Hajj pilgrims perform stoning of the devil ritual
Mina/Makkah—Muslim pilgrims reached Mina on Monday for the ritual stoning of the devil, the last major rite of the Hajj.
Pilgrims threw pebbles they had gathered in nearby Muzdalifah on Sunday evening at walls representing the devil.
Saudi King Salman arrived in Mina on Sunday to ensure the pilgrims can “perform their rituals easily, conveniently and safely”, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
He was also briefed on preparations for the safe movement of pilgrims between Muzdalifah and Mina.
The stoning ritual is performed three times over the coming days.
The first comes at the start of Eid al-Azha, the feast of sacrifice, which is marked by more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
After the stoning, sheep are slaughtered and the meat distributed to needy Muslims, symbolising willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail on the orders of Allah, who provided a lamb in the boy’s place at the last moment. The stoning ritual emulates the actions of Ibrahim in resisting the temptation to disobey.
Helicopters have been monitoring the flow of pilgrims, while police have been directing them on the ground to make sure there are no bottlenecks.
Pilgrims say they feel safe and have noticed organisational improvements.
“The Saudis organise everything for us. We are truly at ease here,” Youssef al-Mehri, 24, from Oman said with a prayer rug slung over his shoulder.
Meanwhile, Eidul Azha, the Muslim feast following Hajj, was celebrated in Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, United States of America and Europe including Britain and France on Monday.
In Saudi Arabia major Eid congregations were held in the holy mosques Masjid-ul-Haram and Masjid-e-Nabvi.
Large number of Muslims attended the Eid prayers, where special prayers were offered for the unity among the Muslim Ummah and peace in the world.
In Britain, some Muslim organizations have agreed to celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia while some will celebrate the feast with Pakistan on Tuesday.
Nearly two million pilgrims from across the world on Sunday observed the Day of Arafat, an occasion for repentance and supplication considered as the pinnacle of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.—Agencies