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The Road to Mecca Paperback – 2 Nov 1998

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Paperback, 2 Nov 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Muslim Academic Trust (2 Nov. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902350006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902350004
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"We ride, ride, two men on two dromedaries, the sun flames over our heads, everything is shimmer and glimmer and swimming light..." So begins this tale, which Muhammad Asad says is simply the story "of a European's discovery of Islam and of his integration within the Muslim community." This book is more than an autobiography, which the "Times Literary Supplement" calls a "narrative of great power and beauty". It gives us a window to view the life and times of an articulate and impassioned Muslim scholar who was devoted to the revival of Islam and its reconciliation with the modern world. It was first published in 1954. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. W. Ali on 9 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
For me, reading the Road to Mecca was a life changing moment (As the cliche goes). I found in this book the story of man who attained the ultimate peace and tranquility in his being. A man who went on a jounrney and discovered something, utterly beautiful. Asad, captured a moment in the middle east which is now forever lost and also the saw the seeds of what is now a changed middle east, where oil has taken over the spirituality of a beduin and replaced the calmness of movement from a camel to roaring and globe warming expensive cars, private jets and meglomaniacal cities.

From a religious point of view, this is also a book where a Jewish journalist converts to Islam. But what this book puts across is that all the faiths, if we see them from a point of view of what they were meant to be before being politicised, are infact giving the same message of being peaceful and one with yourself and those around you. Asad, captures that moment for me and demonstrates that best of qualities that I really think we all have within us(although we repress it into nonexistence), humanism. An ability to view this world not through parallels and myriads of differences based on religion, race, region, language etc, but viewing everyone and anyone as a human being and appreciating the differences that they bring to this world. To Asad, Islam brought this humanism down to its simplest terms, being peaceful and being content with your life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reggae on 17 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is truly one of my favourite books. Someone said above that you don't have to be religous or muslim to enjoy this and I agree; because the book is about journey. The sort of journey we all wish to embark on at some stage in our life. Asads pictures are evocative and exciting, his encounters thoughtful, and his insights profound. But this wasn't really travelogue as it was also the story of a man's spiritual journey; his attempts to come to terms with the world around him and his place in it. Beautifully written, ideas are layered upon layer, one tale leads into another. You'll keep coming back to this book over and over again. Well done that man. 5 stars and well deserved!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr Tea-Mole on 9 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book about travel and the journey of one man through the geographical roads of the material earth, as well as the intellectual and spiritual odyssey he makes through the hills and plains of his own soul. Both journeys culminate in one place: Mecca - where he stays for some years having found the spiritual and intellectual contentment there which had eluded him in Europe. An interesting and inspiring way to learn more about Islam, in a way especially accessible to Westeners, as the author IS a Westerner who chose to accept the faith of Islam, and is thus able to articulate his faith's ideals in language understadable by his native Europeans. Also, this book is an alternative to normal introductory texts on Islam, as the basic precepts of the faith are clothed in the narrative discourse of the author's life himself. A good read, even if only as a book on travel and culture - highly recommended!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the story of how Muhammad Asad (1900 to 1992) - born a Jew in Austrian Galicia as Leopold Weiss - came to be converted to Islam in 1926. There is only the briefest account in the introduction of his astonishing career as a Muslim; how he helped to draft the Constitution of Pakistan and in 1952 became Pakistan's representative at the United Nations. The book, except for a brief 1973 postscript, was first published in 1954. In 1980 he was to publish a famous translation of the Qur'an into English. For a long account of his remarkable life, google "Martin Kramer" "The Road from Mecca".

The book opens in 1932, six years after his conversion, when he and an Arab friend of his were crossing the Arabian desert on dromedaries. On their way, from the Saudi-Iraq border to Mecca, he became briefly separated from his friend, lost his way and nearly died of thirst - an immensely powerful and poetic description of the desert and of this ordeal. It is a foretaste of the evocative way he writes about everything he sees and experiences.

During this journey he reminisces about his life.

His early study of Judaism had given him some feeling for a religious outlook, but its emphasis on ritual and on a God caring especially for one little tribe had left him for a while a secular person, albeit one with a vague longing for a `spiritual order' in the post-war period of `moral chaos' and materialism. Of course it was also a period of intellectual ferment and creativity; but still felt that it all took place in a spiritual vacuum.

He became a journalist; and then in 1922 he was invited for a visit by an uncle living in Palestine.
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