‘Arafah, the Day of Covenant and Virtues

‘Arafah, the Day of Covenant and Virtues
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Every day of the blessed days, which Allah gave precedence to and chose, has a certain virtue over the other. Each day has an occasion for which it is glorified; the last ten nights of Ramadan are favored over the first ten nights of Thul-Hijjah by the night of Al-Qadr (pre-decree), and the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah are favored over the last ten days of Ramadan by the days of ‘Arafah, Al-Adh-ha and Tarwiyah (the 8th day of Thul-Hijjah).

Here, we will discuss a great day among the ten days of Thul-Hijjah; it is the day on which our upright religion was perfected and by which the favor was completed upon us. It was narrated that a man from the Jews said to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him: "Indeed, you recite a verse in your Book, had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration." ‘Umar asked, “Which verse?” The man said: {…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] ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said, "Indeed I know where and when it was revealed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). He was standing at ‘Arafah on a Friday." [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Arafah is the day of the covenant that was taken from all mankind, as Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah took the covenant at Na‘maan (i.e., ‘Arafah), from the loins of Aadam. He extracted from his loins every soul that could be created, and He spread them before Himself, then He spoke to them directly (what means): {And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam—from their loins—their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware. Or [lest] you say, "It was only that our fathers associated [others in worship] with Allah before, and we were but descendants after them. Then would You destroy us for what the falsifiers have done?} [Quran 7:172-173]” [Ahmad; Al-Albani: sound]

This verse indicates that Allah inspired all of mankind with the fact that He is their Lord and that they have no other lord or deity but Him. This is the covenant that Allah took from mankind: {They said, "Yes, we have testified."} Therefore, it is no longer acceptable that they say on the Day of Judgment that they forgot and were unaware of the covenant or claim that their fathers associated other partners with Allah and they thus followed them because they are their descendants. The polytheism of one's fathers is not an excuse for the offspring to deviate from the covenant of the Fitrah (natural disposition) because it is a covenant between them and Allah, and their fathers have nothing to do with it. However, it is out of the Mercy of Allah that He does not bring people to account by virtue of the covenant of the Fitrah alone but after sending Messengers to invite them to Allah. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {[We Sent] Messengers as bringers of good tidings and warmers so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the Messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.} [Quran 4:165]

That is why it is an act of the Sunnah to receive this day of covenant with a fast that expiates the sins of two years. Abu Qataadah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, and he replied: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah expiates the sins of two years; the previous one and the coming one.” [Muslim] This ruling applies to non-pilgrims only as pilgrims are forbidden to fast on the day of ‘Arafah.

The day of ‘Arafah is the day when Allah, the Exalted, emancipates the pilgrims from Hell and boasts of them. ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “There is no day on which Allah sets free more slaves from Hell than the day of ‘Arafah. He draws near and then boasts of them to the angels, saying, ‘What do these [slaves] want [that I may give them]?’” [Muslim]

Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah boasts about the people of ‘Arafah to the angels, saying, ‘Look at My slaves! They have come to Me with disheveled hair and covered in dust.” [Ahmad; Al-Albani: sound]

Among the virtues of the day of ‘Arafah is that Allah swore by it, and He only swears by great things. It is "the witnessed day" in the verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And [by] the witness and what is witnessed.} [Quran 85:3] Abu Hurayrah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "The promised day is the Day of Judgment, the witnessed day is the day of ‘Arafah, and the witness is Friday." [At-Tirmithi; Al-Albani: good]

Also, it is “the odd” by which Allah swore. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And [by] the even [number] and the odd.} [Quran 89:3]

Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: "The even is the day of Al-Adh-ha and the odd is the day of ‘Arafah." This is also the opinion of ‘Ikrimah and Adh-Dhahhaak.

The Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) on the day of ‘Arafah:

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

When the sun rose on the ninth day of Thul-Hijjah, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) walked from Mina to ‘Arafah with his companions. Some of them were saying Talbiyah and others were saying Takbeer, and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) heard them without disapproving the acts of any group of them. He stayed at Namirah until Zawaal (the decline of the sun from the middle of the sky), then he ordered his she-camel, Al-Qaswaa’, to be saddled, and he went to ‘Uranah valley. While he was on the back of his she-camel, he gave a great Khutbah (sermon) in which he established the foundations and rules of Islam, demolished the rules of polytheism and Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic period of ignorance), and stated the prohibited acts of which all religions agreed upon their prohibition.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) gave only one sermon, not two, and when he finished, he ordered Bilaal to call the Athaan and the Iqaamah. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) led the people in the Thuhr prayer, two Rak‘ahs, then he called the Iqaamah and led the people in the ‘Asr prayer. He combined and shortened the two prayers. The people of Mecca prayed with him, and he did not forbid them to shorten or combine the prayers.

After the prayer, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) rode until he reached the standing place. He stood at the foot of the mountain on the rocks and faced the direction of the Qiblah. The mountain of Al-Mushaah was before him. He was on the back of his she-camel and kept supplicating Allah until sunset. He ordered the people to leave the ‘Uranah valley and told them that ‘Arafah is not just the place where he stood. He said: "I stood here and the entire ‘Arafah is a standing place."

After this, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) asked the people to perform the Hajj rites as such rites are part of the heritage of their father Ibraaheem  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was standing at ‘Arafah, some people from Najd approached him and said, “O Messenger of Allah, how should we perform Hajj?” He replied,Hajj is [to spend the day at] ‘Arafah; so he who joins other pilgrims at ‘Arafah before dawn on the night of Muzdalifah will be considered as having performed the Hajj. Mina is three days, however, whoever hastens [his departure] in two days—there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [until the third]—there is no sin upon him.” While supplicating, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) raised his hands to his chest and told the people that the best supplication is the one made on the day of ‘Arafah. When the sun had completely set, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) departed from ‘Arafah and let Usamah ibn Zayd  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him ride behind him. He departed in tranquility and pulled the reins of his she-camel toward him (to slow her down) to the extent that its head was about to touch the edge of his saddle. He said: "O people! Be calm. Hastening is not a sign of righteousness."

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was reciting Talbiyah on the way, and he did not interrupt it. At one point, he dismounted to answer the call of nature. After he had finished, he performed ablution, and then Usamah asked him, "O Messenger of Allah! Will you perform the prayer?" He replied, "The prayer—or the Musalla (place of prayer)—is ahead of you (meaning that he will pray at Al-Muzdalifah)."

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) resumed his journey until he reached Al-Muzdalifah, where he performed ablution, ordered the Companions to call for the prayer, and led the people in the Maghrib prayer before they took down their luggage or made their camels kneel down. When they had taken down their luggage, he ordered them to call the Iqaamah, then he prayed the ‘Ishaa’ without the Athaan, and he did not pray any prayers in between. After this, he slept until the morning without performing any voluntary night prayer, and it is not reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) prayed any voluntary night prayers in the nights of the two ‘Eeds (Al-Fitr and Al-Adh-ha).

The Righteous Predecessors at ‘Arafah:

The conditions of the righteous predecessors at ‘Arafah varied:

Some of them were fearful and bashful. Mutarrif ibn ‘Abdullah and Bakr Al-Muzani stood at ‘Arafah, and one of them said: “O Allah! Do not reject the people of ‘Arafah because of me!” The other one said: “O what an honorable situation that makes supplication more likely to be accepted, if only I was not among them!” (In the sense that his presence among them might prevent the supplication from being accepted).

Others were hopeful. ‘Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak said: “I went to Sufyaan Ath-Thawri on the night before ‘Arafah and found him sitting on his knees, shedding tears. He turned towards me, so I asked him: ‘Who is the worst among this mass?’ He said: ‘The one who thinks that Allah will not forgive him.’

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