The beauty of Hajj and importance of Arafat

By Adedamola Adegoke

Hajj is one of the fundamental five pillars of Islam, and it is obligatory on Muslims who can afford it and also in stable state of mind, and more importantly healthy to perform the rigours of the rites.

It is also a duty to be performed once in a lifetime, and voluntary for those willing to exceed one being stipulated by Allah. However, some Islamic scholars have the opinion that it is preferable to perform Hajj at intervals of five years.

To embark on Hajj, Pilgrims are expected to be righteous, conversant with the dictates and doctrine of the religion, and above all uphold the other pillars of Islam which includes : To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah , and Prophet Mohammed ( SAW) is His messenger, to observe the compulsory congregational prayers dutifully and perfectly, to fast during the month of Ramadan and to pay the obligatory charity ( Zakat ) .

It is an established fact that Hajj purifies sinful soul and makes such souls eligible to receive the mercies of Allah on earth and the day of resurrection.

However, the Divine law warns that whoever has the financial capacity, healthy but does not perform Hajj, then he does ( as if he wishes) as a Christian or as a Jewish.

No doubt, Pilgrims who strive in the cause of Allah to perform Hajj ” Maburur” that is, a perfect (according to the teachings of the noble prophet Muhammad) Hajj, this is graced with divine acceptance and pleasure.

The highpoint of Hajj rites according to Prophet Muhammad ( SAW), saying “Hajj is Arafat ” and it is done when the Muhrums go to the revered Mount Arafat, from the city of Mina with the intention of making prayers and supplications on the 10th day of Dhul Hijja.

It is pertinent for Pilgrims to pay attention to the pillars of Hajj, that is Ihram, Say’y , Tawaf and mounting on Arafa, staying at Muzdalifa to observe Eid and listen to sermon by Imam, as well as throwing of pebbles at Jamurat, because Hajj will not be valid if one of the aforementioned is sidelined or omitted.

Taking cognisance of the ” Ihram” that is having the intention to perform Hajj.Another one is ” Sa’y” , the running from Safa to Marwa back and forth with the aim of worshipping Allah . Tawaf ( the Circumambulation) in anticlockwise direction is also an essential activity in which Pilgrims have to turn around the ” Ka’ba” for seven rounds.

The mounting on Arafat is vital as Pilgrims across the globe converge for this important Hajj rite from the noon of the Nineth of Dhul Hijja Al till the dawn of the Tenth day. On the 10th day, Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid-ul Adha.

What then are expected of the Pilgrims particularly on the day of Arafat?

Pilgrims are to leave for Mina on the eight of Dhul Hijja, spending the nineth night over there and not leave it until the sun rises as five prayers should be performed there (shortened form and not combined), to head to ” Namra ” just after the passing of the meridian , and shortening the Asr and Zohr prayers in congregation, to visit the area of Arafat after performing the Asr and Zuhr prayers also in congregation with the Imam, and to stay at the area supplicating and glorifying Allah till the sunset.

They are to delay Al- Magreb prayer till the Muhrum reaches the crowd at Muzdalifa , then perform the Al- Magreb and Isha prayer in congregation and later to stand at the Al- Mash’ar Al- Haram ,that is, the Mount of Qazh directing to Kiblah and supplicating till the proved dismissal, to pay attention to the order of throwing the pebbles of ” Aqaba ” sacrificing and Tawaf al- Ifada or Ziyara , to perform Tawaf al- Ifada (departure circumbulation) before the sunset of the ” Nahr” ( Sacrifice) day .

Others include to bath just after mounting on Arafat, to stand at the station of the Prophet Ibrahim, that is at the Great Stone which is in the bottom of the Mount of “Rahma” in the middle of Arafat), to supplicate and celebrate the remembrance of Allah as much as possible while directing to the Kiblah till the sun goes down , to return from the path of ” Mazmeen ” but not to return from the path of Dab as being done by Prophet Muhammad ( SAW) whenever he travels.

To also walk quietly and not to hurry and to recite Talbiyya as much as possible while walking on the paths from Mina to Arafat, and from Muzdalifa to Mina, to utter ” We return repenting, praying to our Lord and thankful for him as he fulfilled his promise, bestowed victory to his slave, and defeated the parties by himself to mention but few.

As Pilgrims converge globally today on mount Arafat, it is imperative for them to be more dedicated, carried out stages involved patiently, never be carried away with side attractions cum social activities, above all, be more dedicated and committed to the course of Allah for a rewarding pilgrimage.

Adedamola Adegoke Ibraheem
Writes from Ibadan, Oyo State .

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