The Greatest Day of The Year

Shaykh Abdullah Waheed
June 10, 2024


In Surah Al-Fajr, Allah ﷻ swears an oath by the most sacred month of the calendar, which alludes to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. This demonstrates the superlative greatness of the month in Allah’s sight — and the greatest of its days, is the ninth day, the day of Arafah.

وَالْفَجْرِ ‎﴿١﴾‏ وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ ‎﴿٢﴾

By the Dawn and by the ten nights.

A Final Farewell

The plain of Arafah is one of the most significant landmarks — it is where millions of pilgrims fulfill their rites of Hajj as they gather to glorify and praise Allah ﷻ as well as supplicate to Him. More significant than this is the fact that the Prophet ﷺ once stood in the valley to deliver an iconic message in his lifetime.

During the Prophet’s Hajj, on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, after sunrise, he mounted his camel, Qaswa, and journeyed to Arafah, where his Companions had readily pitched a tent for him in Namira. At the bottom of the valley, he conveyed one of the most remarkable speeches in the history of Islam, which is also known as Hajjatul Wada, the Farewell Sermon.

Over ten thousand Companions who were gathered remained fixated and listened intently to their beloved that day. With great fervor in his voice, the Prophet ﷺ profoundly began his speech with some moving words that signified his nearing departure — as Rabiah ibn Umayyah repeated every sentence verbatim. 

“O People! Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and take these words to those who could not be present here today.”

The Prophet’s comprehensive message which predominantly concerned human rights mandated the Muslims to safeguard the sanctity of their brothers and sisters, likening this act to the sacredness of the month.

“O People! Just as you regard this month, this day, this city, as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim 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.”

This reminder reiterates that the lives of the believers are far more honorable and sacred than the holy Ka’aba itself, as the Prophet ﷺ once relayed. On one occasion, when the Prophet ﷺ circulated the Ka’aba, he declared:

مَا أَطْيَبَكِ وَأَطْيَبَ رِيحَكِ مَا أَعْظَمَكِ وَأَعْظَمَ حُرْمَتَكِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَحُرْمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ حُرْمَةً مِنْكِ مَالِهِ وَدَمِهِ وَأَنْ نَظُنَّ بِهِ إِلَّا خَيْرًا

“How pure you are and how pure is your fragrance! How great you are and how great is your sanctity! By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the sanctity of the believer is greater to Allah than your sanctity, in his wealth, his life, and to assume nothing of him but good.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Concluding his message, the Prophet ﷺ imparted the Muslims with a powerful advice, “I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.” His words rang true to Allah’s commands whereby he ﷺ was instructed:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُۥ

O Messenger! Convey everything revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you have not delivered His message. (5:67)

At the end of his impactful conveyance, the Companions testified that every word Allah’s Messenger ﷺ uttered was the truth. In response to their validation, the Prophet ﷺ raised his forefinger towards the sky, announcing,

‏"‏ اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَدِ اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَدْ ‏"‏ ‏

“O Allah, be my witness (that I have conveyed your message to Your people).”

The heavy burden of the Prophet’s mission was finally completed, and the religion was officially perfected on this day, as Allah revealed in Surah Al-Ma'idah.

ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًۭا

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. (5:3)

Steadfastness in Supplication

The congregation in Arafah is not only the best gathering in this worldly life, but the best supplication is one that is made on the day of Arafah as taught by the Prophet ﷺ — and no supplication is rejected.

Subsequent to his sermon and leading the afternoon prayers, the Prophet ﷺ settled with Qaswa on a spot by the rocky plains. In the scorching heat, he turned to face the Qibla and devotedly supplicated to Allah ﷻ for the entire ummah, until the sun had eventually set.

Jabir ibn Abdullah relayed that the Prophet ﷺ was extremely immersed in supplication to Allah ﷻ that he never lost focus despite urging Qaswa to stay under control, occasionally pulling her nose-string until her head touched her saddle.

Bearing glad tidings from Jibril, the Prophet ﷺ informed the Companions that Allah ﷻ forgives those who spend the day in Arafah, and that far more people are freed from the Hellfire on this day than any other day. In addition, he ﷺ indicated that the best supplication to make is:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

There is no God but Allah alone, without any partners, unto Him belongs the dominion and all praise, and He has power over all things.

When Umar ibn Al-Khattab heard this, he asked, “O Allah’s Messenger, is this for us only?” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “This is for you, and for all those who will come after you, until the Day of Judgment…”. Hence, this factor alone gives us every reason to ground ourselves in worship on this virtuous day.

Among the triumphs of those blessed to stand on the Mount of Forgiveness after leaving their families and homelands is that Allah ﷻ draws closer and showers His mercy upon every single one of them as He boasts of them to the angels, praising,

انْظُرُوا إِلَى عِبَادِي أَتَوْنِي شُعْثًا غُبْرًا

“Look at My servants, coming to Me disheveled and dusty!”

Besides acknowledging each one, Allah ﷻ also asks the angels:

 ما أراد هؤلاء؟

“What do these people want?”

Whether it is abundance of mercy, expiation of sins, earning the pleasure of Allah ﷻ or anything else we seek, when we supplicate on this day that is said to be better than jihad, insha’Allah, we shall receive it so long as we stand before Our Lord with sheer humility and submission. 

On top of honoring the rituals on this blessed day, let’s deeply reflect on how the greatest of mankind ﷺ steadfastly prayed for the ummah and tirelessly made sacrifices for us until his final breath. Envisioning this scene should motivate us to emulate his Sunnah as we raise our hands and wholeheartedly supplicate to Allah ﷻ for forgiveness, no matter where we are in the world.

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