recommendations of arafat
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.