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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2008


From the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries, the forces unleashed by the age of European imperialism and its rapid encroachment on dār al-Islām increasingly brought the hajj under the scrutiny and regulation of non-Muslim powers. The driving force behind these dramatic changes in administration of the hajj was the expansion of the British Empire. As Britain's power in the Indian subcontinent grew, so too did its maritime supremacy throughout the Indian Ocean basin. Looking to secure its access to India, ward off its European competitors, and expand its commercial interests in southwestern Arabia, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, Britain's role in the region was intensified by the transit opportunities that emerged with the development of regular steamship routes between the Mediterranean and India from the 1830s to the 1860s and the eventual opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. With the exponential growth of maritime traffic that accompanied these technological advances came a similarly dramatic rise in the oceangoing pilgrim traffic from and through British India. Owing to this expansion in the number of seaborne pilgrims, the hajj soon came to be recognized as the primary conduit for the globalization of epidemic diseases, such as cholera and plague.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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Author's Note: I extend special thanks to Engseng Ho, John Iskander, Stephen Rapp, and Donald Reid, whose encouragement and critical comments were indispensable. I also thank the American Institute for Yemeni Studies for their generous support of both this project and my Arabic-language training.

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27 Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 146. Although the Ottomans, French, and Dutch all called for some form of passport documentation, sanitary certificates, and/or the purchase of return tickets to avoid pauper pilgrims being stranded in the Hijaz, the British repeatedly claimed that such restrictions would be misunderstood as an infringement upon religious freedom. For example, see F. O. 881/3079, “Correspondence respecting Turkish Regulations for Pilgrim Traffic, 1875–1877,” Consul Beyts, Jidda, to Secretary to the Government of Bombay, inclosure no. 9 in no. 10, 30 April 1875; F. O. 881/3079, Governor-General of India in Council to the Marquis of Salisbury, Fort William (Calcutta), inclosure in no. 11, 7 January 1876; F. O. 412/58, The British Delegates to the Paris Cholera Conference to the Earl of Rosebury, no. 48, Paris, 21 February 1894; F. O. 412/58, “Correspondence respecting the Paris Cholera Conference and the Question of Sanitary Reform in the East,” January 1895.

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33 F. O. 424/18, Précis of Captain Pullen's Letter, Jidda, to the Secretary of the Admiralty.

34 Shaykh Sa˓id bin Husayn al-˓Amudi, the man accused and subsequently executed for leading the 1858 revolt against British influence, was also a Hadrami. Freitag, Urlike, Indian Ocean Migrants and State Formation in Hadhramaut: Reforming the Homeland (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003), 5253Google Scholar, 199–208; Ochsenwald, Religion, Society, and the State in Arabia, 138–143; idem, “Muslim–European Conflict in the Hijaz: The Slave Trade Controversy, 1840–1895,” Middle Eastern Studies 16 (1980): 115–26.

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37 Ibid., inclosure no. 3 in no. 12, 5 July 1858.

38 Juan R. I. Cole, “Of Crowds and Empires: Afro-Asian Riots and European Expansion, 1857–1882,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31 (1989): 106–33.

39 Ibid., 113–14.

40 Sir Bartle Frere to F. O., 28 May 1873 (in Indian National Archives) For. Dept. Proc., Pol. A., no. 302, March 1874, cited in Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 147.

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46 Ibid.; Selim Deringil, “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 35 (1993): 25–29; Özcan, Pan-Islamism, 52–53, 74–75.

47 Qureshi, Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics, 30–31, 42.

48 Ibid., 29; Özcan, Pan-Islamism, 69–70.

49 Özcan, Pan-Islamism, 56–60, 111–26.

50 Ibid., 75. See also F. O. 195/1653, in “Commercial exploitation of the Hajj involving forcible booking of tickets to India and the sale of Qur˒ans, 1888–1889,” in Records of the Hajj, vol. 4, 27–110. During the 1890s, British officials claimed that pilgrims were forced to contribute to Ottoman war coffers and pressured to buy Ottoman-printed Qur˒ans and steamship tickets at exorbitant prices.

51 Deringil, “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire,” 26.

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58 Zohrab's comments are almost identical to the 1919 F. O. handbook on “The Pan-Islamic Movement.” F. O. 373/5/6, “The Rise of Islam and the Caliphate and the Pan-Islamic Movement,” January 1919, p. 60.

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63 Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 147–48, 156; Peters, Mecca, 340–42.

