﴿فَإِذَآ أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَـتٍ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللَّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ﴾
(Then when you leave `Arafat, remember Allah (by glorifying His praises, i.e., prayers and invocations) at the Mash`ar-il-Haram.)
`Arafat is the place where one stands during the Hajj and it is a pillar of the rituals of Hajj. Imam Ahmad and the Sunan compilers recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin Ya`mar Ad-Diyli said that he heard Allah's Messenger saying:
«الْحَجُّ عَرَفَاتٌ ثَلَاثًا فَمَنْ أَدْرَكَ عَرَفَةَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَطْلُعَ الْفَجْرُ فَقَدْ أَدْرَكَ، وَأَيَّامُ مِنًى ثَلَاثَــةٌ، فَمَنْ تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَنْ تَأَخَّر فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيه»
(Hajj is `Arafat, (thrice). Hence, those who have stood at `Arafat before dawn will have performed (the rituals of the Hajj). The days of Mina are three, and there is no sin for those who move on after two days, or for those who stay.)
The time to stand on `Arafat starts from noon on the day of `Arafah until dawn the next day, which is the day of the Sacrifice (the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah). The Prophet stood at `Arafat during the Farewell Hajj, after he had offered the Zuhr (noon) prayer, until sunset. He said, "Learn your rituals from me.'' In this Hadith (i. e., in the previous paragraph) he said, "Whoever stood at `Arafat before dawn, will have performed (the rituals of Hajj).'' c`Urwah bin Mudarris bin Harithah bin Lam At-Ta'i said, "I came to Allah's Messenger at Al-Muzdalifah when it was time to pray. I said, `O Messenger of Allah! I came from the two mountains of Tayy', and my animal became tired and I became tired. I have not left any mountain, but stood on it. Do I have a valid Hajj' Allah's Messenger said:
«مَنْ شَهِدَ صَلَاتَنَا هذِهِ، فَوَقَفَ مَعَنَا حَتَّى نَدْفَعَ، وَقَدْ وَقَفَ بِعَرَفَةَ قَبْلَ ذلِكَ لَيْلًا أَوْ نَهارًا فَقَدْ تَمَّ حَجُّهُ وَقَضَى تَفَثَه»
(Whoever performed this prayer with us, stood with us until we moved forth, and had stood at `Arafat before that, day or night, will have performed the Hajj and completed its rituals).''
This Hadith was collected by Imam Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunan, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sلahih. It was reported that the mount was called `Arafat because, as `Abdur-Razzaq reported that `Ali bin Abu Talib said, "Allah sent Jibril to Prophet Ibrahim and he performed Hajj for him (to teach him its rituals). When Ibrahim reached `Arafat he said, `I have `Araftu (I know this place).' He had come to that area before. Thereafter, it was called `Arafat.'' Ibn Al-Mubarak said that `Ata' said, "It was called `Arafat because Jibril used to teach Ibrahim the rituals of Hajj. Ibrahim would say, `I have `Araftu, I have `Araftu.' It was thereafter called `Arafat.'' Similar statements were attributed to Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar and Abu Mijlaz. Allah knows best.
`Arafat is also called Al-Mash`ar Al-Haram, Al-Mash`ar Al-Aqsa and Ilal, while the mount that is in the middle of `Arafat is called Jabal Ar-Rahmah (Mount of Mercy).