Muslims celebrate Eid as pilgrims begin final Hajj ritual

Muslims celebrate Eid as pilgrims begin final Hajj ritual
Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha today as millions of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia begin the final ritual of Hajj, the symbolic "stoning of the devil".
2 min read
01 September, 2017
Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, one of the two most important festivals in Islam.

Known as the 'Feast of the Sacrifice', the three-day celebration marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which more than 2.3 million Muslims have embarked on this year.

Read more: Sun, stoning and supplication: What are the rituals of Hajj?

At the start of the Eid al-Adha feast, pilgrims returned to Mina on Friday for the first of three daily stoning rites

Tight security measures were in place two years after a deadly stampede.

The ritual at the Jamarat Bridge marks the final major rite of the Hajj, a multi-day pilgrimage which all Muslims must perform at least once - if physically and financially able.

The stampede in Mina in 2015 claimed the lives of 2,300 people - the worst disaster in the history of the Hajj.

Saudi Arabia says it has deployed more than 100,000 security personnel to keep pilgrims safe this year.

The huge crowds took part in the stoning rite under strict surveillance, with police tape guiding the flow of pilgrims, cameras installed everywhere and helicopters hovering overhead.

Traditionally, seven pebbles are thrown at a post representing the devil, emulating the actions of Abraham and the Prophet Mohammed.

Since 2004, it has been replaced by walls to accommodate the rising numbers of pilgrims.

After the first stoning, sheep are slaughtered and the meat is distributed to needy Muslims, symbolising Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God, who provided a lamb in the boy's place at the last moment.

The Eid holiday is marked by the sacrifice of a lamb by Muslim communities around the world.