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The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca

The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca

Grove Press
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Not since Sir Richard Burton’s account of the pilgrimage to Mecca over a century ago has a Western writer described the hadj in such stunning and intimate detail. At a time when the eyes of the world are on Islam, The Hadj offers a perceptive and much-needed look at its human face.
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About The Book

The hadj, or sacred journey, is the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are enjoined to make once in their lifetimes. Its purpose is to detach human beings from their homelands and, by bringing them to Mecca, temporarily reinstate the equality of all people before God. One of the world’s longest-lived religious rites, the hadj has continued without break for fourteen hundred year. It is, like most things Islamic, shrouded in mystery for Westerners. In his new book, Michael Wolfe, an American-born writer and recent Muslim convert, recounts his experiences on this journey, and in the process brings readers closer to the meaning of Islam.

Wolfe’s book bridges the high points of the Muslim calendar, beginning in April with the annual month-long fast of Ramadan. In Morocco, he settles into daily life with a merchant family in the ancient quarter of Marrakesh. During his three-month stay, he explores the intricate traditional life of Muslim Morocco. His accounts of this time deepen our feeling for Islam, a faith that claims one-sixth of the world’s population. As summer approaches, he travels north to Tangier, where he visits Western writers and Moroccan mystics. In June, he arrives in Mecca, a city closed to all but Muslims.

The protean experience of the hadj, and the real Mecca, that most religious and mysterious of cities, are captured in the last half of the book. Inevitably, the buildup to the Gulf War hovers in the background–the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is just weeks away. Yet it is the author’s participation in the age-old rites of the hadj that most preoccupies his thoughts, strengthening his bond to the faith he has embraced as an outsider, developing and transforming it, making it personal and alive.

About The Author

Michael Wolfe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, educated at Wesleyan University (Classics, 1968), and lives in Northern California. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and travel. He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a guest at the MacDowell Colony. He held the Amy Lowell Traveling Poets Scholarship for three years while living in North and West Africa.

In the 1970s and 1980s he owned and ran a bookstore and a book bindery and edited and published Tombouctou Books, Bolinas, CA, including titles by Paul Bowles, Mohammed Mrabet, Larbi Layachi, Jim Carroll, Dale Herd, Steve Emerson, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Lucia Berlin, Bill Berkson, Duncan McNaughton, Clark Coolidge, and many others.

In 1990, he made the pilgrimage to Mecca and subsequently wrote two books on the subject.

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EAN 13 / ISBN 9780802135865
Author Michael Wolfe
Publisher Grove Press
Pages 352
Manufacturer Grove Press
Year Published 1998
Weight 1.2 lb
Width 6 in
Height 9 in
Depth 1 in

EAN 13 / ISBN 9780802135865
Author Michael Wolfe
Publisher Grove Press
Pages 352
Manufacturer Grove Press
Year Published 1998
Weight 1.2 lb
Width 6 in
Height 9 in
Depth 1 in

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