Latest News/Jeddah: Approximately 2.5 millions Muslim pilgrims were performing the final steps of the Hajj 2011 on Tuesday as the world’s largest annual gathering neared its close without major incident.
The annual Hajj continue peacefully as pilgrims rushed to throw 21 stones at three pillars that symbolize the devil, the last rite of the annual pilgrimage which is compulsory for all Muslims who can make the journey.
To complete the ritual, pilgrims must throw seven pebbles at each of three 25-metre (82-foot) pillars on the first day of the three-day Eid al-Azha feast marking the end of the Hajj, and another seven on each of the last two days.
Pilgrims then make their way to Mecca’s Great Mosque for a “farewell visit” to the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure into which is set the Black Stone, Islam’s most sacred relic.
Tuesday is the third and final day of the stoning ritual and, once completed, will mark the end of the Hajj.
The ritual is an emulation of the Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (AS)’s stoning of the devil at the three spots where he is said to have appeared trying to dissuade the Prophet from obeying God’s order to sacrifice his son, Ismail (AS).
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those who are able to.