MAKKAH: More than two million Muslims took part in the symbolic stoning of the devil on Tuesday, the last major ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage that heralded the start of Eid Al-Adha.
Clad in white robes signifying a state of purity, men and women from 165 countries converged on Jamrat to perform the ritual from a three-story bridge.
Large fans sprayed water over the crowd as temperatures climbed to 44C.
Pilgrim Moueeneddine Ahmed, 35, from Bangladesh, complained of the scorching heat but said he was “very excited” to take part in the ceremony.
He also praised the Saudi authorities for maintaining order despite the vast crowd. “There’s a lot of security. Very disciplined,” he said.
In keeping with customs he said he would then “shave his head” and trade the white seamless robe he wore for the Hajj for his “normal clothes.”
Tens of thousands of security forces, including police and civil defense, have been deployed for Hajj, according to Saudi authorities.
Firas Al-Khashani, 33, a pilgrim from Jordan, was equally impressed. “The police assistance and the services were all extraordinary,” he said.
“It is a beautiful feeling,” said Hazem Darweesh, 31, from Egypt. “The beauty of it is in the difficulty of performing it. It brings you closer to God.
Saudi authorities say 2.37 million pilgrims, most of them from abroad, have arrived this year for the five-day Hajj.
” King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received well-wishers on Tuesday at the Royal Court in Mina Palace.
“Our country’s greatest honor is to serve God’s guests,” the king said. “On Eid Al-Adha, I ask God to complete the pilgrims’ Hajj and to perpetuate goodness and peace for our nation and all other countries.”
As pilgrims returned to Makkah to complete the final Hajj rituals, Muslims throughout the world began celebrating Eid Al-Adha — the “feast of sacrifice” commemorating the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son on God’s command.
Palestinians visited the Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City after morning prayers.
The festival was also celebrated across Africa and Asia. Thousands prayed in a field in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in the Somali capital Mogadishu, and at Almaty central mosque in Kazakhstan.