The picture on the left shows Mount' Arafah on the plain of Arafat. Standing at Arafat is the fundamental requirement of Hajj and pilgrims come here on the 9th Dhul Hijjah (second day of Hajj).
Arafah or Arafat is a plain land about 20 km SouthEast from Makkah. In the middle of this plain stands a mount nearly 70m high which is called as Mount Arafat or Jabal-ar-Rehmah (Mount of Mercy). There are two specifications about this Mount of Mercy:
- This is the point on which Adam and Eve met after 200 years of expelling from the Garden of Eden (Jannath); this reason gave the name to this mount as Jabal-ar-Rahmah and this valley as Arafat (knowing/recognizing) because they both recognized each other in this plain.
- At this point Prophet Mohammed صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم gave the Sermon of Hajj and that Sermon was totally a message of Rahmah for all Muslims so this mount was called Jabal-ar-Rahmah.
Wuqoof (stay) Arafah is main part of Hajj.The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said:
“ الحج عرفة “ or “Hajj is Arafah“.
This hadith implies on a concept that without Arafa stay hajj is not complete or we can say that stay in Arafat is backbone of Hajj. The validity of hajj depends upon this stay. Size of the stay does not effect but missing it means no hajj.
Pilgrims leave Mina on the morning of 9th Zul Hajj for Arafah; upon reaching here the Sermon of Hajj is attended following with a combined offering of Zuhar and Asar prayers under one Aadhan and two Aqamats. These are offered in Masjid Nimra beside Mount of Mercy; it extends from Arafah to valley Urana – place where according to major books Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) delivered Sermon of Hajj sitting on His Camel Kiswa.
After the prayers and sermon pilgrims stay in Arafat till sunset making Dua'a and Zikar. According to Ahadith this is the best day to make Dua'a; Aisha رضي الله عنها narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: “There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafat. And on that day Allah draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His Pride remarks to the angels, ‘What is the desire of these (servants of mine)?'” [Muslim]
The best dua to be made on the day of Arafah is narrated in Mishkat Al-Masabih by Umer ibn Shuaib who relates it to his grandfather Abdullah ibn Umer رضي الله عنه, Prophet (PBUH said that the best dua for day of arafah is; and is in these words that has been taught to me and prophets before me ," there is no Lord except Allah, He is one and only, he has no partners, and all the kingship is for Him, and all the praises; and He has the power over all the things."
One more ritual of this day is to fast on the day of arafat- according to some ahadith the fast of this day is the greatest after ramadan fasting and this fast washes away all the sins of previous year; this ritual and sunnah is for the non hajis but if a person is on the journey of hajj its is sunnah not to fast on this day, because Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم didn’t fast on this day.