Is it correct to say that the reward for fasting the day of Arafah is a year of sins being forgiven?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes, the Hadith mentions the previous and upcoming year.

صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ، وَالسَّنَةَ الَّتِي بَعْدَهُ

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘I hope from Allah (Most High) that fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, expiates for the sins of the year before it and the year after it.(Sahih Muslim, 1162 – 196).

Amongst the rewards for fasting on the day of Arafah is forgiveness of sins, there are many other rewards too and the general rewards related to fasting are also applicable here. It is important to keep in mind that most Hadith that speak of sins being forgiven due to particular acts of piety usually refer to minor sins and not major sins.

قَالَ إِمَامُ الْحَرَمَيْنِ: وَالْمُكَفَّرُ الصَّغَائِرُ، قَالَ الْقَاضِيَ عِيَاضٌ: وَهُوَ مَذْهَبُ أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَمَاعَةِ، وَأَمَّا الْكَبَائِرُ فَلَا يُكَفِّرُهَا إِلَّا التَّوْبَةُ، أَوْ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ، قَلْتُ: رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ تَحْتَمِلُ أَنْ تَكُونَ بِمُكَفِّرٍ وَبِغَيْرِهِ، وَقَالَ النَّوَوِيُّ: قَالُوا: الْمُرَادُ بِالذُّنُوبِ الصَّغَائِرُ، وَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنِ الصَّغَائِرُ يُرْجَى تَخْفِيفُ الْكَبَائِرِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ رُفِعَتِ الدَّرَجَاتُ. (مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح).

Imam al-Haramayn said, the expiation (mentioned in the Hadith) refers to minor sins. Qadi Iyaad said, this is the position of Ahl Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. As for the major sins, only Towbah (repentance) expiates for them, or the Mercy of Allah (Most High). I (Imam Ali al-Qari) say, the Mercy of Allah (Most High) may refer to a specific expiator or other than it. (Imam) al-Nawawi said, what is intended by sins, is minor sins. If there are no minor sins, then it is hoped that the burden of major sins will be lightened. If that is not the case, then ones station will be elevated. (Imam Ali al-Qari, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

And Allah (Most High) knows best.

 – Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (09.07.2021)

See also:

Increasing Worship During Dhul Hijjah

Legal Ruling for Udhiyah (Qurbani)

Cutting Hair & Nails in Dhil Hijjah

Takbeer Tashreeq

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