The ninth day of Zulhajjat-al-Haram (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the Day of ’Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the plain of ‘Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three days festivity following ’Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness of sacrifice).
Arafaa is a granite hill about 20 km east of central Mecca in the plain of Arafat Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m in height, and is also known as the “Mount of Mercy”. According to Islamic tradition, the hill is the place where the Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.
Muslims also say that it is also the place where Adam and Hawa reunited on Earth after falling from Heaven, and where Adam was forgiven, hence it is known as the “Mount of Mercy”. A pillar is erected to show the place where the aforementioned took place.
On the 9th of the month of Zulhajjat-al-Haram pilgrims go to Arafat from Mina, for the most important part of the Hajj. The Khutbah of Hajj is narrated and Zuhr and Asr prayers are prayed together. The pilgrims spend the whole day on the mountain to supplicate to Allah to forgive their sins and to pray for personal strength in the future.
Arafaat rituals end at sunset and pilgrims then move to Muzdalifah for Maghrib Prayer and a shortened Isha prayer and for a short rest.
The level area surrounding the hill is called the Plain of Arafat. The term Mount Arafah is sometimes applied to this entire area. It is an important place in Islam because during the Hajj, pilgrims spend the afternoon there on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah. Failure to be present in the plain of Arafat on the required day invalidates the pilgrimage.
The Muslim festival Eid Al Adha marks the conclusion of the important worship of Haj, or pilgrimage to Makkah.
At the end of the Haj, Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid Al Adha (Festival of Sacrifice).
During the Haj, Muslims remember the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Ebraham. The Qur’an describes Ebraham (PBUH) as follows:
One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of God to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Gods will. When he was all prepared to do it, God revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others, that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.
During the celebration of Eid Al Adha, Muslims commemorate Abraham’s trials, by slaughtering an animal such as a camel, sheep or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid Al Adha is mostly given away to those who are more needy, so you are actually feeding the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.