WASHINGTON - As the annual Hajj pilgrimage nears its end, thousands of Muslims carried out the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual Friday to mark the beginning of Eid al-Adha celebrations.
Pilgrims threw stones at three walls at Jamarat in Mina, in one of the main rites of the Hajj.
During Hajj, devoted Muslims perform a series of religious rituals, including walking seven times counterclockwise around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure at the center of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, which Muslims believe is the spot where the Prophet Abraham built his first temple to God.
They must also walk, or run, back and forth seven times between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah.
Male pilgrims are required to wear the ihram, two sheets of white unhemmed cloth, while women are required to wear a preferably white hijab, which does not cover the hands or face.
The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are expected to take part in the Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing cows, sheep or goats in commemoration of the Biblical prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.
Saudi Arabia said that more than 2.3 million Muslims from around the world converged on Saudi Arabia for the annual five-day Hajj.