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  • 12/6/2003

1-One Thousand Roads to


: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage

Michael Wolfe (Editor)

 A journey toMecca, 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 theHajj 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 theHajj 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 theUnited 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 ofCairo andDamascus 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.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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 toMecca 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 atMecca 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.

The pilgrimage to Mecca, or the "Hadj", is a journey all Muslims are enjoined to make once in their lifetime. Since its inception in the seventh century, the "Hadj" has been the central theme in a large body of Islamic literature. "One Thousand Roads toMecca" collects significant works by deeply observant writers from the East and West over the last ten centuries into a historically, geographically, and ethnically diverse anthology of rich travel writing.

Card catalog description
The pilgrimage to
Mecca, or the Hajj, is a journey all Muslims are enjoined to make once in their lifetimes. Its purpose is to detach human beings from their homes and, by bringing them to Islam's birthplace, to emphasize the equality of all people before God. Since its inception in the seventh century, 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 Christian West who, through conversion or connivance, managed to slip inside the walls of a city forbidden to non-Muslims. One Thousand Roads toMecca collects significant works by observant writers from the East and West over the last ten centuries. These two very different literary traditions form distinct sides of a spirited conversation in whichMecca is the common destination and Islam the common subject of inquiry.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

2-Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant:

 The Holiest Cities of Islam
byAli Kazuyoshi Nomachi (Author),Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Contributor)

These photographs of the Muslim holy citiesMecca andMedina, taken by a Japanese convert, Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi, are something new for most Westerners, and perhaps even for many Muslims. Non-Muslims are never allowed into Mecca, and it is almost unheard-of for religious and government leaders to allow such pictures to be taken. Most of these images were shot during the holy month of Ramadan, when many faithful are inMecca andMedina on pilgrimage.

Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic studies atGeorgeWashingtonUniversity, has contributed an essay explaining the history and significance of the two cities. "Mecca and its twin city Medina flourish as the heart and sacred Center of the Islamic universe and will continue to do so as long as there are men and women who accept the truth of Lailaha illa'Llah and Muhammadun rasul Allah," he writes.

Nomachi has worked for National Geographic and Life, and his pictures have the information-packed clarity one might expect. There are fascinating images: literally hundreds of thousands of white-robed believers circling the Ka'bah,Mecca's sacred center; men ritually shaving one another's heads; tired families fasting; small children praying. Nomachi's pictures are oddly cool, but they convey the all-encompassing nature of the faith.Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant will be especially thrilling to those Muslims still planning their pilgrimage.

About the Author
Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi has had his photographs published in Life, National Geographic, and Stern, among other leading magazines.

Book Description
Mecca andMedina, two ancient cities in present-daySaudi Arabia, are sacred to all followers of Islam, one quarter of the world’s population. The distinguished Japanese photographer Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi, a convert to the Muslim faith, was given unprecedented access to both cities, including Medina’s Mosque of the Prophet and Mecca’s sacred center, the Ka'bah, the remarkable and beautiful building to which more than a million pilgrims travel every year during the holy month of Ramadan.

Nomachi’s rich color images include views of the teeming crowds making their annual pilgrimage, or hajj; details of extraordinary Islamic architecture; portraits of faithful worshippers; and aerial and ground-level photographs of desert areas nearby.

Accompanying the photographs and numerous archival illustrations, Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr's text forms a valuable guide to the spiritual and historical foundations of the Muslim faith.

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