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  • Rami al-Jamarat

    Rami al-Jamarat (Arabic: رمي الجمرات; meaning “stoning of the Jamarat”), sometimes referred to as the “Stoning of the Devil” is a rite carried out by Hajj pilgrims whereby small pebbles are thrown at three stone structures in Mina. The act of throwing stones at the Jamarat is known as “Rami”.

    The Significance of Rami al-Jamarat

    The ritual of Rami is a symbolic reenactment of the actions of Ibrahim عليه السلام when he was faced with the trial of having to sacrifice his son, Ismail عليه السلام (other narrations mention it was Ishaq عليه السلام). In a dream, Ibrahim was commanded to perform the sacrifice to which he responded with unwavering reliance and trust in the will of Allah.

    On the way to carry out the commandment, Shaytan repeatedly sought to tempt Ibrahim into ignoring the command. As Ibrahim reached Jamarah al-Aqaba (i.e. the location where Jamarah al-Aqaba is today), Shaytan attempted to dissuade him. Ibrahim, who was accompanied by Jibril عليه السلام, was instructed by the archangel to throw seven stones at Shaytan. He obliged and Shaytan fled immediately. Ibrahim then went to Jamarah al-Wusta and Shaytan appeared again. Ibrahim once again threw stones at him and Shaytan fled. He then went to Jamarah al-Ula and Shaytan appeared. Ibrahim threw stones at him once more and Shaytan fled.

    Each time, Ibrahim resisted temptation, remaining steadfast in his intention to do as he was commanded. As Ibrahim was preparing to sacrifice his son, he was spared from having to carry out the command at the last moment and was provided with a sacrificial animal as a substitute.

    The Jamarat (Pillars)

    An aerial view of the Jamarat
    An aerial view of the Jamarat

    There are three Jamarat which are known as:

    1. Jamarah al-Aqaba or Jamarah al-Kubra (the big pillar).
    2. Jamarah al-Wusta (the medium or middle pillar).
    3. Jamarah al-Ula or al-Sugra (the small pillar).

    The distance between the first and second pillars is about 150 metres and the distance between the second and third pillars is about 120 metres.

    The Jamarat indicate the three places where Shaytan tried to dissuade Ibrahim عليه السلام from carrying out the divine instruction that he had received. Therefore, the pillars are not the actual Shaytan as some are led to believe, but mark the places where Ibrahim was tested by the whisperings of Shaytan.

    In 2005, each pillar was rebuilt and made into large wall structures. Prior to this, the structures were tall and narrow. This new structure makes performing Rami a great deal easier as the target is much bigger.

    Days of Rami al-Jamarat

    وَحَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَالِدٍ الأَحْمَرُ، وَابْنُ، إِدْرِيسَ عَنِ ابْنِ، جُرَيْجٍ عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ رَمَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْجَمْرَةَ يَوْمَ النَّحْرِ ضُحًى وَأَمَّا بَعْدُ فَإِذَا زَالَتِ الشَّمْسُ ‏

    Jabir رضي الله عنه reported that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ flung pebbles at Jamarat on the Day of Nahr after sunrise and after that (i.e. on the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah when the sun had declined.)
    [Narrated in Sahih Muslim]

    According to this Hadith, Rami is performed on:

    • Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) – 10th of Dhul Hijjah (Day 3 of Hajj).
    • Ayyam al-Tashreeq (the Days of Drying Meat) – 11th, 12th & 13th of Dhul Hijjah – Days 4, 5 and 6 of Hajj.

    On Yawm al-Nahr, only Rami of Jamarah al-Aqaba (the big pillar) will be performed. It is forbidden to pelt the other two pillars, although no penalty is due if this is done.

    On Ayyam al-Tashreeq, Rami of all pillars will be performed on each day, starting from the smallest pillar to the largest. However, carrying it out in a different order won’t necessitate a penalty, nor will Rami have to be repeated.

    Timing

    It can become extremely crowded at the Jamarat
    It can become extremely crowded at the Jamarat

    Pelting must be completed within the allotted timeframe, otherwise, a penalty will be due.

    Due to the crowds, it is advisable to perform Rami in the evening, due to the surge of pilgrims who rush to complete Rami before midday. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to disaster and just as recently as 2015, thousands of pilgrims were killed in a stampede on Jamarat Bridge.

    If the crowds are overwhelming, women, children, the elderly and infirm in particular should delay Rami until later on.

