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Ithra’s New Traveling Exhibition Revisits the Birth of Islam With a Modern Perspective


The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, has announced its new exhibition, Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet, a recreation of Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) journey from Makkah to Madinah with a modern perspective. His story is reiterated with artistic infusions and an abundance of research on his life, with the purpose of revolutionizing this historic tale.

As the exhibition fills in on the gaps in the prophet’s journey, especially from the era that marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar adding further to its significance, it also ties together contemporary art with Islamic art, toeing the lines of modernism with historical influences. In the displays, the art is more than ordinary – it’s melded with artifacts, films, and performances making for that multidimensional and immersive experience of the prophet’s life through an advanced lens. While Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) journey is known for its modest and conventional allure, this exhibition, with its up-to-date designs and variations reflects the same values that the Prophet adhered to in his life, but in a different, more vibrant light.


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The exhibition is open at the iconic Ithra building and will carry forward with displays for the next nine months, after which it will travel to other corners of the world, including the United Kingdom. While the ulterior focus of the exhibition remains to bring modernism to this historic story, the display at hand sheds light on the physical route of the prophet’s journey while exploring its historical significance.

The items that are being displayed at the exhibitions are in collaboration with local and international organizations that are known for their generous endeavors of lending pieces for public displays. Many of their lent pieces in the prophet’s exhibition have been seen before in previous exhibits. The partners are widely acclaimed in the Arab region, including the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, the House of Islamic Arts, the King Abdulaziz Complex for Endowment Libraries, and Turquoise Mountain. Moreover, there’s an organization under the name of the Prince of Wales charity that supports arts and heritage that has lent pieces for the exhibit.

This exhibition marks a first for Ithra, being the first traveling exhibition in Saudi Arabia set to globally travel across continents during its five-year tenure, as it shares new perspectives and discoveries from the Prophet’s journey.

Read next: “We Need to Write Muslim and Arab Women into Literature”: Salma El-Wardany on Her Debut Fiction Book

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