One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage

Overview


Since its inception in the seventh century, the pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj, has been the central theme in a large body of Islamic travel literature. Beginning with the European Renaissance, it has also been the subject for a handful of adventurous writers from the West who, through conversion or connivance, managed to slip inside the walls of a city forbidden to non-Muslims. One Thousand Roads to Mecca collects significant works by observant travel writers from the East and West over the last ten ...
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Overview


Since its inception in the seventh century, the pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj, has been the central theme in a large body of Islamic travel literature. Beginning with the European Renaissance, it has also been the subject for a handful of adventurous writers from the West who, through conversion or connivance, managed to slip inside the walls of a city forbidden to non-Muslims. One Thousand Roads to Mecca collects significant works by observant travel writers from the East and West over the last ten centuries. The two very different literary traditions form distinct sides of a spirited conversation in which Mecca is the common destination and Islam the common subject of inquiry.

Excerpted works include travel narratives by Ibn Jubayr, Ibn Battuta, J.L. Burckhardt, Richard Burton, the Begum of Bhopal, John Keene, Winifred Stegar, Muhammad Asad, Harry St. John Philby, Lady Evelyn Cobbald, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Malcolm X, and Michael Wolfe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A tradition of Muslim writing aimed at the insiders and out." —The Boston Globe

"Wolfe does an exemplary job of detailing the ceremonies performed at Mecca and the reasons behind them. The chosen excerpts give the readers a sense of how the hajj has changed over time as well as how constant the central ceremonies have remained. Highly recommended." —Library Journal (starred review)

"A first-rate addition to a spiritual library." —Los Angeles Times

"Serves as an excellent introduction to a religion, people, culture, and philosophy." —Santa Cruz Sentinel

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For more than a thousand years, Mecca has been the epicenter of the spiritual world of Islam. A pilgrimage to this remote desert city is Islam's supreme ritual, affirmation and renewalthe lifetime goal of faithful Muslims. The journey has never been about pleasure or convenience; pilgrims have braved plagues, famine, warfare and the routine predations of desert raiders. Though nowadays the journey is less perilous, it has also become less eventful. In this overgrown anthology of travelers' accounts through the ages, Wolfe (The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca) has erred on the side of inclusiveness; only a few of the 24 selections hold their own as classic literature. The most intriguing tend to be by outsiders (for whom Mecca has been a place of romance and inaccessibility), as Wolfe notes, and by women (who have come to make up a third of all hajjis). Wolfe's ample commentary provides an effective historical framework, but the volume's bulk will deter the uninitiated. (July)
Library Journal
An American convert to Islam, Wolfe (The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca, LJ 8/93) has collected excerpts from the accounts of two dozen pilgrims to Mecca over a span of 1000 years. Islam is the only world religion that requires its followers, if they are able, to undertake a pilgrimage at least once. Through detachment from his or her environment and travel to the birthplace of Islam, and through the subsuming of race and class during the ceremonies, the Muslim experiences a sense of the unity of all humanity and a sense of religious commonality and personal humility before God. Wolfe does an exemplary job of detailing the ceremonies performed at Mecca and the reasons behind them. The chosen excerpts give readers a sense of how the hajj has changed over time as well as how constant the central ceremonies have remained. Works like this help both the student and the general reader gain a better understanding of this remarkable faith. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802135995
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 1.39 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Wolfe is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and travel. In 1990, he made the pilgrimage to Mecca and subsequently wrote two books on the subject, The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca and One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage. For 15 years he was the publisher of Tombouctou Books. He is currently Co-Executive Producer and President of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media company that produces documentary films for television.
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Table of Contents

Preface
General Introduction
1 The Medieval Period: Three Classic Muslim Travelers, 1050-1326
1 Naser-e Khosraw, Persia, 1050 11
2 Ibn Jubayr, Spain, 1183-84 33
3 Ibn Battuta, Morocco, 1326 51
2 Enter the Europeans: Renegades, Impostors, Slaves, and Scholars, 1503-1814
4 Ludovico di Varthema, Bologna, 1503 79
5 A Pilgrim with No Name, Italy, ca. 1575 90
6 Joseph Pitts, England, ca. 1685 102
7 Ali Bey al-Abbasi, Spain, 1807 126
8 John Lewis Burckhardt, Switzerland, 1814 162
3 Nineteenth-Century Changes, 1853-1908
9 Sir Richard Burton, Great Britain, 1853 197
10 Her Highness Sikandar, the Begum of Bhopal, India, 1864 226
11 John F. Keane, Anglo-India, 1877-78 245
12 Mohammad Hosayn Farahani, Persia, 1885-86 276
13 Arthur J. B. Wavell, Anglo-Africa, 1908 295
4 The Early Twentieth Century, 1925-33
14 Eldon Rutter, Great Britain, 1925 329
15 Winifred Stegar, Australia, 1927 347
16 Muhammad Asad, Galicia, 1927 363
17 Harry St. John Philby, Great Britain, 1931 384
18 Lady Evelyn Cobbold, Great Britain, 1933 406
5 The Jet Age Hajj, 1947-90
19 Hamza Bogary, Mecca, ca. 1947 441
20 Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Iran, 1964 455
21 Malcolm X, United States, 1964 486
22 Saida Miller Khalifa, Great Britain, 1970 504
23 Michael Wolfe, United States, 1990 523
Maps 551
Acknowledgments 569
Permissions 570
Glossary: Names and Terms 571
Selected Bibliography 581
Index 589
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2002

    A great book!

    Very spiritual, loved it! I found this book to be an excellent, clear and well-balanced.

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