We take a look at what Arafat Day is and why it is important to Muslims.
8 September 2016| Last updated on 11 December 2017
Arafat Day (a.k.a. Day of Arafah) falls on the ninth day of Dhu Al Hijja, according to the hijri calendar and is a day of great importance and significance in Islam.
When is it?
The hijri calendar is the lunar calendar that Islam follows. Due to it being on the basis of a lunar calendar, the date varies annually in the Gregorian calendar. Nonetheless, Arafat Day falls on the ninth day of Dhu Al Hijja (the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar).
Dhu Al Hijja is a very sacred month in the islamic calendar, and is when Hajj takes place.
Arafat Day is also the day before the start of Eid Al Adha, which is the latter of the two Eids that occur each year.
What does it mean?
Each year, it falls roughly 70 days after the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Arafat Day marks the second day of Hajj - which means pilgrimage - and it is believed to mark the day when 'a verse of the Quran revealed that Islam was perfected, and when Allah's blessings were completed.'
Hajj is the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which takes place in Dhu Al Hijja. It's a mandatory religious duty for Muslims, and is expected to be carried out at least once in their lifetime... So much so, that it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
SEE ALSO: The meaning of Eid in Abu Dhabi
Why is it called Arafat Day?
Mount Arafat is the site where Prophet Mohammed spoke his Farewell Sermon.
What happens on this day?
At dawn on Arafat Day, Muslims completing the Hajj pilgrimage will travel from Mina to Mount Arafat, which is just outside of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. They will stay on Mount Arafat until Maghrib prayers, and the journey from Mina to Mount Arafat alone is 20km.
To complete Hajj, Muslims must stand on Mount Arafat in order for their pilgrimage to be valid.
Is it a public holiday?
Yes, companies and government services in the UAE have one day holiday to observe Arafat Day, which is then followed by the public holiday of Eid Al Adha. These can vary each year, depending on moon-sightings.