At ‘Arafaat

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The sun rose on the best day in this life, on a Friday that coincided with the day of ‘Arafah, and the noble procession moved from Mina to ‘Arafaat. The crowds of pilgrims moved along with the Prophet . The tribe of the Prophet thought that he would stand along with them at Muzdalifah, as it was their custom during the pre-Islamic era. Being neighbors of the House of Allah, they considered themselves superior to others and allocated a special place where they would stand away from the rest of the pilgrims at ‘Arafaat. But the Prophet who brought a religion for all of mankind, not for a certain group only, even if it was his own people and tribe, went past them and moved to stand along with the people, in compliance with the command of Allah in the Quran (which reads): {Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart.} [Quran 2: 199]

The Prophet walked along with the people and near to them. It was easy for anyone to approach him and talk to him. A Bedouin stopped the Prophet between ‘Arafaat and Muzdalifah and held the reins of his she-camel while people were asking: "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" The Prophet however, put an end to their questions, saying: "He has something to ask." Then the Bedouin asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Tell me about a deed that entitles me to enter Paradise." The Prophet replied: "To worship Allah and associate none in worship with Him, offer the prayers perfectly, give zakah, and maintain the kinship ties. Let go of the camel." The Prophet moved on in this state, gently and smoothly, until he reached Namirah, where a tent had been set up for him. He sat there until the sun declined from the middle of the sky and then mounted his she-camel, Al-Qaswaa’, and descended to the Valley of ‘Uranah, whose ground was level and vast enough to have lots of people gather and sit. The people gathered around him in the valley, and he was looking at them while riding his she-camel. The people surrounded him from all directions, their eyes looked at him, their ears waited to hear from him, their necks were stretched towards him, and their hearts were full of love for him, gazing at his blessed face and ready to receive what he would say. Then the Prophet stretched himself up with his feet all the way in the stirrups, and he leaned against the front of the saddle and looked at the people in order to give them a great sermon. In his sermon, he comprehensively but briefly mentioned the foundations of the religion, the pillars of Islam, as well as the forbidden things. His voice echoed among the people, praising and exalting Allah Almighty, and then he said:

O people! Your blood and property are inviolable like the sanctity of this day, this month and this land. All evil practices of the pre-Islamic era are canceled, and all blood shed in the pre-Islamic era is canceled as well. The first blood that I cancel is that of ours, the blood of Rabee‘ah ibn Al-Harith ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib … Riba (interest), which was common in the pre-Islamic era, is also abolished, and the first riba that I abolish is that of ours, the riba of Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib. It is totally abolished.

Fear Allah regarding your wives; you have taken them as wives by the trust of Allah, and sexual intercourse has been made lawful with them by the Word of Allah. They should not allow anybody you disapprove of to enter your houses; if they did so, then you may beat them lightly. You should provide for them and clothe them according to what is acceptable. I leave among you the Book of Allah; if you hold onto it, you will not go astray.

Then he asked those who had gathered for a great testimony, the testimony of proclaiming and conveying the message of Islam, and he wanted to know their answer when they will be asked about this on the Day of Resurrection. Allah Almighty says (what means): {Then We will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and We will surely question the messengers.} [Quran 7: 6]

He said: "O people! You will be asked about me, so what will you say?"

How great the question was! How great the situation was! The Prophet spent 23 years proclaiming his message and calling with patience and endurance as well as suffering and striving. He was expelled from his homeland, which was the most beloved land to him, in order to proclaim his message. He was fought on the day of the Battle of Badr, was injured on the day of the Battle of Uhud, was besieged on the day of the Battle of Al-Khandaq, he tied two stones to his stomach out of hunger and was turned away from the Sacred House, and his relatives and the most beloved persons to him were killed before him. He endured all this in order to proclaim the religion and convey the message of Islam. Yet, he asked his Ummah and requested their testimony. The people replied with the only answer that they could give and gave the only testimony that they could. In one voice, all the people replied: "We testify that you have perfectly delivered the message, advised (us), and fulfilled your task." The Prophet pointed his noble finger to the sky and returned it to the people, saying three times: "O Allah! Be my witness."

