Praise be to Allah The Exalted.
The Day of Arafat is like a small gathering to a great rehearsal. It is one of the greatest mercies of Allah that He gives every pilgrim the chance to rehearse the Day of Judgement, the day of the great gathering.
The Ihram clothing removes all differences of wealth, importance or social status and then everybody is just by himself, just the way we will be buried one day.
“And every one of them will come to Him alone (without any helper, or protector or defender).” (Maryam 19:95)
Pilgrims stream to the place of gathering as all humans will do on the day of resurrection
“Then unto their Lord they all shall be gathered.” (Al-An’am 6:38)
Here, we face our Lord in silent prayer and we ask Him for forgiveness for all our sins. It is a situation where people present their lives, their good deeds and their bad deeds to their Lord. Many realize that they showed up unprepared, empty handed.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Nothing will be placed in the balance on the day of Resurrection which will weigh more heavily than good manner and attitude.”
“I created not the jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.” (adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
On Arafat Day, Allah gives us the chance to experience how it will be like on the Day of Judgement when we have to give account for our lives.
“And warn them O’ Muhammad of the day of grief and regrets, when the case has been decided, while now they are in a state of carelessness, and they believe not!” (Maryam 19:39)
Arafat shows us the reality of life. This worldly life is just temporary and it is not proper for any human being to be forgetful about Paradise and Hellfire. In order to save us from the hellfire, we need to accept and live by the teachings of the Glorious Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
Islam does not only bring the message of the Hereafter; it is intended to guide us in this life. At the end of the Day of Arafat all pilgrims leave in one direction, going towards Muzdallifa. On the day of Judgment this will be different. Some will go to Paradise, but the fast majority will go to hellfire. Arafat is the reminder to choose our destination, before it is too late.
“And we created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the fire!
Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who associate partners in worship with Allah and commit crimes on earth?
Or shall we treat the pious as the disbelievers?” (Sad 38:27-28)
Because the day of Arafat serves as a yearly reminder to us about the final day of Judgement, it is important to know what exactly are the virtues of this day. Why is it so important?
1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allah’s Favor was completed
In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an ayah 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-Ma’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafah on a Friday.”
2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Yawm ‘Arafaah (the day of ‘Arafah),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-Khattab said: “It – i.e., the ayah ‘This day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of ‘Arafah, both of which – praise be to Allah – are Eids for us.”
3. It is a day by which Allah swore an oath
The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm ‘Arafah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of ‘Arafah].” [al-Burooj 85:3].
It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of ‘Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as sahih by al-Albaani)
It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allah swore in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“And by the even and the odd” [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The even is the Day of al-Adha [i.e., 10thDhoo’l-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of ‘Arafah [i.e., 9th Dhoo’l-Hijjah].” This is also the view of ‘Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.
4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years
It was reported from Abu Qutadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) 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 (recommended) 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 ‘Arafah, because the Prophet (ﷺ) did not fast on this day in ‘Arafah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah in ‘Arafah.
5. It is the day on which Allah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, 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 (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., plolytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ [al-A’raf 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 Sahih Muslim it was narrated from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. 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 (ﷺ) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of ‘Arafah, about the people of ‘Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as sahih by al-Albaani.
And Allah knows best.