One Day in the Haram

One Day in the Haram

October 02, 2017 Saudi Gazette

A FILM showing the inner workings of the Grand Mosque in Makkah aims to present a new face of the holy house that is unfamiliar to many.

"One Day in the Haram," a 90-minute documentary, presents in detail how the Grand Mosque is run, covering the various departments such as the cleaning, IT, audio, maintenance, administration and Zamzam water systems.

“People don’t know how the Haram is incredibly organized and has one of the world’s most advanced systems operating the site,” says Abrar Hussain, writer and director of the film. “It’s one of the rare places in the world that operates continuously all year round.”

Most films about the Holy Mosque focus on the worshippers and the travelers’ experience while this film, after having done extensive research, presents the daily routine through the eyes of the workers, he says.

The film was made by Hussain along with Saudi executive director Abdulelah Al-Ahmary with a shared vision of creating a new kind of approach to depicting the Holy Mosque in the media.

The crew consists of filmmakers from the UK as well as locals based in Saudi Arabia who paid Makkah frequent visits to produce the film over a period of 18 months.

The trailer reveals an intimate examination of the staff and a modern style of cinematography.

“It was important to show the everyday cycle and present the natural environment of the Holy Mosque. The five prayers were important to create structure to the film,” says Hussain, adding that full access to the site granted by Imam Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais and the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque enabled the crew to complete filming all aspects of the mosque.

The crew refrained from using a tripod and used moving cameras instead to present the rapid flow of movement for “a real-feel experience”.

“The aim of the film is to increase people’s desire to visit and offer an experience of being in the Haram for the millions who haven’t visited yet,” adds Hussain.

The documentary also seeks to attract an international audience and participate in film festivals worldwide once it premieres this year.

Hussain, who lives in the UK, says there is lots of misinformation on Islam in the West. “This film not only aims to highlight the aesthetic beauty of the House of God but also show the ideals of the religion.”

The budget for the film that was produced by Arabian Pictures amounts to 250,000 British pounds (approximately SR1.27 million).

Commenting on his experience, Hussain, who has previously produced documentaries on Islam and traveled various countries to film other works, called his latest project “a great honor to work in the most important place in the world for Muslims.”