What is Arafat Day?

What is Arafat day and why is it important to Muslims?

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Image Credit: GN Archive
Pilgrims pray and read the Quran on Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) delivered his Last Sermon. On the Plain of Arafat, below, pilgrims congregate in the most important ritual of the annual haj of Muslims to Makkah

When is it?

Arafat day falls on the ninth day of Dhu Al Hijja according to the hijri calendar. This year, as far as the Gregorian calendar is concerned, it falls on Thursday, August 31.

“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion”
-Surah Al Maidah - Verse 3
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What does it mark?

Taking place roughly 70 days after the end of Ramadan, Arafat Day marks the second day of haj – or pilgrimage.

The occasion marks the day when a verse of the Quran revealed that Islam was perfected, and when Allah’s blessings were completed.

“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.”

(Surah Al Maidah - Verse 3)

Mount Arafat is the site where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) spoke his Farewell Sermon.

Arafat day occurs the day before the start of Eid Al Adha.

What is done?

At dawn on Arafat Day, Muslims travel from Mina to Mount Arafat, which is just outside of Makkah. They will remain on Mount Arafat until Maghrib prayers. The distance between Mina and Mount Arafat is about 20km.

To complete the haj, Muslims must stand on Mount Arafat, or the pilgrimage becomes invalid. Muslims who have completed the haj have their sins expiated.

Those who are unable to travel to Makkah for haj may fast instead.

When are the public holidays?

Public and private sector employees will be off work between Thursday, August 31 and Saturday, September 2, returning to work on Sunday, September 3, unless an extra day is granted by the UAE government. This will be confirmed closer to the date.

These holiday dates include Eid Al Adha.

Updated in May 2016

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