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Staying in Arafat
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If a pilgrim cannot go on the eve of 8th Dhul Hijja to Mina but it is possible for him to stay that night at ‘Arafat or if he decided to stay that night in Mecca, then it is better for him to spend the night in remembrance of Allah (doing tashbih, rukū‘, sujūd and istaghfar) till the 9th of Dhul Hijja, the day when all pilgrims will gather in the plains of ‘Arafat (21 k.m. from Mecca).


The jurists’ expression “staying in ‘Arafat” means “the presence” of the pilgrims in ‘Arafat no matter whether they are riding, walking, standing, sitting, lying down or moving around.

It is obligatory to stay in ‘Arafat from the zuhr time till the maghrib time with the sincerity of intention by saying, for example, “I am staying in ‘Arafat from the zuhr time of this day to the sunset for hajj at-tamattu‘ to seek the pleasure of Almighty Allah.” Therefore, it is forbidden to leave the plains of ‘Arafat before the sunset for those who know the ruling and are not in any constrains. Based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary to stay till the disappearance of the twilight on the eastern horizon in order to ensure that the sun has fully set.




There are many recommendations for the stay in ‘Arafat. Some are as following: staying in the state of purity (i.e., with wudhu); doing ghusl at mid-day; exerting one self for du‘as to the Almighty; being aware of Allah’s presence; staying at the foot of the mountain; combining the zuhr and ‘asr prayers by one adhan and two iqamahs; reciting the recommended du‘as for that day, etc.

Among the recommendations for this day is reciting the du‘a as narrated by Mu‘awiyah bin ‘Ammar from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.); as well as the ziyarat of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) on the Day of ‘Arafah and also the du‘a of Imam ‘Ali bin al-Husayn (a.s.); and finally, the du‘a of Imam al-Husayn bin ‘Ali (a.s.) for the Day of ‘Arafah.

It is also recommended to pray for yourself, your parents, your relatives and your brethren in faith – the minimum number of brethren in faith whom you should remember in your prayers is thirty. And, of course, don’t forget me and my parents as someone who has a right on you in matters of your religion and your world since I am the most needful person for the prayers of my brethren in faith in this holy site.

May Allah forgive me, you and all the believing men and women in the east and the west, and may He raise us up all with Muhammad and his holy progeny; for He is the Most Merciful of all those who have mercy.

I need to clarify two things at this juncture:

1. The Day of ‘Arafah, when it is an obligation upon the pilgrim to stay at ‘Arafat, is the 9th day of Dhul Hijja. As it will be mentioned soon the pilgrim is required to spend the eve of ‘Iddul Adha (i.e., the eve of 10th Dhul Hijja) at Muzdalifa just as it is obligatory upon him to stone the al-Uqba pillar on the 10th of Dhul Hijja.

It has been observed in these days that the declaration about sighting of the moon of Dhul Hijja in Sauda Arabia is different from the opinion of the maraji‘ to whom the pilgrims refer in religious matters. This would mean that the stay in ‘Arafat or Muzdalifa would be a day ahead of the required day, i.e., instead of the 9th, it happens on the 8th.

Most of the contemporary Shi‘a jurists are of the opinion that staying in ‘Arafat and Muzdalifa on the day announced by the officials of the Kingdom is sufficient. That means that one can observe the Day of ‘Arafah with the majority as well as the rituals of stoning the al-‘Aqabah Pillar, the sacrifice, and the halq can be done on the day announced to be the 10th by the officials.

However, the Grand Ayatullah Sistani has no opinion, positive or negative, on this issue. Therefore, his followers are allowed to refer in this matter to the jurists who allow one to follow the calendar decided by the official of the Kingdom; and in this reference, they don’t need to specify a particular mujtahid – just the knowledge that one of them is qualified for following is sufficient.

2. Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah is not recommended since it might weaken the pilgrim and prevent him from reciting the recommended du‘as.

However, a pilgrim who does not fear that impact of fasting, it is recommended for him to fast. But then a traveler is not allowed to fast during his journey unless he stays in that place for ten or more days. And so the only way for a pilgrim to fast on the Day of ‘Arafah is by making a nadhr which may be done on the eve of ‘Arafah as follows: “I am making a vow for the sake of pleasing Allah that I shall fast tomorrow in ‘Arafat.” Then his fast would be valid.




1. Some hajj caravans set up their camps outside the limits of ‘Arafat, and they stay there till the sunset and then move on to Mazdalifah without having actually stayed in ‘Arafat. This is obviously not right; therefore, the pilgrims must ask their caravan organizers and seek assurance from them that they are within the borders of ‘Arafat and not outside it.

2. Some pilgrims leave the plain of ‘Arafat before the sunset in order to escape the crowd thinking that this would be better and easy for them. This is, however, not correct at all. If such a pilgrim does not return back to ‘Arafat, then he has to pay a penalty by sacrificing a sheep in Mina on the 10th of Dhul Hijja.

3. Some pilgrims do the intention of staying in ‘Arafat and then they spend the whole day sleeping till the sunset. Although this is technically okay and there is no penalty on him, he has surely made a big mistake by missing out on the most important opportunity of seeking Allah’s blessings. The Day of ‘Arafah is a great day which should be dedicated by the pilgrim for du‘as and prayers; and it is expected of the pilgrim that he should not miss its minutes let alone its hours! It is narrated that Imam Zaynul ‘Abidin (a.s.) heard someone on the Day of ‘Arafah begging from the people. He said, “Woe upon you! You are asking from other than Allah on such a day while it is a day in which even the embryos in wombs are covered by the grace of Almighty Allah and achieve good fortune.”