Prince hails Hajj exhibition ‘remarkable’Prince hails Hajj exhibition ‘remarkable’

The Prince of Wales hailed a new exhibition about the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah as “remarkable”.

Charles was welcomed to the collection at the British Museum in central London by Prince Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, the Saudi ambassador, before being given a 20-minute tour of some of the key exhibits, which include one of the oldest known copies of the Quran, dating from the 8th century.

Hajj: Journey To The Heart Of Islam is the first major exhibition dedicated to the spiritual journey, which is central to the Muslim faith.

The collection of both historic and contemporary objects and artworks explores the pilgrimage’s importance for Muslims and looks at how it has evolved throughout history.

It is laid down in the Quran that it is a sacred duty for Muslims to make the journey to Makkah spiritual centre of Islam, at least once in their lifetimes.

The pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, takes place during the last month of the Islamic year, known as Dhu’l Hijja.

He described one particular exhibit, an intricately embroidered mahmal - a cover traditionally carried on a camel during the journey to Makkah from Africa - as “beautiful”.
After looking round the exhibition, Charles gave a short speech describing it as a “remarkable collection of treasures”.

He said: “I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is to have been asked to open this splendid exhibition celebrating the Hajj, one of the five Pillars of Islam and thus of the greatest possible significance to the spiritual and temporal lives of Muslim people across the entire world.”

Referring to the physical undertaking of the pilgrimage, which is carried out by 25,000 from the UK alone every year, he added: “But it also speaks of the spiritual journey to one’s own heart.

“It is this integrated vision of our existence, the combination of a literal and a metaphorical pilgrimage, which joins all people of faith, reflecting the timeless nature of our creator.

“I can only pray that this exhibition will be, for all who see it, a source of education, of understanding and of delight.

“It therefore gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the British Museum’s Hajj exhibition open.”