The day of Arafah which falls on 9th of Dhul Hijjah holds a special place in the hearts of the 1.5+ billion Muslims around the globe. It was on the day of Arafah that the Prophet (PBUH) orated what we now know as his farewell sermon.
Even reading excerpts from it can bring tears to one’s eyes. The Prophet (PBUH) beginning his sermon with the famous lines “O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again.”
A verse of the Quran that was revealed on the day of Arafah is indeed one of the biggest favors from Allah (SWT) to the Muslims. Allah (SWT) says in the Glorious Quran “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Quran 5:3)
The verse signifies that Allah (SWT) has completed the religion, and thus mankind does not need any other religion or any other Prophet after Muhammad (PBUH). What is therefore permissible is what Allah (SWT) has allowed and the impermissible is what he prohibits. The law is what He legislates and everything that He conveys is true.
Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is a confirmed Sunnah for those who are not performing Hajj. It was narrated from Abu Qataadah (RA) that the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he said: “It expiates for the past and coming years.” Narrated by Muslim (1162). It is thus recommended by scholars for those not going on Hajj.
As for those going on Hajj scholars say that it is recommended for him to not fast on the day of Arafah so as to strengthen himself/herself for supplications. Also the Prophet (PBUH) did not fast on the day of Arafah during Hajj.
A famous saying of the Prophet (PBUH) related to Arafah is “Hajj is Arafah.” This statement signifies that Hajj and its validity is confined to the actual day of Arafah, without Arafah Hajj cannot be completed.
Another famous hadith on the day of Arafah was reported from Ibn ‘Umar (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” (Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani).