The rite evokes the act of Abraham who resisted temptation three times by chasing away the devil with stones. It is carried out in Mina valley not far from
In Mina, a “city of tents” has come up, where pilgrims rest before carrying out the stoning ritual and from where they go back to Mecca for the conclusion of the Haj.
A rise in the number of pilgrims has been recorded this year. Abdul Jalil Kaaki, chairman of the Saudi committee that takes care of the pilgrims, said this was proved by an increase of more than 10% in Haj-related expenses that topped 10 billion riyal, around two billion euros.
The committee, quoted by Arab News, said pilgrims spent seven billion riyal on hotels that were fully booked this year. One billion went to restaurants, another for transport. Significant sums were spent to buy animals for sacrifice, for telecommunications, gifts and souvenirs.
Buying the seven stones to hurl at the “columns of the devil” were another, albeit modest, budget item. Traditionally, stones are gathered from the mountains surrounding Mina that are quite far away. Sellers on the streets offer bags of stones for sale, usually for around one riyal (around 20 euro cents of). Some buy more and take them home as a souvenir, while others give their extra to other pilgrims.