The word Arafat is derived from the Arabic verb “Arafa”, which means to know or to recognise. Imam al-Qurtubi V, the famous Maliki scholar said: “The area was named Arafat because it is there that people get to know one another.”
Fajr in Mina
After spending the night in Mina, you will perform the Fajr prayer in the morning. As previously mentioned, wake up at least an hour before Fajr so you can use the washing facilities and avoid the crowds.
You will now have offered five obligatory prayers at Mina before departing for Arafat.
Although fasting on the Day of Arafat is very virtuous for non-pilgrims, it isn’t recommended for pilgrims. Ikrimah I narrates:
I entered upon Abu Hurairah in his house and asked him about fasting the Day of Arafat at Arafat. Abu Hurairah said: ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ forbade fasting the Day of Arafat at Arafat.'1Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 1732.
Starting immediately after Fajr Salah on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, audibly recite Takbir al-Tashreeq at least once after every Fardh Salah, up to and including Asr Salah on the 13th of Dhul Hijjah (a total of 23 Fardh prayers).
Takbir al-Tashreeq is the recitation of the following:
اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْد
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Ilallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa Lillahil Hamd.
Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest and all praises are for Allah only.
- Talbiyah is recited after Takbir al-Tashreeq.
- Takbir al-Tashreeq is Wajib (obligatory) for both men and women, according to the Hanafi Madhhab.
- Men will recite it audibly whilst women will recite it softly.
Ghusl for the Day of Arafat
It is Sunnah to perform Ghusl on the Day of Arafat. This can be done in Arafat before the Wuquf (standing) or it can be done in Mina before departing for Arafat. The camps in Arafat are more open in comparison to Mina, so it may be more comfortable for a person, particularly a woman, to perform Ghusl in Mina. The restrictions of Ihram obviously apply too, so extra care should be taken when doing Ghusl i.e. no scrubbing and ensuring shampoo / soap is unscented if used, etc.
Travelling to Arafat
Depart from Mina after sunrise, as this was the practice of the Prophet ﷺ. The distance from Mina to Arafat is about 13 kilometres (8 miles).
Most pilgrims tend to reach Arafat before or after Dhuhr, although delays may occur due to traffic congestion. Don’t panic if you’re still in Mina at this time and you feel you are late; your tour operator will ensure you reach your destination. Use this time wisely; you may engage in Dhikr, make Dua, take a shower or have breakfast.
As you leave, traffic may flow very slowly and you may find that it gets quite hot on the bus. Ensure you take cold drinking water and some snacks for your journey.
If you’re a woman and get separated from your husband / Mahram, you must ensure you reach Arafat, even if you have to travel alone. Look for a group of women to travel with if you get separated.
If you elect to travel to Arafat by foot, keep in mind that it will probably be the most challenging walk you will encounter during the course of your Hajj. The walk is quite lengthy, particularly if you’re from Europe, as the Europa camps are situated on the other side of Arafat, meaning the distance of the journey will exceed 8 miles. Finding your camp upon arrival in Arafat may also prove fairly challenging. It is also worth noting that the Prophet ﷺ rode from Mina to Arafat on a conveyance, so travelling from Mina to Arafat by foot is not a Sunnah practice.
If you decide to walk, there will be water taps, washing facilities, benches to rest on, people selling refreshments and medical facilities at regular intervals.
Arrival in Arafat
For your Hajj to be deemed valid, you must perform Wuquf al-Arafat i.e. you must spend a portion of time in Arafat between midday and the beginning of Fajr on the following day. If you don’t reach Arafat during this period, your Hajj will be regarded as incomplete.
If you arrive early, take some time to rest and get some sleep, as the time of Arafat doesn’t begin until after midday. Some people erroneously start their Dua for Arafat before midday and rest in the evening; this is an incorrect practice and should be avoided.
During the course of the day, you should spend as much time in Dhikr and Ibadah as possible. It is perhaps a day that you will never experience again, so make the most of it.
Dhuhr and Asr Salah in Arafat
After midday, if you haven’t already done so in Mina, perform Ghusl.
You will then head towards Masjid al-Namirah, where you will combine the Dhuhr and Asr prayers in Qasr mode i.e. shortening them. This is the location where the Prophet ﷺ delivered his sermon during his final Hajj.
According to the Hanafi Madhhab, Dhuhr and Asr can only be combined in Masjid al-Namirah behind the Imam. The two prayers cannot be combined in the tents, so must be performed during their respective times in the tents if the Masjid is inaccessible. The other three Sunni schools of thought state that it is permissible to combine the prayers in the tents.
