By: Abbas Ali Merchant
The day of Arafah is one of the most blessed days of the Islamic calendar and its night is one of the seven nights of grandeur and majesty. On this day, Allah (swt) invites his servants towards his worship and spreads his bounties and blessings. Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (as) supplicates: “O God, this is the day of Arafah; a day which thou hast made noble, given honor and magnified. Within it Thou hast spread thy mercy, showed kindness through thy pardon, and made plentiful thy giving; and by it Thou hast been bounteous towards thy servants.” (Sahifa as-Sajjadiyyah, Dua no. 47)
Arafat is the name of a hillside east of Mecca. The land surrounding it is called the Plain of Arafah. Arafah’s literal definition is “knowledge,” and the word Ma’arifa is a derivative of this word. When believers go for Hajj, after wearing the two pieces of white cloth, they travel towards the Plain of Arafah. They spend the whole day in contemplation and worship, and seek forgiveness of their sins. Prophet Mohammed (saw) has said “Hajj is Arafah.” This highlights the importance of this day. The traveling of a Haji from the Kaa’ba to the land of Arafah symbolizes the journey of life that he came from Allah (swt) and will return to Him. It is Allah’s (swt) promise that if one sincerely repents for his or her sins on this day, He will forgive all his sins. The Noble Messenger (saw) has said, “The greatest sin of a person who goes to Arafat and then leaves is to think that he has not been forgiven of his sins.” (Bihar-ul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 248)
Alhamdulillah, we have been granted another opportunity to sincerely repent for our past sins on this day. We need to purify ourselves and start making the journey towards Allah (swr) again. In the Quran, Allah (swt) says: “Lo we are Allah’s and Lo’ unto Him we are returning.” (2:56) If we are among the ones who were not able to change or have our sins forgiven in the blessed month of Ramadan, this is another chance to start our journey towards Allah (swt). It is Allah’s (swt) promise that if we sincerely take one step towards him, he will take ten steps towards us.
Some of the recommended acts on this blessed day are:
- Performing Ghusl
- Performing a 2 rakaat salaat
- Reciting Dua-e-Arafah
- Reciting Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (as)
We should do our best to perform these amaals and spend the day in the remembrance of Allah. We should also keep in mind that the Quran praises “better acts (Ahsan-u A’mala)” and not the number of acts completed. Therefore, it is better to spend more time reflecting on what we are reciting and asking Allah instead of trying to complete all the amaal of this blessed day as fast as possible without understanding or knowing what we are reciting.