The last major ritual of the hajj, known as the “stoning of the devil“, is being performed by Muslims in western Saudi Arabia, coinciding with the celebration of Eid al-Adha worldwide.
Starting at dawn, pilgrims will throw seven stones at each of the three concrete walls in the Mina valley, located outside the holy city of Mecca.
These walls symbolize the devil and the ritual commemorates Abraham’s stoning of Satan at the three locations where he allegedly tried to dissuade Abraham from following God’s command to sacrifice his son.
In the past, the stoning ritual has been marred by several stampedes, the most recent being in 2015 when up to 2,300 worshippers lost their lives in the worst hajj disaster. Since then, the site has undergone renovations to improve crowd management.
Pilgrims spent the night in Muzdalifah, situated between Mina and Arafat, collecting stones and sleeping under the stars after praying outdoors in the scorching heat of 46 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day.
Despite the challenging conditions, worshippers have embraced the opportunity to pray at Islam’s holiest shrines, with many describing it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, must be undertaken by all Muslims who have the means to do so.
This year’s hajj and Eid al-Adha have been overshadowed by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Many pilgrims have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians, with some openly praying for their victory. However, Saudi authorities have cautioned against the use of political slogans during the pilgrimage.

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