Muzdalifah, also known as al-Mashar al-Haram, is a valley-like open area located between Mina and Mount Arafat. Muzdalifah is also mentioned in the Quran. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)says in Surah Baqrah:
“But when you depart from ʿArafāt, remember Allāh at al-Mashʿar al-Ḥarām.2 And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray.”2:198
The walk from Mina to Muzdalifah is an important spiritual aspect of Hajj. On the 9th of Dhul Hijjah at Muzdalifah, pilgrims, in accordance with Islamic history, spend the night at Muzdalifah and engage in acts of worship and supplication.
At Muzdalifah, pilgrims will offer their Maghrib and Isha prayers, get some sleep after a physically challenging day at the Arafat, offer Fajr prayer, and spend time in supplication.
There are several reasons why Muslims undertake this journey, from being a symbol of sacrifice and submission to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) to displaying a sense of brotherhood and unity. But most importantly, the walk from Mina to Muzdalifah is also undertaken to follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as he had also walked from Mina to Muzdalifah on Hajj.
What is Muzdalifah?
Located in the Hejazi region in Saudi Arabia near Makkah, Muzdalifah is an open area that covers an area of 12.25 kilometers. The valley extends from the mountains of Ma’zamayn to the valley of Muhassar.
During Hajj on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims walk a 7-10 kilometers walk from Mina to Muzdalifah to spend the night under the open sky worshipping Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and making the most of their Hajj journey.
Although Muzdalifah is different than Mina in comparison to the accommodation and environment prospects, it is an essential part of Hajj. Unlike Mina, you won’t find tents or living adjustments to stay at.
Although the area is well-lit, it can still get difficult to distinguish between people due to the crowd after dark. So, as soon as you reach Muzdalifah, whether you through walking or by bus, make sure to be careful and stick close to your companions. If you’re a woman traveling with a mahram, stay close to your family.
Stay at Muzdalifah
After arriving at Muzdalifah, there are several things you will want to do, including freshening up for the night. Toilets and wadhu facilities are easily accessible. However, due to the overcrowding of people, there are queues, so you should expect to wait patiently for your turn.
Another tip is to use the toilets at Arafat before your departure to avoid any complications.
After you’ve freshened yourself up, it’s time to prepare for your night at Muzdalifah and ensure you make the best of it. You can do this by practicing the following activities:
- Pray at Mashar Al-Haram: Mashar Al-Haram, also known as ”The Sacred Grove,” is a mosque located in Muzdalifah. Located in an area where an ancient mountain used to be, you can make the most of your night at Muzdalifah by staying and praying at the Mashar Al-Haram.
- Get rest: to be active on the rest of your journey, make sure you get rest some rest while you stay at Muzdalifah, eat well, and also keep yourself hydrated.
- Take a walk: if you’re feeling well-rested and are done with your Salah, take a walk in the open area of Muzdalifah, the populous area that can be fascinating to witness during the 9th However, make sure to carry a mobile phone and flashlight with you to avoid any issues in case you get lost.
The Prophet’s Time at Muzdalifah
During the Prophet’s (ﷺ) journey of Hajj, he departed to Muzdalifah as soon as dawn rose after the Fajrsalah. He moved towards the hill at Mashar Al-Haram. There, he repeated the Talibyah in remembrance of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and did wudhu.
Afterward, the Azhan and Iqama to the Maghrib prayer were called, and the Prophet (ﷺ) prayed his salah. Then, the Iqama has performed again, and the Isha prayer was read in Qasr. Qasr refers to the practice of shortening one’s prayer, especially when traveling long distances. So, the Ishasalah was reduced to two rakats, and no nafl prayers were performed between the two salah.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
The Prophet (ﷺ) offered the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers together at Jam’ (i.e., Al-Muzdalifa) with a separate Iqama for each of them and did not offer any optional prayer in between them or after each of them. – Sahih al-Bukhari 1673
The Prophet (ﷺ) then rested until sunrise, after which he led the Fajrsalah. However, after the moon had set, he allowed some people who were physically unable to walk fast, such as children, women, and the elderly, to return to Mina at night instead of the next day,
Narrated Aisha (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَاا):
We got down at Al-Muzdalifa, and Sauda asked the permission of the Prophet (ﷺ) to leave (early) before the rush of the people. She was a slow woman, and he gave her permission, so she departed (from Al- Muzdalifa) before the rush of the people. We kept on staying at Al-Muzdalifa till dawn and set out with the Prophet (ﷺ), but (I suffered so much that) I wished I had taken the permission of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as Sauda had done, and that would have been dearer to me than any other happiness. – Sahih al-Bukhari 1681
The Prophet (ﷺ),after observing his Fajrsalah mounted on al-Qaswa, his camel and paid a visit to Mashar al-Haram, where he spent a brief time in supplication to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) before his departure towards Mina. The Prophet (ﷺ) also picked up seven pebbles and recited the Talbiyah throughout his journey.
