Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: I read that on Hajj a pilgrim should also be sure that he has spent any part of the night –even a few minutes-within ‘Arafaat. I need a little clarification. What does ‘a part of the night ‘refer to? Does it mean a time period after sunset or does it mean a time period after complete darkness? Also, usually Hajj guides mention to stand in Arafah until sunset. If someone is waiting for sunset at the boundary of Arafah and just after complete sunset he exits from Arafah boundary then, You may say he has stood a moment in Arafah after sunset instead of a few minutes as mentioned above to do. Did he not discharge his duty?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
Yes, it is mandatory (wajib) to be in Arafat for at least a moment after sunset, i.e., to not depart before sunset. So when maghrib comes in, the pilgrim must be within the area of Arafat. After at least a moment, he may leave.
However, it is also wajib to wait until the head imam leaves before leaving Arafat.
It states in ‘Ascent to Felicity’: “It is mandatory (wajib) to leave both after sunset, as well as after the head imam departs. If one leaves beforehand, he must sacrifice a sheep as expiation, unless he returns to Arafat before sunset and then departs afterwards, in which case he is absolved of the expiation. If the imam himself delays his departure and remains in Arafat after sunset, the pilgrim may leave, since the imam failed to follow the sunna. Finally, in general there is no harm for a pilgrim to wait in Arafat for some time after sunset and after the imam departs, whether due to high traffic or otherwise. Yet to delay departure (after the imam leaves) for a long time without any excuse is considered wrong (isa’a) (Durr, Radd 2:176; Tabyin 2:27).”
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani