The Merits of the Day of ‘Arafah – and A Mention of How the Salaf Were on This Day


الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين، نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين أما بعد




Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullaah) mentioned:

Shortly; your brothers will stand at ‘Arafah[1] at that station; so joyous congratulations to whoever is granted that. They will pray fervently to Allaah with hearts ablaze and tears that were instinctive, for how many amongst them are there that are fearful; fear has stricken him and perturbed him. The beloved; who is set alight with yearning – and so is ablaze by it; and the one who has hope and assumes the best thought with regards to the promise of Allaah – and of His Truthfulness. And the one who repents; and thus acted in good faith sincerely for Allaah out of repentance and was truthful in it, and so he flees and seeks refuge at the door of Allaah – and so knocks it.

For how many there are that are deserving of The Fire yet Allaah saves him and thus frees him, and from the captives of encumbrance of a heavy load [i.e. of sin] that He releases and so sets free. It is at that moment that The Most Merciful of those that have mercy enquires regarding them – whilst the inhabitants of the Heavens boast of their union, and so He draws near and then says:

((What do these [people] want?[2]))[3]


A Day in Which the Servants Are Freed From the Fire in Abundance


On the authority of ‘Aisha (radhiyallaahu ‘anhaa) who said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:


((There is no day in which Allaah sets free more slaves from the Hell-Fire than [He does] on the Day of ‘Arafah.))[4]


Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullaah) said: “…And the day of ‘Arafah is a day of being freed from the Fire, and so within it Allaah frees from the Fire the one who stands at ‘Arafah, as well as he who did not stand therein from the Muslims, from the people of the varying lands.

So due to that, the day which follows it became a day of ‘Eid for all of the Muslims in all of their regions – those who witnessed the season (of Hajj) from amongst them as well as those that did not witness it, due to their partaking in being freed and attaining forgiveness on the day of ‘Arafah.”[5]


Fasting on This Day Expiates the Sins of Two Years


On the authority of Abee Qataadah (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was asked concerning fasting on the day of ‘Arafah so he said:


((It expiates sins of the previous year as well as the following year.))[6]


An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “Its meaning is that it expiates the sins of the one who fasts it for that of two years, and the intent by that is of the minor sins, and this is similar to the expiation of the errors through performance of wudhu. Thus, if there are no more minor sins, then it is hoped for a lessening from the major sins, and if there are not to be; then through the raising of the ranks.”[7]

Fasting on this day is for those who are not present at ‘Arafah for the performance of Hajj, Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said in this regard: “The day of ‘Arafah is a day of ‘Eid for the people of ‘Arafah, and thus it is disliked to fast it for whoever is at ‘Arafah.”[8]


Ibn Rajab said: “Indeed, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ate within it at ‘Arafah whilst the people looked at him, and it has been reported that he forbade fasting the day of ‘Arafah whilst at ‘Arafah. It has also been reported from Sufyaan bin ‘Uyainah that he was asked regarding the forbiddance of fasting the day of ‘Arafah whilst at ‘Arafah, so he said: ‘Because they are the visitors of Allaah and His guests, and The Noble Generous One – He would not cause his guests to go hungry.”[9]


Supplicating on this Day and a Mention of the Response to One’s Supplication


The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:


((The best supplication is the supplication of the day of ‘Arafah; and the best of that which I and the Prophets before me said is:


لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ


‘There is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah alone – without any partners for Him. Unto Him is the kingdom and for Him are all praises; and He is fully able to do all things’))[10]


Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr (rahimahullaah) said: “And in the hadeeth likewise is a proof that the supplication on the day of ‘Arafah is answered, all of it – predominantly, and in it also is that the best dhikr is: laa ilaaha illallaah.”[11]


Imaam an-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “Know that it is recommended that one should be plentiful in making the adhkaar (legislated invocations) during these ten (days of Dhil-Hijjah) over other than it, and from that it is recommended to do more on the day of ‘Arafah than the other ten.”[12]


