UNDERSTANDING ISLAM: The Virtues of the Day of Arafah

Understanding Islam by Muhajid Navarra

The Day of Arafah is one of the most important dates in the Islamic calendar and it occurs a day before the day of Eidul Adha or the feast of sacrifice. Muslims gather in the plains of Arafah, near Makkah to pray, praise Allah and listen to the sermon on that day at noon.

THE DAY OF THE PERFECTION OF THIS RELIGION

Allah said, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favors upon you and have chosen Islam as your religion.” Quran 5:3.

For the Muslims, this verse is among the greatest blessings of Allah as he has declared that this religion is finally completed and that nothing more is to be added and subtracted from it. This verse is one of the last verses of the Quran to be revealed. For Muslims too, it is a day that Prophet Muhammad forewarned the Muslims of his imminent death. This was revealed during the Prophet Muhammad’s farewell sermon.

Prophet Muhammad’s farewell sermon contained many laws that are to be enforced by the Muslims to protect the rights of the people in their religion, lives, properties, honor, and intellect. Below are excerpts for the farewell sermon of Prophet Muhammad,

“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest); therefore, all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived.

Your capital, however, is yours to keep.

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights about your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness.

Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, perform your five daily prayers (salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in zakat (almsgiving). Perform Hajj if you can afford it.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.”

A DAY OF FESTIVITIES FOR THE PEOPLE IN ARAFAH

Prophet Muhammad said, “The Day of Arafah, The Day of Eidul Fitr and the Days of Tashreeq (three days after Eidul Fitr) are all days of festivities for the Muslims.”

The Day of Eidul Fitr is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, where the Muslims offer the Eid prayer, listen to the sermon and slaughter the animals which are dedicated to Allah as a sacrifice.

IT IS A DAY THAT IS WITNESSED

Prophet Muhammad said, “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection and the witnessed day is the Day of Arafah.” Narrated by Imam At Tirmidhi.

FORGIVENESS FOR TWO YEARS OF SINS

Prophet Muhammad said, “(Fasting on the Day of Arafah) expiates the sins of the previous year and the coming year.” Narrated by Imam Muslim. This fasting is meant for those who are not attending the Hajj as those in Arafah on this day are forbidden to fast.

ALLAH TOOK AN OATH FROM THE CHILDREN OF ADAM

Prophet Muhammad said, “Allaah 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 practiced polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah?” Quran7:172-173 – interpretation of the meaning].” Narrated by Ahmad 

A DAY OF FORGIVENESS

Prophet Muhammad 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?’” Narrated by Imam Muslim.