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The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca [Paperback]

Eric Tagliocozzo

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Book Description

12 April 2013
The pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, has been a yearly phenomenon of great importance in Muslim lands for well over one thousand years. Each year, millions of pilgrims from throughout the Dar al-Islam, or Islamic world, stretching from Morocco east to Indonesia, make the trip to Mecca as one of the five pillars of their faith. Records for this practice show that the majority of pilgrims in Islam's earliest centuries came from surrounding polities, such as Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. Yet by the end of the nineteenth century, and the beginning of the twentieth, fully half of all pilgrims making the journey in any one year could come from Southeast Asia. This is astonishing because of the distances traveled; sailing ships, and later huge steamers as described in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, plodded across the length of the Indian Ocean to disgorge pilgrims on Arabian docks. Yet the huge numbers of Southeast Asian pilgrims may be even more phenomenal if one thinks of the spiritual distances traveled. The variants of Islam practiced in Southeast Asia have traditionally been seen as syncretic, making the effort, expense, and meaning of undertaking the Hajj hugely important in local life. Millions of Southeast Asians, from Southern Thailand into Malaysia and Singapore, from Indonesia up through Brunei and the Southern Philippines, have now made this voyage. More undertake it every year. The movement of Islam in global spaces has become a topic of interest to states, scholars, and the educated reading public for many reasons. The Hajj is still the single largest transmission variant of Muslim ideologies and fraternity in the modern world. This book attempts to write an overarching history of the Hajj from Southeast Asia, encompassing very early times all the way up until the present.

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"Starting with the first 13th-century mention to the present, this transnational history engages with scholarship of an impressive chronological and geographical scope. The book would be as appropriate in a course on contemporary Islam as it would on Southeast Asian history... A concise, erudite monograph." --CHOICE"The book's aims are all resoundingly realised, and it performs a successful role in its contribution to the history of the Hajj, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as well as its contribution in analysing the complexity of humanity's experience that is bound up within these parameters. Taken together, these make a large contribution to even broader canvases--the history of Muslim societies across the world, the history of pilgrimage, and histories where we see the intersection and collision between trade, commerce, travel, ritual, devotion, polities, empires, elites, ordinary men and women, states, and memories .This is a triumph of scholarship .The Longest Journey is essential reading for people who want to see how state-of-the-art world history is crafted and executed."-John Slight, Reviews in History"In this brilliant and evocative study, Eric Tagliacozzo brings to life what is perhaps one of the most significant long-distance circulations of people for a common purpose in history: the Indian Ocean pilgrimage to Mecca. Drawing upon research of breath-taking geographical range and depth, Tagliacozzo charts how the hajj embedded itself in the rhythms of diverse Indian Ocean societies and spurred the movement of texts and ideas, trade and wealth, politics and law, across many centuries and vast distances. He charts the dangers, opportunities and spiritual elation of these voyages through the written and oral testimonies of pilgrims themselves, alongside the fear and fascination that the hajj has exerted on non-Muslims from colonial times. The Longest Journey is a work unflagging insight; a major contribution to the practice of world hi

About the Author

Eric Tagliacozzo is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Cornell University, where he directs the Comparative Muslim Societies Program and the Cornell Modern Indonesia Project and edits the journal Indonesia. He is the author of Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States along a Southeast Asian Frontier, 1865-1915, which won the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars easy to find facts 28 Jun 2013
By Faridah Abdul Rashid - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has many facts that I need for writing my essays on history of the hajj pilgrimage. Otherwise it will take me a long time to search for what I need. Everything I need to know is in this book.
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