The day of Arafat will begin on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 and will end the evening of Thursday, 31 August 2017.
The day of Arafat is the holiest day in the Islamic calendar.
It falls on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the lunar Islamic calendar. It coincides with the second day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and is on the the day before the beginning of Eid ul-Adha, a Muslim celebration commemorating Ibraham’s devotion to Allah.
The day of Arafat is the day all of the Muslims on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca gather at dawn on Mount Arafat.
According to the Muslim religion, Mount Arafat is the place where the prophet Muhammad gave one of his last famous sermons on Islam and Allah.
After the Day of Arafat comes the beginning of Eid ul-Adha.
Meaning ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, Eid ul-Adha lasts four days. The dates of the holy celebration are determined each year by the Islamic lunar calendar.
This celebration is considered even more sacred than Eid al-Fitr, which is the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan.
The Muslim celebration of Eid ul-Adha honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to show submission to Allah’s command.
Just when Ibrahim was about to kill his son Ishmael upon Allah’s command, God put a sheep in his place.
Muslims use Eid ul-Adha to celebrate Ibrahim’s complete obedience to the will of God and is a reminder of their own willingness to sacrifice anything to follow God.
This holy festival also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Every Muslim must complete the Hajj pilgrimage once in their life.
The Hajj pilgrimage can be performed between five and nine days. The second day is the Day of Arafat and the third is Eid ul-Adha.
The Hajj re-enacts what the Prophet Muhammad did in his farewell pilgrimage in AD 632 – this is central to the Islamic faith, the pilgrimage is meant to cleanse sins and bring people closer to God.
If people do not take on the pilgrimage, they are expected to fast instead to earn forgiveness for their sins.