Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

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Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:16 pm

Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam at the British Museum – in pictures

One of the five pillars of Islam, hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime, if they are able. A major new exhibition at the British Museum charts the history of this deeply personal journey. Here is a selection of key art works and artefacts from the show.

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 January 2012 15.21 GMT

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:18 pm


The Ka'ba in Mecca shown as the centre of the world – illustration from Tarih-i Hind-i Garbi (Turkey, 1650)
The exhibition examines the significance of the hajj as one of the five pillars of Islam, exploring its importance for Muslims and looking at the historical evolution of this spiritual journey. Photograph: Leiden University Library

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:20 pm


Curtain for the door of the Ka'ba, in the name of Sultan Abd al-Majid Khan (Cairo, 1846-7)
The British Museum exhibition documents contemporary journeys to Mecca alongside historical artefacts. Photograph: Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust)

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:23 pm


Bird's-eye view of Mecca with the Grand Mosque and shrine of Muhammad in the centre, by Carl Ponheimer (1803)
Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam examines three key strands of the faith: the pilgrim’s journey, with an emphasis on the major routes used (from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East); the hajj today and its associated rituals; and Mecca, the destination of hajj, its origins and importance. Photograph: The Trustees of the British Museum

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:26 pm


Tile depicting the sanctuary at Mecca from Iznik, Turkey (17th century)
It is laid down in the Quran that it is a sacred duty for Muslims everywhere, if they are able, to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lives. Photograph: Benaki Museum, Athens

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:29 pm


People at prayer (Faizabad, India, 1774)
The pilgrimage takes place during the last month of the Islamic year, known as Dhu’l Hijja. Photograph: V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:31 pm


Magnetism by Ahmed Mater (b1979)
At the heart of the sanctuary at Mecca lies the Ka’ba, the cube-shaped building Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Photograph: Ahmed Mater and the Trustees of the British Museum

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:34 pm


Ivory sundial and qibla pointer, made by Bayram bin Ilyas (Turkey, 1582-3)
It was in Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations in the early 7th century. The city has long been viewed as a spiritual centre and the heart of Islam. The qibla is the direction Muslims all over the world must face in prayer, towards Mecca. Photograph: The Trustees of the British Museum

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:37 pm


Red silk mahmal, 4m high
The mahmal was a canopied litter, sent by the rulers of Egypt with a caravan of pilgrims travelling to Mecca; their journey was made in honour of a pilgrimage made by a medieval sultan's wife, Shajaret-ed-Durr. Photograph: Christopher Phillips/Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust)

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:40 pm


Painting from a copy of the Anis ul-Hujjaj, a guide to pilgrimage (Mughal India, c1677-80)
The rituals involved with hajj have remained virtually unchanged since its beginning. Photograph: Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust)

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:43 pm


Water bottle made of Chinese porcelain containing Zamzam water (19th century)
The objects in the exhibition document the long and perilous journey associated with the hajj, including gifts offered to the sanctuary as acts of devotion and souvenirs – such as water from the holy Zamzam well in Mecca. Photograph: The Trustees of the British Museum

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:46 pm


Road to Mecca by Maha Malluh (photogram, 2010)
The hajj has a deep emotional and spiritual significance for Muslims, and continues to inspire a wide range of personal, literary and artistic responses, many of which are explored in the exhibition. Photograph: British Museum, London

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:50 pm

Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam – review

British Museum, London

Jonathan Jones

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 January 2012 15.16 GMT


Pilgrims' progress … Ahmed Mater's Magnetism (2011), part of Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam. Photograph: Ahmed Mater/British Museum

A pilgrimage is an epic human journey, a great assertion of life, community and ordinary people's courage. In a painting made in Iraq in AD1237, medieval pilgrims head for Mecca in a boisterous cavalcade, with musicians mounted on camels beating drums while turbanned trumpeters lead the caravan. These pilgrims have come from Timbuktu across the Sahara, from Baghdad and the Caucasus, braving bandits and deserts to perform a duty that every Muslim should undertake at least once, if he or she is able.

Today's pilgrims go from Britain and elsewhere, often on a journey planned by specialist Hajj travel agents. These modern pilgrimages are documented here alongside their predecessors. The eloquent diary of 10-year-old Saleena Nurmohamed records her first sight of the Ka'ba, the ancient black stone cube at the centre of the rituals at Mecca. "Words cannot describe the emotions that are created when one looks for the first time at the Ka'ba," she writes.

