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Arafat Day: Significance, Traditions, and Observance

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The Day of Arafah, also known as Arafat Day, is an Islamic holiday that falls on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic Calendar. The second day of the Hajj pilgrimage follows and leads to the holiday of Eid al-Adha. Pilgrims consider this day the most crucial part of the Hajj pilgrimage.


The Day of Arafah holds great significance in Islam. It commemorates the completion of the message of Islam and the Farewell Sermon of Prophet Muhammad. Muslims who did not go to Hajj fast to repent for their sins. The literal meaning of Arafat is “Recognition”.


The Day of Arafah takes place at Mount Arafat, a granodiorite hill about 20 km southeast of Mecca in the plain of Arafat. Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m in height and is known as the “Mountain of Mercy” (Jabal ar-Rahmah).


On 9 Dhu al-Hijjah before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafat, a barren plain some 20 kilometers east of Mecca. They stand in contemplative vigil, offer supplications, repent and atone for their past sins, seek mercy from God, and listen to Islamic scholars giving sermons from near Mount Arafat. This is known as ‘standing before God’ (wuquf), one of the most significant rites of Hajj.

Observance for Non-Pilgrims

Muslims around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage often spend this day fasting and devotion. Moreover, government offices and private businesses in Islamic nations typically close on the Day of Arafat, allowing employees to observe it.


The Day of Arafah is one of the most important holidays in the entire Islamic year. It offers expiation for all sins of the prior year, as well as all sins for the upcoming year.

Whether one is on the Hajj pilgrimage or observing from home, it is a day for deep reflection, prayer, and repentance.

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Why is the Day of Arafah so important?

The Day of Arafah is crucial as pilgrims gather at the plain of Arafat during Hajj, engaging in supplication and seeking forgiveness. It is a day of profound spiritual significance and an essential element of the pilgrimage.

Is Arafat the day before Eid?

Yes, the Day of Arafah falls on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, and Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day. Pilgrims stand at Arafat on the 9th before moving to Muzdalifah.

What did Prophet do on Arafat day?

On the Day of Arafah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his farewell sermon, emphasizing unity, justice, and the sanctity of human life. His actions on this day serve as a model for Muslims.

Should we fast 2 days for Arafah?

Fasting on the Day of Arafah is highly recommended for those not performing Hajj. It is observed on the 9th and often combined with fasting on the 10th day, the day of Eid al-Adha.

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