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Eid al-Adha

​The Hajj pilgrimage occurs this year from October 24-28, 2012, corresponding to the 8th-12th of the final month of the Muslim calendar, Dhu al-Hijja.
The Hajj culminates with the sacrifice of an animal in commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, traditionally understood to be Ishmael, and his sacrifice of a sheep instead (see Qur’an 37: 100-111).  

​Muslims throughout the world celebrate the Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) from the 10th-12th of the month, this year on October 26-28. 

 

As one of the five pillars that define the fundamental obligations of Islam, the Hajj is considered to be the climactic religious experience of a Muslim’s lifetime. According to Islamic law and tradition, a Muslim is required to set out for the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during his or her lifetime, if s/he has the financial means to do so. Throughout history, the pilgrimage was a great converging point of Muslims from across the world – and a place where scholars would meet and study together. Thus, Mecca became the backdrop of great exchanges of texts and writings and a central place of scholarship. Moreover, the Ka‘ba, the central place of worship and the place to which Muslims across the world direct their prayers, has served as a place of inspiration for pilgrims and scholars alike.

 

In honor of the Hajj period and the celebration of the Festival of the Sacrifice, the National Library presents an exhibition of selected illustrations of the Ka’ba in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, both found in manuscripts of the book, “The Signs of benefits and the brilliant bursts of light in the recitation of prayers on the chosen prophet (in transliterated Arabic: Dala’il al-khayrat wa-shawariq al-anwar fi dhikr salat ‘ala nabi al-mukhtar). The text was composed by the Sufi/mystic, Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Juzuli (d. 1465).

 

The book is one of the most famous medieval compositions of blessings on the Prophet Muhammad, and functions as a Muslim prayer manual. The Yahuda collection at the National Library contains manuscripts of “Dala’il al-khayrat” from across the Muslim world. In almost all the manuscripts, one finds two illustrations – one of the Ka’ba and the Holy Mosque in Mecca and the other of the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. We present here a selection of manuscripts from Turkey, India and North Africa.

 

The illustrations reflect the broad spectrum of cultures and perspectives that make up the Muslim world.  In some cases, the holy sites are represented schematically, akin to symbols on a map. In other manuscripts, the sites are depicted more realistically in the midst of their surrounding geographic landscapes and take on elements of a painting or portrait. A third style incorporates the realistic elements of the portrait and adds perspective – as if we are approaching the holy sites from a distance – thereby creating an almost three-dimensional look. In the third style, one detects the influence of European painting particularly in the attention to the surrounding landscape, hills, valleys, the sky and the horizon. In contrast, in the more symbolic illustrations, that are similar to a map, one finds more of an emphasis on identifying the items within the holy site, demonstrated by written labels for items such as the Prophet’s lectern or the grave sites of the Prophet and others. Across many of the illustrations, we can delight in the attention to detail in the depiction of windows, lanterns, and entrances to courtyards among other elements. 

 

Samples of manuscripts depicting the mosques of Mecca and Medina
(Click images to enlarge)

 

  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  North Africa,
  17th century,
  from the
  opening page.
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.862
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  North Africa,
  17th century,
  illustration of the
  Prophet's Mosque
  in Medina.
  For the item's
  catalogue liting:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.862
  Dala'il al-khayrat, 
  ttoman, 1734,
  opening page.
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.864​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Ottoman, 1734,
  llustrations of the
  Prophet's Mosque
  in Medina (left)
  and the Holy
  Mosque in Mecca
  (right).
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.864​​​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Ottoman, 1795,
  opening page.
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.47​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Ottoman, 1795,
  illustrations of the
  Prophet's Mosque
  in Medina (left)
  and the Holy
  Mosque in Mecca
  (right).
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.47​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Ottoman, 1862,
  beginning of the
  composition.
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.38​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Ottoman, 1862,
  illustrations of the
  Prophet's Mosque
  in Medina (left)
  and the Holy
  Mosque in Mecca
  (right).
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.38​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  India, late 18th
  century, opening
  page.
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.863​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  India, late 18th
  century, illustration
  of the Holy Mosque
  in Mecca (left).
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.863​
  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Kashmir, early
  19th century,
  opening page
  For the item's
  catalogue listing:
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.852

  Dala'il al-khayrat,
  Kashmir, early
  19th century,
  illustrations of the
  Prophet's Mosque
  in Medina (left) and
  the Holy Mosque in
  Mecca (right).
  For the item's
  catalogue listing
  Yahuda Ms.Ar.852

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