From Issue: 1012 [Read full issue]
Standing at Arafat
When you behold the thronging crowds, hear the loud voices speaking in many tongues, and see the various groups following their Imams through the ritual observances, matching their actions to theirs — recall the site of the Resurrection, the gathering of the communities with their Prophets and leaders, each community following its Prophet, aspiring after his intercession, all wavering with equal uncertainty between rejection and acceptance. After that recollection, set your heart on supplication and entreaty to God, Great and Glorious is He, that you may be resurrected in the company of the mercifully successful; make certain your hope of being answered, for the place is noble and mercy reaches all creatures from the majesty of the Divine presence through the venerable hearts of the mainstays of the earth.
The standing-place is never devoid of a generation of the saintly and holy, nor of a generation of the righteous and magnanimous. When their aspirations are joined, their hearts devoted exclusively to humble supplication and entreaty, their hands raised to God, Glorified is He, their necks outstretched and their eyes turned heavenward, as they aspire of one accord in quest of mercy, do not suppose that He will disappoint their hopes, frustrate their endeavour or begrudge them an overwhelming mercy. That is why it is said that it is a most grievous sin to be present at Arafat and to imagine that God, Exalted is He, does not forgive one. It would seem that the conjunction of aspirations, and the strength derived from contiguity with the saintly and holy people assembled from all quarters of the earth, constitute the secret of the Pilgrimage and its ultimate purpose, for there is no way to obtain the mercy of God, Glorified is He, in such abundance as by the conjunction of aspiration and the simultaneous mutual support of all hearts.
"Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship" - Imam al-Ghazali