Author: Leopold Weiss | Muhammad Asad
Blogger: Andalusian Reality
‘Why is it that, even after finding my place among the people who believe in the things I myself have come to believe, I have struck no root?’ If anything else describes my position better I still have to come across that book. Leopold Weiss (aka Asad) in “Road to Mecca” illustrates his journeys; conversion and profound thoughts all in his widely acclaimed autobiography. However, apart from all the exciting memoirs he has chronicled and the spiritual deserts he had to cross, more importantly he has summarized the very regret of my life, “… I have struck no root”.
The author helped me to discover my place in the cosmos. Before and after.
Using a clever structure Asad conveys his autobiography in fractured narratives; with a disrupted chronology he uses a fragmented style of narration with multi time frames. I’ve tried to ‘classify’ them as follows: The outward journey that will take him to the final pilgrimage; complimented by the inward feelings, moods and thoughts while shifting back and forth between the past and the ‘present’.
Leopold Weiss [Asad] (1900-1992) had completed the book in August 1954, initiated at the curious request of his western colleagues. Could it be possible that a person from that era be writing something that has connected the heart of an unlikely reader? I mean do different people with altogether different backgrounds think alike? Can a person who had in his day seen World War 1 be compared with an individual whose life is being laid out in the 21st? ‘The Story of a story’, means more to me than a mere ‘autobiography’. The manner in which Asad has portrayed his experiences is dear to me.
I personally have found this book to be one of self discovery.
Asad’s writing is best described by Jacob De Haan, a genial Holldener whom he meets in Cairo. Haan exclaims “How do you manage to convey in a half-sentence an almost mystical significance to things that are apparently so commonplace?”
I was left passionately crying by the time I had reached within and felt what he saw .. .
“ We ride on, rushing, flying over the plain, and to me it seems that we flying with the wind, abandoned to a happiness that knows neither end nor limit . . . and the wind shouts a wild paean of joy into my ears: ‘Never again, never again, never again will you be a stranger!’
… I turn around in my saddle and see behind me the waving, weaving mass of thousands of white-clad riders and, beyond them, the bridge over which I have come: its end is just behind me while its beginning is already lost in the midst of distance. ”
Now he had transcended his identity, reached a new sense of belonging and momentarily shared an epiphany that I too long to join . . . “Labaykalah huma labayk . . .”
That was: The Road to Mecca - Leopold Weiss | Muhammad Asad