By News Reporters

Hajj certificate.
Hajj certificate (detail). 17th–18th century AD. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust) British Museum.

Fitzrovia Bengali Women’s Group and teachers and students from the Mary Ward Centre in Bloomsbury have created a decorated textile to be exhibited at this month’s highly anticipated Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam, an exhibition to be held at the British Museum this spring.

The long-running Fitzrovia women’s group, a project run by the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association, worked with the Mary Ward Centre in making of the “Mahmal” highly decorated structure.

The tradition of sending a mahmal to Mecca started in the mediaeval period and continued into the twentieth century. It was only in times of war or natural disaster that it failed to make the journey.

The mahmal used to carry the holy Quran and the covering of the “Kaaba” given by the Sultan and inspired people in history making the journey to Mecca.

The final art piece produced by the local community will  be exhibited at the British Museum in Spring.

Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam 26 January – 15 April 2012; British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG