Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

ALTHOUGH Eid-ul-Adha is the pinnacle of the Hajj season, it is not the end of it. Starting today, and for the two days after that, the pilgrims will be staying at the tent city of Mina, worshiping, reflecting, and praying. And, each day, they will travel to the stone pillars that represent the Devil and pelt them with stones.

The story behind this ritual is that, when Abraham was on his way to sacrifice his son, the Devil appeared to try to dissuade him from going through with it. Each time he tried, the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) stoned him. Hence, the pilgrims do the same.

This ritual can become particularly emotional for many pilgrims. It is not uncommon, in fact, for one to see flip-flops and other shoes flying at the stone pillars (which are now more like long walls). I am certain that many pilgrims – if not most – recall the sins they have committed in the past and throw the stones with the intent of “getting back” at the Devil for “making them” commit those sins.

Not so fast.

Yes, we stone the Devil – or the representation of the Devil – during the Hajj. Yet, that does not absolve us of our responsibility for our actions. The Devil does not make us do anything. He merely suggests a course of action, and if we heed his “advice,” we are to blame for this decision.

That is exactly, in fact, what happened to our father Adam. Yes, the Devil suggested that he and his wife eat of the forbidden tree. But they both admitted their faults and turned to God in repentance:

The two [Adam and Eve] replied: “O our Lord! We have sinned against ourselves and, unless You grant us forgiveness and bestow Your mercy upon us, we shall most certainly be lost!” (7:23)

They did not even bring up the Devil and his trickery.

Yet, that will not stop countless human beings from trying to blame the Devil for their sins. The Devil, however, will throw them under the bus:

And when everything will have been decided, Satan will say: “Behold, God promised you something that was bound to come true. I, too, held out [all manner of] promises to you – but I deceived you. Yet, I had no power at all over you: I but called you, and you responded to me. Hence, do not blame me, but blame yourselves. It is not for me to respond to your cries, nor for you to respond to mine. For, behold, I have [always] refused to admit that there was any truth in your erstwhile belief that I had a share in God’s divinity”… (14:22)


We are all responsible for what we have earned, and we can not blame anyone else for our sin, even the Devil. So, yes, we Muslims may stone the Devil during the Hajj, but – nevertheless – we will have to face the consequences of all that we do before God.


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