'Ansicht der Moschee, während darin ein gemeinschaftliches Çalāt abgehalten wird (vergl. hierzu Mekka, Bd. II, S. 88)'. Photographer: al-Sayyid ʻAbd al-Ghaffār


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The record is made up of 1 collotype print. It was created in 1888. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Visual Arts.

About this record


Genre/Subject Matter

This image shows a roughly due south facing view inside the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca during the Çalāt (prayers) and should be compared to Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje’s description of the Çalāt in volume II (1889) of his publication Mekka , p. 88:

‘[…] according to custom, the Imam chooses an extract from the Qur’an to be read during the Çalāt, which is accompanied by prostration; the solemnity is increased due to the fact that the ‘standing’ position of the congregation, which accompanies recitation during the Çalāt, is interrupted in a moment by an extraordinary prostration.’

The image should also be compared with the print from a photograph of a similar view (1781.b.6/2) published in Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje’s 1888 publication Bilder-Atlas zu Mekka .

Also in view are: the Caaba; Gate of the Banī Shaybah; Building housing the Zamzam well; Stairs to the Caaba; Maqām Ibrahīm , which is also the Maqām el-Schāfi’ī’ ; Minbar; Maqām al-Mālikī ; outside of the Masjid al-Haram, the front-side of the Hamidiyah (likely a building constructed during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II) is visible; and a fortified structure known as ‘Jiyad Castle’, on the low hill in the background on the left.There are also several Ottoman-era buildings featuring intricate tile or brickwork visible outside the mosque.

A large number of pilgrims, the majority of which are men, are shown standing and facing the Caaba.

Arabic script written directly into the image has been erased subtly, but is visible upon close inspection in the lower centre of the image as well as in the central sky area of the image.


Above image, on right, in ink: ‘I’

Lower centre and upper centre: illegible, partially erased Arabic script

Temporal Context:

Since the shadows beneath the feet of the pilgrims are not very deep and are angled fractionally to the east, it is likely the photograph was taken soon after midday.

According to Durkje van der Wal in his publication Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje: The First Western Photographer in Mecca, 1884-1885 (Amsterdam : Manfred & Hanna Heiting Fund, Rijksmuseum, 2011, pp. 42-51), the photographs in this publication that pertain to the hadj (this image included) likely date to August 1888 since this was the period of the last hadj before February 1889, the date Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje received the final consignment of images.

Extent and format
1 collotype print
Physical characteristics


184 x 236 mm


Collotype print, pasted into volume


The print is in good condition with minor surface dirt and light abrasions, though no surface losses in the lower right of centre.





Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Visual Arts
Access conditions


Archive reference

History of this record

1888 (CE, Gregorian)

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'Ansicht der Moschee, während darin ein gemeinschaftliches Çalāt abgehalten wird (vergl. hierzu Mekka, Bd. II, S. 88)'. Photographer: al-Sayyid ʻAbd al-Ghaffār, British Library: Visual Arts, X463/1, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023514790.0x000001> [accessed 21 April 2024]

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