Question: Asalamu Alaikum.
I wanted to know whether one is supposed to fast on the day of Arafah according to the Saudi calender i.e the day Arafah is observed in Saudi Arabia ,or one’s own country? in our country arafah is probably on the 5th of October. The differences in dates is a bit confusing. Requesting for some guidance regarding when to fast keeping the niyaah for Arafah and please mention some virtues of keeping this fast as well.
Answer: Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
One will fast on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah (which is the day of Arafah) in accordance to the sighting that he accepts and follows in his country.
Here, in Trinidad the 9th of Dhul HIjjah will be on Saturday 4th October 2014 based on when the Crescent was sighted to commence the Month of Dhul Hijjah.
As for the virtues of Arafah, the Prophet (s.a.w) is reported to have said:
مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَنْ يُعْتِقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهِ، عَبْدًا مِنَ النَّارِ، مِنْ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَدْنُو عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، ثُمَّ يُبَاهِي بِهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ، فَيَقُولُ: مَا أَرَادَ هَؤُلَاءِ
“There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafah. On that day, Allah draws near to the earth, and by way of exhibiting His greatness and grandeur, says to the angels, “What is the desire of these servants of mine?”
In another tradition, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) is reported to have said, ‘Besides the day on which the battle of Badr occurred, there is no other day on which Satan is seen more humiliated, rejected, depressed and more enraged (angered) than on the day of Arafah. All of this occurs only because of the abundance of Allah’s mercy and His forgiveness to His servants which descend on this day.’
With respect to the day of Arafah, the Prophet (S.A.S) also spoke highly of the virtue of observing the fast of this day (for non-pilgrims).
About this, he said,
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ وَالسَّنَةَ الَّتِي بَعْدَهُ
‘The fast of Arafah expiates the sins of two years, the past and the coming year.’
 Muslim, Hadith No.3288, Pg.568, Darussalam
 Muatta Imam Malik, Hadith No.944, Pg.575, Vol.3, Maktaba Bushra / Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No.12104, Pg.72, Vol.5, Muassasah Rayaan
 Tirmidhi, Hadith No.749, Pg.354, Vol.1, Altaf and Sons / Ibn Majah, Pg.551, Vol.1, Maktaba Tijariya / Similar narration in Muslim, Hadith No.2746, Pg.476, Darussalam.
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.