Arafah is a short mountain located 22 km east to Makkah at the plain of Arafah in Saudi Arabia. It is approximately 70 meters high. Muslims also call this mountain as the ‘Mountain of peace’. Hajj is necessary the sacred journey for every financially, physically and psychologically capable Muslim. Hajj is a five days long ritual occurred in between the 8th to 12th day of the last month of Islamic calender Dhu al-Hijjah. Among these five days, the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah is treated as “Day of Arafah”.
Rituals on the Day of Arafah
Hajj is a remarkable experience that has the power to change one’s life forever. It is considered the moment of forgiveness and repentance. On the ninth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, all pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafah for Waquf. Waquf starts on Zawal that is the declining of Sun and ends on sunset. During this time all the pilgrims spend their time by uttering Talbiyah and praying, seeking forgiveness, repenting on their sin and offering Darud Sharif. They also do a collective Zuhr and Asr prayer in Masjid-e-Namrah or in the plain of Arafah.
Those who are not performing their hajj also celebrated “Day of Arafah” by keeping fast. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (PBUH) says “It expiates for the past year and coming year.” [Sahih Muslim, 1162]. Hence, it is highly recommended to keep fast on “Day of Arafah”. This will help them in total submission towards Allah’s will.
The Believes behind the Rituals on the Day of Arafah
Arafah is the place where Adam and Eve meet after they were banished from the heaven. It is also believed that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (PBUH) has delivered the last instructive speech to the humankind on the Mountain of Arafah. He, peace be upon him (PBUH) on his last sermon focuses on reforming the economic, social, political, and religious essentials of society. He, peace be upon him (PBUH) instructed man to stand up for each other without discriminating against each other on the basis of caste, creed, gender language and nationality.
It is also believed that Day of Arafah among other Hajj rituals is a rehearsal of the judgement day. Furthermore, it is also the place where the final judgement will be delivered to the humankind. The Ihram that a Muslim has to put before performing Hajj signifies Kafan. It reminds them of the death and departing from all their material belongings. It is also the place, where we humans have taken an oath before birth to obey only Allah as our one God.
“Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’maan, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil?’ [al-A’raaf 7:172-173].”