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Eid el Kabir: Millions of Muslims perform final rites, ‘stone the devil’ in Muzdalifah

About two million Muslim pilgrims on Sunday, June 16, performed the symbolic stoning of the devil in Saudi Arabia at this year’s Hajj.

This comes as part of the final activities of the Muslim pilgrimage and is one of the five Pillars of Islam, also signaling the start of the Eid el-Kabir celebrations for Muslims worldwide.

In Nigeria, Eid al-Kabir, or Babbar Sallah in Hausa, is recognized as a feast of sacrifice commemorating Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to the instruction of Allah, specifically his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as Allah demanded.

It is the festival of sharing when Muslims who can afford ram, buy, kill, and share the meat with neighbors.

Back in the holy site, the stoning of the devil on Sunday is among the final rites of the Hajj, one of the five Pillars of Islam.

Earlier on Saturday, June 15, more than 1.8 million pilgrims had congregated on a sacred hill in Mount Ararat outside Mecca, and by the evening, they left the Mount to spend their night in the site known as Muzdalifa, where they collected pebbles they had used in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil.

The pillars are in Mina, another sacred place in Mecca where Muslims believe Ibrahim’s faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail.

As related in both the Quran and the Bible, Ibrahim (Abraham in the Bible), was prepared to submit to the command but God stopped him from sacrificing Ismail (or Isaac in the Bible), providing him instead a ram.

In Saudi Arabia, pilgrims will spend the next three days in Mina, where they walk long distances on pedestrian-only streets toward a complex of large pillars where they will cast seven pebbles each at three pillars, to symbolically cast away evil and sin.

At Mina, they will visit Mecca to perform ‘tawaf’, a circling of the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque counterclockwise seven times.

This would be as the pilgrims approach the end of their pilgrimage and prepare to leave the holy city.

After the Hajj, men typically shave their heads and remove the white garments they wear during the pilgrimage.

Willing pilgrims then leave Mecca for Medina to pray in Prophet Muhammad’s tomb, which forms part of the prophet’s mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam.

Over 1.83 million Muslims are performing the 2024 Hajj, according to Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister, Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah.

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