At the launch in Cape Town yesterday, Abramjee emphasised the spirituality and peaceful aspects of the religion through the lens of the greater Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. It’s a pilgrimage millions of Muslims undertake at least once in their lifetime – if they can afford to do so – to fulfil one of Islam’s five pillars.

At the end of Abramjee’s first Hajj pilgrimage this year, he documented his experience with more than 12 000 photos captured with his Iphone 6 Plus.

The photos have been condensed in an A3-size landscape hardcover, which was launched at the Centre for the Book yesterday.

Abramjee will donate the proceeds to Awqaf South Africa and Crescent Lifestyle for their Hajj programme. Copies of the hardcover will also be donated to libraries in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

 “We know that the religion of Islam is tainted, we have been called terrorists, there are a lot of Islamophobic comments. So the whole idea is to share this journey. Normally Hajj makes news for various reasons, but this time we are focusing on the good,” Abramjee said.

Speaking on behalf of Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Catherine Constantinides said the book provided insight into the lives, desires and journeys of Muslims in South Africa and around the world. In Mthethwa’s opinion, this was a definition of “ubuntu”.

“The book belongs to all and inspires others to build an inclusive society,” Mthethwa’s note stated.

Independent Media chief executive and chairperson of Sekunjalo Investments, Dr Iqbal Survé, said it was important for South Africans to document their own stories, given the country’s chequered history.

“What Yusuf has done, he is documenting the stories. Not just the story of the Hajj but his story and the stories of those who went with him on Hajj.

“It is important that we must not forget and always document the memories, the stories of our people. If you do not document it, those in power are going to be the ones who will do the documenting,” Survé said.