Collection of Pebbles
Although the pebbles that are used to stone the shaytan at the Jamrah can also be collected at Mina or a nearby area, if you want to follow the example of the Prophet (ﷺ), you can collect them at the Muzdalifah before your journey back to Mina.
You need to collect 49 pebbles to perform Rami for the 10th, 11th, and 12thDhulHijjah.
- 7 of the 49 stones will be used on the 10th Dhul Hijjah
- 21 of the remaining stones will be used on the 11th Dhul Hijjah
- 21 of the remaining stones will be used on the 12th Dhul Hijjah
To collect the stones, you can walk to the hills using the flashlight of your mobile phone and collect the pebbles from a clean area. Store these pebbles safely in a bag you have bought with you. If you do not have a bag, you can also use plastic bags or a water bottle.
Fajr At Muzdalifah
Wake up at the earliest part of dawn and perform wudhu for the Fajrsalah. You can either keep a full water bottle with you during the night to perform wudhu or use the toilet facilities available if you’re satisfied with using them.
However, be mindful of the queues. To avoid the crowd, it is recommended to wake up early to get done with your wadhu in time. You will be able to hear the Azaan from Mashar Al-Haram. However, just in case, remember that Fajr Azaan happens around 5 minutes later in Muzdalifah in comparison to Makkah.
You can also follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) by performing Wuquf in Muzdalifah for a short period of time while standing in the direction of the Qibla.
Due to the shortness of time, your coach operator may ask you to hurry and leave early. In this case, you can offer your supplications and make your prayers while standing in the queue.
Importance of Muzdalifah
The place of Muzdalifah holds special significance in the context of Hajj. It is mandatory for pilgrims to stay at Muzdalifah from dawn to sunrise on the day of Eid-ul-Adha. The walk from Mina to Muzdalifah symbolizes the sacrifice and commitment that pilgrims undertake during their Hajj journey. The journey is also physically and mentally challenging irrespective of age group, gender, and race. It signifies the hardship pilgrims willingly endure in their devotion and love for (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى), as well as their willingness to leave behind the worldly comforts and materials and focus on their deen.
Moreover, the journey from Mina to Muzdalifah offers a glorious opportunity for pilgrims to come together from all over the world and unite. This symbolizes the sense of brotherhood and solidarity among Muslims as thousands of pilgrims go through this journey side by side; it also signifies a sense of camaraderie among the Muslim Ummah.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’re going on the blessed journey of Hajj for the very first time, it is common for hundreds of queries to fill up your mind regarding the journey, including about your walk to Muzdalifah, what you should expect during the journey, your night stay at Muzdalifah, and awaits you the next day.
Therefore, we’ve decided to answer the most commonly asked questions pilgrims may have regarding their journey.
What is the walking distance from Mina to Muzdalifah?
The walking distance from Mina to Muzdalifah is from 7 to 10km. This means you will be walking more than 10,000 steps. So, make sure to wear comfortable shoes that will enable you to walk with ease and also carry water with you to keep yourself hydrated during the walk.
Is it compulsory to walk from Mina to Muzdalifah?
Walking from Mina to Muzdalifah is mandatory for every pilgrim as it is an obligatory duty of Hajj. Moreover, it is also Sunnah. Therefore, every pilgrim must walk from Mina to Muzdalifah and spend the night in Muzdalifah until it is appropriate for him to leave, such as after he has prayed the Fajrsalah.
Narrated Salman bin Shawwal:
“Umm Habibah told him that the Prophet told her to leave Jam (Al-Muzdalifah) for Mina at the end of the night.” – Sunan an-Nasa’I 3035
However, if, due to any physical disability, illness, or disease, a pilgrim is unable to take a physically challenging walk, he or she should choose other means of travel, such as traveling by coach or bus, to travel from Mina to Muzdalifah.
Did the Prophet Muhammad walk from Mina to Muzdalifah?
After the Prophet (ﷺ) had performed the HajjatulWida, he set off for Muzdalifah from Mount Arafat and walked his way to Muzdalifah. He performed the Talbiyah, did his wudhu, and prayed the Maghrib and Isha salah at Muzdalifah.
Is transportation available for pilgrims who are unable to walk the distance?
If you or a loved one is unable to walk the distance from Mina to Muzdalifah, there is transportation available in Mina to help make your journey easier. One of the most convenient ways to travel is the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro, also known as the Hajj Metro.
The Hajj metro is an air-conditioned modern rail service that transports pilgrims between holy sites during Hajj. These sites include Makkah, Mina, Mount Arafat, and Muzdalifah.
