Jamarat – Hajj Ritual of Stoning the Devil
Jamarat are the three pillars in the tent city of Mina that represent the devil to be stoned by the Muslims as an obligatory ritual of Hajj. The names of the three pillars are Jamarat Al-Soughra, Jamarat Al-Wusta and Jamarat Al-Aqaba. Jamarat Al-Soughra is the smallest pillar, the middle one is Jamarat al-wusṭa followed by the largest pillar Jamarat al-Aqaba. This is the thirteenth ritual of Hajj which is performed on the day of Eid-ul-azha and the following two days.
The history of stoning the devil goes back to the time of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) when He was going to sacrifice His beloved son Hazrat Ismail (A.S.) upon receiving the dominion from Allah Almighty. The Satan could not bear his obedience and tried to distract Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) from his purpose by appearing in front of him three times. Each time the Satan made an effort to divert Ibrahim’s attention, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) casted seven stones on him following the command of Hazrat Jibrail (A.S), on three different spots. This incident laid the basis of the ritual of stoning the devil. Thus making the pilgrims emulate the act of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) as an acceptance that Muslims should not be carried away by the Satan.
The stones to be thrown at Jamarat should be collected from Muzdalifa, however they can also be assembled from Mina. The stones should not be bigger than the size of a bean. Moreover, the ritual must be carried out by each person individually. No one is allowed to stone the pillars on behalf of any other with an exception for disable person or weak person, an agent can be hired to pelt in his place.
On the day of Eid, the Muslims should pelt the largest pillar only with seven stones and on the next two days, one has to stone each of the pillar seven times starting from the smallest pillar but in case a person does not follow the sequence he has to do it all over again. If a person stays till the evening of the third day, then he should pelt the jamarat on that day as well. Therefore one should have 50 to 60 stones for this purpose in case if he misses any shot. The time of stoning the Jamarat is from sunset to the sunrise of next day, however according to the tradition of Prophet it is from noon to sunset. After getting finished with this ritual, all the pilgrims head toward the final tawaaf.
A major number of people get killed during this ritual due to overcrowding and not following the queue. Many people have died due to suffocation or being crippled by others during the past years. However, the government has looked into this matter seriously and made several arrangements to minimize the death ratio during this ritual. At the end of 2004, the three pillars were replaced with a long wall to ensure the safety of people. People should also take care to follow the rules while this ritual to avoid any kind of mishap.