Before the Salah takes place in the mosque, there is a Khutbah (sermon). For those who manage to get a space in the Masjid, or are within hearing distance, listen to the Khutbah attentively.
The combined Salah is then performed as follows:
- There is one Adhan.
- Iqama is made for Dhuhr.
- Takbir is made for Dhuhr Fardh Salah and two Rakats are performed.
- After the prayer is completed, while standing, recite Takbir al-Tashreeq.
- Iqama is made for Asr.
- Takbir is made for Asr Fardh Salah and two Rakats are performed.
- After the prayer is completed, recite Takbir al-Tashreeq and Talbiyah.
- No additional Nafl (optional) prayers are performed before or after these prayers.
If you are too far from the Masjid and have access to a radio, you can listen to the Khutbah. The sermon will be in Arabic so someone from your group will need to translate it.
Lunch is normally provided after Salah. However, it is advised that you shouldn’t spend too much time eating, as the time after Salah needs to be spent wisely.
After Salah until Sunset
After Salah, you will stay in Arafat until sunset. This period of time is extremely important, so full advantage must be taken. During your Wuquf (standing), spend your time:
- Reading the Quran.
- Doing Dhikr.
- Sending Salawat upon the Prophet ﷺ.
- Reciting Talbiyah.
- Offering your supplications.
Don’t spend your time eating, engaging in idle talk or sleeping during the most important day of your Hajj pilgrimage. Seize the moment, separate yourself from people and connect to Allah.
In the late afternoon, stand in the open and raise your hands in supplication to Allah, as the Prophet ﷺ had done, facing the Kaaba. It is recommended to do the Wuquf (standing) at the foot of Jabal al-Rahmah (the Mount of Mercy), although you can stand outside your tent if you please.
During these sacred moments, you are alone with Allah so use this time to repent earnestly and supplicate in abundance. It is a period where Duas are readily accepted so make the most of the opportunity. You may supplicate in any language or recite Masnoon Duas (Duas of the Prophet ﷺ recorded in the Sunnah). Ensure you know the meaning of what you’re reciting if you don’t understand Arabic.
Remember to supplicate for:
- The Holy Prophet ﷺ.
- Our pious predecessors M.
- Your family and relatives.
- The entire Muslim community, especially those suffering around the world.
- Those who have passed away.
It is a good idea to prepare a list of Duas beforehand, as well as a list of all those people who asked you to pray for them on your Hajj.
- If the heat gets too intense whilst you’re making Dua and it’s affecting you physically, you may make Dua in your tent or in some shade, standing or sitting. If you get tired of keeping your arms raised, you may continue to make Dua without raising them.
- Menstruating women can recite verses from the Holy Quran, but can only do so without touching the Mushaf (copy of the Quran) or without touching the verses if reading from a Dua book.
Immediately after sunset, you will leave Arafat to make your way to Muzdalifah.
Before you leave for Muzdalifah, ensure you use the toilets and perform Wudhu in Arafat, as you will be performing Salah in Muzdalifah. Plan to avoid using the toilet and washing facilities in Muzdalifah because they tend to get very crowded. It will also be dark by the time you get there.
It is Wajib (obligatory) to stay in Arafat until sunset. If you leave before sunset, a penalty will be due upon you.
If you board the coach and start your journey towards Muzdalifah prior to sunset, don’t worry as the coach will remain within the boundary of Arafat and will only cross after sunset.
This journey can be a quick one or it can take some time, depending on traffic and your location in Arafat. Many pilgrims choose to journey to Muzdalifah by foot.
The journey to Muzdalifah will take approximately 2 hours if you intend to walk. The distance between the two sites is about 8 kilometres (5 miles). You may walk towards the boundary of Arafat before sunset, but ensure you don’t cross this boundary until the sun has actually set. The boundaries for Arafat are indicated by large yellow sign posts.
Maghrib Salah shouldn’t be performed at Arafat and must be observed at Muzdalifah later in the evening. If it is performed at Arafat, it must be repeated at Muzdalifah.
As you proceed to Muzdalifah, exercise patience and continue to recite Talbiyah and other prayers.
The Prophet ﷺ at Arafat
The Prophet ﷺ left for Arafat on the morning of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah (a Friday) 10 AH (632 CE).
After having performed Fajr at Mina, he addressed his companions. Jabir ibn Abdullah I narrates:
After the prayer the Prophet ﷺ ordered everyone to remain in their places and proclaimed the majesty of the Allah with the following words: ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illallah, wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahil Hamd’. He uttered these words after each prayer until Asr of the last day of Tashreeq.2Al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra.
