Today is the first day you'll be throwing your pebbles at the Jamaraat, but only the big one, not the other two.  You'll be doing that the following two days before the end of Hajj.  You may be feeling a little scared and it's ok, but don't be as things have changed so much that it's become a lot easier than it used to be.

It's nothing like how it used to be back when I was 10.  At that time the Jamaraat were still only the pillars and there wasn't much space around them either.  As well as being smaller, there weren't so many floors and everything wasn't as organised as it is today.

I guess in some situations, it's not always the system that's lacking when you hear about tragedies or things going wrong.  There are signs everywhere and notices advising what best to do.  They're very easy to understand regardless of what language you speak but unfortunately not everyone abides by them.  You'll notice a lot of people camping on the roadside and to be honest with you it's quite dangerous, especially when there are large crowds of people walking that way.  It's easy to see that they could very well be trampled on.

If you rush this part of your Hajj then it will become harder.  The key thing to remember is to take your time and don't rush as that's how a lot of accidents happen.  For some reason everyone wants to get this ritual done and dusted with as soon as possible, especially on the last day.  It's pretty much like rush hour, but on a very large scale, so you can imagine how easy it is for everything to go horribly wrong. 

So what was it like before the big change?  Well, the wall around the pillars was quite small, so not as many people could fit around the pillar as they can these days.  And if you were at the back, way behind the crowd, it was almost impossible to see the wall or the pillar.  You had to get close enough to make sure you got your pebbles in.  I remember being in the second row, if you could call it that, and just waiting to throw my pebbles.  My dad picked me up and I threw each one into the pit down below.  Along with pebbles I saw flip flops, coke cans, bottles and massive rocks too!  Don't be tempted to throw everything including the kitchen sink as this is more of a symbolic ritual and by throwing pebbles you should feel as though you're getting rid of shaytan from your life.  

The best thing to do here is again be patient and wait for a space to open at the front or much closer to the pillar.  Your pebbles must fall into the pit below so don't rush and take your time, as it's likely that trying to throw a small pebble from way back will only result in a miss.

Keep your 7 pebbles ready and put the others away so that you don't drop them or lose them on your way.  Do this on the side when you get to the Jamaraat and don't be afraid.  You may have heard a lot of horror stories, but to be honest with you, there really isn't anything to worry about at all.  The space is so big now that there's enough room for you to carry out this ritual comfortably.    

Having said that, be careful when you're in the crowd full of people throwing pebbles because if you get hit with one, it'll hurt.  It's a bit like being hit by hailstones, only this time they're not made out of ice!  We would always look down on our way and cover our faces a little so that we could protect our eyes until we made it to the front. 

Duas are also accepted here and once you've finished throwing your pebbles, move to the side and make your dua facing the Qibla.  Usually when you go with your group, everyone will wait for each other and move on once you've all returned.

In a way, you'll feel like a new person and want to try and be the best you can be at all times.  It's a good feeling and Inshallah this whole experience will help you to continue your journey as a better person.     

Now that you're done, it's time to walk to Makkah.  I told you, you'd be walking a lot.  And if you've prepared yourself physically then you'll be fine Inshallah.  The next thing to do now is Tawaf-E-Ziyaarat, which means Tawaf and Saee too.  It's going to be a long night and it'll be tiring but somehow you get the strength from somewhere to keep going. 

Let's make our way to Makkah and whilst we do so, we'll also wait to hear if our Qurbani's been done yet or not.