The Hidden Art of Islam

The Hidden Art of Islam


If you visit the British Museum’s terrific current exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, you might wonder, given the constraint on representations of the human form in Islam in a religious context, why there are so many images — past and present — of people taking part in the annual hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Rageh Omaar sets out to explore the history of these constraints, and how the writings of the Koran have been interpreted over the centuries by rulers and clerics. The programme also shows how Islamic artists and craftsmen had to find other methods to express their creativity, exploiting calligraphy and geometry to permit the creation of simply stunning work.


Rageh Omaar visits an exhibition of artefacts from the Muslim world at the British Museum, and examines artworks reflecting Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. He discovers how Islamic artists throughout history have reacted to laws governing depictions of human figures and religious rituals, and explores the culture's tradition of figurative art.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rageh Omaar
Director Faris Kermani
Executive Producer Mike Smith
Producer Faris Kermani