The Day of Arafat: Forgiveness & Leadership
When we imagine the millions of white specks scattered around the vast mountainous landscapes of Arafat we seek Allah’s (ﷻ) forgiveness thinking of the renewal of ourselves as Muslims and the pledges we make to Allah (ﷻ) to not harm ourselves with disobedience to Him (ﷻ) again. Indeed this is symbolic of what was narrated about Adam (as) and the souls of every Ummah when Allah (ﷻ) took our covenant to worship Allah as our Lord and Sustainer.
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛنْ
And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord” They said: “Yes! We testify,“(Surah A’raf:172)
Similarly mankind will again be brought back together on the Last Day reminiscent to the scenes we witness in Arafat. However on the Last Day there will be no opportunity for seeking forgiveness rather mankind will be accounted for all their deeds. Hence what is better than to stand in this world on the day of Arafat in order to gain forgiveness before death approaches us?
And even for those who cannot witness Hajj this year the day of Arafat still has great blessings, the Prophet (saw) said on the authority of Abu Saa’eed al-Khudri (radiallaahu ‘anhu), “Whoever fasts the day of ‘Arafat, he is forgiven for the following year and the previous year. And whoever fasts ‘Ashoorah, then he is forgiven the year.” (Tabaranee)
This year the blessed day of Arafat also falls upon the blessed day of Jumm’ah. Aws ibn Aws reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the best of your days is Friday. Adam was created on it, and on it he died, and on it the trumpet will be blown and the shout will be made, so send blessings upon me for your blessings are presented to me.”
The day of Arafat is also marked by the completion of the revelation of Allah (swt).
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
“Today, I have completed your Deen, and have completed my favour upon you and accepted for you Islam as your Deen.”
Ibn Kathir in his tafsir narrates a tradition recorded by Al-Bukhari from Tariq ibn Shihab who said: A Jew said to Umar ibn Al-Khattab, “O leader of the believers, there is a verse in your book that you recite and had it been revealed to us we would have taken that day as a day of celebration.” Umar said, “Which verse is it?” The Jew said:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمْ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
“This day I have completed your religion for you, perfect my favor upon you, and have chosen Islam has your religion.”
Umar said, “I know the day and place in which this verse was revealed to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It was while he was standing on the day of Arafat on Friday.”
Indeed if Lailatul Qadr marked the beginning of the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to demonstrate the solutions from the Deen of Allah (ﷻ) to different realities and therefore to deal with all of life’s affairs. Then what was revealed on the Day of Arafat signifies the completion of that Deen and that no other source should be or is required to be used as a reference point that resolves issues in all aspects of our lives. If we were to ask ourselves why does Allah say in Surah Baqarah verse 208:
يا أَيُّها الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً
“Oh you who believe enter into Islam completely. ”
So what is Deen and what is Islam? Are they not the same thing? Allah (swt) also says in Surah Ale-Imran,
وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“Whosoever seeks a Deen, other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers.”
This means that the ‘way of life’ Allah (swt) has chosen for us to live by is comprehensive and the source for all actions in life i.e. the Qur’an and Sunnah addresses from Salah and Hajj to social system, economics and ruling in fact they have always been intertwined. This is the meaning of Deen and the meaning of entering into it completely. Thus we take the ahkam of salah like we take the ahkam of trade or politics, that is to say we take them and implement them completely following no other legislation for any of our actions. Indeed we will find in any classical Fiqh book on Hajj the inextricable link with the Khilafah and Salah, Zakah or Hajj. In the case of Hajj it is expected that the Khalifah or his delegate will give four Khutba’s to address the Hujjaj that are an integral part of our Hajj mentioned in classical works such as Imam Nawawi’s book Manasik Al-Hajj wal Umrah. It is therefore a remarkable feat of Islamic political and historical amnesia that the West has implanted within us, that we can have a luxury ‘all inclusive’ Hajj package that does not include the Khalifah and it is not at all strange to us!
The Prophet (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) said:أَفْضَلُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ The best dua is dua on the day of Arafat. Let us make sincere dua not only for ourselves but for the ties that bind us to this noble Ummah that weigh heavily on each and every one of our scales. Let us all ask Allah (ﷻ) to give us a renewed resolve to work to establish Islam completely, to unite this Ummah, to grant this Ummah the victory soon so we can in our lives witness the completeness and perfection of Islam when it is implemented in life’s affairs.