STONING THE ‘UQBAH PILLAR
After completing his stay in Muzdalifa, the pilgrim moves to Mina (which is 6 k.m. from Muzdalifa) for doing the obligatory rituals of that day. These obligations are three: stoning the ‘Uqbah Pillar, then sacrificing the animal, and then shaving of the head or taqsir.
This is the fourth obligatory ritual of hajj after the ihram, the stay in ‘Arafat and Muzdalifa.
RULES OF STONING THE ‘UQBAH
1. The stoning must be done with the sincere intention of pleasing Almighty Allah by saying, for example, the following: “I am stoning the ‘Uqbah Pillar for the hajj at-tamattu‘ to seek the pleasure of Almighty Allah.” As mentioned earlier, just the thought in one’s mind is sufficient; it is not necessary to do the niyyat in verbal form.
2. The stoning should be done by seven pebbles. Based on compulsory precaution, the pebbles should be fresh ones; i.e., not the ones used by others. And it is recommended that the pebbles be coloured and with dots on it, and a fingertip in thickness.
3. It is necessary that the pebbles be from the holy territory of Mecca but not from the Sacred Mosque, Masjid al-Khif and other mosques. It is preferable they be from Muzdalifa.
4. The stoning of seven pebbles should be done one after another; that is, without any considerable time gap between throwing one stone and then the other.
5. It is important that the pebble hits the pillar. So if the pebble didn’t reach or hit the pillar, then it should not be counted as one of the seven required stones.
6. The pebble should hit the pillar by the pilgrim’s throw and not by being placed on it.
7. The stoning should be done between the sunrise and the sunset of the day of ‘Idd. So if the pilgrim knowingly neglects this time frame, then his hajj is invalid.
8. While stoning the ‘Uqbah Pillar, it is recommended that the pilgrim face the pillar with his back towards the qiblah.
9. Those who were permitted to leave Muzdalifa at night (like women and elderly) can stone the ‘Uqbah Pillar in the eve of ‘Idd – however, this flexibility for stoning does not extend to those who are their care-takers.
10. If the pilgrim doubts whether or not his pebble hit the pillar, then he should assume that he missed the target – except if the doubt came after doing the sacrifice or shaving the head or at night time, in these cases he should just ignore his doubt.
11. Based on obligatory precaution, the pilgrim should stone the original part of the pillar and not its extended part. The original part of the pillar was slightly higher than a person’s height. Therefore, based on obligatory precaution, the pilgrim should not stone the pillar from the second level.
12. Based on obligatory precaution, the pilgrim should not stone the ‘Uqbah Pillar from its back side which previously had wall and was later on removed. (The back side of the ‘Uqbah Pillar is identifiable by the ruins of its foundation.) The pilgrim should stone the ‘Uqbah Pillar from its front with the qiblah to his back.
13. If one fears considerable harm in doing the stoning by himself in its required time, then he is allowed to appoint someone else to do the stoning on his behalf. However, just the fear of hardship would not justify appointing someone else for that task. One is the best judge for himself.
14. If a mistake happens in stoning the ‘Uqbah Pillar because of ignorance or forgetfulness and the pilgrim comes to know about it only after doing the tawaf and sa‘i or after the 12th Dhul Hijja, then he has to redo the stoning if he is still in Mina or Mecca. However, if he has already left Mecca, then there is nothing on him.
COMMON MISTAKES IN STONING
1. Some pilgrims stone the pillar with pieces of wood and shoes or sandals. It does not behoove a guest of the Merciful Lord to do such things.
2. Some pilgrims pick big and rough pebbles for stoning while it is recommended that the pebbles should be small and soft.
3. While stoning the pillar, some pilgrims miss it and instead hit a fellow pilgrim resulting in bruising or bleeding. Therefore, a pilgrim should take extreme caution in stoning so that he does not hurt a fellow pilgrim. If he does this knowingly, then he is liable for paying indemnity.