Today, and after one thousand four hundred years, we give the same testimony as the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, did—that he has perfectly delivered the message, fulfilled the trust, advised the Ummah, and left it on the right and clear path, which no one deviates from except the one who is doomed. May the blessings and peace of Allah be on Him.

From the wonders of that situation is that the person who conveyed the words of the Prophet to the people was Rabee‘ah ibn Umayyah ibn Khalaf, may Allah be pleased with him, whose father was killed by the sword in the Battle of Badr while he was fighting the Prophet . Then his son was destined to convey the words of the Prophet and call the people.

These were the lights of prophethood and the guidance of the message that extinguished the heritage of the pre-Islamic era in hearts that used to pass down grudges from one generation to another, and burn with the heat of revenge. Those hearts were totally replaced and changed after receiving the blessings of prophethood. Allah Almighty says (what means): {And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind.} [Quran 22: 5] The Prophet was more beloved to them than their fathers and mothers and even their hearts within their bodies. This is the guidance of Allah with which He guides whomever He wants.

Having ended the Khutbah, Bilal, may Allah be pleased with him, called the azan and the iqamah (the second call for the prayer). The Prophet performed the Thuhr (noon) and the ‘Asr (afternoon) prayers combined and shortened and then mounted his she-camel and moved into the depth of ‘Arafah and settled at the foot of the mountain on the rocks facing the qiblah (prayer direction), raising his hands, supplicating and repeating the talbiyah.

The Prophet did not stop directing and guiding the people while he was standing at ‘Arafah. When people from Najd came asking him about the Hajj, the Prophet replied: "The Hajj is ‘Arafah." He also addressed people saying: "I stood here, and all parts of ‘Arafah are a place of standing."

While people were spread out in the defiles of ‘Arafah, the Prophet sent someone calling out to them: "Station where you are performing your rituals for you are an heir to the heritage of your forefather Ibrahim (Abraham)."

While a man was at ‘Arafah, he fell down from his mount and broke his neck (and died). He was one of the ordinary people with no known name, tribe or country. Allah, however, Who created him, was fully aware of him, and to Him would be his return. The Prophet said: "Wash him with water and sidr and shroud him in two pieces of cloth, and neither perfume him nor cover his head, for Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Resurrection while repeating the talbiyah."

While the Prophet was standing at ‘Arafah, he was visible to the people and was looking at them. A Bedouin from (the trible of) Qays, called Ibn Al-Muntafiq, may Allah be pleased with him, was given a description of the Prophet and looked for him until he finally found him at ‘Arafah. He said: "I entered the crowds to reach him, and people tried to keep me away from him. Hoevewer, the Prophet said, 'Let go of him. He has something to ask.' "He said:

I went through the crowd until I finally reached him. Then I held the reins of his she-camel and said, "I will ask you about two things: What saves me from Hell, and what entitles me to enter Paradise?" The Prophet first looked at heaven and then faced me with his noble face and said, "You asked in brief, but your question is great and comprehensive. So, listen and recognize. Worship Allah and associate no others with Him, perform the obligatory prayer, pay the obligatory zakah and fast the month of Ramadan."

The Bedouins who attended the Hajj along with the Prophet approached him in order to see him. When he looked at them, they reacted: "This is the blessed face."

Then the Trustworthy Spirit brought down a revelation from Allah upon the heart of Muhammad in that great situation. It was a revelation of the noble and great verse (which reads): {This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.} [Quran 5: 3]

When the Trustworthy Spirit left, the Prophet recited the verse to the people, declaring the perfection of the religion, the completion of the favor, and the approval of Islam as a sound religion for the people. Having heard the verse, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, fully comprehended it and felt that it was the end of the task of the Prophet and that he was about to join his Lord, Who sent him as a messenger. So ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, wept and said: "Perfection is ultimately succeeded by imperfection."

The Prophet spent that day invoking and supplicating Allah. He was so busy with that that his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, thought that he was fasting on that day. Then Umm Al-Fadhl, may Allah be pleased with her, sent him a cup of milk while he was riding his she-camel, and he drunk from it before the people. Out of modesty and humility to Allah, He raised his hands to his chest while he was supplicating like a needy person asking for food. When his mount moved and its reins fell, he picked it up with one hand while keeping the other hand stretched out in supplication.

His tongue never stopped praising and extolling Allah Almighty and repeating the albiyah, saying:

La ilaaha illa Allahu wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-hamdu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in qadeer. Labbayka Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-hamda wan-ni‘mata laka wal-mulk. Laa shareeka lak. Labbayka Ilaaha-l-Haqq. (There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. He has no partner. To Him belongs the sovereignty and to him belongs the praise, and He is, in everything, Omnipotent. I am responding to Your call, O Allah, I am responding to Your call! I am responding to Your call, You have no partner with You, I am responding to Your call. All perfect praise and bounty belongs to You, and the dominion is Yours, I am responding to Your call, O God of the truth).

On that night, the Prophet showed excessive longing for the meeting with Allah, as if he realized the nearness of death, and thus he was heard adding to the talbiyah: "I am responding to You. The true life is the life of the Hereafter."

The Prophet spent all the hours of the day in that state of humbleness, surrender, supplication and remembrance of Allah. At the end of the day, the Prophet asked for Usamah ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, in order to ride behind him. People started calling out and looking for Usamah, may Allah be pleased with him, and the Bedouins stretched their necks to see that man who would get the honor of riding behind the Prophet . They thought that he would be one of the senior Companions, but they were surprised when they saw a black, snub-nosed, curly-haired young man climbing the she-camel of the Prophet and riding behind him in order to obtain this honor from among all the people at ‘Arafah. The new Muslims astonishingly remarked: "Is this the one we waited for!"

With his choice, it was as if the Prophet wanted to abolish all differences among people and bury all aspects of the prejudices of the pre-Islamic era, class differences, and racist feuds under the feet of his mount and practically indicate that an Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a white person is not better than a black except by means of piety and righteousness.

When it was sunset, the Prophet turned towards Bilal and ordered him to keep the people silent. They responded to the command and the Prophet delighted their hearts with the glad tidings of obtaining the overwhelming mercy and forgiveness of Allah. He said to them: "O people! Jibreel (Gabriel) came to me, conveyed to me the greeting of my Lord and said, 'Give the glad tidings to the people of ‘Arafah and Al-Mash‘ar that Allah has forgiven them and has overlooked their misdeeds.'" Thereupon, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "O Messenger of Allah! Is it for us in specific?" The Prophet replied: "It is for you and those who come after you until the Day of Resurrection." "How abundant and great the blessings from Allah are," remarked ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.

When the sun disappeared, the Prophet pointed to the people and said: "Depart (from ‘Arafah) in the name of Allah."

Then the people departed along with the Prophet . Being their leader, he did not take a special road, but he was in their midst. He neither pushed those who were before him nor blocked the way of those who were behind him. He raised his blessed right hand, pointing with his whip: "O people! Be tranquil. Be tranquil. It is not an aspect of righteousness to hasten your mount." Whenever he heard people crowding or pushing each other, he would say: "Be tranquil. Be Tranquil." He was the first to do that as he pulled the nose-string of his mount so forcefully that its head touched the front of his saddle (in order to keep her under perfect control). He kept on walking with tranquility, reverence, and dignity until he reached Muzdalifah, where he combined the Maghrib (sunset) and the ‘Ishaa’ (night) prayers during the fixed time of the latter. Then he rested until the last part of the night, after a long day full of righteous deeds, worship, supplication, remembrance, teaching, guiding, and directing to goodness.


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