When he arrived at Namirah, an area just before Arafat, he stayed in a tent which had been erected for him. His wives remained in tents around him. When the sun came down from its meridian, he sent for his she-camel, al-Qaswa, and he rode into the interior of Uranah valley, a spacious expanse where his companions were able to gather around him. He arrived at the bottom of the valley and, seated on his camel, addressed thousands of companions with a powerful speech, now known as Khuṭbatul Wida (Farewell Sermon).
Dhuhr and Asr
After the sermon, The Prophet ﷺ instructed Bilal I to recite the Adhan and to utter the Iqama for Dhuhr Salah thereafter. The Prophet ﷺ and his companions then observed the Dhuhr prayer, which was offered in Qasr mode i.e. the prayer was shortened to two Rakats. Bilal then uttered the Iqama for Asr Salah, which was led by the Prophet ﷺ immediately after Dhuhr Salah, again in Qasr mode. The Prophet ﷺ did not perform any supererogatory prayers (Sunan) between the two prayers, but prayed both of them together at the time of Dhuhr with one Adhan and two Iqamas.3Muslim, Hadith No. 1218; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1905; Ibn Hibban, Hadith No. 3944.
Wuquf at Jabal al-Rahmah
After completing his prayers, the Prophet ﷺ mounted his she-camel and traveled further into the valley of Arafat, towards Jabal al-Rahmah. He stopped at the foot of the mountain and turned towards the Qibla, remaining in a position where the mountain was just ahead of him. Jabir ibn Abdullah I narrates:
He mounted al-Qaswa and came to the place of standing, making his she-camel turn its back to the rocks and, before facing the Qibla. He remained standing until sunset when the yellow light had somewhat gone and the disc of the sun had disappeared.4Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1905.
The great scholar Imam Nawawi V writes:
All of Arafat is a place of Wuquf although its best place is the Prophet’s ﷺ place of Wuquf, which is near the large stones laid out at the bottom of Jabal al-Rahmah in the heart of Arafat.5Imam Nawawi, al-Idhah fi Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah.
The Prophet ﷺ sent word to the people to take their positions at the places appointed for the ritual. He instructed one of his Ansari companions, Ibn Mirba I, to tell the people within Arafat: “Stay where you are, for you are following the legacy of you father Ibrahim S.”6Al-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 3014; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1919; Ahmad, Hadith No. 17233. The Prophet ﷺ informed them that Wuquf on the 9th Dhul Hijjah can be carried out anywhere within the confines of Arafat. He said: “I have stood here and all of Arafat is a place of standing.”7Muslim, Hadith No. 1218.
Dua of the Prophet
He then raised his hands in supplication and began to implore and beseech Allah from midday until the sun had set, all the while seated on his camel. When the Prophet ﷺ supplicated, he would raise his hands to the level of his chest in a similar manner to a needy person pleading for provision. At one point, his camel became unsettled and the rein fell off. He picked it up with one hand while his other hand was raised in supplication.8Al-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 3011; Ahmad, Hadith No. 21821.
The Prophet ﷺ supplicated for himself and his Ummah and declared that Dua made on the Day of Arafat is the best of supplications. Amr ibn Shu’aib narrates from his grandfather that the Prophet ﷺ said:
The best of supplication is the supplication of the Day of Arafat. And the best of what I and the Prophets before me have said is:
لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Lā ilāha illallāh, waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-ḥamdu, wa huwa ‘alā kulli shai’in qadīr.
None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, alone without partner. To Him belongs all that exists, and to Him is the praise, and He is powerful over all things.9Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 3585; Malik, Hadith No. 504 & 951.
Describing the supplication the Prophet ﷺ made for his Ummah, al-Abbas ibn Mirdas al-Sulami I narrates:
The Prophet ﷺ, during the latter part of the day of Arafat, supplicated abundantly for the forgiveness of the Ummah. Allah informed the Prophet ﷺ: ‘I have accepted your supplication but I will not forgive the oppressors.’ The Prophet ﷺ pleaded ‘O my Lord, You have the ability to give the oppressed greater reward for their suffering at the hands of the oppressor, so forgive the oppressor.’ However, that part of the supplication wasn’t accepted that evening but was accepted after the Prophet ﷺ repeated the supplication at Muzdalifah.'10Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah; Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 3013.
The Prophet ﷺ spent the rest of the day in fervent prayer and supplication. Such was his devotion that there was a dispute among the companions about whether he was fasting or not. Lubaba bint al-Harith (Umm al-Fadl) J, the wife of al-Abbas ibn Abdul Mutallib I, sent him a cup of milk to determine if he was fasting or not. The Prophet ﷺ drank the milk while he was riding his camel, confirming that he was not in fact fasting.11Muslim, Hadith No. 1123.
