The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the day of 'Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the plain of 'Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three days festivity following 'Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrâhîm's willingness of sacrifice).
Abû Hafsah, may Allâh be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (May Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"Fasting on the day of 'Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on 'ashûra, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years." [Reported by all except al-Bukhârî and Tirmidhî]
In another saying the Prophet's wife Hafsah, may Allâh be pleased with her, said:
"Four things the Messenger of Allâh never neglected: Observing fast on the day of 'ashûra, 'Arafat, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning." [Muslim]
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