Katie's Reviews > The Road to Mecca

The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad
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's review
Apr 23, 2008

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bookshelves: coursebooks, nonfiction
Read in April, 2008

An interesting memoir. Featuring the travels of a young Jew who eventually converts to Islam, meets prominent figures in the Middle East of the 20s, 30s and 40s and eventually makes it to being the UN representative from Pakistan.
Stylistically fairly warm, though sometimes it is easy to get lost in the structures of his flashbacks. In fact, the whole book is structured like a German sentence, and you have to be very careful you've correctly identified all of the time-markers/case endings to be sure you've got it right. But an enjoyable read.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by John (new)

John This does sound very interesting. I admit I'm not familiar with the author. Was he originally
from what became Pakistan? I am afraid almost all I know of the Jews in that region derives from a short story of Kipling's.
John Leland

Katie No, he was from somewhere near the border of Poland and Austria, if I recall correctly. He left Europe for the Middle East and spent much of his time in Saudi Arabia before converting to Islam and changing his name.

message 3: by John (new)

John Thank you for the explanation. I find it a little surprising a Jew of his time and place would convert to Islam, since that was the period when the Zionist/Palestinian conflict was beginning. Of course, many Jews in the 1920s were not yet
Zionists, and earlier Islamic/Jewish relations had often been fairly good. Does Asad explain why he decided to convert?

Katie At great length. His discussions of religion are a fascinating window into the world at the time. He does discuss Zionism as well, though in a limited way (basically, it was wrong for Jews to take land from people who'd been living on the land for centuries).

Ronald Ward (basically, it was wrong for Jews to "take land from people who'd been living on the land for centuries"
The Zionists claim that they were there before the Palestinians which makes it their land. Asad argues that Palestine was inhabited before the Jews set foot therefore they can't have this stance.

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