Not long ago, the adventure of riding ships from Egypt was a normal way to reach the other side of the Red Sea coast to perform Haj. Dar Al-Hekma College recently organized an exhibition showcasing pictures of the hajj trip from Egypt in 1908.
A total of 53 pictures were on display with captions to portray the different stages that pilgrims had to go through during their trip.
The photographs show the pilgrims on ships, arriving in Makkah and moving on camels from one holy site to another. They also illustrated a number of officials who were in charge of the Hijaz region prior to the unification of the Kingdom.
The photographs document the 1908 (1325 Hijra) pilgrimage that started in Egypt and culminated in Makkah and Madinah. Haj photographs are very rare.
Furthermore, these were taken before the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was unified and show the holy places before they underwent massive expansions. The photographs were found in the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (IDEO) archives in Paris, France.
The collection is the original work of Muhammad al-Hussayni, a photographer who worked for the British Consulate in Jeddah.
Aside from the 53 photographs documenting the 1908 Haj trip, another 50 paintings were displayed at the exhibition to shed light on the Holy Ka’aba through the ages.
Two lectures were presented during the exhibition; one was themed “Haj and the Universal Order” and the second “Prophetic Monuments in Hijaz and Makkah.”
Dar al-Hekma organized the exhibition in cooperation with al-Turath Foundation and the French Consulate General in Jeddah.
Osamah Al-Gohary, director of Al-Turath Foundation, said: “As part of our efforts to preserve the heritage in all forms, we supported the Pilgrimage to Makkah 1908 Exhibition with the cooperation of the French Consulate.
“The 53 pictures we provided for the exhibition are a rare documentation of Haj and serve as an opportunity for researchers to further study the subject.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Suhair al-Qurashi, president of Dar al-Hekma College, said: “it is such a pleasure to be part of this experience and to be able to facilitate the opportunity for women in my country to enjoy these heartwarming photographs.”