A Day in Which Allaah Boasts of His Servants to His Angels


The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:


((There is no day in which Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, sets free more slaves from the Hell-Fire than [He does] on the Day of ‘Arafah. He draws near, then He boasts of them to the Angels, so He says: ‘What do these [people] want?’))[13]


Ibn Abdil-Barr (rahimahullaah) said: “This proves that they have been forgiven, because He would not boast of the people of errors and sins except after repentance and pardon – and Allaah Knows best.”[14]


Al-Qurtubee (rahimahullaah) said: “Meaning that He makes praise upon them to them, and He dignifies them due to their presence, as occurs in another hadeeth:


((Look at my servants, they have come to Me – dishevelled, dusty, I call you to witness that I have forgiven them.))[15]


It is as if – and Allaah Knows best – this is a reminder to the Angels of their saying:

أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا

((Will You place in it such as shall cause corruption therein)) (Al-Baqarah: 30)


Whilst manifesting an actualisation of His saying, The Most High:

إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

((Indeed, I know that which you do not know)) (Al-Baqarah: 30)”[16]


That Which Descends Upon the Hearts of the People at ‘Arafah


Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: “Indeed, from that which is known is that on the evening of ‘Arafah, the pilgrims; there descends upon their hearts by way of Eemaan and mercy and light and blessing, that which the expression of which would not be possible.”[17]


Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said: “The Lord, The Blessed and Most High, draws near on the evening of the day of ‘Arafah to the people of the standing point, then He boasts of them to the Angels, and so He says:


((What do these [people] want? I call you to witness that I have forgiven them.))[18]


There occurs along with His drawing close to them – The Blessed and Most High, the hour of response within which a petitioner who asks for good is not refused. So they draw close to Him through supplication to Him and in humility to Him in that hour, whilst He, The Most High, draws near to them by way of two forms of nearness:

The first: is the nearness of assured response in that hour.

The second: is His exclusive nearness to the people of ‘Arafah, and His boasting of them to His Angels. Accordingly; the hearts of the people of Eemaan sense these affairs and so it intensifies strength to its strength, and delight and happiness and jubilation as well as a longing for the bounty of their Lord and of His Generosity.”[19]


The Salaf on the Day of ‘Arafah


1. Hakeem bin Hizaam (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) would stand at ‘Arafah and with him would be one hundred camels, and one hundred slaves, so he would free his slaves. So the people would become boisterous with weeping and supplicating saying: “Our Lord; this is your slave who has freed his slaves; and we are your slaves so liberate us [i.e. from The Fire].”[20]


2. It is reported from Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) that he stood at ‘Arafah, so he would raise his hands – or (the narrator said) that he would put his hands out – and I do not know perhaps he said that they were positioned lower than his ears and he would say:

((Allaahu Akbar wa lillaahil hamd; Allaahu Akbar wa lillaahil hamd; Allaahu Akbar wa lillaahil hamd; wa laa ilaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shareekalahu; lahul Mulku wa lahul hamdu; Allaahummahdini bil hudaa; wa naqqinee bit-taqwaa waghfir lee fil aakhirati wal oolaa)).

Then he would bring his hands back and be silent for the duration that it would take a person to recite Soorah Al-Faatihah. Then he would return, so he would raise his hands and say the like of that.[21]


3. Ibn Al-Mubaarak said: “I came to Sufyaan At-Thawree (rahimahullaah) on the evening of the day of ‘Arafah and he was kneeling upon his knees and his eyes were shedding tears. So I said to him: ‘who is in the worst condition from this gathering?’ so he said: ‘the one who thinks that Allaah will not forgive them.’”[22]


4. It is reported that Al-Fudhail bin ‘Iyaad once looked at the weeping of the people at ‘Arafah and said: “Do you see that if these people were to go to a man and ask him for a Daaniq (a sixth of a dirham or a small silver coin) that he would refuse them?” they said: “No; by Allaah.” So he said: “By Allaah; Forgiveness with Allaah is easier than the compliance of a man for a Daaniq.”[23]