This is one of the most brilliant exhibitions the British Museum has put on – and certainly the most confrontational, in its enthusiasm for a religion regularly represented in the British media as violent and extreme. Its power lies in the way it brings together history and archaeology with contemporary images and stories (even plane tickets are included) to give an immediate, graspable sense of religious experience. Liberal-minded non-Muslims, who are more than happy to admire Islamic art, may be challenged by what is a forthright celebration of Islamic belief itself, an argument for the beauty of Islam as a religion. Following the exhibition's reconstructions of the great pilgrim routes, you are led to your destination – an attempt to recreate the intense experience awaiting pilgrims at Mecca, where no one can say they have performed the Hajj until they have completed a series of exhausting and arduous ceremonial activities.

On this journey we meet individuals; at Mecca, we see a collectivity. Images of the vast enclosure that surrounds the Ka'ba emphasise the sheer scale of the crowds. The most provocative of several contemporary artworks in the show, Abdulnasser Gharem's painting Road to Makkah, shows a road sign outside the holy city, with the route marked "Muslims only"; a bypass route is signposted "FOR NON MUSLIMS".

But non-Muslims have made the journey to Mecca. The Victorian adventurer Richard Burton undertook the Hajj disguised as an Afghan doctor. He, and the other interlopers who feature in this exhibition, went there in a spirit of genuine fascination with the religion and culture of Islam; Burton is best known for translating the Arabian Nights.

Meanwhile, powerful rulers across the centuries have lavished financial support and protection on this great gathering. For a long time, the Ottoman empire played the part the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does today. A beautiful drawing from the Ottoman era shows an elderly pilgrim on the route – a reminder of the agonies involved in making this journey before modern transport. When the Ottomans tried to build a railway for pilgrims, it became a military asset and was sabotaged by Arab forces aided by TE Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia").

Hajj is yet another great idea from the British Museum: an exhibition that mixes past and present to illuminate a central force in the world. I left with a powerful sense of the spiritual simplicity and beauty that seduced Englishmen such as Burton and Lawrence.

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  eddie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:30 pm

Hajj show at British Museum surprise hit

Record number of Muslim visitors coming to see the exhibition but critics question Saudi involvement

Alex Needham

guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 April 2012 18.45 BST


Magnetism: an exhibit that depicts the Kaaba surrounded by the Muslim faithful, part of the Hajj exhibition at British Museum, London. Photograph: Ahmed Mater/AFP/Getty Images

At the British Museum, Nazia Shah, 27, had embarked on a day out from Luton with half a dozen of her nephews. They fancied a theme park, but she took them to see Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam before it closes .

But they looked far from despondent. "It's good for the kids to get in contact with a bit of history and for them to know what's going on in the world," she said. A veteran of the pilgrimage to Mecca, the only thing she felt the exhibition lacked was a model of the Jamarat, the pillars stoned by the faithful. Next stop was the Natural History Museum – "to tire them out properly."

Shah is one of an estimated 60,000 British Muslims who have visited the Hajj exhibition since it opened in January. The first museum show anywhere in the world to focus on the pilgrimage, in less than seven weeks it exceeded the museum's target of 80,000 visitors.

By the end of last Sunday, 119,948 adult tickets (under-16s get in free) had been sold at £12 each, with all advance tickets sold out and the museum opening for longer hours to accommodate the extra demand.

Though the museum does not monitor the religion of its visitors, director Neil MacGregor estimated that more than half were Muslim, an unprecedented number. "We've had groups coming in coaches from Birmingham, Manchester – all over the UK," said Qaisra Khan, the exhibition's project curator. "We're getting carloads of people. Just this morning a young girl tweeted me saying that nine family members came down from Bradford."

It's an impression borne out in the exhibition. "Our teachers were telling us about the show so we thought we'd get here as quickly as possible," said Hymayrah Hoqe, 11, one of a dozen girls from a group organised by the East London mosque.

Khan said the museum was surprised at how popular the show had been, although they had deliberately targeted Muslims over the two years it took to plan and market it.

First, Khan contacted Maqsood Ahmed, then senior adviser to Muslim communities in the Communities and Local Government department.

"He pulled together the umbrella organisations and groups around the UK who had a good reputation and were moderate, and who would understand what we were doing with the exhibition, take it to their congregation or members and post information on their sites."

The groups included the Council of British Hajjis and the Association of British Hujjaj, both of whom help organise the Hajj for British Muslims.

