Hajj Inspired Art Pt1: Hajjar’s True Independence

“Hajj is the combination of Tawaf and Sa’y. It resolves the contradictions that have confused mankind throughout history 
-Ali Shariati

Nsenga Knight 2013, Other Stars Don’t Behave So, Ink and Wax Drawing on paper, 20 x 30 inches
Nsenga Knight 2013, Grounded, Charcoal Wall Drawing, Site specific/ Created to Scale
Nsenga Knight (2013-2022) Tawaf/ Sa’y series, Oil Stick and Gesso on Vegetable Parchment Paper, 22.5 x 22.5 inches

If you are reading this blog, you probably are not on hajj right now. You might be getting ready to see the 4th of July “Independence Day” fireworks (like I am) and feeling disconnected from the hajj rituals and the significance of the sacred month Dhul Hajjah. You are not alone if you feel this way. Outside of the ritual sacrifice and meat-heavy feast of Eid Ul Adha most of our communities don’t speak much about what is to be gained for all Muslims by reflecting on the hajj rituals. 

I’m not a Hajji yet, and I used to feel disconnected from the hajj as well, until  learned about Hajjar – the Black woman in whose footsteps every hajji walks, and connected to her story of resilience and determination. Since then, the hajj has been a deep source inspiration for my artwork. For the next 10 days, I’ll be sharing with you the hajj inspired artwork I have created over the course of over ten years so that you can feel more connected to the hajj as well.  

Nsenga Knight 2018, Tawaf/ Sa’y: Mankind 22.5 x 22.5 inches, Limited Edition Print 4/50

My Tawaf/ Sa’y series is inspired by the pilgrimage footsteps of exemplars – Malcolm X, Ali Shariati, and of course Hajjar – the Black woman who’s courageous determination lead to the opening of the Zam Zam well which has quenched the thirst of millions of pilgrims for thousands of years. Every hajji runs between the mountains of Safa and Marwa because Hajjar ran! My Tawaf/ Sa’y series is a reflection in Hajjar’s story and seeks to remind us that true independence is reliance on Allah. Purchase Limited Edition prints from the Tawaf Sa’y series here on my website. 


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