Al-Mashʿar (Arabic: المشعر), also known as al-Mashʿar al-Ḥarām (المشعر الحرام) or Muzdalifa (Arabic: مزدلفة) is a region between 'Arafat and Mina which has a length of about 4 km and staying there on the morning of Eid al-Adha is one of the essentials of hajj. Most hajj pilgrims collect stones for ramy al-jamarat from this place.
This land which is located inside the Haram is a small valley between 'Arafat and Mina with the size of about 4 km. There is a large mosque in this area called Muzdalifa Mosque. The primary size of this mosque has been 1700 square meters which reached 4000 square meters at the time of Abbasids. That time, the mosque did not have a roof and there was only a fence around it. After many times of reconstruction and expansion, now its rectangular size is about 6000 square meters.
Different names have been mentioned for this place:
- Al-Mash'ar. The root of this name is shu'ur [awareness]; because in this place, after understanding in 'Arafat (which root is 'irfan meaning understanding), the pilgrim needs to reach awareness.
- Al-Mash'ar al-Haram: al-Mash'ar is located inside the sanctuary and thus is called al-Mash'ar al-Haram.
- Muzdalifa which is another name for this place and is derived from izdilaf, meaning proximity, because there, people come close to God or that pilgrims gather and get closer to each other. Also, Muzdalifa refers to the place of crowd due to the gathering of all pilgrims there at the night of Dhu l-Hijja 10. Another cause for its naming is a narration from Imam al-Sadiq (a) saying, "after the end of staying in 'Arafat, Angel Jabra'il told the Prophet Ibrahim (a), 'O Abraham (a)! izdalif (go close) toward al-Ma'shar al-Haram.'". In another narration, Mu'awiya b. 'Ammar narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that, "Muzdalifa was called so, because pilgrim move toward it after 'Arafat."
- Al-Jam' (place of bringing together). Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "al-Mash'ar is also called Jam' because prophet Adam (a) performed his maghrib and 'isha' prayers together."
- Al-Ibtah (flat area) . Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "this land is called al-Ibtah because prophet Adam (a) was missioned to stay at Muzdalifa until sunrise. Then, he (a) was missioned to climb Mount al-Mash'ar and to confess to his sin when the sun shined upon him, and he (a) did so and this confession was made as a tradition among his children."
Hajj pilgrims need to move toward Muzdalifa after the sunset of the Day of 'Arafa, after the end of voluntary staying in 'Arafat and stay there until the sunrise of the next day (Dhu l-Hijja 10, Eid al-Adha). The area of Muzdalifa has been marked by big signs. Its length is about 4000 meters and its area is 5.12 square km. some believe that Muzdalifa is actually the name of the land and a mountain located at the end of Muzdalifa and extends to the land or the valley of Wadi l-Muhassir and this whole area is called Muzdalifa. In this place, during camping and worshiping at night, pilgrims can collect stones which can only be found in this place with specific size and form to use them for ramy al-Jamarat in Mina.
On their return from 'Arafat to Mecca, pilgrims pass al-Ma'zimayn which is located between two mountains. Ma'zim refers to a narrow pass and also to a gorge. It refers to the two narrow passages of going and coming through this area, passing which pilgrims arrive at Muzdalifa or the land of al-Mash'ar al-Haram.
Rituals of Hajj
After the sunset on the Day of 'Arafa, pilgrims go out of 'Arafat and move toward Muzdalifa. The time of staying in Muzdalifa is from fajr of Eid al-Adha until the sunrise. In Muzdalifa, there is nothing obligatory other than just staying there, while performing many actions are recommended including remembrance of God and collecting stones for ramy al-Jamarat.
- There is no sin upon you in seeking your Lord’s grace [during the ḥajj season]. Then when you stream out of ‘Arafāt remember Allah at the Holy Mash‘ar, and remember Him as He has guided you, and earlier you were indeed among the astray. (198) Then stream out from where the people stream out, and plead to Allah for forgiveness; indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful. (Qur'an 2:198-199)
- The material for this article is mainly taken from مشعر in Farsi WikiShia.