Pilgrims stone the devil as million-strong Haj winds down


King Salman prays for pilgrims in traditional Eid address

Pilgrims cast pebbles in the stoning of the devil ritual on Saturday, as this year’s expanded Haj pilgrimage was winding down.

From first light, small groups of worshippers made their way across the valley of Mina, near Makkah, to throw stones at three concrete walls representing Satan.

This year, participation was capped at one million fully vaccinated worshippers. Authorities said on Friday that almost 900,000 were in attendance, nearly 780,000 of them from abroad.

After the stoning ritual, pilgrims return to the Grand Mosque in Makkah to perform a final tawaf, or circling of the Kaaba. Eidul Azha, the feast of the sacrifice that begins on Saturday, marks the end of Haj. Groups of worshippers, many holding umbrellas against the fierce sun, recited verses from the Holy Quran on the rocky rise where the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) gave his final sermon.

After sunset, they travelled the short distance to Muzdalifah, where they slept under the stars before performing the stoning ritual.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman delivered his traditional greetings on Saturday as the Muslim world celebrated Eid.

In an address on Saudi state television, King Salman noted that the Kingdom had been able to increase the number of pilgrims this year to a total of a million — from inside and outside the country — due to positive efforts made in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that precautionary measures were still being taken into account to ensure the safety of pilgrims.

The king prayed to Allah to accept the Hajj of all the pilgrims and praised the efforts of everyone involved in facilitating the annual event.


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