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The English Lady who went to the Hajj
Photographer Peter Sanders goes in search of Lady Evelyn 'Zainab' Cobbold. Zainab Cobbold converted to Islam in the 1915s and came from a British aristocratic family. She remarked that she considered Islam "the religion most calculated to solve the world's many perplexing problems, and to bring to humanity peace and happiness". She requested permission to perform the Hajj from King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, the ruler of Saudi Arabia. In 1933 at the age of 65 she visited Mecca, Madinah and attended the Hajj.
On seeing the Kabba, she recorded her experience in her diary. “We walk on the smooth marble towards the Holy of Holies, the House of Allah, the great black cube rising in simple majesty, the goal for which millions have forfeited their lives and yet more millions have found heaven in beholding it … the ‘Tawaf’ is a symbol, to use the words of the poet, of a lover making a circuit round the house of his beloved, completely surrendering himself and sacrificing all his interests for the sake of the Beloved. It is in that spirit of self-surrender that the pilgrim makes the ‘Tawaf’”