    Yawm al-Nahr

    On Yawm al-Nahr, pelting can be performed between the time of Fajr Salah on 10th and the time of Fajr Salah on 11th. However, there are various times of the day where pelting is more virtuous than other times. These times are as follows:

    1. Before Fajr Salah – Not allowed to pelt.
    2. Between Fajr Salah and sunrise – Disliked (Makruh) for men*, but still valid and permissible for women, the elderly and the infirm.
    3. Sunrise to midday (10 minutes before the beginning of Dhuhr Salah) – Sunnah. Try to perform Rami at this time, provided it isn’t too crowded.
    4. Between midday and sunset – Permissible (Mubah) without being disliked.
    5. Between sunset and Fajr Salah (of the 11th) – Disliked (Makruh) for men*, but still valid and permissible for women, the elderly and the infirm.

    *It will not be disliked (Makruh) for a man who is a Mahram to perform Rami with a woman who is pelting at this time.

    Ayyam al-Tashreeq

    On Ayyam al-Tashreeq, pelting can be performed after Zawwal (midday) and before Fajr. However, there are various times of the day where pelting is more virtuous than other times. These times are as follows:

    1. Before Zawwal (midday) – Not allowed to pelt.
    2. After the beginning time of Dhuhr Salah until sunset – Sunnah. Try to perform Rami between these times, provided it isn’t too crowded.
    3. Between sunset and Fajr Salah – Disliked (Makruh) for men*, but still valid and permissible for women, the elderly and the infirm.

    *It will not be disliked (Makruh) for a man who is a Mahram to perform Rami with a woman who is pelting at this time.

    The Size of the Pebbles

    أَخْبَرَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَوْفٌ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا زِيَادُ بْنُ حُصَيْنٍ، عَنْ أَبِي الْعَالِيَةِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم غَدَاةَ الْعَقَبَةِ وَهُوَ وَاقِفٌ عَلَى رَاحِلَتِهِ ‏ “‏ هَاتِ الْقُطْ لِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَلَقَطْتُ لَهُ حَصَيَاتٍ هُنَّ حَصَى الْخَذْفِ فَوَضَعْتُهُنَّ فِي يَدِهِ وَجَعَلَ يَقُولُ بِهِنَّ فِي يَدِهِ وَوَصَفَ يَحْيَى تَحْرِيكَهُنَّ فِي يَدِهِ بِ

    It was narrated that Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه  said: “On the morning of al-Aqaba, while he was on his mount, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Pick up (some pebbles) for me.’ So I picked up some pebbles for him that were the size of date-stones or fingertips and placed them in his hand. He started to do this with his hand.” Yahya described him shaking them in his hand like this.
    [Narrated in Sunan al-Nasa’i]

    Walking to the Jamarat

    Pilgrims walking to the Jamarat
    Pilgrims walking to the Jamarat

    The Jamarat are located at the far side of Mina i.e. the end that is closest to Makkah.

    Walking to the Jamarat from your camp in Mina, through a series of tunnels would prove easier than travelling there by coach.

    Ensure you stay hydrated during this walk and use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Despite the shade from the tunnels, it can still get very hot. There are plenty of refreshments available on the way and the police are even kind enough to spray pilgrims with water to keep them cool.

    Make sure you don’t sit under the bridges or on any of the walkways on the way to Jamarat. Impeding the efficient flow of pilgrims could turn into a potentially dangerous situation.

    If you are a woman, ensure you fix a meeting point with your Mahram, in case you get separated from him during the walk.

    Jamarat Bridge

    Thousands of pilgrims walking on the Jamarat bridge
    Thousands of pilgrims walking on the Jamarat bridge

    The bridge allows pilgrims to throw stones at the Jamarat from multiple levels. Prior to 2006, there was only one bridge in addition to the ground level.

    This old bridge was demolished and reconstructed to make way for a new multi-level structure. As of 2016, the bridge has been divided into six levels, allowing the pilgrims participating in the ritual to flow through more efficiently.

    How to Perform Rami al-Jamarat

    Take extreme care at the Jamarat as this ritual can get very crowded and emotionally charged. Protect your face and keep your head low to avoid any stray pebbles. Also, be wary of the flailing arms of people pelting near you.

