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rajm

(Arabic: "to stone," or "to curse"), in Islam, "casting of stones" at the devil during the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca, a pre-Islamic Arabian religious custom retained by the Prophet Muhammad. Historically, Muslim legalists did not agree on the number of stones to be cast or on the exact time for this rite among the other pilgrimage rites; Muhammad himself reportedly stated that there was no harm in disregarding the traditional (pre-Islamic) order of the pilgrimage ceremonies, probably to avoid reconciling differing tribal practices already in existence. Most Muslims, however, attempt to imitate the pilgrimage as completed by Muhammad. On the 10th day of the Dhu al-Hijjah, the month of the hajj, they each throw seven small stones at a stone construction, al-jamrat al-'aqabah, which is identified by tradition as the site where the patriarch Ibrahim (Abraham) stoned Shaytan (Satan). On the 11th, 12th, and 13th of the month, the ritual is repeated at all three jamrahs, these being stone towers located in the valley of Mina; each is pelted with seven stones every noon for the three days

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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