What is the wisdom behind throwing pebbles at Satan in Hajj (Pilgrimage)? What does this action symbolize?
Submitted by on Sat, 03/04/2010 - 14:22
Dear Brother / Sister,
Throwing pebbles at Satan is one of the stipulations of Hajj (Pilgrimage). This symbolizes Prophet Abraham’s throwing pebbles at Satan in order to drive him away when he tried to prevent him. As a prophet, he was shown Satan and he threw pebbles at Satan who tried to come between him and His Lord in order to prevent him. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, said “Learn your duties related to Hajj from me.” (Nasai, Menasik, 220) and he himself performed this ritual and taught it to other people.
Throwing pebbles in a way symbolizes the war waged against Satan. One throws each pebble at one’s own evil commanding soul, lust and at Satan. One tries to exterminate those different fronts from which various mistakes and sins attack him. In the cause for sacrificing what one possesses for Allah’s sake, one has to eliminate whatever Satan devises and whichever arms and fronts he makes use of. Pride, arrogance, property, position, rank, fame, renown, egotism, youth, marriage, children… Whatever the obstacles are before servitude to Allah and its responsibility…
Today, when the pilgrim throws pebbles at the Satan, he both imitates Prophet Abraham, and follows the sunnah (practice) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). However, even though the pilgrim who performs his ritual throws his pebbles symbolically at the pile of pebbles which symbolize the devil, in reality he must throw the pebbles by thinking his weak points from which Satan deceives him. As everybody knows better of their own defects, blemishes and sins, with each pebble he must aim at his evil commanding soul, lustful desires and his drives which lead him into sins. There, on the first day, he throws seven pebbles, the following days forty-nine or seventy, symbolically. They refer to multiplicity. It means that from then on, he must always be alert against the devil, and even if Satan encounters him hundreds of times, he must have thousands of pebbles to throw at him. From then on, he must carry out the meaning of the prayer he has been reciting for long “I seek refuge in Allah from Satan eternally rejected” (Auzu billahi min ash-Shaytanir-rajim.) not only with his words but also in its essence with more awareness. He must perceive in Whom he seeks refuge and from whom. He must comprehend that he seeks refuge from Satan the ‘Rajim-stoned/rejected’ in Allah the ‘Rahim-the All-Compassionate’. If he does not understand this meaning and does not reason the meaning and wisdom of this by caring only about the symbol and the outer look, he only gets deceived one more time with the apprehension that he ‘stoned the devil’, that’s it! This is because Satan does not wander outside as is symbolized there, but with the words of the Prophet “wanders inside man just like blood wanders in veins.” (Bukhari, Itikaf 11-12)
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