Today is the first day of Dhul Hijjah. But what is Dhul Hijjah? In the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah marks the final month of the year. The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are especially important & sacred to Muslims across the world as they prepare for Hajj & Eid al-Adha.
The month of Dhul Hijjah is also known as “The Month of the Pilgrimage”. On the 8th, 9th and 10th day of the month, Muslims from all around the world come together in Makkah to fulfil Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.
Performing Hajj is considered one of the best deeds Muslims can do during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. Likewise, for the one who sincerely performs & completes Hajj, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)
The Day of ’Arafah is the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah - this year, it is on 27th of June 2023. It is the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and is followed by the holiday of Eid al-Adha.
You may know that Laylat al-Qadr is the pinnacle of the last 10 nights of Ramadan & is the best night of the year. Similarly, the Day of ’Arafah is the pinnacle of the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah & is believed to be the best day of the entire year.
On the Day of ‘Arafah, from somewhat before noon until sunset, Pilgrims, observing the rules and symbolic dress of ritual pilgrim sanctity (iḥrâm), gather to the Plain of ‘Arafât and take their stand (wuqûf) of faith before God, asking for His mercy and forgiveness.
From this rite, ‘Arafah takes its other popular name, Yawm Al-Waqf (the Day of Standing).
For Muslims, the day of Arafah is when Allah will descend to the skies so he can look down on the millions of Hajj pilgrims on Mount Arafah and offer them divine forgiveness.
Muslims believe Arafah is the day Allah perfected the religion of Islam. It is also momentous because it was the day an important verse of the Qur’an, Surah al Maa’idah 5:3, was revealed “Today I have perfected for you your religion, and completed upon you My blessing, and I have chosen for you Islam as (your) religion.” (Qu’ran, 5:3)
The day of Arafah is the day Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave his farewell sermon. It's the day that Islam was perfected as a religion. It's a day that Allah swears by the Qur'an.
For Muslims not observing the Hajj pilgrimage, many fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (the 10th being Eid Al-Adha). In particular, many fast on the Day of Arafah, as Muslims believe Allah promises that all sins of a year before and after that day will be forgiven.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said; “No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.”
Sahih Al-Bukhārī 969
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