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The Road to Mecca

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  4,547 ratings  ·  599 reviews
In this extraordinary and beautifully-written autobiography, Asad tells of his initial rejection of all institutional religions, his entree into Taoism, his fascinating travels as a diplomat, and finally his embrace of Islam.
Paperback, 375 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Fons Vitae (first published 1954)
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Alp Eren Topal
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There are enough reviews by other people, which does the justice to the book. Yet I just want to add that Leopold Weis/Muhammad Asad's life is the testimony to one thing:

Can a modern/secular mind find it way into Islam and appreciate its truth? And if so how is this possible?

As I was born in and raised into a Muslim society, I took it for granted that Islam was the true calling of God. Yet after I have started studyin social sciences and Western society, the question above has become increasingl
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam, islam-autobio
The more I try to make sense of my path so far as a Muslim, the more the experiences seem to expand themselves in front of me and escape words. I cannot pin down what I'm living, seeing, realizing into language. I can only approximate, and at times try to make sense of it through the writings of others.

The idea of Islam being a consummation of all primordial divine truth, (and therefore not a "late" religion, but ONE religion) is the concept that has spoken to me most as of late. In this light,
May 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those seeking religion
When I first read this book it instilled in me a wonderous vision. When I read it again it filled me with a critical history. When I picked it up a few years later, I read it as a man searching. In this, it's great.

This book changed the direction of my life. It was not because I was lost, for I still am lost today, but it showed me that people do change the worlds in changing themselves.

The book is an autobiographical account of an Austrian Jew named Leopold Weiss who through time and experience
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss) was an Austrian convert from Judaism to Islam in the early 20th century. His life took him across the Muslim world and into the orbit of some of its most important contemporary historical figures. This book is part travelogue, part biography, and part exploration of his journey towards Islam.

Asad was a personal adviser to King Abdulaziz bin Saud during the period in which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formed, and his reflections and observations of Arabia before t
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in learning more about Islam or the search for identity
The Road to Mecca represents a most interesting & exceedingly interior pilgrimage tale of Leopold Weiss, born in 1900 in what is today Lvov, Ukraine (previously Lemberg in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), descendent of a long line of rabbis. The book is in fact the autobiography of Muhammad Asad and the story of this most radical transformation is quite stunning, a conversion of faith enmeshed in a long pattern of travel & work as a journalist by the erstwhile Weiss, whose rat ...more
Charles Haywood
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book—half travelogue and half conversion memoir. Muhammad Asad was born a Jew, Leopold Weiss, in the Austro-Hungarian empire (in what is now Ukraine, the city of Lvov). He was prominent both in interactions with the West in the 20th Century, for example as Pakistani ambassador to the UN, and in theological work, including translation and exegesis of the Q’uran. Asad is regarded, and should be even more regarded in these days of Al Qaeda and ISIS, as a voice for a revitaliz ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best autobiographies I've ever read. It's one of those books which you don't read but actually live.

Asad wrote this book to tell his journey of transmutation from Leopold(his old name, representing his Jewish life) to Asad(his new name, showing his Muslim life) . This journey includes his adventures in the Middle East, his understanding of local cultures and most importantly, the religion transcending personal territories and becoming a part of cultural, social, political and spiritu
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
By turns achingly beautiful, exasperating, illogical, and penetrating, The Road to Mecca is one extraordinary man's transformation from disaffected European to devout Muslim. Along the way, this journalist became friends with the King of Saudi Arabia, got to know the Shah of Iran, and met just about every player in the Middle East in the first part of the 20th Century. His perspective is skewed, flawed, and deeply insightful. It's a huge corrective to the Western media's simplistic and idiotical ...more
Matthew Moes
Anything but a straightforward autobiography, this is a beautifully written memoir by a rare individual that transports the reader to a completely different time and place; and yet the observations and assessments of everything from the religious to the political are still relevant now and a great stimulus for discussion.

I especially enjoyed Ch X entitled, "Dajjal", as it contains his "conversion" story, which as in many cases is more of a self-discovery amidst a scathing critique of the contra
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, islam
I was supposed to read this book five years an Islamic Religious Thought and Practice class. For whatever reason, I couldn't get into it--at all--which is crazy considering I couldn't put it down this time around.

