The Day of Arafa, the 31st of August 2017, is an Islamic Holy Day, in which the verse of the Qur’an was revealed which explained that the religion had been perfected. The Day falls on the 9th day of Dhul Hijja of the lunar islamic calendar. This happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. It is the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the day after is the first day of the major Islamic Holiday of Eid ul adha. At dawn of this day, Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mina to a nearby hillside and plain called mount Arafa and the Plain of Arafa. It was from this site that the Prophet gave his famous Farewell Sermon in his final year of life.
The day of Arafa is the day of the knowledge of themselves and of one’s own failings, it is the moment in which it is natural to ask for forgiveness in your heart to all the people you hurt. During the pilgrimage the people stand all day long. It is also a day of fasting.
Arafat is the name of the desert and day of Arafa is the ninth day of the month of Zul-Hajja, the day that everyone meets at this desert only to see each other, to live together a day to recognize each other, as Arafa means to know – to be acquainted with Allah in being with each other. It is the place of every Muslim in the simple clothing of two pieces of white material. They know each other with the name of “Hajj” or one who is intending, not by title or rank. It is the land of equality, no boundary but different nations. No restriction of moving from one part to another. All the nations are brothers and are together in this vast desert.
Crowds of people stand on Mount Arafa, which is meant to remind those standing of the Day of Resurrection, when crowds of people stand waiting for judgment. Standing as a singular community encourages pilgrims to rid themselves of pride.
In the end of the day of Arafa, they all move to the valley of Muzdalifa or Mash’ar (awareness). If in the vast desert of Arafat they were separated and each group and nationality were by themselves, the valley of Mash’ar brings everyone together because they are in Mash’ar (awareness) . The night of Mash’ar is to pick up the stones to be thrown at dawn. They stay behind the boundary of Mina and pick up small stones or pebbles for each battle with Satan. You will need 7 stones for at least seven attacks on each evil or a total of 49 stones.
The reality is that Muslims are one “Ummah” and one nation with different languages and cultures and from different races and boundaries. In this desert, Muslims are neighbors to each other and spend a full day together as the World of Islam is one. They are not divided and the line of Allah is extended to hold firm on it and be not divided.
From among the many merits of this day, a few are that this is the day the religion was perfected and the blessings of Allah were complete. The following verse was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the day of ‘Arafah: Allah says: “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you”. (Al Maidah: V3)
The completion of Allah’s blessing refers to forgiveness for ones sins by Allah, as without it the blessings of Allah cannot be complete. This brings to light the importance of being forgiven by Allah.
Fasting on Arafah day is an expiation for sins committed the year before and the year after:
Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is an expiation (of sins) for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. (Reported by Ibn Majah)