For those going on Hajj, the Day of Arafat is the quintessence of Hajj. Sadly, a large number of mistakes and misconceptions are witnessed on this day. Our attitude should always be that of avoiding mistakes or redeeming them, so let us try to know and avert the common mistakes made on the Great Day of Arafat!

Some of these mistakes are:

1. Not reciting the Talbiyah

Some pilgrims do not recite the Talbiyah at all or do not recite it out loud on their way from Mina to Arafat. The Prophet (PBUH) continued to recite the Talbiyah until he had stoned Jamarat al-‘Aqabah on the day of Eid.

2. Reciting the Talbiyah collectively where one of them says it and the others repeat after him

This is not permissible, because it is not authentically reported that the Prophet (PBUH) or any of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them) did this; rather, it is Bid‘ah (innovation in religion). An easy way to go forward would be to learn the Talbiyah yourself.

3. Pilgrims fasting on the day of Arafat

Without a doubt, fasting on the day of Arafat is an exemplary deed but fasting on the day of Arafat is not recommended for the pilgrims going for Hajj because the Prophet (PBUH) did not fast on the day of Arafat during the Farewell Pilgrimage.

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is narrated from Maymoonah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the people were not sure whether the Prophet (PBUH) was fasting on the day of Arafat, so she sent him some milk when he was standing in Arafat, and he drank it whilst the people were looking on.

4. Stopping or standing Outside Arafat

Imagine writing down a lengthy thesis and then hitting the delete button prior to saving it. Alas! All the hard work, time and effort going down the drain by just 1 mistake.

Similarly, for Hajj, making the mistake of stopping or standing outside the Arafat is the delete button to all your efforts.

Some pilgrims stop outside Arafat, and they stay there until the sun sets, then they leave for Muzdalifah. Those who stand in these places have not performed Hajj, because the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Hajj is Arafat.” (an-Nasa’i, 3016)

There are markers that clearly indicate the boundaries of Arafat. Every pilgrim must look for the boundaries so that he will be sure that he is standing in Arafat and not outside it.

5. Refusing to shorten and combine the Zuhr and Asr Salah at the Arafat

Several pilgrims do this. Shortening and combining the Zuhr and Asr Salah at Arafat was done by our Prophet (PBUH) and we are supposed to follow him, remember the hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Learn your rituals (of Hajj) from me" (Muslim, 15:341)

6. Thinking it is essential to pray Zuhr and Asr with the imam in the mosque

No doubt praying in congregation is good, but one has to look at the situation, when millions of pilgrims crowd at the same place, one can easily get lost and hurt. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“The earth has been made for me a place of worship and a means of purification.” (Ibn Majah, 567)

So if a person prays in his tent in a calm and dignified manner, without being disturbed or disturbing others, and without trouble that makes Hajj too hard, that is better.

7. Thinking that standing at Mount Arafat (Jabal- e- Rahmah) is an obligation or climbing it

Some people think that they have to go to the place where the Messenger of Allah stood, beside the mountain, and stand there or climb it.

Firstly, there is no basis of climbing the mountain, as our Prophet (PBUH) stood at the rocks beneath the mountains.

Secondly, there is no need of pilgrims putting themselves through a great deal of trouble to reach that place and get lost in the process. It was proven that the Prophet (PBUH) said,

“The whole of Arafah is a mawqif (standing place), except the middle of Urana” (Malik, 20:51:175)

It is as if the Prophet (PBUH) was pointing out that no one should go to the trouble of standing in the place where the Prophet (PBUH) stood, rather people should do what is easy for them.

8. Thinking that Mount of Arafat is holy

Some pilgrims think that the mountain by which the Prophet (PBUH) stood is holy and special, so they go to it and climb up it, and seek blessings from its stones and soil, they hang pieces of cloth on its trees etc. These are innovations (bid’ah) because none of these acts were done by the Prophet (PBUH).

9. Facing the Mount of Arafat and making dua

Some people make dua facing the mountain by which the Messenger of Allah stood. What is prescribed for dua on the day of Arafat is for the person to face the qiblah, whether the mountain is in front of him or behind him, or to his right or his left. The Prophet (PBUH) only faced this mountain because the place where he stood was behind the mountain. He faced towards the qibla, and because the mountain was between him and the qiblah, he had no choice but to face it too.

10. Leaving the Arafat before the sun sets

Some of the pilgrims leave Arafat before the sun sets, and go to Muzdalifah. This is a mistake. It is also going against the Prophet (PBUH) who did not leave Arafat until after the sun had set and the yellow afterglow had somewhat diminished, as it says in the hadith of Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him).

11. Wasting time in matters that are of no benefit

This is one of the most momentous days of your lives, so avoid indulging in any conversations that might waste your time when you could be doing Dhikr of Allah (SWT). Even if the talk is innocent and does not include anything haram, it is still a waste of time. It is better to occupy oneself with Dua, Dhikr and reading the Quran, and speaking beneficial words to one’s brothers for a break from reading and Dhikr.

Do remember, Duas offered at this time are more likely to be answered.

12. Cutting trees in Arafat

Some people think that it is not permissible to cut a leaf or branch from the trees of Arafat since they are in Ihram. This is a mistaken notion, because cutting trees has nothing to do with Ihram, rather it has to do with the place. Whatever trees are within the boundaries of the Haram are sacrosanct, and should not be cut and no leaves or branches may be cut from them. Whatever is outside the boundaries of the Haram may be cut, even if a person is in ihram. Based on this there is nothing wrong with cutting the trees in Arafat. However, if the trees have been planted by people, it may be haram to cut them for another reason, namely transgressing the rights of the people who planted them, and transgressing the rights of the pilgrims too, if these trees were planted to reduce the heat and to provide shade to the people from the sun.

Based on this, it is not permissible to cut the trees that are planted in Arafat, not because of the ihram, but because cutting them is a transgression of the rights of all the Muslims.

So dear friends, look out for these common mistakes and misconceptions and pray to Allah (SWT) to guide us and protect us from erring.