Arafah Day falls on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah in the Islamic lunar calendar and commemorates the finality of the religion of Islam and of Divine revelation by Allah but due to difference in crescent moon sighting in different regions, countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, other Gulf countries, USA and UK are marking the Day of Arafah on June 27 this year while Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and other South Asian nations will observe it on June 28. The Day of Arafah holds tremendous significance and carries numerous merits for Muslims, even for those not performing Hajj.
Merits associated with the Day of Arafah:
The Day of Arafah is known as the “Day of Atonement” and is believed to be a day when Allah forgives the sins of those who sincerely seek His forgiveness. It is an opportunity for Muslims to repent, seek forgiveness and cleanse their souls from past transgressions as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah.”
For Muslims performing Hajj, standing on the plain of Arafah is a crucial pillar of the pilgrimage and it is considered the most important day of Hajj. Completing this ritual with sincerity and devotion is believed to bring about the forgiveness of sins and the acceptance of prayers while Muslims not performing Hajj can also benefit from the blessings and forgiveness associated with the Day of Arafah.
The Day of Arafah is described as the best day of the year and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best supplication is the supplication on the Day of Arafah, and the best words that I and the prophets before me have said are ‘La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la sharika lah (There is no god but Allah, alone without partner).'” Muslims are encouraged to engage in abundant supplication, remembrance of Allah and acts of worship on this blessed day to attain its rewards and blessings.
Performing acts of worship on the Day of Arafah is believed to yield abundant rewards. Fasting on this day, for instance, is considered equivalent to the reward of fasting for an entire year while engaging in remembrance of Allah, recitation of the Quran and giving charity on this day also hold immense merit and blessings.
The Day of Arafah serves as an opportunity for Muslims to engage in self-reflection, introspection and spiritual purification as Muslims strive to rectify their mistakes, seek forgiveness from Allah and renew their commitment to living a righteous life. It is a day to rekindle one’s faith, strengthen one’s connection with Allah and rejuvenate one’s spiritual journey.
The Day of Arafah emphasises the unity and brotherhood of the Muslim Ummah (community) as Muslims from diverse backgrounds, cultures and languages come together at the plain of Arafah during Hajj, fostering a sense of solidarity and unity. This collective gathering reminds Muslims of their shared beliefs, values and the universality of Islam.
Arafah Day carries immense merits and blessings for Muslims as it is a day of forgiveness, spiritual renewal and heightened devotion. Muslims strive to engage in acts of worship, seek forgiveness and increase their supplications on this day to attain the abundant rewards and blessings associated with it as it is an occasion of spiritual elevation, unity and deep connection with Allah.
Rituals for Muslims not performing Hajj:
The Day of Arafah holds significant religious and spiritual significance for Muslims worldwide and on this day, pilgrims who are performing Hajj gather at the plain of Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, while those not on Hajj engage in specific rituals and acts of worship. Here are some of the rituals associated with the Day of Arafah –
- Fasting: It is highly recommended for Muslims who are not performing Hajj to observe fasting on the Day of Arafah. Fasting on this day is believed to expiate sins of the previous year and the coming year. It is a voluntary act of devotion and a way to earn blessings and closeness to Allah.
- Supplication and Dhikr: Muslims engage in continuous supplication (du’a) and remembrance of Allah (dhikr) on the Day of Arafah. They seek forgiveness, mercy, and blessings, and engage in heartfelt prayers for themselves, their families, and the global Muslim community. The day is seen as an opportunity for repentance and seeking spiritual purification.
- Standing at Arafat: While pilgrims on Hajj spend the day at the plain of Arafat, Muslims who are not performing Hajj can engage in acts of worship at their local mosques or homes. Many Muslims spend the day in prayer, recitation of the Quran and reflection on their relationship with Allah. They strive to emulate the spiritual atmosphere of Arafah by devoting themselves to acts of worship and seeking nearness to Allah.
- Giving Charity: The Day of Arafah is an opportune time for Muslims to engage in acts of charity and giving. Muslims are encouraged to donate to the poor and those in need, supporting humanitarian causes and helping alleviate the suffering of others. Giving charity on this day is considered especially meritorious and can bring immense blessings.
- Reflection and Repentance: The Day of Arafah is a time for introspection, reflection and seeking forgiveness. Muslims reflect upon their actions, seek to rectify their shortcomings, and repent sincerely for any sins or mistakes committed. They aim to strengthen their connection with Allah and improve their character and conduct.
- Celebration and Gratitude: The Day of Arafah is a joyous occasion for Muslims. They express gratitude to Allah for the blessings of faith, health, family and the opportunity to worship. Muslims celebrate the day by spending time with loved ones, exchanging greetings of joy and blessings and partaking in festive meals and sweet treats.
The Day of Arafah holds immense spiritual significance and Muslims around the world strive to engage in acts of worship, reflection and devotion on this auspicious day. It is a time for seeking forgiveness, strengthening faith and fostering a sense of unity and gratitude within the Muslim community.