MAKKAH – Taking advantage of recently concluded Hajj season this year, Abrar Hussain and Abdullatif Alshehri produced a documentary that proffers an access-all-areas look at the Haram, the Great Mosque of Makkah, where Hajj takes place.
“Only Muslims are permitted to enter Makkah, and this look inside the mosque offers an exceptionally rare glimpse into what goes on there, how it’s run, what the daily routines are like and so on,” the British newspaper highlighted atop the trailer of its documentary.
According to Leslie Felperin of The Guardian, the documentary “provides a useful teaching tool for younger Muslim viewers and as well as for recent converts to the faith.”
Slow motion shooting with high camera angles among worshippers participating in the rituals of hajj pilgrimage, the director Abrar Hussain balanced the big picture with plenty of details.
The Ka`bah, the big black cube at the center of the Haram, is a major focal point – what it represents, how it’s maintained, which prayers are said there, and when.
But the excursions to the outer spokes of the Haram, the factories and offices that all service it, the minarets from which calls to prayer are projected, are just as fascinating to explore.
Textile fans can be entranced by footage at a factory that makes the black coverings that are embroidered with Qur’anic scripture in special gold thread and wire.
A trip to the mosque’s social media office offers an insight into how modern technology is used to service ancient traditions, and that tension between old and new is woven throughout the movie, which is in itself an artifact representative of that duality.
Even hardened atheists might find themselves impressed by the sheer scale of operation here and the passion of the faithful, filmed with respect for their diversity and infinite variety.
Haram means “sanctuary” or “holy shrine” in the Arabic language. The Great Mosque of Makkah, also called Al-Haram Mosque, Al-Masjid al-Harām, aka “the Sacred Mosque” is the largest mosque in the world, and surrounds the Islamic Qiblah which is the Kaaba.
Muslims face the Ka`bah while performing the prayers. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime if able to do so.
The Grand Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, Well of Zamzam, Station of Abraham, and Safa and Marwa. It is always open, regardless of date or time. This holy site has gone under major renovations by various caliphs, sultans, and kings.