Day of Arafah

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Day of Arafah
Pilgrims cover Arafat's roads, plains and mountain - Flickr - Al Jazeera English.jpg
Pilgrims at Mount Arafah in Makkah
Official nameيوم عرفة
Also calledThe Day of Repentance and Acceptance of Supplications
SignificanceCommemoration of Muhammad's Farewell Sermon and completion of the message of Islam. Second day of the Hajj pilgrimage. Muslims who did not go to Hajj fast to repent for their sins.
ObservancesPrayer, Fasting, Repentance
Date9 Dhu al-Hijjah
2020 date31 July
Frequencyonce every Islamic year
Related toEid ul-Adha, the major Islamic festival, which occurs the day after the Day of Arafah

The Day of Arafah (Arabic: يوم عرفة‎, romanizedYawm ‘Arafah) is an Islamic holiday that falls on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic Calendar.[3] It is the holiest day in the Islamic calendar (the holiest night being The Night of Power), the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage, and the day after is the first day of the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.[4] At dawn of this day, Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mina to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafah and the Plain of Arafah. It was from this site that Muhammad gave one of his last famous sermons in the final year of his life. Some Muslims hold that part of the Quranic verse announcing that the religion of Islam had been perfected was revealed on this day.[5]


Mount Arafah[6] is a granite hill about 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Mecca in the plain of Arafah. Mount Arafah reaches about 70 m (230 ft) in height and is known as the "Mountain of Mercy" (Jabal ar-Rahmah). According to Islamic tradition, the hill is the place where the Islamic prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.[7]


On 9 Dhu al-Hijjah before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafah, a barren plain some 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Mecca,[5] where they stand in contemplative vigil: they offer supplications, repent and atone for their past sins, seek mercy of God, and listen to Islamic scholars giving sermons from near Mount Arafah.[8] Lasting from noon through sunset,[5] this is known as 'standing before God' (wuquf), one of the most significant rites of Hajj.[9][10] At Namrah Mosque [ar], pilgrims offer Zuhr (Dhohr) and Asr prayers together at noon time.[8] A pilgrim's Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the afternoon on Arafah.[5]

Arafah prayer[edit]

As Husayn ibn Ali recited the prayer during the Hajj at Mount Arafah on 9 Dhu al-Hijjah, Shia Muslims during the Hajj recite the Arafah prayer from Zuhr prayer to sunset.[11] This day is called prayer day, specially for people who stand on Mount Arafah.[12] On the Day of Arafah, those who cannot make it to Mecca will go to other holy places such as mosques or shrines to recite Arafah prayer.[13]

Fasting on the Day of Arafah[edit]

Fasting on the Day of Arafah for non-pilgrims is a highly recommended Sunnah which entails a great reward; Allah forgives the sins of two years. It was narrated from Abu Qatadah that Muhammad was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he replied:

"It expiates for the past and coming years.” (Muslim)

Imam An-Nawawi mentioned in his book al-Majmu’, “With regard to the ruling on this matter, Imam As-Shafi’i and his companions said: It is mustahabb (recommended) to fast on the day of Arafah for the one who is not in Arafah. As for the pilgrim who is present in Arafah, Imam As-Shafi’i in his book Al-Mukhtasar and his followers declared ‘It is mustahabb (recommended) for him not to fast’.”

Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the hajj. Above all, Muhammad did not fast while he stood before Allah offering supplications in Arafah. On the other hand, those who are not performing their hajj may observe fasting to gain the merits of the blessed day.[14]

In hadith[edit]

Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrated that Muhammad was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah, whereupon he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year. Also about fasting on the Ashura (10 Muharram) he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year.[15]

In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from Aisha that Muhammad said:[16]

'There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His fulfillment to the angels, saying, 'What do these people want?'

The people would fast on this day to get their bad deeds in the upcoming year, and the past year, taken away.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "First day of Hajj confirmed as Aug. 9". Arab News. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  2. ^ Bentley, David (9 August 2019). "When is the Day of Arafah 2019 before the Eid al-Adha celebrations?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. ^ Sheikho, Mohammad Amin (1783). Pilgrimage Hajj: The Fifth High Grade of Al-Taqwa: Volume 5. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781482783247.
  4. ^ Bentley, David. "Eid al-Adha 2016 – What is the Day of Arafah before the Eid celebrations and why is it so important?". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Long, David E. (1979). The Hajj Today: A Survey of the Contemporary Pilgrimage to Makkah. p. 19. ISBN 0-87395-382-7.
  6. ^ Peters, F. E. (1994). The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places. Princeton University Press. p. 355. ISBN 978-0691021201.
  7. ^ Caudill, Mark A. (2006). Twilight in the Kingdom: Understanding the Saudis (Praeger Security International). Praeger. p. 51. ISBN 978-0275992521. Retrieved 30 June 2006.
  8. ^ a b Adelowo, E. Dada, ed. (2014). Perspectives in Religious Studies: Volume III. Ibadan: HEBN Publishers Plc. p. 403. ISBN 9789780814472.
  9. ^ Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-253-21627-3.
  10. ^ "ihram". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  11. ^ William C. Chittick; Mohammed Rustom; Atif Khalil (15 February 2012). In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought. SUNY Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-4384-3935-8.
  12. ^ Staff, Writer. "Day of Arafah". Hawzeh.
  13. ^ Staff, Writer. "people prayed at places called Karbala of Iran". Farsnews.
  14. ^ "4 Sunnah Acts for Zulhijjah, Especially the Day of Arafah". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  15. ^ Zulfiqar, Muhammad (2011). Fast According to the Quran and Sunnah. Dar-us-Salam. ISBN 978-6035001618.
  16. ^ "The Virtues of the Day of Arafat".

External links[edit]