A Season in Mecca

A Season in Mecca : Narrative of a Pilgrimage

3.05 (57 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In 1999, the Moroccan scholar Abdellah Hammoudi decided to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca. He wanted to observe the hajj as an anthropologist but also to experience it as an ordinary pilgrim. Here is an intimate, intense, and detailed account by a subtle, learned and sympathetic writer.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 140 x 204 x 26mm | 381.02g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745637892
  • 9780745637891
  • 995,199

About Abdellah Hammoudi

Abdellah Hammoudi is visiting Professor of Anthropology, University of Princeton.show more

Review quote

"A book of surpassing intelligence, humor, sadness and grace." New York Times "It is as much a subtle, complex meditation as it is an example of the 'art of reportage'. It is a commentary on one Arab intellectual's modern dilemmas as well as on the hajj as he experienced it ... this struggle gives the writing much of its deep interest." London Review of Books "A rare glimpse into what the hajj can mean to a pilgrim's views about faith, community, nationalism, and his personal spiritual experience." Middle East Journal "This hajj seen from the inside is a jewel of wit and emotion, a reflection on Islam, and a mine of information." Le Monde de Religions "With a sharp observing eye for even the smallest details of daily life, and with a critical spirit that is always respectful but not without humour, Hammoudi leads the Western reader through the labyrinth of this unknown, intriguing world." Le Monde des Livres "This is a perceptive and richly-descriptive meditation on faith, kinship and nationality that gives a unique insight into an event of international significance. It is conveyed with rare personal candour, a wealth of historical and cultural detail and moments of unexpected humour." Tribune "Hammoudi, a Paris-educated professor of anthropology at Princeton University, brings his worldly experiences to the most personal of journeys: the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca (called the hajj in Arabic). Originally written in French, this English edition is being published to coincide with the 2006 hajj. Hammoudi is eager to explore the academic angles of the hajj, all the while doubting the strength of his own faith. He is constantly tested. First, he must bribe a mid-level government official in his native Morocco several times simply to be added to the country's quota list of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Medina, the city of the Prophet Muhammad, Hammoudi is stunned by the omnipresent markets hawking everything from rugs to suitcases. Still struggling for a religious experience, Hammoudi is angered by the Wahhabi stewards of Mecca and Medina, who police Islam's holiest sites with irrational Wahhabi zeal. Beset with the flu, Hammoudi still circumambulates the Kaaba in Mecca, appreciating the rare absence of gender segregation. Ghazaleh's translation is reminiscent of both French eloquence and Moroccan storytelling ... a mystical, almost surreal, journey." Publishers Weeklyshow more

Rating details

57 ratings
3.05 out of 5 stars
5 9% (5)
4 18% (10)
3 47% (27)
2 23% (13)
1 4% (2)
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