Ready for Departure
As the Prophet ﷺ was ready to depart from Arafat, he summoned Usama ibn Zayd I to ride with him on his camel.12Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 1686. This may have come to a surprise to many, particularly those new to Islam, since Usama was a young man of Abyssinian heritage. The Prophet ﷺ, however, wanted to emphasise the egalitarian nature of the pilgrimage and the Muslim community as a whole. He thus practically declared that “no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor a white man over a black one, except by being more God-fearing.”
Virtues of Arafat
The Prophet ﷺ said in a famous Hadith:
Hajj is Arafat.
[Narrated in Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
This saying of the Prophet ﷺ indicates that standing on the plains of Arafat during Yawm al-Arafat is of such immense importance that without it, the entire Hajj is invalid.
The Prophet ﷺ also said the following about this day:
There is no day on which Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the Day of Arafat. He draws closer and closer, then He boasts about them before the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’
[Narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah]
The plain of Arafat is not huge but pilgrims are accommodated with little problem.
Like in Mina, pilgrims in Arafat are divided into groups and their accommodation is pre-allocated according to the country they’re from. Again, streets and camps are numbered, so learn your camp number or note it down somewhere.
The tents in Arafat are usually large and wide. Some tents have air coolers (which use evaporation of water for cooling the air) and fans, whilst other tents don’t have anything of the sort. It would, therefore, be a good idea to bring a portable cooling device as the day of Arafat can get extremely hot.
Once again, your accommodation is determined by your Hajj agent, so don’t hesitate to contact your agent if you have questions or concerns regarding your accommodation in Arafat or any other location.
You will need to check with your agent on the type of food that will be provided – meals can both be pre-packed and come in a box, or they may be cooked and served directly to you. The time at which these meals are served can also vary, so be prepared to eat at irregular times.
In Arafat, there are no food shops, as you might have found in Mina. For this reason, it is a good idea to take some eatables such as biscuits, dates, fruits and water with you when you depart from Mina. Again, ensure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated as it can get very hot in Arafat. Also, keep some sweets with you to provide you with some energy when you need it.
This is where you make use of your inflatable air mattress or sleeping bag if you have purchased one. If you haven’t, then a straw Hajji mat can be purchased and used to sleep on. Some of the tents in Arafat have some carpet which you can also sleep on.
You must ensure you remain within the the specified boundaries of Arafat during the 9th. The boundaries for Arafat are indicated by large yellow signposts.
The main mosque in Arafat is known as Masjid al-Namirah. It is at this location that the Prophet ﷺ camped and delivered his sermon during his final Hajj.
If you are inside this mosque, be aware that a sizeable portion of the front of the mosque is outside the boundary of Arafat. There are clear signs within the mosque indicating the boundary.
There is a large hospital in Arafat, situated closely to Jabal al-Rahmah.
There are also various mobile clinics.
Toilet & Washing Facilities
All the camps in Arafat have shower and toilet facilities. The toilets have been combined with shower facilities, which provide water 24 hours a day.
The majority of toilets in each row are squat toilets i.e. a “hole in the ground”, although there is at least one sitting toilet among each row.
The toilet areas can get very busy so be prepared to wait a while for your turn.
There are also Wudhu facilities available next to the toilet areas. Again, these facilities can get very crowded.
- Be early and avoid the crowds to take a shower or to perform Wudhu – the facilities will be even more congested than those in Mina so keep this in mind.
- Avoid the washing facilities about 20 minutes before Salah and immediately after having a meal.
- Use the washing facilities when people are eating or listening to lectures.
- Bring a suction hook to hang your Ihram when using the toilet / shower as there may not be any hooks in the cubicle.
Public telephones are available in Arafat, but again, they can become very crowded.
|↑1||Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 1732.|
|↑2||Al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra.|
|↑3||Muslim, Hadith No. 1218; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1905; Ibn Hibban, Hadith No. 3944.|
|↑4||Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1905.|
|↑5||Imam Nawawi, al-Idhah fi Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah.|
|↑6||Al-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 3014; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1919; Ahmad, Hadith No. 17233.|
|↑7||Muslim, Hadith No. 1218.|
|↑8||Al-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 3011; Ahmad, Hadith No. 21821.|
|↑9||Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 3585; Malik, Hadith No. 504 & 951.|
|↑10||Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah; Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 3013.|
|↑11||Muslim, Hadith No. 1123.|
|↑12||Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 1686.|