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

Grove Pr

Published by Grove Pr, 1997
ISBN 10: 0802116116 / ISBN 13: 9780802116116
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Synopsis: The Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, has long been a central tenet of the Muslim religion and has, as well, fascinated Western adventures enchanted by the holy city's mystery and hostility toward nonbelievers. One Thousand Roads to Mecca collects significant texts from the last ten centuries by writers from the East and West including Ibn Battuta, whose Travels is the most famous adventure book of Arabic literature; Ali Bey al-Abbasi, a nineteenth-century Spanish Muslim; Sir Richard Burton, who daringly entered the city in disguise; and Malcolm X. Part travelogue, part history, part holy literature, this diverse anthology will appeal to anyone interested in one of the most influential cities in human history.

Review: A journey to Mecca, the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, an undertaking that every Muslim should attempt at least once in his or her life. By leaving their homes and possessions and taking to the road to travel to the birthplace of Islam, Muslims are reminded that all humans are equal before God. It's no wonder, then, that the Hajj has been a central theme of Islamic travel-writing since the 7th century, A.D.

One Thousand Roads to Mecca is a collection of more than 20 accounts of the Hajj spanning ten centuries. The writers collected in this anthology reflect the geographic diversity of Islam. These pilgrims come from all over the world: Morocco, India, Persia, England, Italy, and the United States. They travel by boat and camel, on foot and horseback and, most recently, by airplane; many suffered all the hardships and dangers attached to a long pilgrimage of months or even years through deserts and over mountains, across lands populated by brigands and thieves. But along with the hazards are descriptions of of Cairo and Damascus at the height of their glory during the medieval period and anecdotes and observations that render the cosmopolitan nature of the pilgrims. In addition to the writings of Muslim pilgrims, there are also several accounts by non-Muslim westerners who, by hook or by crook, gained access to the forbidden city of Mecca and then wrote about it. One Thousand Roads to Mecca is both classic travel literature at its best and a wonderful introduction to the tenets and practices of a frequently misunderstood religion.

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Title: One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries ...
Publisher: Grove Pr
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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