*The different spellings of ’Arafah/t in this article are intentional. ‘Arafah’ is singular, referring to the day of Arafah and ‘Arafat’ is the plural, referring to the ‘Plains of Arafat’.
What is the day of ′Arafah?
The day of Arafah is the best day of the Islamic year and falls on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah.
On this day, millions of Muslim pilgrims travel to the plains of Arafat, where they first combine their Dhuhr and Asr prayers and then spend the entire day praying and making Dua.
They stand until sunset facing the Qiblah and seeking forgiveness for their sins. This is the most significant ritual of the Hajj, without which the Hajj would be incomplete.
As the Prophet (saw) said, ’Hajj is ‘Arafah’ (Nasa’i).
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, only local Muslims residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be able to perform Hajj this year. The very thought of a substantially reduced Hajj is sad and disappointing for us all, but it is important that we continue to be steadfast in our intentions.
SubhanAllah, this is an amazing opportunity to have our past sins forgiven, so we really need to make the most of this day, just as we did in Ramadan, when the mosques were closed for Taraweeh prayers.
The day of Arafah is the pinnacle of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah just like how Laylatul Qadr is the pinnacle of the last ten nights of Ramadan. Therefore, we should intensify our efforts to please the Almighty on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah just as we increased our prayers, Duas, and righteous deeds on the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Why is the day of Arafah so important?
Firstly, it is a day when millions of our sins, both major and minor are forgiven by Allah’s (saw) infinite love and mercy. For those standing on the Plains of Arafat, any sins they have committed are completely erased and they emerge from the Hajj with the purity and innocence of a new-born baby.
The Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ وسلم) said, ‘There is no day on which Allah (swt) frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ‘Arafah’. (Muslim)
Even though we may not be standing on the Plains of Arafat, it would be a wasted opportunity if we did not spend the day of Arafah, trying to be one of those whom Allah (swt) will forgive.
Secondly, the day of Arafah is when the religion of Islam was perfected. The final verses of the Quran were not yet revealed, but Allah sent down the ayah below on the day of Arafah.
’It was reported from ’Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) that a Jewish man said to him,
The fact that Allah (swt) chose the day of Arafah to reveal this verse makes it a blessed day, and we should maximize our efforts to draw closer to Him on this day.
How to maximize the rewards of The Day of Arafah
Even though we are not able to perform Hajj this year, there still plenty of opportunities to reap the rewards of this blessed day. When making your Duas, you should not neglect to make this one:
لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له ، له الملك ، وله الحمد ، وهو على كل شيء قدير
‘La Ilaha Ill-Allah Wahdahu La Sharika Lahu, Lahul Mulku Wa Lahul Hamdu, Wa Huwa Ala Kulli Shai’in Qadir’
(There is nothing that deserves to be worshiped in truth except Allaah, He is Alone and has no partner, to Him belongs the dominion and to Him belongs all praise, and He is All-Powerful over all things).
It is so recommended for those who are not pilgrims to fast on this day as the Prophet (saw) said, ’It (fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah) expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year’. (Muslim).
How to earn the reward of Hajj at home?
Those of us who do not live in Saudi Arabia and are unable to perform Hajj this year can still earn rewards equal to it, by completing a simple act.
“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah, complete, complete, complete.” [Tirmidhi]
We can accumulate a significant number of good deeds by performing this one simple action every day. However, we should not become complacent either – doing these actions regularly does not mean you are now exempt from performing the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage altogether. The physical acts of saving money, traveling long distances, and undertaking physical, emotional, and spiritual hardships still carry infinite rewards.
Other ways of earning the rewards of Hajj at home include:
- Attend the mosque to learn or teach good
- Perform Wudhu at home and then go to the mosque for an obligatory prayer
- Perform the Jumuah prayer
- Perform the Eid prayer
- Fulfill the needs of your brother or sister by giving to charity
- Being good to your parents