Saturday August 13, 2022

Saudi exhibit offers immersive look at Prophet’s Hijrah trek

August 06, 2022

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia: A Saudi museum is using filmed re-enactments and contemporary artwork to depict a key episode from Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) life that led to the establishment of the Muslim community.

The exhibition seeks to illustrate -- and enliven -- the 1,400-year-old story of the Hijrah, when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), threatened with assassination, undertook an eight-day, 400-km migration from Makkah to Madina.

Opened to the public this week, it will be housed for nine months at the Ithra Museum in the eastern city of Dhahran before touring domestically and then abroad. Most Muslims know the Hijrah story in broad strokes, though never has it been presented in such an immersive way, according to Saudi scholar Abdullah Hussein Alkadi.

It incorporates everything from centuries-old artefacts to modern-day drone footage, said Alkadi, who has spent decades studying the Hijrah and whose research formed the foundation of the exhibition.

Ordinary Saudis "know that the Prophet (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madina -- that’s it," Alkadi said, lamenting that the material was not thoroughly covered in schools. It should be equally eye-opening for non-Muslims who might not know the story at all, conveying messages -- like the need for tolerance towards migrants -- that are relatable for everyone, Alkadi said.

"You have to have tolerance. If you don’t have tolerance with all types of people -- regardless of their religion, regardless of their ethnicity, regardless of their gender or whatever -- no way can you live a peaceful life," he said. Three years in the making, the exhibition features work by academics and artists from 20 countries.