This book is brilliant because you can read it on so many levels- first, as a man's personal journey into faith (which includes some pretty harsh critiques of the system in which he was raised). Second, as a detailed history of a very critical period of recent Muslim history. I
Nojood Alsudairi
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All good readers
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
Just read it even if you do not care to know about Islam. A great traveller's story. ...more
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
4.5!!! i’ve always found reverts to be so mashaa Allah & i'm always curious about how Islam is perceived through their eyes. so that’s the main reason why i picked this up. this was written by a revert & someone that was brought us an orthodox jew. the book mainly describes the author’s journey as a famous journalist who wrote about the middle east, but as he travels, he soon discovers Islam. the way he wrote about his experiences & his love for the religion was extremely poetic & stunning. i al ...more
Miroku Nemeth
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An amazing narrative from a rare seeker with the sensibilities and powers of observation of a poet and the convictions of a convert warrior who had deeply internalized a vision of Islam. Imam Zaid Shakir recommended that I should read the book some six months ago when I saw him in February at the Grand Mawlid in Santa Clara. I had informed him of my study of Orientalism and post-colonialism and my thesis "The Orientalist and the Dervish: Representations of Al-Tasawwuf in the Writings of Captain ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ibooks
This book is based on an autobiography of the writer Muhammad Asad. Though this book is the personal expedition of the writer to explorer Islam and the Islamic world where the original picture of Islam made him revert to Islam but how wonderfully he portrays the political scenario of the westerners trying to divide Islamic countries since the beginning of this century, how as a journalist the writer attempted to reach to the European to send them the core message of what Islam and Muslims are, h ...more
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is hard to categorize this book as it is a mixture of history, travel, religion and spiritual. It gives a lot of information about the history of Arab countries and Iran. It also gives great details about life in these countries and specially Bedouin life in Saudi deserts. His insights about Islam and Arab are very inspiring.
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Mashallah an excellent book, topic, and author. Muhammad Asad is an incredible writer with an incredible story to tell. This book has really influenced me and encouraged me to do something with my life. I highly recommend it.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of, if not the best, books I've ever read. The interweaving of the authors personal spiritual journey with his actual adventures make for an extremely entertaining and insightful read. "Lord of the Rings" meets "The Alchemist" ...more
Lew Watts
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary and beautiful account of the search for the human soul that is universal in its messages across all religions, and even beyond religion.
Sarah Siddiqui
Wow where do I begin,

I ventured into reading this thinking it'll be a sensational, jaw dropping, soul-rending, emotionally appealing, revert story. It's not. It reads more like a historical account of the Arab world and the impact it made on someone who visits it as a foreigner only to identify himself as one of them. Muhammad Asad is very poetic at certain places especially when describing the scenery or backdrop to give a vivid mental picture of what his surroundings must be like. Similarly he
Ronald Ward
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
It is difficult to write a review of this book. I think I have read it ten times sometimes starting again as soon as i finish. I found it that enjoyable.

I could tell you that I felt my life experience had been enriched after each read, when normally, people have to live to acquire a life experience.

At times this book transported me to the vast openness of the desert and I could feel, hear and taste that life. I could feel the cool sand against the back of my head as I lay looking up at the black
Anam Zahra
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
And some books left you speechless with deep thoughts in your mind. For a really long time you actually flow with words. You stay disconnected from worldly glitters but feel connected with peace and wisdom!
I now feel different about many things as my lenses are more bright to enjoy gratitude.
If you really want to learn and appreciate the importance of a firm faith, peace and light, then do read this book once.
"Labbaik Allah humma labbaik" لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، is the desirable destinat
Mohammed Javed
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book that inspires and motivates. Though I have read the book in early ninetees and couple of times later, I can't forget his description when he was travelling on a subway train in Europe in early 20th century - he observed faces and he could clearly see that they were not happy! He didn't know why? He reached home, he saw an open page from the holy Qur'an that said, "The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), until ...more
Rida Rizvi
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It took a while to complete this book. Primarily because I didn't want to haste and grasp the author's journey and struggles towards faith and understanding fate. Maybe because that's what I wanted to reinforce within me. This book gave a different sort of optimism and most importantly it highlights the right kind of attitude in way of struggle especially towards faith. Emphasizes of Muhammad Assad and epitome of his whole journey has been gathering knowledge from wherever he could and that is m ...more
Nazima Nasrullah
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The road to mecca is a fascinating book, beautifully written and truly inspirational.
This book describes Mohd. Asads journey of embracing Islam.
This book completly indulged me , hve never read a book wishing it shld never end.
One not only reads the story of M.Asad but travells wd him
I recommend one should read this book atleast once, believe me you wont be disappointed.
Mohammed Mirza
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
An amazing first half, more than a road - an adventure. A glimpse into early 20th century Arabia.
Ahmed Diab
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Asad's autobiography offers a unique glimpse into the history of the Middle East in the 20s-30s period as he befriended monarchs and leaders across the region. His personal story is a thrill! ...more
Monir Ludin
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read! ...more
Siddiq Husainy
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
[ Some takeaways from Road To Mecca ]

The book talks about the journey of an Austrian who's a Jew to Islam.

The bulk of the book is during the period between 1900-1932 and he talked about various incidents, ideas, thoughts and events; ranging from philosophy of religions, the loss of the soul among Europeans due to materialistic inclination, Wahabbi, Shia, Islam itself, Grand Sanusi Order, to politics and social issues.

Some of the things he touched:-

I) That Islam does not separate the body and th
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book reads like a Hollywood script ! I'm really surprised there hasn't been a movie based on this yet, his storytelling is captivating and deeply reflective, highly recommend! ...more
Aisha Yaseen
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe this is non-fiction given how romantically it's been written. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. ...more
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محمد أسد (ليوبولد فايس سابقاً) ولد في الإمبراطورية النمساوية الهنجارية عام 1900، وتوفي في إسبانيا عام 1992م. وهو كاتب وصحفي ومفكر ولغوي وناقد اجتماعي ومصلح ومترجم ودبلوماسي ورحالة مسلم (يهودي سابقاً) درس الفلسفة في جامعة فيينا؛ وقد عمل مراسلاً صحفياً وبعد منحه الجنسية الباكستانية تولى عدة مناصب منها منصب مبعوث باكستان إلى الأمم المتحدة في نيويورك. وطاف العالم، ثم استقر في إسبانيا وتوفي فيها ودفن ف ...more

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