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My Discovery of Islam (The Road to Mecca) (Muhammad Asad)

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The story of how Asad walked out of Berlin, away from the West and into a new spiritual life is best told in his own words and an Old Testament simile: 'After all, it was a matter of love,' he wrote, "'and love is composed of many things; of our desires and our loneliness, of our high aims and our shortcomings, of our strengths and our weaknesses. So it was in my case. Islam came over me like a robber who enters a house by night; but, unlike a robber, it entered to remain for good

MUHAMMAD ASAD (Leopold Weiss) Muhammad Asad was born a Jew, Leopold Weiss, in Galicia in 1900, worked for a time as a correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung, embraced Islam in 1926 after four years of intermittent residence among the Arabs, and has lived since 1932 among the Muslims in India and Pakistan... Within a few paragraphs of his extraordinary and beautifully written autobiography, The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad, the reader recognizes he is immersed-profoundly so--in a timeless spiritual classic. 'Ultimate questions' do not vary over time; Asad's insightful elucidation of these concerns and his inspiring personal solutions deeply move both heart and mind. In common with so many, Asad had 'drifted into a matter of fact rejection of all institutional religions." He yearned for a life without the "carefully contained, artificial defenses which security-minded people love to build up around them," where he could find for himself "an approach to the spiritual order of things." He wondered if the European way of life-based on the betterment of economic and political conditions "was in its fundamentals, the only possible way." He had the courage to look elsewhere. The grandson of a Central European Orthodox rabbi, Asad found his first "quiet gladness" in Taoism where truths were as a window opening onto a long lost home far from "all narrowness and self-created fears." Asad regretted this "ivory tower" could not be lived in. Against his father's wishes he left the pursuit of a doctorate in Vienna to take up journalism. His fascinating travels took him to Jerusalem, Arabia, and India, and finally into service at the United Nations. In 1926 Asad embraced Islam. His account of his years in Arabia, his desert adventures, friendship with King Saud, and marriage there is truly gripping while being a great read set against the fascinating background following the first World War.

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