Saturday 4 February 2012

British Museum: Hajj Journey to the Heart of Islam

The British Museum has an exhibition called Hajj journey to the heart of Islam. The exhibition is on from 26 January to 15 April 2012 and explores British Muslims hajj experiences. There is a page for people's stories:

"I was privileged to make the Hajj of 2011. The moment you enter the Harem Mosque and first lay eyes on the Ka’ba feels like the day you are truly born of life, your soul, heart and eyes soften and ease to the glorious sight. It’s incredible, so many Muslim around the globe pray towards and visualise this point before ever making the journey, now I have returned home I think it is testament to the faith."

"The highlight of my Hajj was to walk with millions of people wearing the same piece of simple cloth, saying same words here I am at thy service oh Lord, here I am, submitting ourselves to Allah. It was very uplifting to be united with people from all walks of life from all over the world as one umah (community) all for the sake of God Almighty. That sudden feeling of Joy once I completed all rituals of Hajj gave me the feeling I was reborn clean of sins and hoping that my Hajj has been accepted."

"I made my Umra 7 years ago and to this day the memories send shivers down my spine. It was magical; more magical than Disneyland!! Words alone can't explain the uplifting and exhilarating feeling rippling through myself! My favourite part was when we set foot inside the Haram and my siblings and I were going to lay eyes on the Ka'ba for the first time. We kept our eyes on the ground and only when we reached the courtyard did we look up. Wow. Gobsmacked. Amazing. I could only hear the birds singing and the general hum of people praying; I'd zoned out and no word in the entire dictionary will come close to describing how I felt. Pure, pure serenity :) The overall experience is very humbling. As I'm writing this, I'm smiling."

As well as hajj stories, the exhibition promises "beautiful objects, including historical and contemporary art, textiles and manuscripts". You can visit the websit to book tickets here.

image source

Hajj certificate (detail). 17th–18th century AD. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art Khalili Family Trust (image source)

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