Millions of Muslims have thronged on Maaka to perform the holy pilgrimage of Haj. On Sunday white-robed pilgrims converged in Saudi's Mina valley to join the traditional stoning of Satan ceremony, the most dangerous act of Haj.
Previous stoning ceremonies have resulted in many deaths as pilgrims stampede to throw their stones at Jamarat Al-Aqaba, a wall representing Satan. Casualties were avoided this year as extra security precautions have been implemented by Saudi authorities to prevent a recurrence of previous tragedies. According to Alarabiya
trampling resulted in "the deaths of 364 people in 2006, 251 in 2004 and 1,426 in 1990."
A pilgrim from Bangladesh explained the significance of the ceremony, saying
"This ritual gives me moral strength. Right now I feel as though I’m defeating Satan." (Saudi Gazette).
A Pakistani man told the Independent
"I hit the devil with all the strength of my body. It must have really hurt him. But the thing is, he keeps coming back for more."
Following the stoning of Satan pilgrims either shave their heads or cut a lock of hair, before heading to the Grand Mosque in Makka. Most pilgrims purchased a voucher to send meat as aid to poor Muslim countries, rather than engaging in the traditional ritualistic slaughter of a sheep for Eid al-Adha.
Pilgrims were rushed through the stoning ceremony to the tune of loud speakers urging "Hurry up, pilgrims."