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Tomorrow is Arafah Day

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Nigerian Pilgrims during Arafat

In the name of the Almighty the Beneficent the Merciful

When you return from Arafat, (stop at Muzdalifah and) praise the Almighty near Mash‘ar-al-Har’ām. Praise Him as He has guided you, for before this you were from the people who had lost the Right Way (Quran 2: 198).

Such a genuine spiritual spectacle does not exist anywhere except in Makkah: a spectacle which is devoid of charlatanism and vacuous pretense to closeness to the Almighty; no other place on earth provides such an uncanny union of the human with the spiritual except the Arafah- a plain which is situated to the east of Makkah at a distance of about nine miles. Such a pilgrim would miss the hajj- he who misses the assemblage at the plain of Arafah. “Al-Hajj Arafah” –Hajj is Arafah- so says the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and benedictions be on his soul).

The word Arafah is derived from the Arabic tri-literal verb “Arafah” which means “he knows”. It refers to the knowledge of the known by the subject whose existence derives from the known. It incarnates the necessity for humans to know the Almighty through the agency of the entities and subjects created by the Almighty.

On the 9th day of the month of Hajj, which happens to be this Friday, pilgrims in Makkah would evacuate their tents in Minnah at noon and proceed to the plain of ‘Arafah in time to say the Zuhr and Asr prayers together. Thereafter they will listen to the imam as he delivers the khutbah from the pulpit of Rahmah (Jabal al-Rahmah). The whole period, that is between early afternoon and sunset, would be spent there. The pilgrims would immerse themselves in the eulogy of Allah; they would be chanting the Gloria: “Labayka Allahuma labayka”- I have answered your call Oh! Almighty, I have answered your call”.

After sunset, pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah, another place of high spiritual importance, say the Maghrib and Isha prayers together and pass the night in the open camp. Early in the morning of the following day, which is the 10thday of the month of Hajj (next Friday), the day of sacrifice, they would proceed to Mina again to perform series of hajj rites. These include the sacrifice of animals, the clipping of the hair, the throwing of the pebbles against the effigies of Shaytan otherwise known as Ramy al-Jimar and the Tawaf al-Ifadah.

The day of Arafah is important for many reasons in Islamic spiritual-communal reality. The day awakens the pilgrims to the historical and the eschatological. Here the historical references the standing, by Prophet Muhammad, on the same plain, many years ago to deliver the famous speech, the speech that changed the world. He said: “O People ! Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O, People! Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.

Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest); therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any iniquity… Beware of Shaytan for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things… Remember one day you will appear before the Almighty and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. O! People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah (Hadith)…if you follow these you will never go astray… Be my witness, O Almighty that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

Dear Brethren, for those of us with the intention to sacrifice animals on Id day, it is either you have started fasting since last Friday when the month of Dhul Hijjah 1440 began or you have dedicated today for that exercise. Remember, brethren, to dedicate today for extra Ibādāt.

Remember Sister, that the rites of Hajj are supposed to be the peak of the pack of our faith. So whether you are on Hajj or at home, the Owner of Makkah and Madinah goes nowhere. When those other gods you call aside from the Almighty go to sleep at night, always remember that He is constantly on “call”; ever attentive, ever giving. He never dies.


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