The worlds largest exhibition on the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, is to be staged at the British Museum, it has announced. Manuscripts, diaries, historic photographs and contemporary art will be displayed to mark the annual ritual, undertaken by Muslims across the world. The museums director, Neil MacGregor, said the Haj was a cultural phenomenon that needs to be better understood. Every adult Muslim is meant to undertake the Haj at least once in their life if they can afford the journey to Saudi Arabia and are physically able. Many Muslims save for years in order to perform the pilgrimage. Once they arrive, they must brave vast crowds and the fierce heat of the desert as they perform the Haj rituals. The exhibition will examine the pilgrims journey, the rituals and the destination of Mecca. It will also feature the work of contemporary Saudi artists such as Ahmed Mater and Shadia Alem. Mr MacGregor described the Haj as a supreme spiritual moment for Muslims which shapes the notion of the Islamic community worldwide. He added: Very beautiful things, supreme works of art, have been made to be sent to Mecca to accompany people. Well be looking at some of those objects and they are supreme. BBC