Once upon a time, long before the existence of Man, when dinosaurs roamed freely, jinns inhabited the Earth. The jinn would fight each other in wars that would last centuries.
It was around this time when one of the most remarkable conversations in history took place, a conversation that began then but ends tomorrow.
Allah (God) notified the angels of His intention to place Adam on the Earth as a successor. The angels were shocked.
“Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” they said to God.
After all, they had witnessed how jinns had abandoned God and despoiled the Earth for generations. Would humans really worship God on Earth, they argued.
“I know that which you do not know,” God replied. One day the angels would see that humans would indeed worship God, praise Him and sanctify Him.
God presented Adam to the angels and ordered them to prostrate to him. All the angels obeyed, but Satan, a jinn, refused out of pride and arrogance.
So time passed and Adam was placed on the Earth. His offspring multiplied until, after thousands of years, they became billions. God sent down prophets to guide and teach them. Many of the humans listened to God’s prophets and read His books.
Meanwhile, Satan worked to fulfill the vow that he made to God, to “show” God that humans would never worship Him.
The conversation between God and the angels that began thousands of years ago, ends tomorrow.
Tomorrow Sunday is the Day of Arafah, the day when millions of Muslim pilgrims will gather on the plain of Arafah just outside Makkah as the Hajj pilgrimage reaches his climax.
Arafah is the place where Adam and Eve met each other after having been separated when they were sent down to Earth.
Men, women… white, black, brown… from every race, country and nationality… from every corner of the Earth… dusty and disheveled… tired and hungry and hot… they will gather in one place to praise and sanctify God.
“Labbaik Allahumma labbaik!” [“Here we are at Your service, O God!”] they will say.
And He will respond to them. He will descend to the lowest heaven above the Earth and look down at the millions of pilgrims gathered on the plain of Arafah along with the angels.
He will remind the angels of their conversation with Him when they doubted whether humans would ever worship Him like the angels did.
God will be so pleased with these pilgrims and proud of them that He will boast to the angels about them.
Jabir bin Abdullah reported that Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said about this day:
“And no other day is better to Allah than the Day of Arafah, when Allah (SWT) descends to the lowest heaven and boasts of the people on earth to the inhabitants of heaven [angels] and says:
‘Look at My slaves who have come to Me, dusty and disheveled. They have come from all the far flung corners of the Earth hoping for My mercy even though they have not seen My punishment.’
Therefore there is no one day where more people are set free from the shackles of the hellfire than the Day of Arafah.” [Abu Ya’la, Ibn Hibban and Ibn Khuzaymah]
In fact, so great is this day that even those who are not pilgrims making the Hajj can have two years of sins forgiven by simply fasting on this one day. About fasting on the Day of Arafah, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year”. [Muslim]
This day, the Day of Arafah is tomorrow Sunday. If you can fast tomorrow, do so and encourage your families and friends to do so as well.
And if you can, tune into the live Saudi TV broadcast from Makkah or Islam Channel Live at 16:00 UTC/GMT on Sunday 11 September 2016 when the Day of Arafah will reach its climax and emotional pilgrims will say their final prayers before leaving to walk to Muzdalifah.
An article that gives more details about the history and merits of the Day of Arafah can be read here.
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