MINA (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims stoned Satan after massing on Sunday in a valley near the holy city of Mina, the last and most dangerous rite of the annual Haj. Hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes which have blighted several previous pilgrimages when the faithful rush to hurl stones at huge pillars symbolising the devil. To complete the ritual, a pilgrim must throw 21 pebbles at each of three 25-metre pillars. This ritual gives me moral strength. Right now I feel as though Im defeating Satan, said Mokhtar Khan, a 29-year-old who arrived at the site with dozens of fellow Bangladeshis who chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest). Another devotee about to perform the ritual, 25-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Husseinin, quipped that he would feel better once Ive stoned Satan, my biggest enemy. Saudi authorities have installed a multi-level walkway through the site in a bid to avoid the trampling that caused the deaths of 364 people in 2006, 251 in 2004 and 1,426 in 1990. So far this year, no major incidents have been reported among the more than 2.5 million pilgrims. The stoning site has been developed... (and) movement is more fluid and the organisation is better, said the Bangladeshi Khan, who is on his eighth pilgrimage in his capacity as a member of the Haj organising committee. A large security force monitored worshippers for the stoning after the slaughtering of sheep in a ritual for the Feast of the Sacrifice (Eidul Azha) to recall Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his son on Gods order. Most pilgrims did not sacrifice an animal themselves, but instead bought vouchers from the Saudi authorities which then forward meat in the form of aid to poor Muslims in other countries. After the stoning ceremony, the pilgrims go to Makkahs Great Mosque for a farewell visit to the Kaaba. The Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those who are able to make the journey. More than 1.83 million pilgrims have arrived in the kingdom from abroad, marking a 1.5 percent increase from last year, said Makkah governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal. Several hundred thousand Saudis and foreign residents in the kingdom were also granted permits to join them, he added. To help prevent chaos, the authorities have numbered buses and tents in Mina and Mount Arafat, where the pilgrims spent Saturday, according to the countries from which the pilgrims have come. The ministry of religious affairs sends 3.25 million text messages each day to the mobile phones of pilgrims to inform them of correct procedures for the Haj rites so as to prevent that which is harmful, ministry official Sheikh Talal al-Uqail told the official SPA news agency.