After bearing, in humble patience, 5000 years of abuse and stone-throwing by Allah's (God's) followers at the Hajj Pilgrimage, Satan finally says, 'Enough is Enough' and throws back the stones at the Hajj pilgrims at Mecca, causing considerable death and distress to the holy pilgrims, with Allah failing to save them. [Satire]
In Mecca, Saudi Arabia, some three million pilgrims performing Hajj in 2008 were so stunned when the Satan threw stones back at them!
The stoning of the Satan is one of an important series of Hajj rituals, which is performed during the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Kaaba in Mecca. The Hajj is the obligatory pilgrimage that is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is done during the last month of the lunar calendar, Zul-e-Hijjah. The Islamic Hajj is an obligation that every able-bodied Muslim, who can afford, is expected to perform at least once in their life. This ritual demonstrates the solidarity of global Muslim community, and their submission to the Allah, the Islamic God (ancient Moon God of the Arabs).
The Hajj is performed from the 8th to the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. At present, this is approximately in November to January. In 2009, Dhul Hijjah begins on November 11.
The ritual of Ramy al-Jamarat occurs in Mina at Mecca. This ritual is known as the "Stoning of the Satan". The Hajjaj (pilgrims) throw stones at three different Hajj pillars that signify, according to Muslim beliefs, the three locations at which Hazrat Ibrahim (Prophet Abraham) rejected the challenge, thrown at him, by the tempting Satan. They must hit each pillar at least seven times with the stones/pebbles they have picked up in Muzdalifah. The stones must not be bigger than beans, because the larger stones signify exaggerations. The pilgrims call on Allah to acknowledge and accept their Hajj every time they throw stones/pebbles at one of these pillars.
Muslim Hajj Pilgrims' stone-throwing rituals
The Hajj ritual was an ancient custom, predating the times of Prophet Muhammad (7th century C.E.), and a part of pre-Islamic pagan ritual at the Kaaba. The pilgrims used to join processions of tens of thousands of pagan people from around Arabia, who converge in Mecca in the week of Hajj, and performed a series of rituals, centered on Kaaba, then the most famous pagan Temple in Arabia. Each person would walk counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, kiss the Ajwar-e-Aswad (the Black Stone), then run back and forth from the Zamzam Well near the Kaaba back, and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, then go to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, then proceed to Muzdalifah to gather appropriate pebbles, which they would throw at a rock in Mina to perform the ritual of the Stoning the Satan. The pilgrims would then shave their heads, perform an animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid-ul-Adha.
The stoning of the Satan at the Hajj ritual, Muslims believe, relates to the time of Hazrat Ibrahim and Ishmael (actually Isaac). According to Biblical traditions, Abraham was ordered by god Yahweh to make a human sacrifice of his beloved young son, Isaac (Muslim claim it was Ishmael), as a sign of his great obedience to God. However, the Satan somehow appeared three times in between to disturb Abraham, attempting to dissuade him from disobeying God's orders to kill Isaac as a sacrifice unto god. Controversially, the archangel Gabriel (Yahweh’s favorite angel) was on the scene in a jiffy and told Abraham to "Pelt him" with certain kind of stones, so the Satan withdrew to Hell. Then, in return for Abraham’s obedience, Yahweh sent a Ram in place Isaac to be slaughtered as the sacrifice (offering).
Today millions of Muslim pilgrims now flock to Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in this annual Islamic pilgrimage in solidarity to Abrahamic obedience commanded by Muhammad to Muslims as a Pillar of the Islamic faith.
Crowd-control techniques have become very critical. Owing to huge number numbers of pilgrims, many of the rituals have also become more stylized. It is not necessary to kiss the Black Stone (Hajar-e-Aswad), but merely to point at it on each circuit round the Kaaba (numbering 7 rounds). The throwing of pebbles at large pillars of stone depicting the Satan, which for safety reasons, was changed in 2004 to long walls with catch-basins below for collecting the casted stones, while reciting Islamic prayers. The slaughter of an animal, originally done personally, can now be done by appointing someone else to do it.
But even with these un-Islamic crowd-control techniques, there occur many accidents during the Hajj, as pilgrims are trampled in the crush, or ramps collapse under the weight of too many visitors, causing hundreds of deaths. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj has a website, with the following message: "Be peaceful, orderly and kind. No crushing."
Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is called the "lesser pilgrimage", or Umrah. However, even if the Muslims perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the sacred Hajj at some other point in their lifetime.
During the Hajj pilgrimages at the Kaaba every year, we get to hear news of how so many Muslim devotees die in great numbers in stampedes in course of the rituals of Stoning the Satan at Mina. Last year, Ibrahim Baasim, a pilgrim from Qatar, was present at the three walls representing the Satan, when the incident happened, who said:
"I was there along with several thousand other pilgrims pelting the first wall with seven pebbles, as is our custom, and recalling my hatred for my own internal despot," explained Bassim. "Then all of a sudden, the wall started hurling the pebbles back at us! The air was thick with stones like a plague of locusts raining down on us. It really hurt us and the Pilgrims panicked and stampeded to get away."
A close examination of the wall, conducted by a commission of several Hajj organizers and top religious consultants, concluded that it was, indeed, the Satan throwing these stones back at the pilgrims!
According to a Hajj spokesperson, the Satan spoke to the group of pilgrims, identified himself, and explained his actions. The Satan said: "I'm sick and tired of being stoned ever since Angel Gabriel put that idea into Hazrat Ibrahim's head thousands of years ago back in the Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible," according to an anonymous source (well it is me!). "I think I've turned the other cheek just about enough, don't you?" the Satan said!
As to this unnamed source, the Satan defended Himself saying, “All he was trying to do was stop infanticide in the name of God’s whim. There weren't any Child Protection Services then or any anonymous call-in lines to report such parental abuse. What else could I do but try to stop it myself. Maybe Hazrat Ibrahim would have listened to me or even his wife Hagar, if the Angel Gabriel hadn't interfered in between".
When the Satan was asked by the Islamic holy men in the investigating commission, as to whether the Satan really had acted purely as a Good Samaritan or if self-interest was involved, the Satan replied: "What the hell are you talking about?"
"A child's life was imminently hanging in the balance. Does CPS query the motives of everyone trying to report serious potential child abuses before they are properly investigated? Get your priorities straight for the Satan's sake!"
The commission asked the Satan why he had waited what seemed like an eternity before he struck back at the Muslim pilgrims pelting him with stones. "Well, I don't have any bones, so sticks and stones can't really hurt me," explained the Satan, adding "But it was the name-calling that stuck in my craw!"
"As for the timing, well, I'll grant them this one point at least. Pop music made me do it. I was listening to pop music and got hooked on the 'Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)' duet from 1979 by Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. After 20 years, I guess it finally got to me, eh!"
The Satan apparently said that he intends to throw these stones back at the pilgrims from now on at every future Hajj pilgrimages. "I'll be particularly aiming at any pilgrims named Gabriel," said the Satan, still intent on settling the old score.
As it turned out, Allah apparently was just testing Hazrat Ibrahim to make sure that he didn't listen to the advice of his wife or any other sane and sensible person, who tried to dissuade him from killing his son Ishmael. At the last moment, Hazrat Ibrahim was told to put down his knife and not slit his son's throat in a blood-sacrifice to Allah. According to an anonymous source, the Satan stated that he was certainly glad about that, but it left a lot to chance with too much Hollywood last minute heroics. "I don't care what they say about it; the end doesn't justify the means. This wasn't 'tough love' parenting, it was plain abuse"!
In addition to rocking the world around and three of its major Abrahamic religions, the stoning of the Satan by Muslim pilgrims at Mecca is having a ripple effect as well. Hazrat Ishmael has now claimed, from recovered memory of that sacrificial event, damages; his lawyers are suing God, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, for the great emotional abuses as well as physical abuses of unnecessary circumcision and stoning of 5,000 years, and the sufferance of Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSTD).
Hazrat Ishmael's solicitors have stated that it has now turned into a large “class action” suit with millions of Muslim plaintiffs joining in to give credence in the Holy Messenger’s messages and Allah’s Blessing in partaking in stoning the Satan at the Hajj pilgrimage.
"This should tie them up for years to come," said the Satan smugly. "After all, the Satan's in the detail. As Angel Gabriel should have thought of that and all the other consequences would arise when he said, “Pelt him."
It remains undecided whether the Hazrat Ishmael’s class action lawsuit will be heard in a Sharia’h court, where these cruel and barbaric punishments such as ‘stoning’ may be considered alongside more enlightened options.
The world awaits the outcome of the legendary lawsuit in human history!