْنَا ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمَ عِيدًا‏.‏ قَالَ أَىُّ آيَةٍ قَالَ ‏”‏الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا‏”.‏ قَالَ عُمَرُ قَدْ عَرَفْنَا ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمَ وَالْمَكَانَ الَّذِي نَزَلَتْ فِيهِ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ قَائِمٌ بِعَرَفَةَ يَوْمَ جُمُعَةٍ‏.‏]

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