Pilgrims ‘stone the devil’ as Hajj concludes

Muslims in several countries celebrate Eidul Azha

Afp June 17, 2024
One million pilgrims from across the globe amassed on Thursday in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform the initial rites of the Hajj. PHOTO: AFP


Pilgrims on Sunday performed the last major ritual of the Hajj, the “stoning of the devil”, as Muslims in many countries of the world celebrated the Eidul-Azha.

Beginning at dawn, the 1.8 million Muslims, undertaking the pilgrimage this year, threw seven stones at each of three concrete walls, symbolising the devil in the Mina valley, located outside Makkah.

The stoning ritual was the scene of multiple stampedes over past many years, but the site has been revamped to streamline the movement of the large crowds. Roads leading to the concrete walls were packed early on Sunday, with some pilgrims visibly struggling under the morning sun.

Those who arrived on foot later in the day, among them a number of elderly pilgrims, were especially vulnerable to heat as temperatures again soared well past 40 degrees Celsius.

Amman announced on Sunday that 14 Jordanian pilgrims had died and 17 were missing, while Iran reported five deaths, though neither country specified the cause. Saudi Arabia has not provided any information on fatalities.

Last year more than 10,000 cases of heat-related illnesses were documented during the hajj, 10% of which were heat stroke, a health ministry spokesman told AFP. Faithful tried to take the gruelling conditions in stride, seizing a lifetime chance to pray at Islam’s holiest shrines.

The stoning ritual coincides with Eidul Adha, or the feast of the sacrifice. This year’s Hajj and Eidul Azha have been clouded by Israel’s war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Sauid King Salman invited 2,000 Palestinians to the Hajj at his own expense including relatives of Gazans.



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