Pilgrims to start stoning ritual in Mina today

Sofea Chok Suat Ling

MINA: Malaysian haj pilgrims arrived here today for the stoning ritual which they will embark upon in the evening after asar prayers.

They will start the first part of the ritual today by casting pebbles at the biggest wall, Jamarat Kubra.

The symbolic gesture, signifying the renunciation of the devil, will take place over four days at the massive, three-storey Jamarat Complex, a 3.5km walk from the Malaysian tents here.

Tomorrow, as Malaysians celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha, pilgrims will continue with the stoning ritual. Hari Raya is celebrated today here.

After casting their pebbles at the Kubra, the biggest of three walls representing the devil, pilgrims can exit their state of ihram or purity and wear regular clothes for the remainder of their haj.

Malaysian pilgrims at Muzdalifah.

After that, they will make three more trips to the complex over three days, throwing pebbles at all three walls - Sugra, Wusta and Kubra - each time.

It is believed that it was here that the devil tried to talk Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God's will.

Prophet Ibrahim's faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son. He was prepared to submit to the command, but then God stayed his hand, sparing his son.

Seven pebbles are thrown at the walls representing the devil, emulating the actions of Prophet Ibrahim.

The ritual at the Jamarat Complex marks the final major rite of the haj during the Masyair phase.

A pilgrim showing some of the pebbles collected.

Masyair refers to the massive movement of pilgrims from Makkah to Arafah for wukuf, and then onwards to Muzdalifah, and Mina.

Tabung Haji (TH) head of the Malaysian 1439H haj delegation Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman had earlier advised Malaysian pilgrims to strictly follow the schedule given to prevent overcrowding and untoward incidents.

"The time given to us for the ritual by the Saudi government is from asar prayers onwards till night and this is good as it is not as hot then and does not interfere with prayer and meal times."

He said pilgrims should move in groups and approach TH medical team members stationed along the way to the 'jamarat' should they encounter difficulties.

Malaysian pilgrims arriving in Mina.

During the haj, Mina is transformed into a city of white tents with a total population of close to three million pilgrims.

TH has stationed officials at several checkpoints along the route to the Jamarat Complex, and has rescue teams that can be despatched to provide medical aid on site.

There are walkalators in the tunnels to and from the complex, as well as water cooler stations.

Saudi volunteers along the route spray water on the pilgrims to cool them down.

Meanwhile in Arafah yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said the number of pilgrims affected by the hot weather was less this year.

Some of the pilgrims arriving in Mina.

He said this after visiting the clinic at the Arafah Malaysian tent site.

"There are two or three pilgrims affected by the heat, and some with difficulty breathing, but all cases are under control."

From Arafah, pilgrims moved on to Muzdalifah at sundown after maghrib prayers yesterday and stayed there for half a night before moving on to Mina. In Muzdalifah, pilgrims collected pebbles for the stoning ritual in Mina.

All pilgrims arrived in Mina by about 7am (local time) today. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd