Jamarat begins for 1 million pilgrims

Pilgrims carry seven pebbles with them and make their way to the first floor of the multi-levelled Jamarat building

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One million pilgrims made their way from Muzdalifah back to Mina for the stoning of the devil ritual at Jamarat.

Pilgrims left Muzdalifah before dawn to arrive in Mina, where they are residing for the pilgrimage. Pilgrims collected rocks from Muzdalifah and carried them to Jamarat, a site located close to camps in Mina, and proceeded to throw them in the 'stoning of the devil' ritual before Eid Al Adha celebrations.

Pilgrims carry seven pebbles with them and make their way to the first floor of the multi-levelled Jamarat building.

The clicks as pebbles shift in thousands of hands can be heard even far back from the long oval wall that represents the devil. “We advise the elderly and women with children to stay away from the railings and participate from the back or we can have someone else throw it on their behalf, like their husbands,” says Dr Rasheed, a Hajj volunteer in Mina.

People are advised not to stay at the site for too long and proceed back to their tents immediately to make time and room for the next group of pilgrims.

In 2015, 717 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede as groups converged at Mina. Hajj authorities built a new Jamarat bridge, which is 950 metres long and 80 metres wide. It is made up of four floors with numerous entry and exit points so that pilgrims will be able to perform the rites easily and will not meet each other while going in or out to avoid the possibility of stampedes.

Jamarat now has a cooling system in place with air conditioners and fans that sprinkle water.

While some chant religious slogans, most people are overwhelmed with the feeling and story behind the ritual. People now proceed to cut or trim their hair, however male pilgrims are advised to shave their head before the sheep sacrifice which is part of Eid Al Adha.

The sacrifice the holiday commemorates is explained in the Quran, which tells of how the Prophet Ibrahim was asked by God in a dream to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as a test of his faith.

Prophet Ibrahim dismissed the dream at first, but it recurred several nights in a row.

He grappled with the decision but ultimately decided to fulfil God’s command, even though the Devil tried to dissuade him. Ibrahim threw rocks at the Devil in response and pilgrims at Hajj re-enact this by throwing stones at symbolic pillars at Jamarat in Mina.

Just as Prophet Ibrahim was about to carry out the command, God replaced his son with a goat and told him to sacrifice the animal instead.

The story is a testament of Prophet Ibrahim's faith in God and for believers to sacrifice something dear to them — in this case a goat — and share it with people in need.

Pilgrims will return two more times over Eid to continue the stoning, or can have someone do it on their behalf.

Updated: July 09, 2022, 10:55 AM