Opinion Editorials, January 2004, www.aljazeerah.info




News Archive

Arab Cartoons

News Photo




Opinion Editorial

letters to the editor

Human Price of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine


Israeli daily aggression on the Palestinian people 

Media Watch

Mission and meaning of Al-Jazeerah

News Photo

Peace Activists


Book reviews

Public Announcements 

   Public Activities 

Women in News

Cities, localities, and tourist attractions




Aljazeerah Info Center needs your support

Send donations by check to: Al-Jazeerah Info Center, P.O. Box 724, Dalton, GA 30722-0724, USA.

Arafat: The Pinnacle of the Pilgrimage

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 1/16/04

From the moment a person decides to undertake the pilgrimage journey, the thought of attending at Arafat on 9 Dul Hijjah becomes his dearest wish. Attendance at Arafat is the cornerstone of this great religious duty. If a person does all the duties of the pilgrimage without being present at Arafat at any moment of the prescribed period, his pilgrimage is invalid. Moreover, such a person cannot compensate for this omission in any way.

The first ten days of the month of Dul Hijjah are the best days of the year. Any act of worship offered during this period is rewarded by God much more generously than at any other time. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says that these days are better than 10 days spent on a campaign of jihad for God’s cause. The Prophet says: “No day is superior in God’s sight to the day of Arafat. God (limitless is He in His glory) comes down to the nearest heaven, praises human beings to the people in heaven and says: ‘Look at My servants. They have come to Me with dishevelled hair, covered with dust, from every remote corner, praying for My mercy although they have not seen My punishment.’ No day witnesses a greater release from hell than the day of Arafat.”

The Prophet also said on his day of pilgrimage, when he himself attended at Arafat: “Gabriel had just visited me to convey to me the greetings of my Lord and said: ‘God has forgiven all those who are in attendance at Arafat and those who will be at Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram, i.e. Muzdalifah, all their sins, and He has taken it upon Himself to settle on their behalf all that may be claimed against them.’ Umar asked him whether this was for those who were offering the pilgrimage in the Prophet’s company, but the Prophet said: ‘This applies to you and to all who come after you until the Day of Judgment.’”

These traditions of the Prophet emphasize the great honour and reward which God has set for those who attend at Arafat as part of their pilgrimage duties. Perhaps we need to emphasize again that attendance at Arafat is the foremost duty of the pilgrimage, without which the pilgrimage is invalid. The time allowed for this important duty begins at noon on 9th of Dul Hijjah and extends until the break of dawn on the following day. To be at Arafat for a few minutes during this period is sufficient to fulfil this requirement. What we have to emphasize, however, is that if a person makes his attendance during the day, then he must combine that with being in Arafat after sunset.

That is, he must attend there for a part of the day and a part of the night. If he, however, arrives at Arafat after sunset, then he has discharged his duty without having to compensate in any way for failing to be at Arafat during the day.

Normally people speak of ‘standing’, or wuqoof, at Arafat. The Arabic word means, in general usage, to stand. It is also commonly used to convey the meaning of ‘stopping’. What is meant by attendance at Arafat is to be there, at any part of the valley of Arafat, in any condition. In other words, a person may be awake or asleep, standing, seated, reclining or riding a camel or a horse, or in a car, or in any other position or condition. Moreover, he may be in a state of ceremonial purity or impurity. A woman may be in her menstruation period or post-natal period. None of these situations affects the fulfilment of this duty in any way. If a person does not arrive at Arafat before dawn, he has missed the pilgrimage. If he arrives after the break of dawn, he must complete the duties of the Umrah, and must offer the pilgrimage the following year.

If it is possible for any person to take his position close to the rocks where the Prophet himself took his position, then this is a Sunnah. Any part of the valley of Arafat is, however, good enough. The Prophet said: “I have taken my position here, but the whole of Arafat is equally good.” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and others). Some people imagine that to climb the Hill of Mercy, i.e. Jabal Al-Rahmah, and to stay there is preferable. This is a mistaken idea. We are not recommended to go up that hill.

We are recommended to take a shower or a bath before we attend at Arafat, if that is at all possible. We are also recommended to try to face the direction of Makkah while sitting there, pray to God for forgiveness and praise Him, and pray God for others and ask Him anything we want, whether it relates to this life or the next. On our journey toward Arafat we continue to repeat the well-known phrases of talbiyah. The best form to maintain is ‘Labbaik Allahumma labbaik. Labbaika la shareeka laka labbaik. Inna-lhamda wal-nimata laka wal-mulk. La shareeka lak.’ We continue to repeat these phrases throughout the day and on the way back from Arafat toward Muzdalifah. We should occupy ourselves during that day with praising God and praying Him. The best form of prayers is that which the Prophet himself has mentioned as the best. He says: “The best that I and prophets before me have said is: ‘La ilaha illa Allah; wahdahu la shareeka lah; lahul-mulk walahul-hamd; wa huwa ala kulli shayin qadeer.” This means: “There is no deity other than God. He is the only God, without partners. To Him belongs the dominion and to Him all praise is due. He is able to do everything.” It may be suggested that this is not a form of prayer, but rather a form of glorification of God. This is true, but the surest way to have one’s requests granted by God is to praise and glorify Him as only He should be glorified. God is reported by the Prophet to have said: “If a servant of Mine is too preoccupied with glorifying Me to request Me anything, I will grant him the best that I grant those who pray Me.”

We are not required or recommended to fast on the day of Arafat if we are offering the pilgrimage. Indeed, not to fast is preferable for pilgrims, so that they will be able to discharge their duties. Non-pilgrims may fast if they so wish.

The obligatory prayers of Zuhr and Asr are shortened on the day of Arafat and they are offered together. This applies to all pilgrims, including those who live in Makkah. Thus, two rak’ahs for Zuhr are sufficient, followed immediately by two rak’ahs for Asr.

After sunset, pilgrims may start on their journey back from Arafat toward Muzdalifah. It is important to remember here that the Prophet’s guidance suggests that there should be no scrambling as we leave Arafat. Whether we walk or travel by car or bus, we should be calm and allow others to move out as well. The Prophet walked slowly so that no one would find the pace hard. If he found a space in front of him, he increased his speed a little. Again repeating the phrases of talbiyah is recommended. When we arrive at Muzdalifah, we pray Maghreb and Isha. Again the two prayers are offered together, one after the other. Maghreb remains three rak’ahs while Isha is shortened to two rak’ahs only. No voluntary prayers are recommended between them. Some leading scholars are of the opinion that if a pilgrim prays Maghreb before he arrives in Muzdalifah, he should repeat it when he has arrived there.

Attendance at Muzdalifah that night is one of the duties of the pilgrimage. When the Prophet arrived there, he offered his Maghreb and isha prayers then he lied down and slept until the break of dawn when he got up and prayed Fajr. He then praised God, glorified Him and prayed Him until the light of day was very clear, although the sun had not risen. He resumed his journey just before sunrise. Again, attendance at Muzdalifah means to be present there. Some schools of thought consider it sufficient to be at Muzdalifah at part of the night. According to Al-Shafie, however, one must be present there for at least a short period after midnight. The recommended practice, however, is to do as the Prophet did, namely, to spend the night there until Fajr. When one has done that, he has completed the main part of his pilgrimage and he may resume his journey toward Mina.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.