Muslim pilgrims launch into final hajj rituals

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 18:27

Mina: Some 2.8 million
Muslim pilgrims including Indians symbolically stoned the
devil in the Mina valley, near Mecca, on Wednesday, as they launched
into the final rituals of the hajj.

Having yesterday focused on throwing pebbles at the
amarat al-Aqaba, the largest of three adjacent walls
representing Satan, pilgrims today cast their stones at all
three sites.

The stoning rituals continue tomorrow before the hajj,
the world`s largest annual pilgrimage, winds up the following
day.

"Thank God. I have fulfilled one of the duties of
hajj," said Ibrahim al-Asaad, 27, from Syria, as he walked out
of 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.

The ritual is an emulation of Abraham`s stoning of the
devil at the three spots where he is said to have appeared
trying to dissuade the biblical patriarch from obeying God`s
order to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.

Pilgrims had returned overnight to Mina, a tent town
that comes to life only during hajj, from Mecca where they had
yesterday performed the Tawaf circumambulation around the
Kaaba, a cube-shaped stone structure towards which Muslims
worldwide face for prayer.

They had also yesterday 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 Abraham, who was seeking water for her infant
Ishmael after he left them in the barren spot.

Some two million pilgrims, including 175,000 Indians
are taking part in this year`s hajj, the world`s largest
annual pilgrimage.

Saudi statistics revealed yesterday that a total of
1,799,601 pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia and 989,798 from
inside made the hajj this year, for a total of 2,789,399.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 18:27

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