Common Mistakes made on the Day of ‘Arafah
It is said that to err is human, yet should this statement give us the carte blanche to make and flaunt our mistakes?!
Our attitude should always be that of avoiding mistakes or redeeming them, yes we err, but we need to try our best not to!
So let us with gusto try to know and avert the common mistakes made on the great day of ‘Arafah!
Now, definitely we may have heard the paramount importance of this day, yet sadly one sees numerous mistakes done on this day.
Some of these mistakes are:
- Not reciting the Talbiyah
Some pilgrims do not recite the Talbiyah at all or do not recite it out loud on their way from Mina to ‘Arafah. It was proven that the Prophet ﷺ continued to recite the Talbiyah until he had stoned Jamarat al-‘Aqabah on the day of Eid.
- Reciting the Talbiyah collectively where one of them says it and the others repeat after him
This is not permissible, because it is not authentically reported that the Prophet ﷺ or any of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allaah be pleased with them) who succeeded him did this; rather, it is a Bid‘ah (innovation in religion).
- Pilgrims fasting on the day of ‘Arafah
Without a doubt, fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is an exemplary deed and when the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, he said: “It expiates for the past and coming years.”
But do understand that fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is not recommended for the pilgrims going for Hajj because the Prophet ﷺ did not fast on the day of ‘Arafah during the Farewell Pilgrimage.
In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is narrated from Maymoonah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the people were not sure whether the Prophet ﷺ was fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, so she sent him some milk when he was standing in ‘Arafah, and he drank it whilst the people were looking on.
- Stopping or standing Outside ‘Arafah
Imagine spending all that time, money and effort and then making just 1 mistake that absolves all your efforts, 1 mistake because of which your Hajj won’t get accepted.
One of the most serious mistakes that some pilgrims make is to stop outside ‘Arafah, and they stay there until the sun sets, then they leave for Muzdalifah. Those who stand in these places have not performed Hajj, because the Prophet ﷺ said:
There are markers that clearly indicate the boundaries of ‘Arafah. Every pilgrim must look for the boundaries so that he will be sure that he is standing in ‘Arafah and not outside it.
- Refusing to shorten and combine the Zuhr and Asr Salah at the ‘Arafah
Several pilgrims do this, especially those coming from the subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh). They attribute this action to an unknown sect termed as “wahhabbis.” Dear brothers and sisters, please realize that shortening and combining the zuhr and asr salah at the ‘Arafah is not a custom of the Saudis, rather it is what our Prophet ﷺ did and we are supposed to follow the Messenger, remember the hadith where the Prophet said:
- Thinking it is essential to pray Zuhr and Asr with the imam in the mosque
No doubt praying in congregation is good, but one has to look at the situation, when millions of pilgrims crowd at the same place, it’s a child’s play to get lost and hurt. Remember the hadith when the Messenger said
So if a person prays in his tent in a calm and dignified manner, without being disturbed or disturbing others, and without trouble that makes Hajj too hard, that is better.
- Thinking that standing at Mount ‘Arafah (Jabal- e- Rahmah) is an obligation or climbing it
Some people think that they have to go to the place where the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ stood, beside the mountain, and stand there or climb it.
Firstly, there is no basis of climbing the mountain as our Prophet stood at the rocks beneath the mountains.
Secondly, there is no need of pilgrims putting themselves through a great deal of trouble to reach that place and getting lost in the process. It was proven that the Prophet ﷺ said,
It is as if the Prophet ﷺ was pointing out that no one should go to the trouble of standing in the place where the Prophet ﷺ stood, rather people should do what is easy for them, because all of ‘Arafah is the place of standing.
- Thinking that Mount of ‘Arafah is holy
Some pilgrims think that the mountain by which the Prophet ﷺ stood is holy and special, so they go to it and climb up it, and seek blessings from its stones and soil, they hang pieces of cloth on its trees etc. These are innovations (bid’ah) because none of that was narrated from the Prophet ﷺ.
Indeed, such things are resemblance of idolatry, take a look at the Hindu culture and see how the polytheists tie clothes or strings on the peepal tree, so why should we emulate them?
- Facing the Mount of ‘Arafah and making dua
Some people make dua facing towards the mountain by which the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ stood.
What is prescribed for dua on the day of ‘Arafah is for the person to face the qiblah, whether the mountain is in front of him or behind him, or to his right or his left.
The Prophet ﷺ only faced this mountain because the place where he stood was behind the mountain. He ﷺ faced towards the qiblah, and because the mountain was between him and the qiblah, he had not choice but to face it too.
- Leaving the ‘Arafah before the sun sets
Some of the pilgrims leave ‘Arafah before the sun sets, and go to Muzdalifah. This is a serious mistake. It is also going against the Messenger ﷺ who did not leave ‘Arafah until after the sun had set and the yellow afterglow had diminished somewhat, as it says in the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him).
Based on this, pilgrims have to stay in ‘Arafah, within its boundaries, until the sun sets, because this standing lasts until the sun sets; just as it is not permissible for a person who is fasting to break his fast before sunset, so it is not permissible for the one who is standing in ‘Arafah to leave before the sun sets.
- Wasting time in matters that are of no benefit
You have all the world to talk and gossip, so spare yourself the folly of wasting this momentous time which you may not witness again, by flapping your tongues with talk that has absolutely no benefit
Even if the talk is innocent and does not include anything haraam, it is still a waste of time. It is better to occupy oneself with dua, dhikr and reading Qur’an, and speaking beneficial words to one’s brothers for a break from reading and dhikr. So he can say some useful words to them about some Islamic knowledge etc. that will make them feel happy, and give them hope of the mercy of Allah. But he should make the most of the opportunity and occupy himself with dua, beseeching Allah and seeking His bounty and mercy, and persist in making dua and make of lot of dua in the words narrated in the Qur’an and saheeh Sunnah, for these are the best of duas, and duas offered at this time are more likely to be answered.
- Cutting tress in ‘Arafah
Some people think that the trees in ‘Arafah are like the trees in Mina and Muzdalifah, i.e., it is not permissible to cut a leaf or branch from them, and so on, because they think that cutting the trees has to do with ihram, like hunting.
This is a mistaken notion, because cutting trees has nothing to do with Ihram, rather it has to do with the place.
Whatever trees are within the boundaries of the Haram are sacrosanct, and should not be cut and no leaves or branches may be cut from them. Whatever is outside the boundaries of the Haram may be cut, even if a person is in ihram. Based on this there is nothing wrong with cutting the trees in ‘Arafah.
However, if the trees have been planted by people, it may be haraam to cut them for another reason, namely transgressing the rights of the people who planted them, and transgressing the rights of the pilgrims too, if these trees were planted to reduce the heat and to shade people from the sun.
Based on this, it is not permissible to cut the trees that are planted in ‘Arafah, not because of the ihram, but because cutting them is a transgression of the rights of all the Muslims).
So dear friends, keep your eyes peeled out for these common mistakes and misconceptions and we pray to Allah to guide us and protect us from erring.