Stoning during Hajj

Question:

Salaam alaykum, my question is related to the stoning ritual during Hajj. As this is a minor detail of Hajj could you explain why some people make so much fuss about whether we should do it or not?

Reply

Salaam, what you call a minor detail, takes three days to observe during Hajj. I am sure that many Muslims today who have never performed Hajj are debating the stoning ritual without knowing what actually takes place and what are the rites that must be executed.

Since the stoning ritual is not found in the Quran, Muslims follow the rules outlined in the hadith and sunna. The following are the steps of stoning according to sunna and as performed by two million Muslims every year.

1- On the 10th day of Zhu Al-Hijjah the pilgrim departs from Muzdalifah, the pebbles are collected from there or on the road to Mina.

2- The pebbles should be the size of a pea. In accordance to the command of the Prophet , the pilgrims are allowed to collect the pebbles at any place on the return from Muzdalifah, except in the valley of Muhassir. In accordance to this command, pilgrims are not allowed to stop at the valley of Muhassir.

3- Additionally, and in accordance with sunna, only 7 pebbles are permitted to be collected on the 10th day.

4- After arrival at Mina on the 10th day, the pebbles are thrown. In following the Prophet's example, the pebbles should not be thrown before sunrise on the 10th day.

5- The pilgrims throw 7 pebbles at the 'Jamrat Al-Aqabah'. Although the pilgrims are refrained and warned by the authorities, yet many are seen throwing their sandals, shoes and other objects at the jamrat (station) and cursing Satan!

After that, the pilgrims observe the animal sacrifice, then the shortening of the hair and finally the tawaf al-ifadah (final circumvolution of the Kaaba).

6- The pilgrims return to Mina once again to resume the stoning, where they spend the nights of the 11th and 12th there.

The stoning On the 11th, 12th and 13th days are done after the sun has passed the meridian (according to sunna it is not permissible to stone before noon on these days).

7- In following with what the Prophet is supposed to have done, the pilgrims are told to throw the pebbles in a specific order. First, they throw 7 pebbles at 'Jamrat Al-Sughra' (the small Jamrah) which is farthest from the Kaaba, then seven at the 'Jamrat Al-Wusta' (the middle Jamrah), and then seven at 'Jamrat Al-Aqabah' (the large Jamrah).

8- Those who are in a hurry miss out on the 13th day. Thus the stoning starts on the 10th day and ends on the 12th or 13th day of the month.

But if any pilgrim wish to prolong his/her stay (which is advised in hadith), he/she can spend the night of the 13th in Mina and observe stoning that afternoon as well.

9- Although some have the comfort of a car or bus, the majority travel the trips from Muzdalifah to Mina for stoning, back to Mecca for circumvolution of the Kaaba, then back to Mina for the stoning on the 11th, 12th and 13th days on foot.

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These are the steps of the stoning rituals according to sunna. As indicated, this ritual is not a mere throw of seven pebbles.

From the above detailed guide to stoning, I hope you will note two prime matters:

First: The stoning ritual is not a minor detail! It consumes 2-3 or even 4 days of the Hajj, it involves numerous travel and is the longest time consuming ritual of Hajj

If you note that the only command and purpose of the whole Hajj is to commemorate God alone (2:198, 2:203, 2:200, 22:27-28), it becomes apparent how Satan has duped the millions into consuming a large chunk of their Hajj time (3-4 days) in collecting and throwing pebbles at three stone heaps in the shape of pillars and which are meant to represent Satan. During these times which span three days they are pre-occupied with Satan's name when they should have only been occupied with glorifying God's name throughout!!!

Second: The specific details of how to observe this ritual can only be found in the books of hadith and not in the Quran. I can only hope this will alarm you and make you realise what source you are following and how all this is un-Quranic.

Considering that prophet Muhammad was an obedient servant of God who would never authorise religious laws not decreed by God (6:114, 66:1, 5:48), we must accept that the Prophet is totally innocent of all these hadith which are falsely attributed to him.

Third: Abandoning God's law and following man made laws always comes at a great price. The stoning ritual has claimed a great number of lives across the years (see: Stoning tragedies).

Fourth
: If we uphold this non-Quranic ritual, or any other ritual which is not authorised by God in the Quran, we would have ultimately made the source of the ritual our idol and also made the source a partner with God as a law maker. This is a great sin and it results in great retribution:

"
Or do they have partners (with God) who legislate for them religious laws which were not authorized by God? If it were not for a preordained decree, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed the transgressors shall have a painful punishment." 42:21

For the correct Hajj rituals according to the Quran please see:

The Hajj according to the Quran