Hajj Certificates

In the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, the criterion for attestation is the testimony of human witnesses who are deemed both honest and reliable. Nevertheless, the social standing and honor bestowed upon a Hajī — one who has completed the pilgrimage to Mecca — led in time to the custom of certifying the Hajj. Such certificates may be simple written documents; others are magnificent works of art depicting views of the Masjid al Ḥarām and other sacred sites visited along the pilgrim’s route to Mecca.

Hajj murals are another example of the celebration of the completion of the pilgrimage and of the transformed status of the Hajī. This custom is found primarily in rural areas of Upper Egypt, but also occurs in Libya, Syria, Palestine and some other Asian countries. Made by family and friends to prepare for the pilgrim’s homecoming, the central part of the mural usually consists of an inscription placed above the doorway, stating that God granted the pilgrim the favor of completing the Hajj.

Further elements are usually added, such as images of the means of transport used, the Holy Kaaba, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina {pbuh}, the maḥmal (the caravan bringing the kiswa), groups of pilgrims, water-sellers, plants, trees and birds. This tradition is uncommon in the Arabian Peninsula and Qatar in particular. On some occasions, a white flag may be placed outside the house, announcing that the family awaits the return of a pilgrim. The few known examples of Hajj murals in Qatar were found above the doors of expatriate residents.

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Hajj Certificate

Arabian Peninsula, 1194 AH/1780 CE

Printed Hajj Certificate