museum review - Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam

Attention: open in a new window.  E-mail| Print | Bookmark Added: 29.12.2011, 14:07

On JANUARY 26, the British Museum opens its first exhibition dedicated to the pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam explores how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history.


Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam will examine the significance of the Hajj as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, exploring the importance for Muslims of their sacred duty to make the journey to Mecca, if they are able, at least once in their lives. The exhibition draws from a number of different collections, bringing together a vast array of objects including important historic pieces as well as more contemporary artworks that uncover the lasting impact that Hajj has had across time and distance.

The focus of the exhibition is split into three topics: the pilgrim’s journey with an emphasis on the major routes used across time (from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East); the Hajj today, its associated rituals and what the experience means to the pilgrim; and Mecca, the destination of Hajj, its origins and importance.

Archaeological material, textiles, manuscripts, historic photographs, and contemporary art are among the objects loaned to the museum for the exhibition. A significant amount of the items on display come from collections in Saudi Arabia, and major public and private collections in the UK and around the world, among them the Khalili Family Trust. They document the long and perilous journey associated with the pilgrimage, gifts offered to the sanctuary as acts of devotion, and the souvenirs that are brought back from Hajj.

The rituals involved with Hajj have remained unchanged since its beginning, and it continues to be a powerful religious undertaking which draws Muslims together, irrespective of nationality or sect. Its deep emotional and spiritual significance continues to inspire a wide range of personal, literary, and artistic responses, many of which will be explored throughout the exhibition. The exhibition will also examine the social and political significance of Hajj in relation to global trade and the transmission of ideas.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, said “The exhibition, Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, will enable a global audience to deepen their understanding of the history and significance of the Hajj. In particular, it will allow non-Muslims to explore the one aspect of Islamic practice and faith which they are not able to witness directly, but which plays a major part in forming a worldwide Islamic consciousness.”

The exhibition, sponsored by HSBC Amanah, runs until April 15, 2012.



London, England
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day

> Book Now
British Museum
Great Russell Street, London
Tel: +44 20 7323 8299
Write comment

Write the displayed characters:

security code
smaller | bigger


Oryx Magazine December 2016

Oryx Cover December 2016

View the Oryx eMagazine archive

Oryx Premium December 2016

Oryx Premium Cover December 2016

View the Oryx Premium eMagazine archive

Oryx Updates

If you would like to be notified
when the magazine is updated,
please click below

Email updates

Latest Features

  • From the mountains... with love

    If you’re looking for inspiration for a romantic snow-filled getaway, then look no further. For many... 
  • A heart-warming winter in Denmark

    If you’re looking for cheer during dark December days, then Denmark provides plenty of hygge. Writer and... 
  • Qatar: Past and present

    Qatar celebrates its National Day on December 18, commemorating the birth of the modern state.  

Most read


Copyright © 2009 ORYX Digital Magazine. All rights reserved.

Powered by Agency Fish   |  Endorsed by Qatar Airways