5. Sufyaan At-Thawree said to someone who asked him as the people moved from ‘Arafah to Muzdalifah: “who from the people is most at loss in deal?” – alluding to the oppressive and people of wickedness. So he said: “the people most at loss in deal is the one who thinks that Allaah, The Most High, will not forgive these people.”[24]


6. Ibn Al-Jawzi mentioned with his chain of narration that Muttarrif and Bakr bin ‘Abdillaah both stood at ‘Arafah, so Muttarrif said: “O Allaah; do not refuse them [the people] because of me.” Bakr said: “there is no better station than it nor one of more hope for its people; were it not that I was amongst them.”[25]


7. Al-Fudhail said to Shu’aib bin Harb during the Hajj season: “If you think that there is anyone who witnessed the standing (at ‘Arafah) worse than me and you – then what a bad thing you think.”[26]


8. ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil-‘Azeez (rahimahullaah) gave a sermon at ‘Arafah and said: “Indeed; you have come from near and far, and have exhausted the backs and have worn out the garments. And the one who is foremost today is not the one whose riding beast and riding camel precedes; rather the one who is foremost today is the one who is forgiven.”[27]



[1] The day of ‘Arafah is on the ninth day of the month of Dhil-Hijjah.

[2] Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said: “He, The Glorified and Most High, says: ‘What do these [people] want?’ – meaning: what is it that they desire from their coming to this place? He Wishes by that to kindly bestow upon them mercy and forgiveness, as well as to grant them their requests.” (See: Majmu’ Fataawa vol 23 p.26)

[3] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.384-385

[4] Reported by Muslim (no.3275)

[5] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.370

[6] Reported by Muslim (no.1250)

[7] Sharh Saheeh Muslim vol 4 p.308

[8] Zaadul Ma’aad vol 1 p.61

[9] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.373

[10] Reported by At-Tirmidhee and was declared Hasan (sound) by Shaikh Al-Albaanee in his Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhee (no.3585) (see also: As-Saheehah no.1503 & Saheeh Al- Jaami’As-Sagheer no.3274)

[11] At-Tamheed vol 6 p.41

[12] Al-Adhkaar p.209

[13] Reported by Muslim (no.3275)

[14] At-Tamheed vol 1 p.120

[15] The first part of the hadeeth was reported by Ahmad (no.8047) and Ibn Hibbaan (3841) and Ibn Khuzaimah (2839) and others. It was declared Saheeh (authentic) by Shaikh Al-Albaanee in his Saheeh At-Targheeb wa at-Tarheeb (no.1153). The second part of the hadeeth appears in various wordings of this hadeeth, however; Shaikh Al-Albaanee authenticates it in his Saheeh At-Targheeb wa at-Tarheeb (no.1154).  For the various authentic wordings of this hadeeth refer to: Saheeh At-Targheeb wa at-Tarheeb of Shaikh Al-Albaanee (no.1152-1155)

[16] Al-Bahr al-Muheet ath-Thajaaj vol 24 p.378 for the original reference refer to: Al-Mufhim lima Ashkala min Talkhees Kitaab Muslim vol 3 p.461

[17] Majmu’ Fataawa vol 5 p.374

[18] Reported by Muslim (no.3275) without His saying: ((I call you to witness that I have forgiven them)) – for a checking of this latter part of the hadeeth refer to footnote 15.

[19] Zaadul Ma’aad vol 1 p.64

[20] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.380

[21] Reported by Ibn Abee Shaibah, as was mentioned by Ibn Jamaa’ah in Hidaayah as-Saalik vol 3 p.1024

[22] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.384

[23] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.384

[24] Kitaab al-Eedaah p.287

[25] Mutheer al-‘Azam as-Saakin vol 1 p.258

[26] Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.382

[27] At-Tamheed vol 8 p.557


Accounts of the Salaf were taken in part from: Ahkaam ‘Arafah p.199-204.

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