Pathways of Faith

Ibn Jubayr Describes the Standing at Arafat during the Hajj

About This Resource

The hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, during Dhu’l Hijjah, the twelfth lunar month in the Islamic calendar, takes place at locations in and around Mecca, including the circumambulation of the Kaaba, the running between Safa and Marwa hills, and traveling to sites in the hills beyond Mecca. On the ninth day of Dhu’l Hijja, pilgrims wearing the ritual white unsewn cloths stand in the plain of Arafat from morning to sunset, praying and asking God’s forgiveness. Ibn Jubayr described this momentous and emotion-laden event in his hajj journey in the year 1184 CE. Ibn Jubayr (1145-1215 CE) lived in Muslim Spain. He set out on the hajj by crossing the Mediterranean to Sicily and Cairo, and visited the Holy Land during the Crusades during the time of Saladin. Ibn Jubayr’s travel narrative was influential and much imitated among Muslim travel writers, in addition to its great value as a historical document. The photograph shows pilgrims in the valley of Arafat, from a series of hajj photographs by Snouck Hurgronje and the physician Abd al-Ghaffar collected in an album, Bilder aus Mekka in the Leiden University Library, published in 1889.


Broadhurst, R.J.C., tr. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. London: Jonathan Cape, 1952, pages 191-193. Image credit: Photograph by Abd al-Ghaffar in C. Snouck Hurgronje. Bilder aus Mekka, Plate XIII. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1889.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #272: Ibn Jubayr Describes the Standing at Arafat during the Hajj", May 21, 2024


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,