Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The mistakes that are made on the way from ‘Arafah to Muzdalifah include the following:
When they leave ‘Arafah for Muzdalifah some people push and shove others, and they are in too much of a hurry which sometimes leads to trafiic accidents. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) left ‘Arafah in a calm and dignified manner. He pulled the reins of his she-camel al-Qaswa’ tight so that her head touched the saddle (in order to keep her under perfect control), and he gestured to the people with his hand to slow down. But when he found an empty space ahead of him, he would hasten, and whenever he happened to pass over an elevated tract of sand, he slightly loosened (the camel’s reins) till she climbed up. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) paid attention to what was going on in this journey, but if it is the matter of a choice between going quickly and taking one's time, then taking one's time is preferable.
Some people stop before they reach Muzdalifah, especially those who are walking, because they get tired, and they stay there until they pray Fajr, then they go to Mina. Whoever does that has failed to stay overnight in Muzdalifah, and this is a very serious matter, because staying overnight in Muzdalifah is one of the essential parts of Hajj according to some scholars, and one of the obligatory duties of Hajj according to the majority, and Sunnah according to others. The correct view is that it is one of the obligatory duties of Hajj, and the pilgrim must stay overnight in Muzdalifah, and not leave until the time when it is permissible for him to leave, as we shall see below in sha Allaah.
Some people pray Maghrib and ‘Isha’ on the way in the usual manner, before they reach Muzdalifah. This is contrary to the Sunnah, because when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stopped on the way and urinated and made wudoo’, Usaamah ibn Zayd said to him, “Are you going to pray, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “The prayer is still ahead of you.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1669; Muslim, 1280. And he did not pray until he reached Muzdalifah. He entered it after the time for ‘Isha’ prayer had begun and he prayed Maghrib and ‘Isha’ there, joined at the time of ‘Isha’.
Some people do not pray Maghrib and ‘Isha’ until they reach Muzdalifah, even if the time for ‘Isha’ has ended. This is not permissible; it is haraam and is a major sin, because delaying prayers until the time for them is over is haraam according to the evidence of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, As‑Salaah (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained and defined these times, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allaah, then indeed he has wronged himself”
“And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allaah, then such are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers)”
If a person fears that the time for ‘Isha’ may end before he reaches Muzdalifah, then he has to pray even if he has not yet reached Muzdalifah. He should pray according to his situation: if he is walking, then he should stop and pray, standing, bowing and prostrating. If he is riding and cannot get down then he should pray in his vehicle, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can”
But it is unlikely that he will not be able to get out of his vehicle in this case, because everyone could get out and stand at the side of the road, to the right or the left, and pray.
Whatever the case, it is not permissible for anyone to delay Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayer until the time for ‘Isha’ is over on the grounds that he wants to follow the Sunnah and not pray until he reaches Muzdalifah, because this delay is contrary to the Sunnah, and the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed it, but he still prayed it within the proper time.
Some pilgrims pray Fajr before its time, praying and leaving. This is a serious mistake, because prayer offered before its time is not accepted, rather it is haraam because it is overstepping the limits set by Allaah. Prayers are to offered at set times, the beginning and end of which are defined in sharee’ah, so it is not permissible for anyone to offer a prayer before its time begins.
The pilgrim has to pay attention to this matter, and not pray Fajr until after he is certain or thinks it most likely that the time for Fajr has begun. It is true that he should hasten to pray Fajr in Muzdalifah, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did that, but that does not mean that he should pray it before its time begins. The pilgrim should beware of doing that.
Some pilgrims leave Muzdalifah before they have spent the minimum period of time there, so you see them passing through and not stopping, and saying that just passing through is sufficient. This is a serious mistake, because passing through is not sufficient, rather the Sunnah indicates that the pilgrim should stay in Muzdalifah until he prays Fajr, then he should stop at al-Mash’ar al-Haraam, making du’aa’ to Allaah until it has become very light, then he should set out for Mina. (What is meant by it becoming very light is when the daylight has spread before the sun actually rises). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted a concession to the weak among his family, allowing them to leave Muzdalifah at night. Asma’ bint Abi Bakr used to watch for the setting of the moon, and when the moon disappeared she left Muzdalifah and went to Mina.
This – leaving after the moon has set – should be the criterion, because it was the action of one of the Sahaaabah, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave permission to the weak among his family to leave at night; in this hadeeth he did not give a definition of night, but the actions of the Sahaabi explain that. So the factor that should determine when the weak and others for whom the crowding is difficult should leave Muzdalifah is when the moon sets on the night of the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which is definitely after midnight, when approximately two-thirds of the night have passed.
Some people stay up on the night of Muzdalifah praying qiyaam, reading Qur’aan and reciting dhikr. This is contrary to the Sunnah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not worship Allaah in this manner on this night, rather in Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) that after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had prayed ‘Isha’, he lay down until dawn came, then he prayed Fajr. This indicates that there is no tahajjud or worship or tasbeeh or dhikr or reading Qur’aan on this night.
Some pilgrims stay in Muzdalifah until the sun has risen, and they pray Salaat al-Shurooq or al-Ishraaq, then they leave after that. This is a mistake because it involves going against the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and is in accordance with the ways of the mushrikeen. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) left Muzdalifah before the sun rose, when it had become very light, but the mushrikoon used to wait until the sun rose.
Whoever stays in Muzdalifah worshipping Allaah until the sun rises is imitating the mushrikeen and is going against the Sunnah of the greatest of the Messengers (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).