The word Arafat is derived from the Arabic verb “Arafa”, which means to know or to recognise. Imam al-Qurtubi رحمة الله عليه, the famous Maliki scholar said: “The area was named Arafat because it is there that people get to know one another.” This day is also known as Yawm al-Wuquf (the Day of Standing).
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.
No person performing Hajj must fast on the Day of Arafat. Fasting on the Day of Arafat is only for those not performing Hajj.
Starting immediately after Fajr Salah on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, it is Wajib to 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 Salahs).
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.
- 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 Rasulullah ﷺ. The distance from Mina to Arafat is about 9.5 kilometres (6 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.
When you do leave, traffic may flow very slowly and it may get quite hot on the bus. Ensure you carry cold drinking water with you on the bus as well as some snacks.
If you are a woman and get separated from your husband / Mahram, you must ensure you reach Arafat, even if you have to travel alone. Try travelling with a group of women if you get separated.
Although people do walk to Arafat, understand that this is probably the most difficult walk you will encounter during your Hajj. The walk is quite a long one, particularly if you’re from Europe, as the Europa camps are situated on the other side of Arafat meaning the distance of the walk will exceed 6 miles. Finding your camp may also prove fairly challenging if you decide to walk. It is also worth bearing in mind that Rasulullah ﷺ rode from Mina to Arafat, so traversing from Mina to Arafat by foot is not a Sunnah practice.
If you do 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 valid, you must perform Wuquf al-Arafat in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ i.e. spending any time between midday and the beginning of Fajr on the following day in Arafat. If you don’t reach Arafat in this period, your Hajj will be 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 (shower).
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 that Rasulullah ﷺ delivered his sermon during his final Hajj.
According to one opinion from the Hanafi Madhhab (school of thought) and Imam Abu Hanifa رحمة الله عليه in particular, Dhuhr and Asr can only be combined in Masjid al-Namirah behind the Imam. They cannot be combined in the tents, so must be performed in their respective times in the tents if you cannot pray inside the Masjid.
However, another opinion from scholars of the same Madhhab (Imam Muhammad رحمة الله عليه and Imam Abu Yusuf رحمة الله عليه) as well as the opinions of scholars from the other three Sunni schools of thought state that the prayers can be combined in the tents. Therefore, you may decide which opinion you want to follow.
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 tent and have access to a radio, you can listen to the Khutbah. The Khutbah 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.
The Prophet’s Final Sermon at Arafat
Rasulullah ﷺ left for Arafat on the morning of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah (a Friday) 10 AH (632 CE) where he stopped in the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat. He camped in al-Namirah where he rested until the sun had passed its meridian.
He then mounted his she-camel, al-Qaswa and descended into the valley where he gave the famous Khuṭbatul Wida (Farewell Sermon) to thousands of Sahaba (companions).
After the sermon, Bilal رضي الله عنه performed the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Iqama (second call to prayer). Rasulullah ﷺ then led the Dhuhr prayer, shortening it to two Rakats without reciting aloud, despite it being Friday.
After the prayer, Bilal رضي الله عنه then performed Iqama again and Rasulullah ﷺ then led the Asr prayer.
No additional prayers were performed before or after these prayers. All of the pilgrims, including those who were residents of Makkah, shortened and combined the two prayers.
Thereafter, Rasulullah ﷺ went to the plain of Arafat where he raised his hands and supplicated to Allah, with the utmost humility until sunset.
He then informed the people that the best supplication is the one recited on the day of Arafat; it is the best one recited by Rasulullah ﷺ himself and the prophets that came before him. The supplication is as follows:
لا إلهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَريكَ لَهُ ، لَهُ المُلْكُ وَلَهُ الحَمْدُ ؛ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Laa illaha illallahu wahdahu laa shareekalah lahulmulk wa lahulhamdu wahuwa alaa kullishayin qadeer.
There is no God but Allah alone, with no partner or associate, His is the Dominion and to Him be praise, and He has power over all things.
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 Rasulullah 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 Rasulullah 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:
- Rasulullah ﷺ.
- Our pious predecessors رضي الله عنهم.
- 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.
If you do intend to walk to Muzdalifah, it will take approximately 2.5 hours. The distance is about 9.5 kilometres (6 miles). You may walk towards the boundary of Arafat before sunset, but ensure you don’t cross the boundary until the sun has actually set. The boundaries for Arafat are indicated by large yellow sign posts.
You don’t perform Maghrib Salah at Arafat. Rather, you do so at Muzdalifah later that night. If it is performed at Arafat, it will have to be repeated again at Muzdalifah.
As you proceed to Muzdalifah, exercise patience and continue to recite Talbiyah and other prayers.
Virtues of Arafat
Rasulullah 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.
Rasulullah ﷺ also said the following about this day:
مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَنْ يُعْتِقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهِ عَبْدًا مِنَ النَّارِ مِنْ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَإِنَّهُ لَيَدْنُو عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ثُمَّ يُبَاهِي بِهِمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ فَيَقُولُ مَا أَرَادَ هَؤُلاَءِ
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 dehydrated 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 in this location that Rasulullah 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 (the Mount of Mercy).
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.