Riyadh: Saudi artist Nabila Abuljadayel drew a painting capturing the emptiness, stillness and contemplation of Grand Mosque during lockdown. The painting went viral and gained appreciation worldwide. Reflecting historic decision taken by Saudi Arabia’s authorities to close the Grand Mosque for prayers to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect people from infection, the artwork — called “Isjod wa Iqtareb” (Prostrate and Draw Near) showed a cleaner kneeling in the courtyard of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, the only worshipper in the normally bustling holy site.
Idea came from reality
Abuljadayel is a Goodwill Ambassador for the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. She said the idea for the painting came from reality.
Arab News quoted her as saying, “My inspiration for this piece was based on the unprecedented and unparalleled moment it dawned on me that, for the first time in my life, I would not be able to visit Al-Haram (Grand Mosque).” She added: “It made me realize what an honor, privilege and blessing it was to be able to do that.”
Anonymous workers had the opportunity to visit Grand Mosque
Realising that the only ones who maintained such an elevated status — to visit the Grand Mosque — were those who had dedicated their lives to serve the holy site by tending to it. She said, “Those same nameless, faceless anonymous workers, whom we tend to take for granted, had the best opportunity in the world.”
All Umrah pilgrimages were suspended last month over coronavirus fears, and the Grand Mosque was disinfected and sterilized.
All are equal in the sight of God
Nabila noted: “This event embodies our faith. It reaffirms the importance of humility. It demonstrates how we are all equal in the sight of God.”
Twitterati expressed their appreciation for the painting and the sentiments behind it.
Mohammed Al-Qadi (@moealqadi) said that everyone was absent and “those who served this pure house” remained praying in front of the Kaaba, while Fahda Bint Saud (@fahdabntsaud) said she was touched by the artwork and described it as “one of the most beautiful paintings.”
Adil Faraz Khan tweeted: “Powerful Painting by Saudi Artist ,Nabila Abuljadayel, It shows that out of the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, it’s the cleaner who got the privilege to pray in front of #KAABA”
Waheed Bhatti wrote: “#Painting by Saudi #Artist #Nabila Abuljadayel
It shows that out of the 1.8 billion #Muslims in the world, it’s the #cleaning staff who has the privilege to #pray in front of #Ka’aba right now”