Public Face of Islam in Kumasi

By Gracia Clark

Pageant Enacting the Haj

Courtesy of Gracia Clark
Creator: Clark, Gracia
Description: Several months before it was time to start on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, members of this mosque in Kumasi who had made the pilgrimage decided to stage this reenactment of the various stages of the ritual, so that those going that year would know what to expect. Since the pageant took place inside the mosque itself, its degree of realism was limited, but the coordinators took care to preserve the correct sequence of events. Quite a large group acted as the pilgrims and arrived by plane, settled at their camping site, mimed cleansing themselves and changed into white pilgrim garb. All those from Ghana would camp together, and some had Ghana or its flag on their uniforms. Cardboard models of rocky heights were placed strategically around the room, where the pilgrims would cast away the devil and visit the site where Abraham had offered to sacrifice Isaac. An ornately decorated cube in the center represented the Q'aba, which both male and female groups circled a number of times, as the ritual climax. The scene was somewhat chaotic, with various people shouting instructions, but it also served to popularize the pilgrimage among those who had not planned to go.
Subject: Women
Date: November 2011
Date Range: 2010-2019
Location: Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana
Format: Video/mp4
Rights Management: For educational use only.
Contributing Institution: Gracia Clark; MATRIX: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University

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