Arafat Day is observed by Muslims across the globe.
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 also marks the day when a verse of the Quran revealed that Islam was perfected, and when Allah’s blessings were completed.
Mount Arafat is the site where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) gave his farewell sermon. Arafat day occurs the day before the start of Eid Al Adha, expected to be on August 31 (Thursday) this year.
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.
It occurs around over two months after Ramadan, which was observed in June earlier this year.
What is done?
At dawn on Arafat Day, many Muslims travel from Mina to Mount Arafat, which is just outside of Makkah. They 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 do so to 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 on Arafat Day and Eid Al Adha (consequent days). This year Eid falls on September 1 (Friday) which gives a long weekend for most UAE residents.