Fez, City of Islam is undoubtedly one of Titus Burckhardt's masterpieces. It conveys a profound understanding of the sacred roots that nourish Islamic culture and civilisation. As a young man in the 1930s, Burckhardt spent some years in Morocco where he became acquainted with several remarkable representatives of the spiritual heritage of the Maghrib. Although he committed much of this experience to writing, it was not until the 1950s that these writings were developed into a book.
In Fez, City of Islam, Burckhardt writes of the history of a people and their religiona history that was often violent, often heroic and sometimes holy. The book relates the teachings, parables and miracles of the saints of many centuries and demonstrates not only the arts and crafts of Islamic civilisation, but also its sciences and administrative skills. Burckhardt's unique black and white photographs from the 1930s are included. In addition 41 new colour illustrations have been specially selected to enhance Burckhardt's originals. Here, text and illustrations come together to provide an insight into the way the life of a people can be transformed at every level by a religious tradition.
|Publisher:||Islamic Texts Society|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A GEODE of amethyst, brimful of thousands of tightly packed crystals and surrounded by a silver-green rim: this was Fez, the Old City of Fez, in the twilight. As we came downhill towards it, the hollow in which it lies grew visibly larger; the countless crystals, uniform in themselves, but irregularly grown into one another, now came more clearly into view; one side of them was light, while the other side, the one facing the prevailing wind, had become darkened and weather-beaten. Between them and the silver-green girdle of olive trees, the wall of the Old City with its towers could be seen. Towards the city gate now facing usBab al-Gissathe small donkey caravans made their way as of old, and from out of the gate into the evening wind and towards the expanse of green, came men and children in Moroccan dress; for it was spring, and the hills round about were covered with yellow and blue flowers.
In the heart of the city, in the lowest point of the hollow, one could make out the tent-shaped roof of green glazed tiles that covers the dome of the tomb of the holy Idris, the founder of Fez; nearby was a minaret. Not far away were the equally green roofs of the old Koranic college of al-Qarawiyyin. The nearer we came to the city, the more minarets rose to Heaven, clear-cut, square, flat-topped towers, similar to the Romanesque city towers of Italy. There must have been hundreds of them. These reveal the position of the larger mosques; even more smaller mosques are hidden from sight in the confusion of the high, grey-white and, at this moment, reddish cubes of houses. A city full of sanctuaries: the European travellers who first visited it at the beginning of the century spoke either of a 'citadel of fanaticism', or marvelled at it as a place of perpetual prayer.
Table of Contents
2 City and Desert
3 The Caliphate
4 A City founded by a Saint
5 The House
6 Traditional Science
7 The Golden Chain
8 The Irruption of the Modern World
List of Sources Quoted
What People are Saying About This
"Titus Burckhardt is an authority whose works are a constant source of inspiration...the publication of this book in English is like the unearthing of a great treasure."