Wuquf ‘Arafat

Mount ‘Arafat in Futuh al-haramayn, (16th century, Iran)

Mount ‘Arafat in Futuh al-haramyn, (16th century, Iran)

British Library, Or 1153, fol. 27b

The illustration in Futuh al-haramayn accompanies the verses of Muhyi al-Din Lari. It shows ‘Arafat on the day of the wuquf (standing) which takes place from noon until dusk on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijja.

A farsakh, more or less, from Muzdalifa
is an area empty as Non-being itself.
Its expanse is greater than the pilgrims’ hearts
each of whom is now absorbed in his own business.
Though it lies beyond the haram boundaries,
it is the gateway-place for all those caravans.
Enter this area, with full sincerity,
making your supplications, and behold …
Its skirts are filled with the Compassion of God;
around it mankind and angels assemble.
Its shadow betoken the cool shade that God
provides in the courtyards od Paradise.
Though smaller in form that other mountains,
in meaning it is higher than all of them.
Translated by Muhammad Isa Waley (The Art of Hajj, 2012)

The Vigil at ‘Arafat

The Vigil at ‘Arafat

Newsha Tavakolian, 2008

The place of assembly of the Hajj and the locus of blessings, ‘Arafat, the mine of God’s mercy.
H.A. Mirza, 1907

At the end of the first day of Hajj (8th day of Dhu al-Hijja) pilgrims will proceed to the tented city of Mina, and camp there overnight. On the following day, they travel to the plain of ‘Arafat. Pilgrims stay at ‘Arafat until dusk, here the pilgrim will stay in contemplation and prayer, an act known as wuquf (meaning standing). This is the most important part of Hajj, where Muslims make their commitment to dedicate themselves to the principles of Islam, which lie behind the Five Pillars. If any pilgrim misses the wuquf, their Hajj is not valid and has to be done again another year. According to Islamic tradition, ‘Arafat is the place where Adam and Eve were reunited following their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. ‘Arafat is also the place where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his Farewell Sermon.

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council