Question # 215: Why do we hit (throw pebbles at) shaytaan during our Hajj rituals?
Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: When Ibrahim (عليه السلام) wanted to perform the Hajj rites, Shaytaan blocked his way three times near ‘Aqabah in order to cast doubts in his heart or tempt him and divert him away from his Lord, so Allah commanded Ibrahim to drive the Shaytaan away by throwing pebbles at him. He threw seven pebbles at him whereupon the Shaytaan sunk into the ground. Hence, by throwing pebbles at the Shaytaan, one is following the path of the great forefather Ibrahim (عليه السلام). Also, it is an expression of the thrower’s intention to obey Allah’s commandment, and a demonstration of his humility and servitude to Him.
Long Answer: One of the rites of the pilgrimage, the throwing of stones at three columns in Mina on the 10th, 11th, and 12th day of Dhu-l-Hijjah. The pebbles, called jimar; are gathered at Muzdalifah the night before, where the pilgrims stop on the way from ‘Arafat.
Al-Baihaqi reported from Salim bin Abi Al-J’ad that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Ibrahim (عليه السلام) wanted to perform the Hajj rites, Shaytaan blocked his way near ‘Aqabah. (Jamarah Al-Aqabah is on the left side inside Mina; the Jamarah Al-Wusta (the Middle Jamarah) is at about 11,677 meters from the first one, while Jamarah Al-Sughra (the Smallest Jamarah) is 1,564 meters further from the middle one) Ibrahim (عليه السلام) threw seven pebbles at him whereupon the Shaytaan sunk into the ground. Again the Shaytaan appeared to him near the second Jamarah. Ibrahim threw seven pebbles at him and he again sunk into the ground. Once again the Shaytaan approached him near the third Jamarah, and again Ibrahim threw seven pebbles at him and once again the Shaytaan sunk into the ground.” Ibn ‘Abbas added, “You throw pebbles at the Shaytaan, and (in doing so) you follow the path of your (great) forefather Ibrahim (عليه السلام).” Al-Munzhri said: “This is reported by Ibn Khuzaimah in his Saheeh and by Al-Hakim, and it is sound according to their criterion.”
In his Al-Ahya, Al-Ghazali says: “As to the throwing of the pebbles, it is an expression of the thrower’s intention to obey Allah’s commandment, and a demonstration of his humility and servitude to Him. It signifies compliance with divine commandment without any trace therein of any selfish pleasure, sensuous or intellectual.
“By throwing pebbles, one emulates Ibrahim when Shaytaan – may Allah curse him – blocked his way at that place in order to cast doubts in his heart or tempt him and divert him away from his Lord, so Allah commanded Ibrahim to drive the Shaytaan away by throwing pebbles at him. “Therefore, if you are tempted to think that Shaytaan appeared to Ibrahim and therefore he threw pebbles at him, but I am not tempted by Shaytaan, so there is no need for me to throw these pebbles – if such a thought comes to you – then you must realize that this thought itself is from Shaytaan, who suggests it to make you think there is no benefit in it, and so weaken your resolve and prevent you from throwing pebbles. Fight against these evil whispers with firmness, resolution and by throwing pebbles despite these suggestions. You must also realize that although you are apparently throwing pebbles at the Jamarahs, in reality you are hurling these in the face of Shaytaan and thereby breaking his backbone. This is not possible except by submitting to the commandments of Allah, in submission to Him, and without seeking gratification of any personal desire.”
(‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.