Magazine article The Spectator

Road to Mecca

Magazine article The Spectator

Road to Mecca

Article excerpt

The British Museum's latest exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart o f Is lam (until 15 April) sets out to explain the mysteries of this annual pi lg r image . La st yea r, a tota l o f 2,927,719 pilgrims went to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, something that all Mu sl im s shou ld t ry to do at lea st once in thei r l i fet ime .

Such huge number s a re ha rd to v i sua l i se , so a f i lm , projected on to a wall, is a great help: one sees, I suppose, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arriving in the city, and walking round Islam's most sacred site, the Ka'ba, confined as they are to the courtyard of the Grand Mosque and surrounding areas. And becau se o f it s rather clau st rophobic atmosphere, the BM's old reading room i s - for once - ju st the r ight place to hold an exhibition.

The show look s at the epic jou rneys under taken by pi lg r im s f rom the 7th centu ry to the pre sent day. …

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