Hajj pilgrimage certificate


This beautiful scroll from the 15th century commemorates the hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca – by a woman called Maymunah. Illustrated with images of Mecca and other places of interest en route, it is a fascinating document that combines both religious and geographical information.

What is hajj?

At least once in their lifetime, every Muslim who is able to do so must journey to Mecca and perform the prescribed rites of hajj. The city holds the holiest site in all Islam, the Masjid al-Haram (‘Sacred Mosque’), and was declared a site of pilgrimage by the Prophet Muhammad in 630 CE. Inside the Sacred Mosque is the Ka‘bah, a large cubical building said by Muslims to have been built by Abraham. In the Ka‘bah is the ‘black stone’, an object Muslims believe was given to Abraham by the angel Gabriel.

What does this certificate say?

This 15-century illustrated scroll attests that Maymunah, daughter of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Zardali, made the pilgrimage to Mecca and visited the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad in the year 836 AH (1432/1433 CE). The scroll as a whole depicts the principal stations of the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the Prophet’s tomb at Medina.

This scroll belongs to a tradition of illustration that was concerned to represent accurately, and in detail, the Muslim holy places, and the artist has accordingly depicted and labelled each of the tombs and other venerated landmarks. The calligraphic bands of Arabic script are quotations from the Qur’an concerning, among other things, the hajj.

Full title:
Hajj pilgrimage certificate
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Add MS 27566

Related articles

Faith and religions

Article by:
The British Library

Study magnificent hand-painted books and manuscripts from the many faiths and religions of the world.

Islamic pilgrimages and sacred spaces

Article by:
Sophia Arjana
Islam, Pilgrimage, text and place

Hajj is the most well-known pilgrimage in Islam. Here Dr Sophia Arjana discusses its role in the religion, whilst also looking at Shi‘a and regional pilgrimages, sainthood and sacred space in Islam.

Islam introduction

Article by:
The British Library

An overview of articles and British Library resources relating to Islam.

Related collection items

Related teachers' notes

Abstract pattern

Hajj: teaching notes

PDF Download Available

Abstract pattern

Hajj: lesson powerpoint

PDF Download Available

Abstract pattern

Hajj: worksheets pack

PDF Download Available