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Sunday 3rd of July 2022
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HALTING PLACE IV: MOUNT ARAFAT

The first days of Dhu’l-Hijja are full of tumult in Mecca. Like a kind mother, this holy city opens her arms to the pilgrims. Thanks to the blessing God has bestowed on Mecca, pilgrims are not in strait in terms of accommodations. They all feel comfortable and have peace of mind.

 

Those pilgrims who intend to perform Hajj at-Tamattu’ have to stay in Mecca to perform Umrah first. Those intending to perform Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj al-Ifrad and those whose Hajj precedes Umrah enter Mecca in groups so as to put on Ihram, to say Labbayk, and to leave Mecca for Arafat. Umrah is an individual rite that does not need to be coordinated with others and can be performed on any day. However, Hajj, being a social event, must begin and end on a special day. Therefore, all those who intend to perform Hajj have to come to Mecca before the eighth of Dhu’l-Hijja and those who are late for an excuse have to join the pilgrims on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijja before noon.

 

The huge caravan of the pilgrims moves towards Arafat in the afternoon of the eighth day. Heads are bare and bodies covered with two pieces of white unstitched clothes. Having with them provision for a few-day stay in the plain, and saying Labbayk whose spiritual echo is filling Mecca and the north-eastern plains, the pilgrims move in groups to gather in the plain of Arafat at noon of the ninth day.

 

WHERE IS ARAFAT?

 

Arafat is a smooth and flat plain about twenty-four kilometers away from Northern Mecca in the lap of Jabal ur-Rahmah (literally meaning, Mount of Mercy). Arafat is a holy place God has appointed to receive His guests. The banquet is in Mount Mercy so that all guests can enjoy God’s infinite blessings each according to his capacity.

 

MAN WILL NOT BECOME FAMILIAR WITH GOD AS LONG AS HE IS ATTACHED TO THE WORLD

 

If man is left to himself, like children who have no power of distinction, he is attracted towards colorful toys. During Prophet Mohammad’s Midnight Ascension, God said to him:

 

يَا أَحمَدُ، إحْذَر أنْ تَكونَ مِثلَ هذا الصَّبِيِّ إذا نَظَر إلى الأخضَرِ والأصفَرِ وإِذا أُعطِيَ شَيئاً مِن الحُلوِ والحامِضِ اِغتَرَّ بهِ.

 

“O Ahmed, beware of being like a child who is deceived when looking at something green and yellow or tasting something sour and sweet.”[108]

 

God’s address is aimed to make man aware of his grave position. In the plain of Arafat, a pilgrim is like a dead man who has been detached from everything and wearing a shroud and waiting for God’s mercy. It is in this state that man can have communion with God and say from the bottom of his heart:

 

عَمِيَتْ عَينٌ لا تَراكَ علَيها رَقِيباً وخَسِرَت صَفْقَةُ عَبدٍ لم تجعَلْ لهُ مِن حُبِّكَ نصِيباً

 

“Let those eyes which do not see You as Watching be blind and let the asset (life) of a servant who has no share of Your love lead to loss.”[109]

 

The rite of staying in Arafat begins at the noon of the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijja and ends at the sunset of the same day. The time of this religious act is short but its divine blessings are great. Hearing a beggar asking people for something, Imam Sajjad (a.s) said:

 

وَيحَكَ، أغَيرَ اللهِ تسأَلُ في هَذا المقامِ؟ إنّه ليُرجَى لمِا في بُطونِ الجِبالِ في هذا اليَومِ أن يَكونَ سَعِيداً

 

“Woe to you! Are you asking people for help in this place while Allah’s mercy today is so comprehensive that what is in mountains is hoped to receive His general mercy and become prosperous.”[110]

 

By ‘what is in mountains’ the Imam (a.s) perhaps meant plants growing on the mountains as a result of whose transformation a prosperous man would be born. A man in the Sacred Mosque asked Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Whose sin is greater than others?” The Imam (a.s) answered:

 

