Hajj pilgrims take part in ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual

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Hajj pilgrims took part in the ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual early on Wednesday on the first day of Eid al-Adha.

As part of the ritual, pilgrims throw pebbles at three large pillars that mark the places where the devil tried to interrupt Ibrahim’s sacrifice.

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The Jamarat area is a notorious spot for surging crowds. However, in recent years, Saudi Arabia has significantly improved the infrastructure and safety measures to prevent stampedes and overcrowding.

The Saudi government has implemented various measures, such as expanding the size of the Jamarat area and providing more facilities and guidance, to ensure the smooth flow of pilgrims during the stoning ritual.

Why do pilgrims stone the devil?

The stoning of the devil ritual commemorates an event from the life of Prophet Ibrahim.

According to Islamic tradition as Ibraham prepared to sacrifice his son for God, Satan appeared to him three times, attempting to dissuade him from obeying God's command. In response, Ibrahim stoned the devil on each occasion, rejecting his temptations.

Pilgrims perform the stoning ritual on the 10th, 11th, and 12th days of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah, which are known as the days of Tashreeq.

During these three days, pilgrims gather in Mina and proceed to throw pebbles at the pillars.

More than 1.8 pilgrims perform Hajj

The annual Hajj pilgrimage saw 1,845,045 pilgrims take part in the Islamic ritual this year, including 1,660,915 who came from outside the Kingdom and 184,130 citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia.

Pilgrims gather around the Kaaba to pray during Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)
Pilgrims gather around the Kaaba to pray during Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Twitter)

The pilgrimage to Mecca – the largest religious gathering in the world – used to see about 2.6 million people perform the ritual every year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hajj is mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it.

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Hajj 2023: Why is the Day of Arafat the pinnacle of the pilgrimage to Mecca?

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