~ Shop ~

MECCA - THE HAJJ, 1823: حجاج مسلمينك ميدان عرفاتدن عودتله مزدلفة ومينا شهرنده بولندقلرى منظره

 

[The View of the Muslim Pilgrims of the Arafat Square Returning in Muzdalifah and the Lodgings of the City of Mina]

 

One of the earliest known documentary views of Mina – the City of Tents – and Muzdalifah with parts of Mecca, made by a Muslim artist, depicts religious sites and the locations of the steps of the Hajj, and glorifies the foundation of the Black Stone and the Grand Mosque of Mecca through the iconographical motifs.

 

Water-colours, blank ink and gold details on paper, 35 x 48 cm (wormholes with loss of image, slightly stained, light scratches on the surface).

 

Description

The image represents the city of Mina, also called the City of Tents, and Muzdalifah with the east part of Mecca, important religious sites and locations of prominent visitors of the Hajj, made in 1239 AH (1823 AD). Mina is not only the place for tents for pilgrims, but also a location for five steps of the Hajj.

The center of the image is occupied by a pilgrimage road from Mount Arafat on the top to Mecca through Muzdalifah and Mina. Cleary presented in the lower part of the road are the jamarāt or the three pillars, where the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil is performed.

This brilliantly composed early view, which rather focuses on the often neglected historically important suburbs of Mecca, instead of on the more commonly represented Grand Mosque, is exceedingly important from at least three aspects: for its representations of the steps of the Hajj on one image, documentary and historical value and for its iconography, connected with the history of Mecca and the Islam.

Religious Motifs

The view depicts locations of five steps, traditionally preformed and visited during the Hajj: Step 2: Mina or the City of Tents, Step 3: the road from Mina to Arafat, Step 4: Muzdalifah, Step 5: Stoning of the Devil, Step 6: Nahr or the Slaughtering.

Omitted is the first step – Ihram, which is not performed on a ceratin location.

The last, 7th step, the Farewell Tawaf, which is performed in Mecca, in represented indirectly through the iconographic motifs explained later in the text.

The places for sacrificing animals (or step 6), traditionally made in Mina, are showcased with brown pits on the left-hand side by the road, just above the first row of bult houses.

The map also depicts local religious monuments. The Mosque of Muzdalifah is marked on the right-hand site below the Mount Ararat and the Mosque of Mina (مسجد مينا) in the lower part by the road, on the left-hand side of the jamarat, the three pillars, which are represented in their early 19th century form before the renovation.

The places for sacrificing of animals (or step 6), traditionally made in Mina, are showcased with brown pits on the left-hand side by the road, just above the first row of built houses.

The map also depicts local religious monuments. The Mosque of Muzdalifah is marked on the right-hand site below the Mount Ararat and the Mosque of Mina (مسجد مينا) in the lower part by the road, on the left-hand side of the jamarat, the three pillars, which are represented in their early 19th century form before the renovation.

Documentary Representation of the Hajj, 1823

The view is not only interesting for its representation of the religious sites, but it also records the camp of the pilgrims in the year 1823 with stunning documentary preciseness.

Large luxury tents in blue, light blue and pink, scattered among smaller white temts and decorated with gold ornaments, are accompanied with names of their owners and inhabitants: Arab Shaiks (مشايخ عرب), Custodians of Mecca (خادم مكة), Artillery Commander (طوپچ قماندامى), Arab Women (امراى عرب), Egyptian Women (امراى مصر), Arab and Syrian boys, Hajji Chief Governor (محافظ حج شريف), Hajji Governor (محافظ حج), Egyptian delegates etc.

Marked are also various locations, where important pilgrims and caravans were stationed during the Hajj, for example the location of the Egyptian Mahal (محمل مصر) below the Mount Arafat.

The details showcase the places with fresh water, marked with large blue basins, and opened grills, where the pilgrims could get a warm meal. The view also presents in details the positions of the cannons in the valley and a military station with an Ottoman flag, built by the road to Mecca.

Iconographic Analysis

The two large mountains on the left and right-hand side are not a part of the actual scenery, but symbols of the foundation of Mecca as a pilgrimage center.

The mountain on the right is named as Mount Quraysh (جبل قريش) after a grouping of Arab clans, which historically controlled the Mecca and the Kaaba. The prophet Muhammad was born into the Hashim clan of the tribe.

The mountain on the left-hand side with two stones on a plateau is called Mount Ibrahim (جبل ابراهيم) after a prophet, patriarch and the reformer of the Kaaba in Mecca. The two stones connected with Ibrahim are The Black Stone or Hajar al-Aswad, which “came down from Paradise” and was presented to Ibrahim, to be placed on the corner of the Kaaba, and Maqame Ebrahim (مقام ابراهيم) , the stone, which Ebrahim stood on, while building the Kaaba.

The text in the white margin below the image explains the story of Ibrahim and glorifies him as an model of the true believer.

These symbolic representations of the two mountains connect the contemporary middle image with the beginning of the Islamic faith and indirectly represent the Kaaba, connected with the last step of the Hajj.

Note on Rarity

This is a very early known view of Mina and Muzdalifah. We are not aware of any other similar work. We could also not find any other drawings by Muhammad Faraki Ayyubi, who signed this image in the cartouche in the lower left part.

Additional information

Author

Code

Place and Year