978-0-691-02120-1 / 0691021201

The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places

by Peters, F. E.

Publisher:Princeton University Press



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About the book:

Among the duties God imposes upon every Muslim is a pilgrimage to the holy places in and around Mecca. Not only is it a religious ritual filled with blessings for the millions who make the journey annually, but it is also a social, political and commercial experience that for centuries has set in motion a flood of travellers across the world's continents. Whatever its outcome - spiritual enrichment, cultural exchange, financial gain or ruin - the road to Mecca has long been an exhilarating human adventure. By collecting the first-hand accounts of the travellers and shaping their experiences into a detailed narrative, this volume provides a literary history of the central ritual of Islam from its remote pre-Islamic origins to the end of the Hashimite Kingdom of the Jijaz in 1926. Air travel has now converted what was once a lengthy land or sea voyage into a matter of hours, but the accounts of that earlier, more arduous experience on foot or camel, under sail or steam, are extraordinary. Although overwhelming numbers of travellers have been driven chiefly by piety and God's command, some have been European frauds, adventurers or explorers drawn by the lure, and the danger, of a forbidden experience.

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