Prophet Mohamed’s migration from Mecca to Medina is one of, if not the, most important historical events that shaped Islamic history and culture from that moment onwards. Now, people can relive (sort of) the journey and learn more about it in an exhibition in Saudi Arabia.
Named “Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet,” the research-based artistic exhibition at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, takes a deep hard look at the eight-day and 400 km journey the Prophet and his companions took escaping from persecution and death threats over 1400 years ago.
This monumental event is celebrated by millions of Muslims every year as the Islamic calendar is based on it and marks its beginning. Now Ithra displays the historical event in a way to educate and familiarize people, not only about the hardships the travelers endured but also how significant it was in creating such a community.
This is the first time an exhibition of this size, detail, and focus has been created at this scale as it not only looks at the event itself but those that led up to the migration as well.
This project has been three years in the making as a collaborative effort between the National Museum in Riyadh, the House of Islamic Art, the King Abdulaziz Complex for Waqf Libraries, and Turquoise Mountain.
What You Can Expect to See There
The Hijrah project includes a wide variety of things to see, artifacts and replicas from the period, newly commissioned art pieces, auditory-visual experiences in both Arabic and English, a theater performance, academic research by renowned scholars in the field, and a cinematic retelling of what happened among others.
During the project’s run, it achieves the auditory-visual experiences through light manipulation, projection, huge screens, elaborate sets, artifacts, and recreated scenes. These elements take visitors on an intense virtual trek, making them walk in the same steps as the Prophet and his companions did all those years ago.
There’s a one-to-one scaled replica of the Prophet’s camel, textiles from all over the kingdom, a replica of the Prophet’s sandals, a recreation of what a tent from that era would look like, and more.
When it comes to the research and info, scholars and artists narrate the story and the hardships that they must have faced during the journey, explaining the geopolitical impact of the whole migration and how it affected the region for centuries to come.
“As one of the most detailed studies ever of the history and topography of the Hijrah, this exhibition exemplifies Ithra’s wider mission to tell the world’s defining stories through art, heritage, culture, and research,” Said Abdallah Hussein Alkadi, author of “Makkah to Madina: A Photographic Journey of the Hijrah Route and Milestones of Arabia.”
“Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet looks at the history and the legacy of the event from different perspectives, including science, physical geography, material culture, theology, art, and cultural memory. This Exhibition represents significant advances in academic research around the history of Islam while its focus on the human story surrounding the journey and our shared human values will also promote greater understanding, empathy, and tolerance,” he continued.
Is It Going To Be Available Globally?
According to the Ithra press release, the exhibition is the first traveling exhibition of its kind from the country, as it’s set to be “exhibited across Saudi Arabia then globally during its five-year run” with the hope that it shares “new perspectives and findings on the story.”
It will first go through a nine-month run in Saudi Arabia, moving from Dhahran to Riyadh and then Jeddah before traveling overseas.
Tickets are currently set at 30 Saudi Riyals and are available for all ages. For more information call: +966138169799.
Don’t Forget: We Said This… Reconnecting With The Past: Bibliotheca Alexandria Launches New Website To Teach Hieroglyphics