Arafa or Arafāt (Arabic: عرفات) is a land with an area of eighteen square kilometers on the east of Mecca. The stay or sojourn in Arafat is a rukn (essential part) of Hajj al-Tamattu'. Pilgrims must stay in the desert of Arafat on Dhu l-Hijja 9. According to a hadith from the Prophet (s), there are sins that are only forgiven after the sojourn in Arafat. Imam al-Husayn (a) recited his well-known Supplication of Arafa in the land of Arafat.
Arafat is a plain on the east of Mecca with an area of eighteen square kilometers. Today, it is twenty one kilometers away from Mecca.
Jabal al-Rahma or Mount al-Rahma is located on the northeast of Arafat, and thus, it is also called "Jabal al-Arafat" or Mount Arafat.
In jurisprudential terms, the land of Arafat does not count as part of the Haram. However, in different historical periods, signs have always been installed in the area to carefully specify its limits and borders.
Reasons for Appellation
According to Muhammad b. Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi, a historian of the tenth/sixteenth century, the word, "Arafat", is like the word, "Qasabat" (plural of "qasaba" meaning village). Thus, each part of Arafat is known as one arafa, and "Arafat" refers to the whole area.
According to some hadiths, when Gabriel taught the rituals of Hajj to the Prophet Abraham (a), he told him in the land of Arafat, "Did you learn your rituals?" and Abraham (a) replied,"yes." Thus, because of the word, "araft" in Gabriel's question, the area came to be known as Arafat or Arafa. "Arafat" also means acquaintance; thus, some people believe that it was called so because it was the place where Adam (a) and Eve were acquainted with one another. "Arafat" also means confession, and thus, it is also said to be called so because it is the place where Muslim confess their sins to God and ask Him for forgiveness.
Arafat is associated with the obligation of hajj. It is a sacred place in Islam. The stay in Arafat is a rukn or essential component of Hajj al-Tamattu', without which hajj is not valid. Thus, pilgrims of hajj should stay in Arafat on Dhu l-Hijja 9 from the Shar'i noon until the Shar'i evening.
Before the emergence of Islam, people of Mecca did not perform some hajj rituals, including the stay in Arafat, because they thought of themselves as people of Haram and as selected people. According to hadiths in Sunni collections of hadiths, the Prophet (s) stayed in Arafat in his hajj practices before Islam.
According to a hadith from the Prophet (s), on the evening of the day of Arafa, God tells angels that He is proud of people who stay in Arafat and forgives all their sins. The stay of pilgrims in Arafat is said to lead to the forgiveness of their sins. There is a hadith from the Prophet (s) according to which there are sins that are only forgiven in Arafat. According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the most sinful person is one who returns from Arafat while his sins are not forgiven.
In hadiths concerning Dahw al-Ard (the spreading of the Earth), Arafat, the Ka'ba, and Mina are referred to as places from which the Earth was spread. Imam al-Husayn (a) recited the Supplication of Arafa when he went out of his camp in the land of Arafat to the left side of the Mount Arafat or Jabal al-Rahma.
- There is no sin upon you in seeking your Lord’s bounty [during the hajj season]. Then when you stream out of ‘Arafat remember Allah at the Holy Mash‘ar, and remember Him as He has guided you, and earlier you were indeed among the astray.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عرفات in Farsi WikiShia.