© Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust

arc.pp 211.9

arc.pp 211.9

arc.pp 211.4

arc.pp 211.4

This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English, Arabic.

Name of Object:

Photographic views of Hajj, by Muhammad Sadiq Bey


London, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Khalili Family Trust – Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage Collection

About Khalili Family Trust – Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage Collection, London

Date of Object:

Hegira 1297 / AD 1880

Museum Inventory Number:

ARC.pp 211

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Albumin print, mounted on card


ARC.pp 211.4: 16.5x21.5cm; mounted: 23.5x32cm. ARC.pp 211.9: 11x16.5cm; mounted: 24x33.5cm

Period / Dynasty:



Shot in Mecca, probably printed in Egypt


Muhammad Sadiq Bey who was the first person to take photographs of Mecca, Medina and the Hajj. An Egyptian army engineer and surveyor, he was also the treasurer of the Egyptian Hajj caravan, travelling numerous times to the Hijaz. Using a technique first invented in the 1850s, Sadiq Bey took his first photographs in 1861 using glass plate negatives, especially useful for large-format frames. His photographs are often signed and dated in the negative. His most important photographs, of both the buildings and interior of the sanctuaries at Mecca and Medina, as well as sites at Arafat and Mina, were taken in 1880 and 1881. For the first time, the pilgrimage and the holy cities were precisely and realistically documented. Sadiq Bey’s photographic achievements were recognized by both the Arab and European world and in 1881 he won a gold medal at the Venice Geographical Exhibition. He published two important works: The Mash‘al al-Mahmal (The Torch of the Mahmal) in 1881, and Dalil al-Hajj (The Guide to the Hajj) in 1896, both of which included his photographs and observations of his journeys. Twelve of his photographs are in the Collection.
[arc.pp 211.9] A view of Medina showing the Bab al-Shami on the North side of the city. Built within the city’s stone wall, the large gateway was one of three that allowed access into the town. In the centre of the photograph is the green dome built above the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad.
[arc.pp 211.4] A view of the Ka‘ba surrounded by pilgrims performing the tawaf. The mizab (rainwater spout) is clearly discernable at the top of the Ka‘ba, whilst the Mosque of Bilal can be seen high upon the hilltop behind. The photograph is signed in and dated in Arabic, in the lower right hand corner.

How date and origin were established:

Photograph signed and dated in the negative.

How Object was obtained:

Acquired at Gros & Delettrez, Paris, 15 March 2017 lot 228

Selected bibliography:

Sheehi, S., The Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860–1910, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

Citation of this web page:

Qaisra Khan "Photographic views of Hajj, by Muhammad Sadiq Bey" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2022. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;uk;Mus22;2;en

Prepared by: Qaisra Khan

MWNF Working Number: UK2 02


 Artistic Introduction

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Islamic Dynasties / Period


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