Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolising the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca.
Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolising the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called 'Jamarat,' the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Final Haj ritual for pilgrims

Muslim pilgrims symbolically stone the devil in the Mina valley as they begin one of the final rituals of the Haj.

MINA, SAUDI ARABIA // Muslim pilgrims symbolically stoned the devil in the Mina valley yesterday, as they launched into the final rituals of the Haj, which this year has drawn 2.8 million devotees.

On Tuesday, pilgrims focused on throwing pebbles at the Jamarat al-Aqaba, the largest of three walls representing Satan. Yesterday, they cast their stones at all three sites.

The stoning rituals continue today before the Haj winds up tomorrow.

"Thank God, I have fulfilled one of the duties of Haj," said Ibrahim al Asaad, 27, from Syria, as he emerged from the Jamarat complex.

"I felt I was really stoning Iblees [an Arabic name for the devil]. I felt I was insulting him and declaring that I shall not follow him," he said.

Iblees in Islamic tradition is a wicked angel who refused Allah's order to prostrate to his creature, Adam, claiming that being created from fire made him superior to Adam, who was made from the soil.

The angel who fell from grace told God he would work endlessly to divert Adam and his offspring from obeying God. He was kicked out of heaven, along with Adam and Eve, after he convinced them to eat the forbidden fruit, according to Islamic tradition.

"I am keeping him away from me," said Khalaf Bayoush, 30, from Syria, after he cast pebbles at the three walls representing Iblees.

"Thank God, I fulfilled my duty," said Yemeni Antar Ahmed, 21.

Crowds surged later in the day as many appeared to follow the prevailing tradition of doing the stoning in the afternoon.

"I cast my stones in the morning. But after I asked scholars, they told me that I should repeat [it]," said Arif al Shuaibi, 21, from Yemen.

Officials sprayed mist over the faithful as they arrived.

Pilgrims had returned overnight to Mina, a tent town that comes to life only during Haj. They came from Mecca, where they had on Tuesday performed the Tawaf circumambulation around the Kaaba, a cube-shaped stone structure towards which Muslims worldwide face for prayer. They had also performed Sa'i, going back and forth between the two stone spots of Safa and Marwah in seven lengths. The ritual is meant to copy the desperate walks of Hagar, wife of Ibrahim, who was seeking water for her son Ismael after he left them in the barren spot.

The Saudi government said that 1,799,601 pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia and 989,798 from inside made the Haj this year, for a total of 2,789,399. The increase was most likely due to a flood of pilgrims without permits. Authorities on Sunday put the number of permits issued to Saudis and citizens of other Gulf states at just 200,000.

No major incidents have so far been registered, a pay-off for the expansion of infrastructure at the sacred sites. The stoning ritual at the Jamarat was marked in the past by stampedes, with hundreds trampled to death in several incidents.

To control the crowds, Saudi authorities built a five-level structure around the three sites, allowing a smooth flow of pilgrims.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National