Hundreds of Thousands of Muslim Faithful Undertake Emulation of Ibrahim
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/01/2012 -- Thousands of Muslims descended on Mina this last week to participate in the ‘Stoning of the Devil’ ceremony as part of the first part of the Islamic Hajj pilgrimage. Followers of the Islamic faith from nearly 200 countries have made their way to the pillar of Jamrat -al-Aqaba, a large stone pillar meant to represent the devil.
The pilgrims undertake the ritual to reenact Ibrahim’s stoning of the devil in the spots where he was reported to have appeared as part of a bid to drive off the demon as he attempted to dissuade the biblical father from sacrificing his son, Ishmael, at the behest of the Lord.
Roads to Mina and those surrounding the city are flooded with hundreds of thousands of the faithful as they proceed to the holy sites. Camps set up to take the pilgrims in according to their home countries await them outside the city.
As part of the ceremony, pilgrims must stop to collect stones from the holy town of Muzdalifah, which is likewise overrun with activity during the 5-days of the Hajj. The stones collected must be of a certain size - slightly larger than a chickpea.
The Islamic aid agency, Red Crescent, has been patrolling the region, ready to respond to any incidents that occasionally flare up during the pilgrimage. Fatal stampedes have and deadly fires have marred the holy trek, in previous years, but Saudi authorities have undertaken efforts in recent years to ensure that tents are fireproof and potentially explosive gas containers are banned from the campsites.
Further efforts to make the holy event safer include expanding the stoning area, with specific times set for each group of pilgrims to hopefully avoid overcrowding.
Almost 2.5 million pilgrims have officially registered to attend, but hundreds of thousands more will perform the pilgrimage without obtaining permission.
AlHijazTours.com (http://www.alhijaztours.com) is a great online resource for Hajj and Umrah travel planning. Al Hajiz Tours has over 20 years of experience in handling religious trips and are committed to exceptional service and are proud to be one of the foremost Hajj and Umrah travel planners in the UK with leading Umrah packages.
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