Eid al-Adha commemorates God’s staying the hand of Abraham and stopping the sacrifice of his son Ishmael – and by extension all human sacrifice. (The ritual head-choppers and liver-eaters of ISIS, who seem to relish their own sick versions of human sacrifice, are about as un-Islamic as it gets.)
To celebrate today’s festivities, Truth Jihad Radio presents a special Eid interview with Michael Wolfe, one of our best American Muslim authors. (NOTE: This show was originally broadcast September 25, 2015.)
An accomplished poet and first-rate prose stylist, Michael Wolfe has written what may be the two best books in English on Islam’s biggest ritual: The Hadj (sometimes spelled Haj or Hajj), the great pilgrimage to Mecca that is occurring right now.
Wolfe’s The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca is a beautifully-written personal account. And his follow-up One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Writing on the Muslim Pilgrimage collects twenty-three shorter pieces from Naser-e Khosraw (c. 1050) to such modern pilgrims as Malcolm X, Saida Miller Khaifa, and Wolfe himself.
If you’re curious about Islam, a fan of great travel writing, or some combination thereof, you can’t go wrong with these two books.
In this interview we discuss the pilgrimage, Mecca, some under-appreciated aspects of Islam and what brought Michael to convert…and finish by exchanging contrasting views on the “War on Terror.”
Bio: Michael Wolfe was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, educated at Wesleyan University (Classics, 1968), and lives in Northern California. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and travel. He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a guest at the MacDowell Colony. He held the Amy Lowell Traveling Poets Scholarship for three years while living in North and West Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s he owned and ran a bookstore and a book bindery and edited and published Tombouctou Books, Bolinas, CA, including titles by Paul Bowles, Mohammed Mrabet, Larbi Layachi, Jim Carroll, Dale Herd, Steve Emerson, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Lucia Berlin, Bill Berkson, Duncan McNaughton, Clark Coolidge, and many others.