Ads by Muslim Ad Network

The Spirituality of Hajj: ‘Arafah

Part 5


In control of the marvel are Almighty Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The revelation with its characteristic of infallibility is the foundation and centroid. At ‘Arafah the angels learn more about the purpose of creation in general and about the purpose of appointing man as the vicegerent (khalifah) on earth in particular, notwithstanding the fact that it is man who causes corruption on earth and sheds blood, and it is the angels, conversely, who declare God’s praise and sanctify Him ceaselessly.

When God informed the angels about His divine plan and that He knows that which they do not, concerning the subject of man’s appointment (al-Baqarah, 30), such was what could be described as mere information and a form of conceptual knowledge for the angels. The other dimension was forthcoming.

‘Arafah is of those occasions when Almighty God establishes the applied side of that a priori knowledge of the angels – and God knows best. As if the knowledge and conviction of the angels become complete thereby, albeit still within the context of the metaphysical world. Thus, that is one of the reasons why at ‘Arafah God boasts about pilgrims before the angels and asks them to observe them. God’s words: “What do these people want?” and “Look at my servants who have come to Me dishevelled and dusty”, indicate His directing of the angels to the methods by which their knowledge can be enriched and their convictions validated.

It should be mentioned – as a small digression – that apart from ‘Arafah God uses some other circumstances for the same purpose of boasting about His servants before the angels. It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr said: “We performed the Maghrib (prayer) with the Messenger of Allah, then those who went back went back, and those who stayed, stayed. Then the Messenger of Allah came back in a hurry, out of breath, with his garment pulled up to his knees, and said:

“Be of good cheer, for your Lord has opened one of the gates of heaven and is boasting of you before the angels, saying: “Look at My slaves; they have fulfilled one obligatory duty and are awaiting another.”[11]

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Satan: Our Worst Enemy

On the day of ‘Arafah Satan also learns much about God, God’s servants and himself. However, he does it the hard way inasmuch as he is a slow learner, just as he is a bad loser. Since time immemorial Satan knew – had been duly informed and he could make his own deductions – that God is All-Merciful towards His servants and that believers will always enjoy the protection, love, compassion and forgiveness of their Creator and Master.

Despite his endless pretences, Satan will not be able to thwart God’s plans, and his efforts to extinguish divine light will always fail. And perhaps most importantly, Satan knows that he possesses but few strengths and many weaknesses, and when pitted against the true soldiers of the truth, there is only one outcome: he displays trepidation and cowardice, and normally runs away.

These verities are summed up in the words of the Qur’an:

“Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah. Those are the party of Satan. Unquestionably, the party of Satan – they will be the losers” (al-Mujadilah, 58:19).


“Allah is pleased with them (true believers), and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah. Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful” (al-Mujadilah, 58:22).

Satan Humiliated on the Day of Arafah

As the milieu of the eruption of devoutness and piety – which engulf the plains of ‘Arafah and the holy city of Makkah directly, and the entire world (earth) indirectly – the day of ‘Arafah turns the spotlight on the truth regarding Satan. Since he is prone to unlearning, he is compelled to re-learn the obvious.

He learns yet again that he is nobody when juxtaposed with the light of the truth and the virtue of its people, and that he is powerless to do anything about it. He furthermore learns that he is a loser and his adversaries, the people of faith, winners. Come what may, to Satan’s bitter disappointment, there will be no exchange of titles and grades, nor will there be any alterations in the way of Allah.

But what Satan finds out is in vain. As usual, it avails him nothing. That is why on the day of ‘Arafah Satan feels humiliated, rejected and defeated the most. Exposed and trapped, he cannot escape, nor ignore, the power of what dawns upon and blows him away. Maybe he can run and hide on other occasions (days), but not on this day, which is the spiritual feast both on earth and in heaven.

Satan therefore feels angrier and more miserable than ever, but his condition further blinds him. He knows all too well that ‘Arafah is not a one-off occurrence, but an annual one that will come back to haunt him until the Day of Judgment. Eventually – when the ultimate decree of God is issued and the matter decided (Ibrahim, 22) – Satan will acknowledge the truth and will come to regret who he was, for “indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment” (Ibrahim, 22). One of Satan’s regrets – it stands to reason – should be in a manner of why he never learned.

One can imagine the extent of Satan’s plight. At ‘Arafah he witnesses the descent of the mercy of Allah, Allah’s disregard for great wrong actions, and Allah’s freeing of multitudes from the hellfire.

Prophet Muhammad’s Warning

At the same time, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) utilizes the opportunity of ‘Arafah for educating people about Satan and his deceptive strategies, and for teaching them how to confront them, highlighting in his farewell sermon:

“O people, indeed Satan despairs of ever being worshipped in this land of yours. He will be pleased, however, if he is obeyed in a thing other than that, in matters you minimize. So beware of him in your religion.”[12]

As per another version:

“Beware of Satan for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.”

This way, surely, Satan was dealt a double blow and the prospects of his endeavours were rendered dim. As far as the true believers are concerned, his chances (fate) were sealed, so to speak.

In addition to the recurring experience of Satan at ‘Arafah, he felt approximately the same during the historic battle of Badr. On that day he felt as disgraced and fallen – that is, he learned his lesson in a painful way – so he had no choice but to take flight and dissociate himself from his followers. Equating Badr with ‘Arafah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Satan felt terrified and fled the battlefield of Badr because he was shown the angel Gabriel (Jibril) arranging the ranks of the angels (for the battle).

The Qur’an attests to this:

“And (remember) when Satan made their deeds pleasing to them and said: “No one can overcome you today from among the people, and indeed, I am your protector.” But when the two armies sighted each other, he turned on his heels and said: “Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I see what you do not see; indeed I fear Allah. And Allah is severe in penalty” (al-Anfal, 8:48).

Pages: 1 2 3 4
About Dr. Spahic Omer
Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].