Muslims at Sea Study Day

Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
Monday 4 September | 10am - 12.30pm
National Maritime Museum, Caird Library & Archive

Explore the role of the sea in Britain's long and fascinating relationship with Islam.

70 years since Partition, take a look at the long history of Muslim communities around the Indian Ocean and their connections with the sea. 

Encounter Sinbad the Sailor, Muslim sailors and English sailors who converted to Islam. Historian Aaron Jaffer shares the highlights of the Museum's collections, from paintings to prints, photographs to ship models. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the treasures from our archive, including the opportunity to see recently discovered photographs, showing Indian seamen from the 1920s-30s. Historian Aaron Jaffer shares the highlights of the Museum's collections, from paintings and photographs to figureheads and ship models in a special tour of the Museum’s displays.

Please note all large bags, coats, food and drink will need to be left at the Museum’s main cloakroom on the Ground Floor of the Sammy Ofer Wing. The cloakroom is found near the main Information Desk.  No pens may be brought into the Reading Room.


10.00-10.30 Muslims at Sea: Highlights from the Museum’s collections 

Hear stories about Muslims who travelled the seas, told through the fascinating collections of Royal Museums Greenwich. Historian Aaron Jaffer, author of Lascars and Indian Ocean Seafaring, 1780-1860: Shipboard Life, Unrest and Mutiny, will explore paintings, photographs, figureheads, ship models and other objects. Find out about Sinbad the Sailor, Muslim explorers, Arab dhows, Barbary pirates and British sailors who converted to Islam.


10.30-11.15 Muslim sailors aboard British ships: 300 Years of Faith, Adventure and Resistance (Caird Library)

What was life like for Muslim sailors who worked aboard British ships? How did their faith help them face storms, shipwrecks and other hardships? This is an opportunity to see recently-discovered photographs, not yet available to the public, showing Indian seamen from the 1920-30s. Get a close-up look at other treasures from our archives, including sketches and hand-written diaries, about everything from daily prayer and cooking to festivals and uprisings.


11.15-12.30  Gallery Tour: A specially-developed tour of the museum highlighting the stories of Muslim seafarers, soldiers, traders and rulers.