Question: Which day is the Day of Arafah, and what is the virtue of it?
A blessed day is named after the day that follows, but the night of Arafah and the nights of Eid al-Adha are exceptions. These four nights are the nights that follow these days. Only the 9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah is called Arafah. No other day is called Arafah.
Some deeds to be done on the Day of Arafah are as follows:
1. From Salat al-Fajr on the Day of Arafah until after Salat al-Asr on the fourth day, which amounts to 23 salats in all, it is wajib for everyone, men and women alike, performing salat whether individually or in jama'at to say the takbir-i tashriq (Allahu akbar,
Allahu akbar. La ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar. Allahu akbar wa
lillahil-hamd) once immediately after saying the salam but before saying “Allahumma antas-salam …" It is not necessary to say it after leaving the mosque or if you have talked (after salat). (Halabi)
2. It brings thawab to fast on the first 9 days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, but it brings much more thawab to fast on the Day of Arafah. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(Whoever fasts on the Day of Arafah, he is given twice as much thawab as the number of all humans who lived from Adam alaihis-salam until the time when Sur is blown.) [R. Nasihin]
(The fast observed on the Day of Arafah is equal to [voluntary] fasts of a thousand days.) [Tabarani]
(The fast observed on Arafah equals emancipating two thousand slaves, sacrificing two thousand camels and giving two thousand horses for jihad in the way of Allah.) [T. Ghafilin]
(Whoever recites [Surah] Ikhlas [with Basmala before each] on the Day of Arafah, his sins are forgiven and his du’a is accepted.) [Abu ash-Shaikh]
(The fast observed on the Day of Arafah is expiation for the sins of the previous and following years.) [Muslim]
(Shaitan is not seen more despicable, more contemptible, viler and more venomous on any other than he is on the Day of Arafah.) [Imam-i Malik]
(Allahu ta’ala looks at His slaves on the Day of Arafah. He forgives whoever has an iota of iman.) [Ghunya]
(The doors of mercy open at four nights. Du’a and seeking forgiveness performed on these days are not rejected. They are the first nights of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the Night of Barat, and the Night of Arafa.) [Isfahani]
(He who does acts of worship on the Night of Arafah will be free from Hell.) [Se’adet-i Ebediyye]
Learning 'ilm as an act of worship is the most virtuous. Reading an 'ilm-i hal book is the best way of learning 'ilm.
3. One should consider it a chance and make du’a. A hadith-i sharif says:
(The virtuous du’a is that which is made on the Day of Arafah.) [Bayhaqi]
4. One should spend the Day of Arafah worshiping, making remembrance of Allah, meditating (tafakkur), doing good to humans. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(Respect the Day of Arafah. It is a day blessed by Allahu ta’ala.) [Daylami] (Respecting it is to avoid committing sins.)
(On the Day of Arafah, he who controls his ears, his eyes, and his tongue will be forgiven.) [Tabarani]
Controlling the ears is not to listen to backbiting, musical instruments, and other prohibited things. If one has heard it involuntarily, it is not a sin on one. Controlling the eyes is not to look at prohibited things and to draw a lesson from when one looks at permitted things. Controlling one’s tongue is not to lie, not to backbite, not to spread gossip, not to say bad things, even to avoid idle talk, and not to offend anyone with the tongue. One who abides by these things is considered to avail oneself of the Day of Arafah.
Question: It is stated in a hadith-i sharif: “Whoever recites [Surah] Ikhlas [Basmala before each] on the Day of Arafah, his sins are forgiven, and his du’a is accepted.” When we recite them, is there anything wrong with talking out of necessity or doing something else and then continue?
No, there is nothing wrong with it. It is not a condition to recite them one after another. For example, one can recite some of them in the morning and the rest in the afternoon or late afternoon.