Muslim pilgrims cast sanitize pebbles on Monday as they took part in the “stoning of the devil”, the major ritual of Hajj which is again under tight coronavirus restrictions.
From first light, small groups of pilgrims made their way across the Valley of Mina near Mecca in western Saudi Arabia to symbolically “humiliate” the devil at the Jamrah Al Aqaba mosque.
Wearing masks and the ihram, the pilgrim’s seamless white garment, they each threw seven stones at a pillar symbolizing Satan, taking them from sealed bags provided by the authorities.
“All my life I dreamt of going on the Hajj, and I still can’t believe that the dream has come true,” 38-year-old Syrian pilgrim Lina told AFP, describing it as “the happiest day of my life”.
But the pandemic has for a second year forced Saudi authorities to dramatically downsize the Hajj and just 60,000 fully vaccinated citizens and residents of the kingdom are taking part — up from 10,000 last year