Virtues of the Day of Arafah

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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 ayahThis 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.

Allah swears by His creation that the person who purifies himself will be successful and the person who corrupts himself will fail

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Mujahid said: { By the sun and Duhaha. } “This means, by its light.”

Qatadah said: { wa Duhaha. } “The whole day.”

Ibn Jarir said: “The correct view is what has been said, ‘Allah swears by the sun and its daytime, because the clear light of the sun is daytime.'”

{ By the moon as it Talaha. } Mujahid said: “It follows it (the sun).” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said: { By the moon as it Talaha. } “It follows the day.” Qatadah said, “‘as it Talaha (follows it)’ is referring to the night of the Hilal (the new crescent moon). When the sun goes down, the Hilal is visible.”

Concerning Allah’s statement, { By the day as it Jallaha. } Mujahid said, “When it illuminates.” Thus, Mujahid said, { By the day as it Jallaha. } “This is similar to Allah’s statement, { By the day as it Tajalla. } (92:2)”

And they have said concerning Allah’s statement, { By the night as it Yaghshaha. } meaning, when it covers the sun, which takes place when sun disappears and the horizons become dark.

Concerning Allah’s statement, { By the heaven and Ma Banaha. } The meaning here could be for descriptive purposes, meaning “By the heaven and its construction.” This was said by Qatadah. It could also mean “By the heaven and its Constructor.” This was stated by Mujahid. Both views are interrelated, and construction means raising.

This is as Allah says, { With Hands did We construct the heaven. } (51:47) meaning, with strength.

{ Verily, We are able to extend the vastness of space thereof. And We have spread out the earth: how excellent a spreader are We! } (51:47-48)

This is also similar to Allah’s statement, { By the earth and Ma Tahaha. } Mujahid said, “Tahaha means He spread it out.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, { and Ma Tahaha. } “This means what He created in it.” `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Tahaha means that He proportioned it.”

Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi, Ath-Thawri, Abu Salih and Ibn Zayd all said that { Tahaha } means, He spread it out.

Allah then says, { By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it). } meaning, He created it sound and well-proportioned upon the correct nature (Al-Fitrah). This is as Allah says, { So set you your face towards the religion, Hanif. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in the Khalqillah. } (30:30)

The Messenger of Allah said, “Every child that is born, is born upon the Fitrah, but his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian. This is just as the animal is born, complete with all of its parts. Do you notice any mutilation in it?” Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah.

In Sahih Muslim, it has been narrated from `Iyad bin Himar Al-Mujashi`i that the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah the Mighty and Majestic says, ‘Verily I created My servants Hunafa’ (as monotheists), but then the devils came to them and distracted them from their religion.'”

Then Allah says, { Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa. } meaning, He showed him to his transgression and his Taqwa. This means that He clarified that for it and He guided it to what has been ordained for him.

Ibn `Abbas said, { Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa. } “He explained the good and the evil to it (the soul).” Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ath-Thawri all said the same. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “He gave him inspiration (to see what was) good and evil.” Ibn Zayd said, “He made its Fujur and its Taqwa inside of it.”

Ibn Jarir recorded from Abul-Aswad Ad-Dili that he said, “`Imran bin Husayn said to me, `Do you think that what the people do, and what they strive for is a thing that is pre-ordained and predestined for them, or is it a thing which is only written after the Message comes to them from the Prophet , when there will be an evidence against them’ I said, ‘Rather it is something preordained upon them.’ Then he said, ‘Is that an injustice?’ Then I became extremely frightened of him (due to what he was saying), and I said to him, ‘There is nothing except that He (Allah) created it and possesses it in His Hand. He is not asked about what He does, while they (His creation) will be asked.’

He (`Imran) then said, ‘May Allah guide you! I only asked you about that in order to inform you that a man from Muzaynah or Juhaynah tribe came to the Allah’s Messenger and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you consider the actions of mankind and their struggles to be preordained for them and written for them from Qadr, or something written for them only after the Message came to them from their Prophet, when there will be an evidence against them?” He (the Prophet ) replied: “Rather it is something preordained for them.” So the man said, “Then what is the point of our actions?” The Prophet replied, “Whoever Allah created for one of the two positions (Paradise or Hell), He makes it easy for him (to attain). The proof of that is in the Book of Allah (By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it). Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa).” Ahmad and Muslim both recorded this Hadith.

Allah then says, { Indeed he succeeds who purifies it. And indeed he fails who Dassaha. }

This could mean that whoever purifies himself by obedience to Allah, then he will be successful. This is as Qatadah said, “He cleanses it from the lowly and despicable characteristics.” Similar to this has been reported from Mujahid, `Ikrimah and Sa`id bin Jubayr.

{ And indeed he fails who Dassaha. } meaning, to conceal it. This means that he makes it dull, and he disregards it by neglecting to allow it to receive guidance. He treats it in this manner until he performs acts of disobedience and he abandons obedience of Allah. It also could mean that he is indeed successful whose soul Allah purifies, and he has failed whose soul Allah corrupts. This is like what was reported by Al-`Awfi and `Ali bin Abi Talhah from Ibn `Abbas.

At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah used to stop whenever he recited this Ayah: { By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it). Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa. }

Then he would say, ‘O Allah! Give my soul its good. You are its Guardian and Master, and the best to purify it.'”

Another Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Arqam said that the Messenger of Allah said, “O Allah! Verily, I seek refuge with You from weakness, laziness, senility (of old age), cowardliness, stinginess and the torment of the grave. O Allah! Give my soul its good and purify it, for You are the best to purify it. You are its Guardian and Master. O Allah! Verily, I seek refuge with You from a heart that is not humble, a soul that is not satisfied, knowledge that does not benefit and a supplication that is not answered.”

Zayd then said, “The Messenger of Allah used to teach us these (words) and we now teach them to you.” Muslim also recorded this Hadith.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surat ash-Shams (91), verses 1-10]