What is the judgement and virtue of fasting on the day of Arafah? How should we make use of the day of Arafa?

Details of the Question

What is the judgement and virtue of fasting on the day of Arafah? How should we make use of the day of Arafa?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

What is meant by the verse “and by the Ten Nights” in the chapter of al-Fajr is the last ten days of the month of Ramadan or the first ten days of Muharram according to some resources, but the general opinion is that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Dhul-Hijjah, which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the month in which the worship of hajj is fulfilled. The period of time between the first and tenth day of that holy month is called “layal ashara”, that is, ten holy nights. The tenth day is the first day of the eid al-adha. The Prophet (pbuh) expresses the value of those days as follows:

“There are no better days to worship Allah than the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. One day of fasting performed on those days is equal to the fasting of one year; the prayers performed on each night are equal to the Night of Power.” (Tirmidhi: Sawm, 52; Ibn Majah: Siyam, 39)

Hafsa (r.a) one of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) says,

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not abandon four things: Fasting on the day of Ashura, fasting ten days in Dhul-Hijjah, fasting three days every month and the two-rak'ah sunnah of the morning prayer. (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Zadu’l-Maad 2/651)

Abu'd-Darda (r.a) expresses the importance of the month of Dhul-Hijjah as follows:  

"It is necessary to perform fasting onthe first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, give sadaqah a lot, pray and ask for forgiveness. For, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Woe on the people who are deprived of the goodness and abundance of these ten days!"

If a person performs fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, his life will be full of abundance, his property will increase, his children are saved from misfortunes, his sins are forgiven, his good deeds are rewarded many times, he surrenders his spirit easily at the time of death and his grave is enlightened; his rewards outweighs his sins in Mizan (the Scales) and attains high levels in Paradise."

"There are no better days to worship Allah than the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Say tasbih (Subhanallah), tahmid (Alhamdulillah), tahlil (La ilaha illallah) and takbir (Allahu akbar) a lot on these days!" (Abd b. Humayd, Musnad, 1/257)

The Prophet (pbuh) gives the glad tiding that the good deeds performed on the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah rendered blessed and which is vowed in the Quran, will be rewarded seven hundred times. These days are days on which we are given the opportunity to repent and to obtain a lot of rewards in very short periods of time. We should follow the Prophet, perform fasting during these days, give sadaqah and mention Allah.

Day of Arafah

Day of Arafah is one day before eid al-adha, the 9th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah in the hijri calendar. No other day is called Arafah. The Messenger of Allah stated the following:

"The most virtuous day is the day of Arafah. It is like Friday in terms of virtue. It is more virtuous than seventy hajjs except the one performed on Friday. The most virtuous dua (prayer) is the one said on the day of Arafah. The most virtuous sentence said by me and other prophets is 'Lailaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu. (There is no go god but Allah; He is one; He has no partners.)" (Muwatta, Hajj 246)

Hazreti Aisha (ra) narrates:

"There is no day when Allah sets free more servants from Hell than the Day of Arafah. He draws near, then praises them to the angels, saying: 'What do they want?'" (Muslim, Hajj 436)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Show respect to the day of Arafah. Arafah is a day that Allah appreciates."

Thus, he wanted us to show respect to the day that Allah appreciates and to try to live consciously. Respect starts by realizing the boon that is granted and being able to know and see. To spend the day of Arafah by performing fasting, saying prayers, asking for forgiveness without committing sins is an expression of respect and gratitude to Allah, who gave the glad tiding that He would forgive His slaves.  (Daylami)

The following conversation between Hz. Umar and a Jew shows the importance of the day of Arafah:

During the caliphate of Hz. Umar, a Jew said to him,

"O Umar! You read a verse; if it had been sent down to us, we would have celebrated that day as an eid (festival)." It was the third verse of the chapter of al-Maida. God Almighty stated the following:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you."

That verse was sent down in the tenth year of the Migration during the Farewell Hajj on Friday, which was the day of Arafah, in the afternoon when the Prophet (pbuh) was on his camel called "Adba". The camel slumped down due to the heaviness of the revelation. When Hz. Umar heard the verse from the Jew, he said,

"We know that day and the place where that verse was sent down. It was on Friday and Arafah." (Bukhari, Iman, 33, Maghazi, 77, Tafsir, Maida 2; Muslim, Tafsir 3)

Thus, Hz. Umar mentioned the importance of Arafah by stating that it was eid for us. 

