Children of Abraham

Abbas’s global trek to document the world’s major religions


Abbas Pilgrims from all over the world pray on Mount Rahma. Hajj pilgrimage, Plain of Arafat, Saudi Arabia. 1992 © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas A pilgrim reads the Koran on Mount Rahma, while his friend rests. Plain of Arafat, Saudi Arabia. 1991. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas An Orthodox Copt woman prays in the church of Sta Helena. Mass is said on Friday, the day off in Muslim Egypt. Deir El-Adra, Egypt. 1997. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Pilgrims from all over the world pray on Mount Rahma. Mount Rahma, in the plain of Arafat (where Muslims believe Adam met Eve). Pilgrims dressed in the Ihram (two pieces of unstitched white cloth), (...)
Abbas A young man prays to Allah, his hands offering the Hindu sign of devotion. Many traces of Hinduism remain in Indonesian Islam. Palembang, Sumatra. Indonesia. 1989. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas A Catholic priest, wearing the old-fashioned gown, prays. Gave River, flowing by the grotto. Town of Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrenees department. France. 1995. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas The name "Ahl-e-Kitab" (People of the Book, in Arabic) was given by the photographer and adopted by two American families of Christian origin who follow both the Old and the New Testament to the le (...)
Abbas A Christian holds a crucifix made in the Dogon style. Village of Bugudunjuru, Dogon country. Mali. 1996. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Ccrucifixion of a Fidel during Good Friday, Village of Santa Lucia, Pampanga district. Philippines. 1995. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas The head of Jesus is displayed in a shop window during the Semana Santa. Holy week. Sevilla, Spain. 1996. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Widows of Jesus mourn Christ's crucifixion around the church of San Augustin, during the Holy Week. Manila, Philippines. 1995. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Aglipayan National Church member, which has broken from Catholic Church in 19th century. Christianity. Town of Davao, Matina district, Philippines. 1995. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Every Sunday, at dawn, priests of the Zion Church, from the Khayelitsha black township, take their newly converted congregation to the sea to be baptised through immersion. Cape Town, South Africa. (...)
Abbas During the World Youth Day, a way of the cross, organised by the Church of St-Eustache, crosses the Seine. Paris, France. 1997. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas An impersonator of Jesus Christ. Manhattan, New York City. USA. 1999. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas A Uygur about to cook handmade noodles in boiling water. In the background, noodles being handmade. Kashgar, Xinjiang province. China. 1989. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Uigur Muslims on streets lined with poplar trees. Kashgar was on the famed silk road. Kashgar, Xinjiang province. China. 1989. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Pilgrims pray and prostrate themselves over the tomb of Sheikh Bahauddin Zakariya Multani. Contrary to the orthodox Muslim tradition, Pakistanis regularly conduct pilgrimages to the shrines of reve (...)
Abbas A father helps his daughter get out of an old American car, before her wedding. In front of the Church of the Merced. Havana, Cuba. 1997. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas A "wounded angel" in the Church of Nossa Senhora de Rosario. District of Pelhourinho, Salvador, Bahia state. Brazil. 1996. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Abbas Muslim cemetery in the desert, Near Timimoun. Algeria. 1981. © Abbas | Magnum Photos

“The traveler never arrives,” stated Abbas, quoting the great French artist Edgar Degas, in reference to his decades-spanning study of world religions. Here, alongside a small cross section of this huge body of work photographing the world’s major religions, Abbas discusses this documentation in his own words:

“From 1978 to 1980 I covered the Iranian Revolution, then for seven years, from 1987 to 1993 I traveled the land of Muslims. From Sinkiang to Morocco, from London to Timbuktu, visiting New York and Mecca, I photographed the daily lives of Muslims, the rituals of their faith, their spirituality as well as the emergence of Islamism, its fanaticism and its violence.

Driven by a desire to understand the internal tensions at work within Muslim societies, I exposed the conflict between a rising political ideology looking for inspiration in a mythical past and the universal desire for modernity and democracy.

Then, for six years, from 1995 to the year 2000, I photographed Christian communities throughout the world with the same critical eye. Heralding the dawn of the ‘Third Millennium’, the year 2000 imposed itself as the universal calendar and therefore a symbol of Western Civilization. That year, Jews celebrate the year 5,760 and Muslims the year 1,420.

During these journeys, I also photographed Jews, the children of Abraham, claimed as a common ancestor by both Christians and Muslims.”

Stay in touch
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.