As large and prominent as the Muslim world is, significant Islamic events can sometimes be overlooked by some Westerners. Fortunately, without having to look too hard, anyone can find news on what’s current in Islam. Lane Turner’s recent collection of photographs on this year’s Hajj and Eid-al-Adha events depicts Muslims from around the world observing and honouring one of the most important times in the Muslim lunar calendar.
Every year millions of Muslims make the Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. This November was no different, with hours of praying and walking around the Kaaba of the Grand Mosque followed by other rituals, like Jamarat and the Eid-Al-Adha feast. Living in places as varied as Thailand, Palestine, Indonesia, Yemen, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Russia, Bangladesh, Romania, Iraq, Libya, China, India, Nigeria, Kashmir, Iran and Afghanistan, both men and women came together to prepare for and celebrate Eid-al-Adha during October and November.
Starting on the 26th of January 2012, the “Haj: Journey to the Heart of Islam” exhibit will be open to the public at the British Museum. According to Roger Harrison’s article, it will run until the 15th of April and will explore the Hajj in both historical and modern times. The exhibit consists of three main parts that help to give visitors an in depth understanding of Hajj and Islam.
One section focuses on the journey to Makkah from various directions: Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It covers many of the struggles pilgrims faced on their way to Makkah in the past and people that were essential to getting large groups of pilgrims to their destination, like Harun Rashid and Thomas Cook. The second section looks at Hajj in modern times, addressing all of the rituals a pilgrim goes through and covering the effort it takes to manage millions of Muslims arriving at Makkah annually. The final section concentrates on Makkah itself and why it is so significant to Islam. It depicts Makkah in the past and present through artefacts, a film on the rituals involved with the Hajj and the works of artists.
Hopefully all the attention on Hajj will inspire people to look at the significance of Islam in our world and foster cultural understanding.