The Day of Arafat falls on the 2nd day of pilgrimage rituals. At dawn of this day, nearly 2 million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mecca to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafat and the Plain of Arafat. It was from this site that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave his famous Farewell Sermon in his final year of life.
During the entire day, from dawn until sunset, Muslim pilgrims stand in earnest supplication and devotion, praying for God's abundant forgiveness. Tears are shed readily as those who gather make repentance and seek God's mercy, recite words of prayer and remembrance, and gather together as equals before their Lord. Muslims around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage often spend this day in fasting and devotion.
Praise be to Allaah.
1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allaah's Favour was completed.
In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, 'O Ameer al-Mu'mineen, there is an aayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).' Umar said, 'Which aayah?' He said: 'This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.' [al-Maa'idah 5:3 interpretation of the meaning]. Umar said, 'We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It was when he was standing in Arafaah on a Friday.'
2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 'Yawm Arafaah (the day of Arafaah), Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyaam al-Tashreeq (the 3 days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking. This was narrated by the authors of al-Sunan. It was reported that Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: 'It i.e., the aayah 'This day I have perfected' was revealed on a Friday, the Day of Arafaah, both of which praise be to Allaah are Eids for us.'
3. It is a day by which Allaah swore an oath.
The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm Arafaah is the 'witnessed day' mentioned in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 'By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of Arafaah].' [al-Burooj 85:3]. It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 'The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of Arafaah, and the witnessing day is Friday.' Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. It is the 'odd' [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allaah swore in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 'And by the even and the odd' [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn Abbaas said: 'The even is the Day of al-Adhaa [i.e., 10th Dhul-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of Arafaah [i.e., 9th Dhul-Hijjah] This is also the view of Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.
4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.
t was reported from Abu Qutaadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafaah. He said, 'It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.' Narrated by Muslim. This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of Arafaah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast on this day in Arafaah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of Arafaah in Arafaah.
5. It is the day on which Allaah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam.
It was reported that Ibn Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 'Allaah took the covenant from the ...[offspring] of Adam in Na'maan, i.e., Arafaah. He brought forth ... all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: 'Am I not your Lord? They said, 'Yes, we testify,' lest 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 Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?' [al-A'raaf 7:172-173 interpretation of the meaning].' Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. And there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.
6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there:
In Saheeh Muslim it was narrated from Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 'There is no day on which Allaah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafaah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, 'What do these people want?' It was reported from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: 'Allaah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Ishaa on the Day of Arafaah, about the people of Arafaah. He says, 'Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.' Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
And Allaah knows best.