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Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage

Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage


Essays in Honour of Nasser David Khalili


Edited by Qaisra M. Khan with Nahla Nassar

Foreword by Julian Raby

Format: Two-volume slipcase | 320mmx265mm
Published: 10 January 2024
Pages: 328 + 412
Illustrations: over 200 colour images
ISBN: 978-1-914983-16-0


A comprehensive overview of Hajj, one of the central pillars of Islam, in honour of Professor Sir Nasser David Khalili.


Over the course of five decades, Professor Sir Nasser David Khalili has assembled eight of the world’s most important collections of art. Together they consist of over 35,000 objects, with each collection providing an exhaustive account of its subject. In acquiring, conserving, researching, exhibiting, publishing and digitising these collections, Sir David has contributed, significantly to numerous fields of scholarship and in the process helped foster a greater understanding of the world’s traditions. One of these eight collections – Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage – was compiled not only on the basis of its intrinsic aesthetic merit, but principally as a means of telling a complete visual story of Hajj and the importance of the sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina.

Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage consists of twenty-seven essays addressing objects in the remarkable collection of Professor Sir Nasser David Khalili. The collection features more than five thousand objects relating to the arts of pilgrimage, from the eighth century to today, and includes Qur’ans, illustrated manuscripts, rare books, scientific instruments, textiles, coins, paintings, prints, and photo-postcards, as well as archival material, unique historical documents, and examples of the work of some of the earliest Muslim photographers of Hajj. Together the essays in Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage provide a comprehensive overview of Hajj, illustrating the religious, spiritual, cultural, and artistic aspects of pilgrimage to the Holy Sanctuaries of Islam and the cosmopolitan nature of Hajj itself. Each essay is written by a prominent specialist in the field and beautifully illustrated with full-colour images of objects from the collection, some of which have never been seen before. This work is a fitting tribute to Professor Sir Nasser David Khalili and his decades of passion, determination and scholarship in the field of Islamic art. These volumes will transform our perception of the pilgrimage.


Professor Sir David Nasser Khalili is an Iranian-born British scholar, collector, philanthropist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. He received his PhD in Islamic Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 1992. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford, where he is a Member of the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors.

Qaisra M. Khan is a Curator specialising in the Arts of Pilgrimage for over a decade. She has a degree in Law and an MPhil in Oriental Studies from Cambridge University and a further MA in Islamic Art and Architecture from SOAS, University of London. 

Nahla Nassar graduated with a BA Honours in Fine Art and Archaeology from the American University of Beirut. As well as co-curating the Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage Collection, she has been Curator and Registrar of the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art since 1989.

With contributions by Dr Bilal Badat, Dr Sami De Giosa, Mr Seif El Rashidi, Dr Sabiha Gologlu, Professor Alastair Hamilton, Dr Edmund Hayes, Ms Qaisra M. Khan, Ms Janie Lightfoot, Professor Jan Loop, Dr Michael Christopher Low, Professor Richard McGregor, Dr Sergio Carro Martín, Professor Ulrich Marzolph, Dr Luitgard Mols, Dr Harry Munt, Ms Nahla Nassar, Mr James Nicholson, Mr Yousuf Saeed, Dr Saarthak Singh, Dr John Slight, Dr Mehmet Tütüncü, Dr Aram Vardanyan, Dr Arnoud Vrolijk, Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, Dr Peter Webb, Mr Michael Wolfe.

Additional information

Weight 6 kg

Visual Art


Volume One

Foreword, Julian Raby

Preface, Qaisra M. Khan

List of Authors

1 TheHajj, Michael Wolfe

2 The History and Significance of the Meccan Hajj – from Pre-Islam to the Rise of the Abbasids, Peter Webb

3 The Prophet’s Tomb and the History of Pilgrimage to Medina (Up to the Mamluk Period), Harry Munt

4 Unrolling the Hajj: the Evolution of Pilgrimage Certificates, Sergio Carro Martín

5 Islamic Coins as Witnesses to Secular Power and Pilgrimage in Medieval Mecca and Medina, Aram Vardanyan

6 Futuh al-Haramayn: Muhyi Lari’s Versified Account of Hajj and the Holy Places of the Hijaz, Muhammad Isa Waley

7 Tuhfet ül-Haremeyn: the Ottoman Poet Yusuf Nabi’s Account of his Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, Muhammad Isa Waley

8 The Cemeteries of Mecca and Medina, Qaisra M. Khan

9 Entwined Itineraries: Early Shiʿi Interpretations of the Hajj and the Ziyārah to the Shiʿi Imams, Edmund Hayes

10 Shiʿi Perspectives on Hajj: Illustrated Souvenir Scrolls of Hajj and Ziyārat, Ulrich Marzolph

11 The Work of Dar al-Kiswah, Nahla Nassar

12 Insights from the Accounts of a Noble Enterprise: Ledgers from Dar al-Kiswah 1900–70, Seif el Rashidi

13  The Life and Works of Abdullah Zühdi Efendi, Bilal Badat & Sami De Giosa

14  From Mecca to Medina: a Textile Conservation Story, 2007, Janie Lightfoot

15  The Place of Pilgrimage in Talismanic Shirts from the Islamic World, Saarthak Singh


Volume Two

16 The Chronological Development of Mecca Views, Mehmet Tütüncü

17 Multi-, Paraline and Perspectival Views of Islamic Pilgrimage Sites, Sabiha Göloğlu

18 Early Hajj Photography, 1880–1914, Arnoud Vrolijk

19 Regional Styles, International Models: the Holy Sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina on Reverse Glass Paintings, Luitgard Mols

20 Maḥmals in Procession – Spectacles from Cairo and Damascus, Richard McGregor

21 ‘The Puzzle of Egypt’: the Maḥmal in Western Eyes, Alastair Hamilton

22 Travellers in Disguise – Europeans in Mecca and Medina (1500 – 1930), Jan Loop

23 Deadly Journeys: Public Health and Mobility Regulation in the Age of Steam, Michael Christopher Low

24 The Hijaz Railway and Route Guide, James Nicholson

25 The Hajj and Colonial South Asia, John Slight

26 The Special Hajj Banknotes of Pakistan, Qaisra M. Khan

27 South Asia as a Production Hub for Popular Islamic Images, Yousuf Saeed








Khalili Collections Publications

Nasser David Khalili Collections