In collaboration and partnership with King Abdulaziz Public
Library, the British Museum here has meticulously finished all
preparations for the opening ceremony of the major hajj exhibition
entitled "Hajj: Journey to The Heart of Islam" to be held on
January 26, 2012.
It will be the first major exhibition committed to the Hajj,
exploring the importance and history of this religious journey to
be hosted ever by the British capital.
The exhibition will highlight in details how more than three
million Muslims perform annually the fifth pillar of Islam
It will also highlight the efforts being exerted by the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia in serving pilgrims and the development and expansion
of Makkah and its holy Mosque as well as other holy sites to
accommodate the annual increasing numbers of the pilgrims and
visitors and to facilitate their performance of Hajj.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Qaisra Khan, project
curator in the department of the Middle East section at the
British Museum said that the Hajj exhibition will provide details
on the importance of Hajj.
She also said that the exhibition explains the importance of
pilgrimage since the early days of starting this Islamic ritual,
and also displays the first Hajj journey of the Prophet Mohammed
peace be upon him.
‘The exhibition is also touring during the Hajj journey with time
and geography to our present days in addition to reviewing the
meanings of Hajj, which highlights the fact that the pilgrimage is
a ritual, and a peaceful phenomenon, and that Islam is a religion
of peace, since that nobody in the Hajj journey can dare to hurt
the feelings of others or anyone,’ Ms. Khan asserted.
She also termed the exhibition as a great opportunity for
non-Muslims to identify closely with Hajj as one of Islam’s
For his part, the British museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, said
the Hajj exhibition’s importance is highlighted from several
aspects, since it provides an opportunity for the museum itself to
present to its visitors whether from the UK or around the world
how millions of Muslims perform Hajj rituals, from its religious
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), MacGregor also said
that the message of the exhibition has cultural and historical
sides, highlighting the importance of the exhibition in enabling
the non-Muslim visitors to live the Hajj journey and its
experience and to become aware of its meaning and importance’.
The exhibition includes new photos, recent and old movies as well
as models with which King Abdulaziz Public Library provided the
museum, reflecting the big jumps of development witnessed by
Makkah and the holy sites as a result of the great attention
accorded to them by the prudent leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia since the era of the late founder King Abdulaziz bin
Abdurrahman Al-Saud, until the auspicious era of the Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Commenting on the exhibition, the British author and commentator
Karen Armstrong highlighted the meanings of Hajj, such as peace,
tolerance, noting that these meanings were clear in the biography
of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.
In a statement to SPA, the writer Armstrong also said that "Hajj’s
Journey Exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to understand each
"I think that the exhibition will represent for non-Muslims an
opportunity for a deep understanding of Islam from its spiritual
and its quest for peace instead of the myths circulating in the
Western media about Islam," she added.
For her part, Dr. Venetia Porter, Curator of the Islamic
Collections in the Department of Asia at the British Museum drew
the attention that the exhibition is an important occasion for
them in the museum, because no-one has ever to stage such a show
and at this level.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Porter also
said that "in fact, the pilgrimage journey is important and
On the other hand, all those senior officials at the British
museum asserted the efforts exerted and big role played by both
the Saudi embassy in the United Kingdom and King Abdulaziz Public
Library (KAPL) to the museum.
Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi ambassador to the
United Kingdom, formed a committee under his own chairmanship and
members from KPAL and the Saudi embassy.
This committee holds meeting weekly since signing the
understanding agreement between the British Museum and KPAL to
provide all capabilities to ensure the success of the exhibition
and provide the true image of the meaning of Islamic tolerance,
peace, unity and brotherhood that arise in the performance of the
fifth pillar of Islam, in addition to the efforts of the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia to serve the pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah and Holy
Activities of Hajj’s Journey exhibition at the British Museum will
be concluded on April 15, 2012.