| 24 September, 2017

A post office to fulfil Haj dreams

Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca September 22, 2015.

Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca September 22, 2015.

REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
Haj Post Office, an interactive work displayed at the ongoing Haj: Memories of the Journey exhibition in Abu Dhabi, has a unique purpose - collect donations for the facilitation of the Haj journey of the needy people. The work of the 33-year-old Emirati artist, Nasir Nasrallah, is a continuation of his work with postcards, letters and themes of communication.

At the Haj exhibition, the Emirati, who also works with the Sharjah Art Foundation, is showcasing four pillars he has created, each with distinctive aim; with first one shedding light on the functions of the four pillars and the second pillar holds postcards he designated for the exhibition.

The third pillar offers an opportunity for the audience to make donations towards Haj pilgrims in need of assistance while with the fourth pillar, the artist invites visitors to write and post their prayers and letters on the postcards for the Haj pilgrims on the postcards found in the second pillar.

"I came up with the idea of the of creating the 'Haj post office' after coming across many people who cannot afford to pay for themselves to visit Makkah. I was keen on participating in this exhibition because I really liked concept," Nasrallah said to Khaleej Times at the exhibition.

Nasrallah said his installation was intended to teach people about the history and importance of Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam, and to try to collect donations for the poor people so they also get the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Makkah.

"What's unique about donations through this Haj Post Office is that after picking up the postcard, the donor keeps the coloured part (the drawing of Makkah and Madinah as a souvenir.

"You can write a du'aa (supplication) that you would like the beneficiary of the Haj journey to recite or make for you while performing the rites of pilgrimage, on the other side of the card."

According to Nasrallah, the Emirates Red Crescent is working with the Haj: Memories of a Journey exhibition for the collection of the donations and postcards from his installation.

The funds would be used to cover expenses for needy pilgrims during the 2018 Haj. The initiative is also in line with vision of the Year of Giving (2017) and will run in conjunction with the Yeah of Zayed (2018).

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority is organising the event under the patronage of Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and in collaboration with Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre.Ismail Sebugwaawo


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