Arafat (äräfätˈ) [key] or Arafa äräfäˈ, granite hill, Saudi Arabia, near Mecca. The hill was an ancient pagan sanctuary and is shrouded in many legends. It is a site for prayers during the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Atop the hill is a minaret, reached by broad stone steps. On the 60th step is a platform with a pulpit from which the khutba (pilgrimage address) is delivered on the Day of Arafa. The hill is also called Jabal ar Rahm [Arab., = mountain of mercy].
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.