The day of Arafah is the day when Hz. Adam and Hawwa (Eve) met. Tawriyah is one day before Arafah.

One gets a lot of rewards when he fasts on the day of Arafah. The fasting performed on that day is equal to supererogatory fasting of one thousand days. Besides, it causes the repentance of the previous year and the next year to be accepted.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Fasting performed on the day of Arafah is equal to supererogatory fasting of one thousand days." (at-Targhib wat-Tarhib Trnsl., 2/460)

“I hope from Allah that fasting performed on the day of Arafah will atone for the sins of the previous year and the next year.” (Tirmidhi, Sawm, 46 (749); Ibn Majah, Siyam, 40)

It is recommended to read the chapter of al-Ikhlas one thousand times by some great personalities. It is stated in hadiths that reading the chapter of al-Ikhlas will be a means of forgiveness for the sins except individual rights.

“If a person reads the chapter of al-Ikhlas on the night of Arafah, Allah will give him whatever he wants.” (Kanzu’l-Ummal, h. No:  2737)

“The Prophet (pbuh) prayed to Allah to forgive his ummah. His prayer was answered as follows:

'I have forgiven them, except for the wrongdoer, with whom I will settle the score in favor of the one whom he wronged.' The Messenger of Allah said,

'O Lord, if You will, then grant Paradise to the one who is wronged, and forgive the wrongdoer.' No response came in Arafat (that evening). The next day at Muzdalifah, he repeated the supplication, and received a response to what he asked for. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) laughed. Thereupon, Hz. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar said to him,

‘May my father and mother be ransomed for you! This is not a time when you usually laugh. What made you laugh?’ The Messenger of Allah  (pbuh),

‘When the enemy of Allah, Iblis, came to know that Allah answered my prayer and forgave my nation, took some dust and started to sprinkle it on his head, uttering cries of woe and doom, and what I saw of his anguish made me laugh.’” (Ibn Majah, Manasik, 56)

It is necessary to show respect to the day of Arafah; we should join the prayers of hajjis who are on Arafat on that day by feeling that we are with them spiritually. We should avoid anything that can cause us to commit a sin on that day.

Nowadays, the day of Arafah is experienced as a very busy day with worldly affairs since it is one day before eid. In fact, Arafah is one of the most important time periods given to man. These days are days of worshipping and forgiveness.  It is the most valuable time period when hajjis come together in Arafat regardless of their languages, races and skin colors reminding of the Day of Gathering  by saying, "Labbayk (Here I am at your service)" and when servitude is presented to Allah by supplications and talbiyahs. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following:

"The most virtuous prayer is the one said on the day of Arafah." (Muwatta, Hajj 246)

Allah informed the Prophet (pbuh) that prayers are not rejected on some nights. The four holy nights when the doors of mercy are opened are as follows: 

1. The night of (before) eid al-fitr,
2. The night of (before) eid al-adha,
3. The night of Tarwiyah (8th night of Dhul-Hijjah),
4. The night of Arafah. (Isfahani)

It is very virtuous to spend the day and night of Arafah worshipping. It is written in the book Saadet-i Ebediyye that a person who spends the night of Arafah worshipping will be saved from Hell. It was stated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that a person who avoids sins on the day of Arafah will be forgiven. 

"On the day of Arafah, a young man who was near the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was thinking about women and looking at the women. The Messenger of Allah turned the man's face away from the women a few times. The young man started to think about them again. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

- My brother's son! Today is such a day that anyone who controls his ears, eyes and tongue is forgiven." (Musnad, 1/329)

The following are advised to do on the day of Arafah:

1. It is necessary to start uttering takbirs of tashrik after the fard of the morning prayer.
2. One should perform fasting on the day of Arafah.
3. One should show respect to the day of Arafah and try not to commit sins.
4. One should pray to Allah and ask for forgiveness a lot on the day of Arafah.
5. It would be a good thing to read the chapter of al-Ikhlas 1000 times on the day of Arafah.

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