I took my son to see the Hajj Exhibition today at the British Museum. While entry to the Museum itself is free, this special exhibition costs twelve quid to enter. Under sixteens go free if they are accompanied by a paying adult.
The Hajj exhibition is being heavily promoted in London and I have seen many posters for it in the Underground.
I bought my ticket at around 12.30pm and was told that I would be granted admittance to the exhibition at 14.20 because it was so busy. If you are intending to go in what is remaining of half-term then I would advise you book your ticket beforehand and collect on the day as I met a couple of friends later who got turned away at the ticket counter because the exhibition had sold out for the day.
In the time we had before being allowed into the exhibition, I took my son to see the permanent Islamic displays in room 34. I hope that those who are visiting the British Museum to see the Hajj exhibition are aware that the Museum also houses this splendid permanent display featuring Islamic coins, ceramics, Qur’ans, pottery, swords, gravestones from Muslim history. It did not appear to be advertised in the Hajj exhibition at all, but maybe I missed it.
There is also a room on the Ground Floor of the British Museum that was being used as a prayer room by Muslim visitors.
Well, it was certainly very crowded when we got inside the Hajj exhibition room. Timewise, it took around an hour to get a decent look at all the exhibits. It was well put together as were the choice of Qur’an excerpts. There seemed to be many Muslim families that had brought along their young ones.
There were a couple of particularly interesting pieces displayed about a seventeenth century Ottoman traveller called Evliya Celebi who visited many lands, including European countries, and wrote about them. He went on Hajj after dreaming of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.). Celebi’s book seemed to be wonderful and I have ordered a copy from Amazon.
When you exit the exhibition you walk straight into a shop selling a lot of Hajj-related wares. I bought a DVD about the Hajj including National Geographic’s Journey to Mecca and a children’s book about The Story of Islam by Usborne.
And what was my son inspired to buy from the shop? How did the message of monotheism influence his thoughts. Well, he chose to buy a cast of the Egyptian jackal-headed god, Anubis.
So, er, mission not quite accomplished!