MV: Uhffff…yes! School is over….for 4 days atleast, thank Allah! But seriously what do we Muslims have to look forward for the following days? Well…Tomorrow is a special day for both Americans and Muslims. For Americans there’s Thanksgiving which is a day Americans celebrate to be thankful, so Alhumdoillah this is a nice day for Muslims as well, as we can be thankful to Allah (STW)…but on top of that, that same day us Muslims fast on (optional but helpful) as its the 10th day of Zil-Hajj and fasting that day gets the same reward as fasting for 2 years…!! So whos having turkey for Iftari?
This Thanksgiving holiday coincides this year with part of the annual Hajj (Pilgrimage) that Muslims participate in.
The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage that all Muslims are required to perform once in their lifetime, if able. The Hajj is a journey that takes place in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrims performing Hajj go to the city of Mecca and sometimes travel through Medina or Jeddah. The Hajj is performed from the 7th to the 13th days of the month Dhu Al-Hijjah in the Islamic Calendar year. This is the 12th month of this lunar calendar. A series of rituals are performed during the Hajj.
Interestingly this year 2009, one of those rituals, the Day of ‘Arafah, seems to be coinciding with Thanksgiving Day. On the Day of ‘Arafah, the 9th day of the Dhu al-Hijjah, Muslims who are on Hajj spend the day praying on the plain of ‘Arafah. Those who are not able to make the Hajj traditionally spend their day of ‘Arafah fasting. This is not an obligatory fast. The fast for Muslims lasts from the first obligatory prayer of the day (Fajr) to the evening prayer (Mahgrib). This is about an hour and a half before the sunrises to sunset. This fast is done in preparation for the three festive days that follow the Hajj. These days are called ‘Eid al-Adha. These days are most celebratory for the Muslim, like Christmas and Easter would be for the Christian or Yom Kippur for the Jew.
There are many benefits to the Muslim fast on the day of ‘Arafah. “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘ashûra, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.” [ Reported by all except al-Bukhârî and Tirmidhî] A prayer traditionally offered on this day is :”‘None has the right to be worshipped except God, alone, without partner. To Him belongs all praise and sovereignty and He is over all things omnipotent.’
While others are spending their day eating and filling their stomachs, many Muslims will be fasting and seeking to purify themselves. So, when you see Muslims fasting on Thanksgiving this year, do not be alarmed, you know why.