مَن يقِفْ بهَذَينِ المَوقِفَينِ؛ عَرَفَةَ والمُزدَلِفَةِ، وسَعى بَينَ هذَينِ الجَبَلَينِ ثمّ طَافَ بهذا البَيتِ وصَلّى خَلفَ مَقامِ إبْراهِيمَ ثُمّ قالَ في نَفْسِهِ أو ظَنَّ أنَّ الله لم يَغفِرْ لهُ فَهوَ مِن أعظَمِ الناسِ وِزراً

 

“He who stays in Arafat and al-Muzdelifa, performs the Sa’y between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, circumambulates the Kaaba, performs prayer in the standing-place of Ibrahim, and after completing all these acts says to himself or has the impression that Allah has not forgiven him is the biggest sinner.”[111]

 

Imam Baqir (a.s) says:

 

مَا يَقِفُ أحَدٌ على تِلكَ الجِبالِ بَرٌّ ولا فاجِرٌ إلا استَجابَ اللهُ لهُ. فأَمّا البَرُّ فيُستَجابُ لهُ في آخِرتِهِ ودُنياهُ، وأَمّا الفاجِرُ فَيُستَجابُ له في دُنياهُ.

 

“The duaas –supplications- of every pious or impious man who stays in Arafat and al-Mash’ar will be absolutely answered. The duaas of a pious man will be fulfilled in matters regarding this world and the Hereafter but the duaas of an impious man will be fulfilled only in matters regarding this world.”[112]

 

Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:

 

مَا مِن رَجُلٍ مِن أهْلِ كُورَةٍ وقفَ بِعَرَفَةَ مِن المُؤمِنينَ إلا غَفَرَ اللهُ لأَهلِ تِلكَ الكُورَةِ مِن المُؤمِنينَ. ومَا مِن رَجُلٍ وقفَ بَعَرَفَةَ مِن أهْلِ بيتٍ مِن المُؤمِنينَ إلا غَفَرَ اللهُ لأهلِ ذلكَ البَيتِ مِن المُؤمِنينَ

 

“For a believing man of any village who stays in Arafat, Allah will forgive all the believing people of that village, and for a single man of a believing family who stays in Arafat, Allah will forgive all the believing members of that family.”[113]

 

DAY OF ARAFAT IS THE DAY OF SUPPLICATION TO GOD

 

The Day of Arafat among all the days of the year has a special advantage for duaas—supplication to God. Duaas and asking for settlement of the needs of this world and the Hereafter are some of the most important acts of today. Fasting on such a day with all its virtues, if it leads to weakness in supplication will become blameworthy. Duaa opens the gates of God’s mercy to His servants.

 

DUAA HAS ITS OWN EFFECT

 

The Immaculate Imams (a.s) say that there are two ways to win God’s mercy: deed and duaa. Those who practice good deeds enter through the gate of justice and are rewarded, but those who resort to duaa enter through the gate of grace and receive mercy.

 

Ibn-Fahd Hilli, in his book titled Oddatol Daee, quotes the prayer book of Mohammad ibn Saffar on the authority of the Holy Prophet (saw) as saying:

 

لَتَسْأَلُنَّ اللهَ أَو لَيُعْطِيَنَّ عَليكُم. إنَّ للهِ عِباداً يَعمَلونَ فَيُعْطيهِمْ وآخَرينَ يَسألونَهُ صادِقِينَ فَيُعطِيهِم ثُمّ يجمَعُهُم في الجَنَّةِ فيَقولُ الّذين عَمِلوا: رَبَّنا عَمِلْنا فَأعْطَيتَنا، فَبِما أَعطَيتَ هَؤلاءِ؟ فَيقولُ: عِبادِي أعطَيتُكُم أُجورَكُم ولم اَلِتْكُم مِن أعْمالِكُم شَيئاً وسَأَلَني هَؤلاءِ فَأَعطَيتُهُم وهُو فَضلِي أُوتِيهِ مَن أَشاءُ.

