“And complete the Hajj or `Umrah in the service of Allah…” (Al-Baqarah: 196)

Once in a lifetime, if able, Muslim men and women perform the pilgrimage or the Hajj. On a clear morning, 9 Dhul-Hijjah 1421 ( 4 March 2001 ), I was one of thousands who set out towards Arafah. On Arafah, the pinnacle of this sacred journey, I stood with others and marveled at the glory and grandeur of the Most Merciful. Amid the white stream of pilgrims flowing in the direction of `Arafah, my footsteps followed a path so straight and true.

I can still smell the air after the morning Prayer…

A South African group, hoisting our flag aloft, passes us by. An atmosphere of expectancy fills the air as we walk reverently amid the mountains. These majestic mountains, stark in the early daylight, saw the mission of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) completed. This noble person had walked this road.

These mountains of Makkah bore testimony to the revelations. They witnessed the Farewell Pilgrimage. Accompanying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were his illustrious companions, brave men and women who forfeited their homes, families, status, and wealth to join this noble Messenger of Allah in submitting themselves to the One God.

They all walked this road. Their words are our words.

Oh Allah! Here I am present at Your Service

Oh Allah! Here I am present at Your Service

You have no partner

Verily All Praise, All Blessing and Grace and All Sovereignty are Yours

You have no partner

Today I walked on this road. I felt as if this road had beckoned me all my life. Never had I felt so alive. What lay beyond this road was Arafah and knowledge so profound that my words today fail to capture it. The ancient words that filled the air, the mountains, and the very earth we walked upon, carried us all towards Arafah.

I beheld the mosque on Arafah—Masjid Namirah—through the early morning mist. Thousands on foot, in buses and cars heading in the same direction. With purposeful movements men and machine moved towards Arafah.

And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways. (Al-Hajj: 27)

Settled on the plain of Arafah, every soul awaits the sacred time of wuquf (standing on MountArafah). It is a day on which you have no doubts about your place in the world. You had to be here on this day. All is as it should be.


Stripped of our wealth and status, we are clad in simple garments. Our true worth remains hidden, except to the One Who knows us. We place our Creator at the center of our lives, submitting our will to His. We affirm His Oneness, commit our lives to Him. We turn to Him, pouring out our heart’s desires. Why ask elsewhere when He is All-Encompassing, All-Hearing? Subhan Allah!

On Arafah we experience the healing mercy of the Creator. It is a comfort and solace so great that the love of a mother for her new-born babe pales in comparison. The rain that falls on the soil of Arafah soaks into our tired and weary souls, watering the seeds of faith. Al-hamdu lillah.

Smiling faces, glowing hearts, and shining souls stand next to one another—all turned towards the One. For the pilgrim, the journey does not end on `Arafah, it only begins.

My thoughts rest on the past, present, and future. Time stretches and we beseech the Most Merciful, the Hearer of Prayers, for good in this world and the world to come. We ask for ourselves, our families, neighbors, relatives, communities, countries, and Ummah. We ask and beg and plead and cry and crumble and He answers. Allahu Akbar!

The sun starts to sink and the rays of sunlight touch the faces of the submitters.

Oh Allah, now to return…

We dwell in a world trapped in a haze of confusion. The lines between right and wrong are a blur. We are coaxed and wooed to pursue our desires—unchecked, unbridled, and unguided.

We renew our pledge to Our Lord on `Arafah. As the sun sets, we promise to strive to the best of our ability in His path and to emulate the life of His noble Messenger. We implore Him for His grace and assistance, and we open our hearts and minds to His guidance and mercy.

Without a doubt, there will be difficult times.

Arafah is a reminder to prepare for another day of standing. The day we look to with hope and fear. So until that Day of Standing, beyondArafah, all we have to do is to take a stand.

I stood on `Arafah. I cannot believe that any soul harbored a doubt about the might of the Creator. We felt the love and mercy that rained upon us as we humbled ourselves before our Lord.

Arafah is a day of revelation. The message it reveals is simple: Turn to Allah. Repent to Allah. Submit to Allah. Yet this message is the key to the lock that entraps us all. It is a key to finding ourselves. Arafah is true knowledge. Submit.

Whoever submits his whole self to Allah and is a doer of good has grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold; and with Allah rests the End and Decision of (all) affairs. (Luqman: 22)