The museum also invited local Muslim community groups into previews of the show to create a word-of-mouth buzz. "Once one group is able to say 'we really recommend this' it spreads like wildfire," said Khan.

At the museum, the reaction from Muslims was strongly positive, though Malik, who had been on the Hajj, said it taught her little she did not already know.

The exhibition has been contentious, however, with commentators including the Observer's Nick Cohen claiming that it has been compromised by the involvement of the Saudi Arabian regime.

The state lent exhibits, such as the Mahmal, while the exhibition is partnered with the King Abdulaziz Public Library and sponsored by the Islamic bank, HSBC Amanah.

Mehdi Hasan, who reviewed the show for the New Statesman and Radio 4, said he acclaimed the exhibition for being "something positive about Muslims in a country where all you get is terrorism and Halal meat scares", but believed many Muslims would have had mixed feelings. You want to like it but you don't want to feel part of a Saudi spin operation. Hajj takes place in Saudi Arabia, it's run by the Saudi government, and they use it to promulgate their narrow, very sectarian view of Islam."

Under the Wahabi monarchy, much of medieval Mecca was bulldozed with the justification that religious relics encouraged idolatry.

"They got away with zero criticism in the exhibition," said Hasan. "When you get to the section on King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Saudi state, you get a [text] about what a moderniser he was, like he was the Tony Blair of Saudi Arabia. This is a man who as soon as he arrived in Mecca was smashing stuff up, killing people and flattening tombs, and yet is presented as this guy who made the trains run on time.

"The British Museum is meant to be the great protector of global culture yet they've got nothing to say about the Saudi government tearing stuff down in Mecca and putting up hotel blocks and timeshares."

Hasan said the Saudis would be very pleased by the exhibition. "They've got a huge boost for the Hajj which they need in terms of cash revenue. In that sense, they've made a very direct connection with British Muslims."

The museum responded that the Saudis had "not contributed funds to this project or had any curatorial control over the content of the exhibition".

"I think most of our audiences recognised what we were trying to do, which was to display and demonstrate this very personal, spiritual journey," said Khan. "It wasn't about the politics of it."

Having tapped into a new audience of British Muslims, Khan said that while no further exhibitions along the lines of Hajj were planned, she was confident they would return to the British Museum, whose Islamic gallery is run by the show's curator, Venetia Porter.

Habib said she would return, and not just confine herself to the Islamic exhibits.

"As the kids are getting older they're doing Vikings and Egyptians at school so it's good to get back here."

"I've always been into museums," said Idil Yusuf, from south-east London, with daughter Jamila, three. "Now she's of a certain age I'll be able to bring her down with me."

The group from the East London mosque, meanwhile, already seemed au fait with the place. "We've all been here before," said Hoqe, "and we'll come back with our family."

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:17 pm

Bak. Derk-derk-Allah. Derka derka, Mohammed Jihad. Haka sherpa-sherpa. Abaka-la.


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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  pinhedz on Mon May 06, 2013 1:20 pm

The language barrier forces the pinhed to learn about the Hadj from the Russians.



Here is a true oddity--a film starring STEVE REEVES as Hadji Murad. Shocked


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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:09 pm

cheers 



 geek

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:10 pm

             

               

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:10 pm


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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  pinhedz on Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:33 am

^
It was a mistake to seque from "dangerous/toxic" to "nonsense."

They're two different things; the "nonsense" claim is a red herring that makes him vulnerable--rhetorically speaking.

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:09 am

his position was that all faith-based religions are nonsense and this one currently is dangerous



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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  pinhedz on Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:30 am

^
Yes--all equal in the nonsense sense.

So, bringing that up just confused danger message (people can only handle one message at a time--at most geek ).

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:12 am

pipe down, it's a minute excerpt from a long blather sesh. pig His schtick often was to talk about manifold dangers caused by manifold irrational beliefs, not just singling out the proud musselman. But there was an uber-message with sub-messages flowing from it, and he could explain pretty good if juan could follow the manifold wpm.

I don't share his views, as I am an adherent of Kurdish Yazidism, ( sometimes denigrated as the Cult of the Giant Peacock Angel).






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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  pinhedz on Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:04 am

^
The pinhed is just trying to help. The friendly advise is this: say one thing at a time and remember what the one thing is.

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

Post  yoder on Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:07 am

Yaki is an adherent of Kurdish Yazidism! I hope I never learn anything new or I'll forget that

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Re: Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam- in pictures

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