Muslims ‘Stone the Devil’ in Hajj Ritual

News Desk2 weeks ago

This year, the 1.8 million Muslims who are making the trip will start at dawn and throw seven stones at each of the three concrete walls in the Mina valley, which represent the devil and are situated outside of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

The ceremony honors the three locations where it is supposed Satan attempted to talk Prophet Abraham out of following God’s command to offer his son as a sacrifice.

Throughout the years, there have been several stampedes during the stoning rite; the most recent occurred in 2015, when the deadliest hajj calamity claimed the lives of up to 2,300 pilgrims. Since then, the location has undergone renovations to improve crowd flow.

In the plain of Muzdalifah, halfway between Mina and Arafat, pilgrims gathered stones and slept under the stars on Saturday night after spending the day praying outside in 46 degree Celsius (114.8 degree Fahrenheit) heat.

“It was extremely hot,” stated 60-year-old Gambian resident in the US Rohy Daiseca. “Thank God, I splashed a lot of water on my head, and it worked out fine.”

Despite the difficult circumstances, worshippers have made an effort to enjoy what for many is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to offer prayers at the holiest sites in Islam.

Read more: PIA Successfully Completes Pre-Hajj Flight Operations

“I am so happy that words cannot express how I feel,” Egyptian woman Amal Mahrouss, 55, said.

“This location demonstrates to us that there are no differences among Muslims worldwide and that we are all equal.”

All Muslims who have the means must perform the hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, at least once.

The number of pilgrims this year, 1.8 million, is comparable to that of last year. 1.6 million of them, according to Saudi authorities on Saturday, are foreign nationals.


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