    Pilgrims performing Rami during the evening
    Pilgrims performing Rami during the evening

    The Sunnah method of performing Rami is as follows:

    1. Ensure you are in a state of Wudhu.
    2. Ensure Mina is to your right and Makkah is to your left.
    3. Stand at least 15 feet (5 metres) away from the pot.
    4. Keep seven or more stones in your left hand.
    5. Grasp a pebble between your thumb and index finger and raise your hand as high as possible.
    6. Throw the pebble, reciting Takbir (اللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ ) with each throw.
    7. Stop reciting Talbiyah after the first pebble lands in the pot.
    8. Repeat this process with your other pebbles; a total of seven pebbles should be thrown into the pot around the Jamarat.
    9. If you’re stoning the small or medium Jamarat, after pelting either of the pillars, move away from it, stand away from the crowd and make Dua facing the Qibla.

    Supplication

    During Ayyam al-Tashreeq (the Days of Drying Meat) i.e. the last three days of Hajj, it is Sunnah to face the Qibla after pelting each of the small and medium Jamarat and make Dua. After you have pelted, move away from the Jamarah, stand away from the crowd and make Dua facing the Qibla, which is in the direction of the big Jamarah. Others will also be making Dua so you will know what direction to face if you are unsure. Please note, Dua is not to be made after pelting the big Jamarah – you will pelt this pillar and move on.

    Jamarat Tips & Advice

    Before:
    The busiest time for performing Rami is just after midday. There is less crowding immediately before or after Asr Salah, as well as during the night, so performing Rami during these times would be ideal if you want to avoid the congestion.
    For the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th & 13th of Dhul Hijjah), when you’re no longer in the state of Ihram, it is advisable to wear trainers / running shoes, as this will provide you with better grip.
    Try to use the lower level as it tends to be less crowded than the upper level. There are multiple exits in the lower level whereas, on the upper level, there is only one way to get in and out. Most people use the upper level since it’s more prominent, so it’s a good idea to use the lower level.
    During:
    If you are left-handed, make every effort to use your right hand. The pots are large so chances of missing are quite slim.
    Aim for the pot rather than the pillar. The pelting is still valid if it hits the pillar and lands in the pot.
    If the pebble hits the pillar but doesn’t land in the pot, the throw won’t count and another pebble will have to be thrown.
    If the pebble lands in the pot but rolls off the pile of pebbles, it still counts and doesn’t have to be repeated.
    Don’t throw pebbles from too far a distance. If you’re trying to avoid the crowd and throw from a distance, there is a chance that you might hit someone.
    Similarly, don’t go too close to the Jamarah and merely drop the pebble in the pot. The word Rami means ‘to throw’ and as such pebbles should be thrown. Although dropping pebbles into the pot will be valid, it is against the Sunnah and should be avoided.
    Don’t bend over the brim of the Jamarah enclosure as the crowd may push you over.
    If you miss or you are unsure whether you hit the target, throw again.
    If you throw the pebble and it falls short, provided it is safe to do so, pick the pebble up and throw it again.
    If you run out of pebbles, lose them or forget them, you may pick some up from anywhere, although you should avoid those near the Jamarat as this is a Makruh (disliked) practice.
    Pebbles don’t have to belong to you; sharing pebbles is permitted.
    After:
    After you have performed Rami and you turn around to leave, lower your head to avoid getting struck in the face.
    Throw away any leftover pebbles; don’t throw the rest at the Jamarat or bury them.
    Avoid going against the flow of people.

    Women

    • If you are in a state of Haidh (menstruation), you must still perform Rami. You cannot appoint someone to pelt on your behalf.
    • While walking towards the Jamarat or during the process of Rami, you should stay close to your Mahram.
    • Don’t under any circumstance hold the Ihram or hand of someone who is not your Mahram, even if you are told to do so by your Mahram.

    Rami on Behalf of Others

    Pelting can be done on your behalf if you are:

    • Too old.
    • Sick.
    • Very weak.
    • Pregnant.

    Large crowds are not an excuse to have Rami performed on your behalf. If you are feeling apprehensive or anxious about the ritual, perform Rami at a time when it is less crowded. If you do appoint someone to pelt on your behalf for this reason, it won’t be valid and will incur a penalty.

    If you are pelting on someone’s behalf, make sure you have their permission and they are happy for you to do so. If you don’t get their permission, it will be considered invalid.

    The method of pelting on behalf of someone else is as follows:

    • Pelt your seven pebbles at the Jamarah, one at a time.
    • Pelt the seven pebbles for the person you’re deputising for, one at a time.
    • Move to then next Jamarah and repeat the process (if it’s the 11th, 12th or 13th).

    Both men and women can pelt on behalf of someone else.

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