64 For more on Kamaran Island and its quarantine station, see John Baldry, “The Ottoman Quarantine Station on Kamaran Island, 1882–1914,” Studies in the History of Medicine 2 (1978): 3–138; Naval Intelligence Division, Western Arabia and the Red Sea (Oxford: Naval Intelligence Division, 1946), 464–72; Sayyid Mustafa Salim, al-Bahr al-Ahmar wa-l-Juzur al-Yamaniyya, 36, 50–51, 95–122; “Kamaran,” in Ahmad Jabir ˓Afif, ed., al-Mawsu˓a al-Yamaniyya, 2nd ed., vol. 4 (Sanaa, Yemen: Mu˒assasat al-˓Afif al-Thaqafiyya, 2003), 2456–457; Hamza ˓Ali Luqman, Tarikh al-Juzur al-Yamaniyya (Beirut: Matba˓at Yusuf wa-Filib al-Jumayyil, 1972), 7–12; Amal Ibrahim Muhammad, al-Sira˓ al-Dawli hawla al-Bahr al-Ahmar fi al-Nisf al-Thani min al-Qarn al-Tasi˓ ˓Ashar (Sanaa, Yemen: Markaz al-Dirasat wa-l-Buhuth al-Yamani, 1993), 110–13.

65 Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 148; Records of the Hajj, vol. 3, 627–96; vol. 9, 71–210.

66 F. O. 78/4093, “Manual for the Guidance of Officers and Others concerned in the Red Sea Pilgrimage Traffic” (Simla, India: Government Central Branch Press, 1884); F. O. 881/3079, “Correspondence respecting Turkish Regulations for Pilgrim Traffic, 1875–1877,” February 1877.

67 Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 152.

68 “British efforts to improve travel conditions for pilgrims; appointment of travel Agent; problem of indigent pilgrims, Oct. 1884–Feb. 1887,” in Records of the Hajj, vol. 3, 593–627; W. Fraser Rae, The Business of Travel: A Fifty Year's Record of Progress (London: Thomas Cook & Son, 1891), 208–19; Edmund Swinglehurst, The Romantic Journey: The Story of Thomas Cook and Victorian Travel (London: Pica Editions, 1974), 135–36.

69 F. O. 881/4585, “Report on the ‘Haj’ of 1882,” in Records of the Hajj, vol. 3, 114. Razzack's comments mirror those of the Ottoman chronicler Eyüp Sabri Pasha, whose description of the holy places (published 1884–1889) also cites the gory conditions at Mina as the primary threat to public health in the Hijaz. Eyüp Sabri Pasha, Mawsu˓at Mir˒at al-Haramayn al-Sharifayn wa-Jazirat al-˓Arab, vol. 1, translated from Ottoman Turkish by Muhammad Harb (Cairo: Dar al-Afaq al-˓Arabiyya, 2004), 114–18.

70 Long, The Hajj Today, 28–31; Peters, Mecca, 340–41; Mirza Muhammad Husayn Farahani, A Shi˓ite Pilgrimage to Mecca, 1885–1886: The Safarnameh of Mirza Mohammad Hosayn Farahani, Hafez Farmayan and Elton L. Daniel, ed. trans. (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1990), 183–85.

71 Roff, “Sanitation and Security,” 152. For Abdur Razzack's murder, see F. O. 4788, “Disturbances at Jeddah, Murder of Vice-Consul Abdur Razzack, Indemnity, Vol. 1,” May 1895–August 1895; F. O. 78/4789, “Disturbances at Jeddah, Murder of Vice-Consul Abdur Razzack, Indemnity, Vol. 2,” September 1895–1896.

72 Ochsenwald, Religion, Society, and the State in Arabia, 195–200.

74 Roff, “Sanitation and Securtiy,” 156.

75 Bianchi, Robert, Guests of God: Pilgrimage and Politics in the Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 4244CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hurgronje, Christaan Snouck, Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1931), 290–91Google Scholar.

76 With the outbreak of plague, Britain reversed its previously timid sanitary policies, taking the unprecedented step of formally banning pilgrimage travel from India in 1897. Despite these precautions, Jidda was also struck by plague outbreaks from 1897 to 1899. F. O. 78/4981, “Pilgrimage Traffic, 1898”; Baldry, “The Ottoman Quarantine Station,” 65–67. For a more intimate perspective on the Jidda plague outbreak, see also the 1899 account of Mirza ˓Ali Khan Amin al-Dawlah, former Grand Vizier of Iran, Safarnamih-i Mirza ˓Ali Khan Amin al-Dawlah, ˓Ali Amini, ed. (Tehran: Intisharat-i Tus, 1975), 74–75, 148–52.

77 Long, The Hajj Today, 72–79; Huber, “The Unification of the Globe by Disease?” 466–70.

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