Hajj pilgrim holding stones in his palm

The Ritual of Stoning the Jamarat: A Pillar of the Hajj Pilgrimage

Posted by Mariya Collins on

The Hajj pilgrimage, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is a journey of profound spiritual significance that millions of Muslims undertake annually. Among the various rites performed during Hajj, the ritual of stoning the Jamarat stands out for its historical and symbolic importance. This act, known as Rami al-Jamarat, involves throwing pebbles at three pillars in Mina, representing the rejection of evil and the reaffirmation of faith. 

Historic photo of the jamarat

Historical Background

The ritual of stoning the Jamarat commemorates the actions of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) during his trial of faith. As Prophet Ibrahim prepared to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) in obedience to Allah's command, the Shaytaan (Satan) attempted to dissuade him at three different locations. In response, Ibrahim threw stones at the Shaytaan to drive him away. This act of defiance and unwavering faith is re-enacted by pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage.

Pilgrim collecting stones in Muzdailifah for the jamarat

The Practice of Stoning the Jamarat

Rami al-Jamarat is performed over three days during the Hajj pilgrimage, specifically on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah. The ritual is conducted as follows:

  1. Collection of Pebbles: Pilgrims collect 49 or 70 small pebbles (depending on whether they will stay in Mina for two or three days) from the Muzdalifah plain.

  2. Location: The stoning takes place in Mina, a small town near Mecca, where three stone pillars, known as Jamarat, are located. These pillars represent the locations where the Shaytaan tried to mislead Prophet Ibrahim.

  3. Order and Timing:

    • On the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, known as the Day of Eid al-Adha, pilgrims throw seven pebbles at the largest pillar, Jamarat al-Aqabah.
    • On the following two or three days, pilgrims throw seven pebbles at each of the three pillars: Jamarat al-Sughra (the small pillar), Jamarat al-Wusta (the middle pillar), and Jamarat al-Aqabah (the large pillar), totaling 21 pebbles each day.
  4. Method: As pilgrims throw each pebble, they recite "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar" (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest), signifying their commitment to reject evil and remain steadfast in their faith.
Pilgrims stoning the jamarat

The Symbolic and Spiritual Significance

The ritual of stoning the Jamarat is rich in symbolism and spiritual lessons:

  1. Rejection of Evil: The act of throwing pebbles represents the rejection of evil and temptation. It is a physical manifestation of the inner struggle against sinful desires and bad influences.

  2. Renewal of Faith: By emulating Prophet Ibrahim's defiance of Shataan, pilgrims reaffirm their commitment to Allah and the principles of Islam. It is an act of spiritual purification and renewal.

  3. Solidarity and Unity: The communal aspect of Rami al-Jamarat underscores the unity and solidarity of the Muslim ummah (community). Pilgrims from diverse backgrounds come together, reinforcing the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood in faith.

  4. Patience and Perseverance: The physical and logistical challenges of stoning the Jamarat teach pilgrims patience and perseverance. It is a reminder of the endurance required in the journey of life and of faith.

View of the jamarat

Safety and Modern Practices

In recent years, significant efforts have been made to ensure the safety of pilgrims during the stoning ritual. The Jamarat Bridge, a multi-level structure, has been constructed to facilitate the movement of pilgrims and prevent overcrowding. Additionally, strict crowd management measures are in place to minimize the risk of accidents.

The bridges to the jamarat

Conclusion

The ritual of stoning the Jamarat is a powerful act of faith and devotion, deeply rooted in Islamic tradition. It serves as a reminder of the timeless struggle between good and evil and the importance of steadfastness in the face of adversity. For pilgrims, Rami al-Jamarat is not just a physical act but a profound spiritual experience that strengthens their connection to Allah and the teachings of Islam. As we reflect on this ritual, let us remember the values of faith, unity, and perseverance that it embodies, inspiring us to lead lives of greater piety and purpose.

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