You will also find other transport services, such as buses, available to provide transport to Muzdalifah. However, routes taken by pilgrims during Hajj are often always crowded, and it is common for buses and coaches to encounter traffic and remain stuck in it for hours. So, we recommend being mindful of traffic during peak hours.
Are there specific guidelines or instructions to follow during the walk?
To ensure your walk remains peaceful and convenient, wear comfortable shoes and stay close to your family to avoid getting lost. The walk from Mina to Muzdalifah is crowded with pilgrims, and it is not uncommon for many pilgrims to lose their families during the walk and get lost.
Another common mistake people make when leaving Mount Arafat is that they shove and push other pilgrims as they’re in a hurry. This is strictly forbidden. The Prophet (ﷺ) left Arafat in a calm manner. He pulled the reins of al-Qaswa tightly to keep her under proper control and even gestured for people to slow down. He would only hasten up during his journey when he would see the area in front of him is empty.Therefore, to follow the footsteps of the Prophet (ﷺ), you must ensure to undertake your journey in a calm and dignified manner to not trouble other pilgrims.
What should I bring with me on the walk from Mina to Muzdalifah?
Some items will make your way from Mina to Muzdalifah more convenient. So, make sure to take the following items along with you on your walk:
- Flashlight to manage through the dark areas with little to no lightening
- Water to keep yourself hydrated during the walk
- Dry fruit, biscuits, dates, and protein bars to keep you energetic during the walk
- Ear plugs and a sleeping mask for your overnight stay in Muzdalifah, especially if you are a light sleeper as you will be sharing your space with others
- Mobile phone, charger, and portable battery pack to contact your family in case you get lost
- An inflatable air mattress or sleeping would be highly useful to make your sleep more peaceful in Muzdalifah.
- Medications such as painkillers
Can women, the elderly, or individuals with physical limitations participate in the walk?
Yes, women, the elderly, and children with physical limitations can certainly choose to either participate in the walk or choose to travel through other means of transport, such as the metro or by bus. The Prophet (ﷺ) had also permitted women, children, and the elderly to return.
What are some recommended supplications or prayers to recite during the walk?
As you proceed towards Muzdalifah, recite the Talbiyah as the Prophet (ﷺ) had done upon his arrival in Muzdalifah.
Recite the Talbiyah by reciting:
Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk, labbayk laa shareeka laka labbayk, ‘innal-hamda, wanni’mata, laka walmulk, laa shareeka laka
Ever at Your service, O Allah, every at Your service. Ever at Your Service, You have no partner ever at Your service. Verily all praise, blessings, and dominions are Yours. You have no partner. – Hisn al-Muslim 223
What is the significance of spending the night in Muzdalifah?
The foremost significance of spending the night at Muzdalifah can be realized by the fact that it is a sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ). Reported Jabir:
Jabir reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying,”I halted here in ‘Arafah, and the whole of ‘Arafah is a place of halting. I halted here in Al Muzdalifah, and the whole of Al Muzdalifah is a place of halting. I sacrificed the animals here, and the whole of Mina is a place of sacrifice. So, sacrifice in your dwellings.”
Spending the night at Muzdalifah is a duty of a pilgrim, which can only be compensated for, if a pilgrim misses it by slaughtering a sheep in the area of the haram and distributing its meat among the poor or deserving ones.
Moreover, a pilgrim spends his or her entire day walking toward Mina. Spending the night in Muzdalifah offers pilgrims an opportunity to get some rest and refresh themselves. The night stay at Muzdalifah can be taken as a sign of Allah’s pity and mercy for his pilgrims for the labor he or she does during the day. Muzdalifah is also the place where pilgrims spend the night collecting pebbles to stone shaytan. Every pilgrim’s heart gets filled with supplications and resolutions as they collect the pebbles to stone the shaytan the next day.
Conclusion for why do Muslims Walk from Mina to Muzdalifah?
From following the footsteps of the beloved Prophet (ﷺ) to fulfilling the mandatory duties of Hajj – there are several reasons why the walk from Mina to Muzdalifah.
One of the five mandatory pillars of Islam, Hajj can be considered the most divine ritual for Muslims. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) says in the Quran:
“The first House [of worship] to be established for people was the one at Mecca. It is a blessed place, a source of guidance for all people;there are clear signs in it; it is the place where Abraham stood to pray; whoever enters it is safe. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to God by people who can undertake it. Those who reject this [should know that] God has no need of anyone.” – Surah Ali Imran 96-97
Therefore, if you’re proceeding towards your Hajj journey, make sure to fill out all your obligatory Hajj duties thoroughly and remember to pray for prosperity and well-being for Muslims around the world.