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Why do Muslims stone devil?

Published Aug. 27, 2005

On the third day of hajj rituals, Muslim pilgrims perform dawn prayers at Muzdalifah near the holy city of Mecca, then walk to an open area and collect small stones to throw at pillars in nearby Mina symbolizing Satan.

On reaching Mina, pilgrims jostle their way toward the first and largest pillar, casting seven stones at it to show their rejection of Satan's temptations. As they throw the stones, they chant "In the name of God!" or "God is great!"

The pillar is believed to be on the spot where the devil appeared before the prophet Abraham and his son, Ishmael.

Over the next several days, depending on how long they plan to stay in Mecca, the pilgrims will cast seven pebbles at each of the three pillars.

Afterward, a pilgrim can go on to Mecca to circle the large cubic stone, the Kaaba, and pray at the Grand Mosque before leaving the holy site.