 

“Request from Allah so that He will grant. Allah bestows blessing upon a group of His servants in return for their deeds, and to another group in return for their sincere supplications. Then He will gather both groups in Paradise. The first will say: Our Lord, We were men of good deeds and You granted our requests but how about these people? Allah will say: My servants, I gave you your rewards fully. Those people too requested from Me and I gave them a share of My abundant Grace and Mercy. I will give to anyone I wish.”[114]

 

Those who perform their religious duties and reach the highest degree of eternal prosperity enter Paradise through the gate of Deed according to the Quranic Verse:

 

جَزَاءً ِبمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ.

 

“(This is) a reward for what they used to do. (56:24)”

 

There is another gate by the name of Request or supplication. Not all people can enter through this gate. In the same way that practicing good deed is not easy, requesting from God is not easy either, for it requires a living heart, weeping eyes, and a spiritual state. God says:

 

اُدْعُونِي اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

 

“Call upon Me, I will answer you.(The Holy Quran; 40:60)”

 

Let us now become unison with Imam Sajjad (a.s) and say:

 

وَأنَا، يا إِلهِي، عَبدُكُ الذِي أَمَرتَهُ بِالدّعاءِ فَقالَ لَبّيكَ وسَعْدَيكَ، ها أنَا ذا يا رَبِّ مَطْروحٌ بَينَ يَديْكَ، أنا الّذِي أَوقَرَتِ الخَطايا ظَهرَهُ وأنا الّذي أفْنَتِ الذُّنوبُ عُمُرَهُ وأنا الّذي بجَهْلِهِ عَصاكَ ولم تَكُنْ أهْلاً مِنهُ لِذاكَ

 

“And I, my Allah, am Thy servant whom Thou commanded to supplicate and who said: I am at Thy service and disposal. Here I am, my Lord, thrown before Thee. I am he whose back offenses have weighed down! I am he whose lifetime sins have consumed! I am he who was disobedient in his ignorance, while Thou didst not deserve that from him!”[115]

 

Mohammad ibn Hasan Saffar, in his book of supplication, quotes the Holy Prophet (saw) as saying:

 

يَدخُلُ الجَنَّةَ رَجُلانِ كَانا يَعمَلانِ عَمَلاً واحِداً، فَيَرى أَحَدُهُما صاحِبَهُ فَوقَهُ فَيقولُ: يا رَبِّ بمِا أَعطَيتَهُ وكَانَ عَمَلُنا واحِداً؟ فيقولُ اللهُ تَباركَ وتَعالى: سَأَلني ولم تَسألْنِي. (ثمّ قالَ رسولُ اللهِ صَلى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ) إِسأَلوا اللهَ وأَجزِلوا فَإنّهُ لا يَتعاظَمُهُ شَيءٌ.

 

Two persons whose deeds were the same will enter Paradise. But one of the two will see the other superior. Hence, he will say: ‘My Lord, we have done the same deeds. What is his superior position for?’ Allah will say: ‘He requested from Me but you did not.’ (Then the Holy Prophet (saw) said:) “Request from Allah as much as you can, for your request is not great for Allah.”

 

Moyasser, a narrator, quotes Imam Sadiq (a.s) as saying:

 

يا مُيسّر، أُدْعُ ولا تَقُلْ إِنَّ الأمْرَ قَد فُرِغَ مِنهُ. إنَّ عِندَ اللهِ عَزّ وجَلّ مَنزِلَةٌ لا تُنالُ إِلا بمَسأَلَةٍ، ولَو أنَّ عَبداً سَدَّ فاهُ ولم يَسأَلْ لم يُعطَ شَيئاً، فَسَلْ تُعْطَ. يا مُيَسّر، إنّهُ لَيس مِن بابٍ يُقرَعُ إلا يوشَكُ أنْ يَنفَتِحَ لِصاحِبِه.

 

“O Moyasser, call upon Allah and do not say what is destined will happen. There is with Allah a position you will not attain save through supplication. If a servant shuts his mouth and does not request anything from Allah, he will be given nothing. Therefore, request so that you will be given. O Moyesser, every door that is knocked will be opened.”[116]

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