Thursday, 25 April 2013

Plague, Cholera and the Hajj 1865-1926

Empire of the Hajj: Pilgrims, Plagues, and Pan-Islam under British Surveillance,1865-1926
Michael Christopher Low
Georgia State University
Digital Archive @ GSU
Dept of History
16 July 2007

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Recommended Citation
Low, Michael Christopher, "Empire of the Hajj: Pilgrims, Plagues, and Pan-Islam under British Surveillance,1865-1926" (2007).
History Theses. Paper 22.


“A Woeful Crescendo of Death” 38
Edwin Chadwick and the Foundations of British Attitudes Toward Cholera 44
Science versus the Science of Denial 48
International Sanitary Conferences and the Quarantine Controversy 54
The Thomas Cook Hajj: Reforming the “Sanitary Pariah of the East” 65
Pauper Pilgrims, the Suez Canal, and the Civilizational Boundaries of Travel 71

Cholera’s Grande Finale 106
The Bombay Plague of 1896: The Defeat of British Sanitary Obstructionism 113

The Hashimite Interregnum 161
The Wahhabi Conquest of the Hajj 166

Figure 1. The Ka'ba and the Masjid al-Haram, Mecca, 1885 2
Figure 2. Major Pilgrimage Routes in the Nineteenth Century 4
Figure 3. "Actual and Supposed Routes of Cholera from Hindoostan to Europe" 5
Figure 4. The Western Indian Ocean Basin, c. 1935 34
Figure 5. An Early Sketch Map of the Kamarān Island Quarantine Station, 1892 61
Figure 6. Tihāma-style Hut, Kamarān Island 63
Figure 7. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, c. 1890 89
Figure 8. Early Twentieth-Century Pilgrims at Jidda's Harbor 103
Figure 9. Dastūr al-‘Amal, Anjuman-i Khuddām-i Ka‘ba, 1913 139

The first House established for the people was that at Bakka [Mecca], a place holy, and a guidance to all beings. Therein are clear signs—the station of Abraham, and whosoever enters it is in security. It is the duty of all men towards God to come to the House a pilgrim, if he is able to make his way there.
-Qur’an, 3:96-97

And proclaim to humanity the Pilgrimage, and they shall come unto thee on foot and upon every lean camel. They shall come from every remote place that they may witness things profitable to them.
-Qur’an, 22: 27-28*

*All translations from the Qur’an have been taken from A.J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (London:
Allen and Unwin, 1955; repr. ed., New York: Touchstone, 1996).

Terminologies and things of general interest:
haramayn (sacred areas) of Mecca and its nearby sister city, Medina.
dar al-Islam (the Islamic world)
The Suez Canal was opened in 1869 [see page 3 footnote 3 for travel routes before 1869]
the ‘ulama’ (religious elites and scholars)

the introduction of steamship of “modern” hajj
the steamship-era hajj
C.A. Bayly,
The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914 (Malden, M.A. and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 354;
William R. Roff, “Sanitation and Security: The Imperial Powers and the Nineteenth Century Hajj” in Arabian Studies
VI (London: Scorpion Comm. and the Middle East Centre, University of Cambridge, 1982), 143.

influx of India’s destitute pilgrim masses and the globalization of epidemic disease

British Indian pilgrims were a “dangerous class” of “pauper pilgrims.”
David Arnold, Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 186-189.

... see Foreign Office (hereafter F.O.) 78/4094 in “British efforts to improve travel conditions for pilgrims; appointment of travel agent; problem of indigent pilgrims,” Oct. 1884-Feb. 1887, Alan de L. Rush, ed., Records of the Hajj: A Documentary History of the Pilgrimage to Mecca, vol. 3 (London: Archive Editions, 1993), 593-626.

A virulent epidemic of cholera broke out in the Hijaz in 1865, killing an estimated 15,000 pilgrims.

Robert Koch discovered the bacillus vibrio cholera in 1884.