Saudi Arabia Ithra will release the volume “Hijrah: In the footsteps of the prophet”
DHAHRAN: A Saudi tourism exhibition inaugurated in August to mark the Islamic New Year has been summarized in a new book to be released in December.
In 240 pages, “Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet” documents the historic journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina 1,400 years ago.
The exhibition, whose content is based on the book, will run at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran until spring next year.
Dr. Idries Trevathan, scholar of Islamic studies and curator of the Ithra exhibition, also played a key role in the curation and editing of the book.
Divided into seven chapters – a number often associated with spirituality – Trevathan has brought in respected scholars Abdullah Alkadi, Kumail Almusaly, Daoud Stephen Casewit, Hamza Yusuf, Ovidio Salazar and Thalia Kennedy as contributors.
He was also helped by experts to try and piece together the narrative using geography, narration and scenery as well as high resolution images of the actual route.
Writing in the preface to the book, Ithra Director Abdullah Al-Rashid said: “We humbly believe that this volume and this exhibit represent true advances and knowledge, scholarship and understanding among all peoples and all religions.
“We hope that as we learn more about the Hijrah, we will be encouraged to emulate the values and practices of those who have traveled and that this will lead to greater understanding, empathy and tolerance.
“We are confident that our efforts will yield even more research and insights as future researchers build on this work and use it to learn more.”
Other attackers were written by Farah Abushullaih, director of the Ithra museum, Anas Saleh Serafi, secretary general of Dar Al Funoon Al-Islamiyya, and Laila Al-Faddagh, director of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia.
Trevathan told Arab News: “Hijrah translates as migration and refers to the migration of the Prophet, with his closest companion, Abu Bakr, from Mecca to Medina in the year 622, exactly 1,400 years ago. .
“The Hijrah event is important for Muslims around the world; it marks the passage of time, the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
“It is very important in the sense that it is a fundamental story for 1 billion Muslims around the world. It literally defines the identity of these people from as far away as Morocco, to Indonesia.
“When we looked at the history of Hijrah, we realized that there had never been an exhibition or a film about this, this very, very important event. And so, there is a little less four years we thought, well, Ithra, we decided to remedy the situation and we created an exhibition on the Hijrah, and today’s exhibition is the fruit of our work.
“It was a real labor of love, it involves scholars, artists, people, individuals and institutions from all over the world. It was really a collective effort. And we are really proud and honored to be able to share it with the public.
“Alongside this exhibition, we also produced an exhibition catalogue. And what is unique about this type of catalog is that it contains chapters written by many guest authors, many highly respected scholars from around the world, including Dr. Abdullah Alkadi, who is considered the authority on the Hijrah and one of the most important living biographers of the Prophet Muhammad today.
“We also have a chapter of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf from Berkeley, California. And we also have chapters written by scholars of Ithra,” he said.
“What is unique about this book, and different from other published Hijrah books, is that it focuses on the Hijrah landscape, the sacred landscape.
“We worked with many filmmakers and photographers to document the landscape. Much of what they photographed is included in this book, so amazing landscape photography.
“Additionally, we wanted to examine the ways in which people creatively express the history of the Hijrah across generations. So we looked at the artistic heritage and literature of the Islamic world and we included a lot of those pieces in this book and in the exhibition.
“But we also wanted to understand how current generations expressed their memories or feelings about history. We have commissioned new artwork to be included in the exhibition – some of it is also included in this book,” he added.
One of the replicas featured in the exhibit recently went viral on social media.
Trevathan said: “As part of the exhibition, we commissioned a facsimile of the Prophet’s sandals, as we wanted to show the shoes the Prophet wore during his journey. These sandals are based on early written sources and there are many that describe every detail of what they looked like.
“The reaction on seeing the sandals was amazing. I think people reacted so positively because they are able to connect with the Prophet in a very special way through his possessions.
“So they can relate even more to the story – more closely,” he added.
The book is now available for pre-order in English, with an identical Arabic version as well, and is on sale for $70 from the Ithra store and all major online retailers.