8th Dhul Hijjah – Yawm-ut-Tarwiyah
The first day of Hajj is the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawmut-Tarwiyah (the day of fetching water and quenching thirst).
It is known as Yawm-ut-Tarwiyah because in the past there was no source of water on the actual plains of Arafah and Mina. The plains for the most part are wide, open valleys—dry and barren.
Because of the scarcity of water in the area, the pilgrims were instructed to prepare for the long days ahead by feeding and supplying their animals and riding beasts with sufficient water. The pilgrims would also gather water for themselves and fill their water containers. It is for this reason the day was given the name Yawmut-Tarwiyah (the day of fetching water and quenching thirst).
Yawmut-Tarwiyah is a preparation for the days to follow and in particular the 9th day—the anticipated day on which The King of the worlds descends. The pilgrim looks forward to this meeting; he is eager to meet Allah and is rewarded with the like, “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah will love to meet him. Whoever dislikes to meet Allah, Allah will dislike to meet him.” Reported by Al-Bukhari.
What do pilgrims do on the 1st day of Hajj?
1. Regardless of their location—whether they are in a hotel, in Mina or in Makkah—the hujjaj (pilgrims) prepare themselves to enter the state of ihram: clipping their fingernails, trimming their moustaches, shaving their underarms and pubic areas and taking a thorough shower. Men put on perfume and wear the two white garments, and women may wear their regular clothes.
2. When the pilgrims are ready to travel to Mina, they pronounce the talbiyah of Hajj and enter ihram, “Labbayk Allahumma Hajj,” which epitomizes the purpose of this journey, “Here I am O Allah, for the Hajj.”
3. In Mina, the pilgrims generally remain there for the entire day and night until after Fajr the next day.
9th Dhul Hijjah – Yawmul-Arafah
The second day of Hajj is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawmul-Arafah (the day of Arafah).
There are different opinions as to why this day was called Arafah or Arafat. Three are as follows:
1. The root letters of Arafah linguistically mean ‘to be acquainted with, to know.’ It is said that Arafah was the place where Adam and Eve reunited when they were sent down to reside on earth. They came down on two different spots but eventually were able to meet and recognize each other on this plain.
2. Since pilgrims spend most of that day on the same plain, some become acquainted with others. So it is a place of ta’aruf (getting to know one another), and because of the great number of people making ta’aruf the word Arafat was coined.
3. It is the place where pilgrims acquaint themselves with their King and Master. They raise their hands beseeching Him, asking for their needs and wants. They empty their hearts to Him, speaking of every fear and regret, seeking His forgiveness and counsel, asking for His grace and favour.
The Day of Arafah is certainly a tremendous day; a blessed day chosen by Allah; an immense gathering of goodness, iman, and taqwa. A day wherein the King draws close to His faithful subjects; He speaks of them with happiness and satisfaction—rather He boasts of them. A day when many tears are shed and prayers pour forth in succession, one after the next; an abundance of mercy descends, and mistakes and errors are pardoned. It is a grand occasion of worship and obedience, of joy and happiness for both the King and His honoured slaves and visitors.
The day of Arafah is a special day. A blessed day. A day of hope and renewal. The sun has not risen on a day better than it!
On this promising and sacred day, Allah frees many from the Hellfire; purifying them and breaking the shackles that once bound them. He then generously gives His believing slaves from His immense kingdom and speaks proudly of them to an audience(angels) who have especially gathered to witness their every statement and action, “There is no day on which Allah frees more servants from the Fire than the Arafah Day. He draws near and speaks of them proudly in an assembly of angels saying, ‘What do they seek?’” Reported by Muslim.
Ibn Abdul-Barr commented, “This shows that they have been forgiven since He does not boast about sinful people except after they repent and are forgiven.”
“As for the standing at Arafah, Allah descends to the lowest sky and boasts about the pilgrims at Arafah to the angels saying, ‘Here are My slaves! They have come to Me with dishevelled hair and covered with dust, from every distant pass. They seek My Mercy and fear My Punishment even though they have not seen Me. And what would be their state if they had seen Me!’ (Even) if you have sins like the number of grains of sand, the number of days of the worldly life or the number of drops of rain, Allah will surely forgive them for you.” Recorded in the Musannaf of Abdur-Razzaq.
Abdullah ibnul-Mubarak said, “I visited Sufyan ath-Thawri on the afternoon of the Arafah Day and found him down on his two knees with his eyes bawling tears. I began to cry. He turned to me and asked, ‘What is the matter?’ I said, ‘Who is the worst person in this gathering?’ He replied, ‘A man who thinks that Allah will not forgive him.’”
Thus, it is imperative for the pilgrim to remain eager in profiting on this hallowed day; to be humble, submissive, and remorseful before his King; hoping for His mercy, generosity and forgiveness; fearing His wrath and punishment; repentant to Him from all sins which his hands earned him or his feet may have led him to; not wasting his time on this auspicious occasion by wandering here and there or talking trivially. Instead, he should devote himself to his King and Guardian, remembering and mentioning Him much, earnestly and humbly entreating Him and seeking His forgiveness.
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The best supplication is the one made on the day of Arafah, and the best thing I and the Prophets before me have said is, ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah alone, having no partner. To Him belong all dominion and praise, and He is over all things Omnipotent.’” Reported by Al-Tirmidhi. So the day of Arafah is one of du’a, and the best dhikr on this day is ‘la ilaha illallah.’
What do pilgrims do on the 2nd day of Hajj?
1. On that day, most pilgrims will be in Mina. They pray Fajr in their Mina camps.
2. After sunrise, they all head to Arafah. During the procession, they chant the talbiyah continuously.
3. Once the pilgrims reach Arafah, they take their places in their pre-assigned camps and wait until the call for prayer is announced.
4. When the time for prayer approaches, the imam stands to remind the congregation and those in the surrounding areas with what is known as the sermon of Arafah. The call for prayer is then announced and the imam leads his congregation in the Zuhr and Asr prayers, combined and shortened, each performed in units of two with one adhan and two iqamahs.
The sermon broadcasts live on many national and international media outlets. One mistake some pilgrims fall into is that they follow the imam/khatib in salah even if they are in their own camps, miles away from where the prayer is being held. Instead, every camp should have their own congregational prayer but without the need for an extra khutbah (sermon).
5. Once the prayer is complete, the pilgrims spend the rest of the day in active devotion, performing many acts of worship.
The pilgrims are obliged to remain within the boundaries of Arafah until pass sunset. Anyone who violates this, risks invalidating his entire Hajj.
After Asr, the plains of Arafah transform into a completely different sight. Millions are now realizing the imminent end of this sacred day.
People will be standing and sitting everywhere, on the side of the road, on different hilltops, and on the top of their cars and buses, raising their hands and voices with du’a, and shedding tears and voicing their worries in a hope that they will be forgiven all their sins.
6. Once the day comes to an end and right after sunset, the pilgrims head back towards Mina. On their way to Mina, they will stop for the night at the plains of Muzdalifah. They pray Maghrib and Esha where Maghrib is offered in the full three units whilst Esha is shortened into two.
It is the sunnah of the Prophet, and therefore for the pilgrims, to spend the entire night in Muzdalifah, resting. Subsequently, the best act at Muzdalifah is to rest and sleep.
It is permissible for people of legitimate excuses to leave the plains of Muzdalifah after half of the night has passed in order to avoid being caught in the crowd and heavy traffic. This includes elderly men and women, the sick and disabled, and those who work to serve the pilgrims.
The Days of Hajj by Yaser Birjas
Beneficial Creedal Lessons by Abdur-Razzaq Al-Badr