History / Islam / Religion

Three Englishmen in Mecca (2002)

Léon Belly Pilgrims Going to Mecca

Pilgrims Going to Mecca, Léon Belly (1827–1877)

One could make the case that the impulse in many to explore and seek out new experiences is a built-in characteristic of the human species, a product of evolution shared at some frequency throughout all populations of people.  What better explanation accounts for the widespread dispersal of humanity throughout the globe and in almost every type of landscape imaginable?  From the jutting peaks of the Himalayas to the arid lands of North Africa, people are found in almost any environment.  Perhaps, in order for life to thrive as it has, a Diaspora of sorts is a necessary condition that contributes to diversity, which, in turn, increases the chances of the overall survival of a species?

We’ll likely never fully answer such questions, but what we can say is that at least some individuals seem born explorers.  Travelers of every type and cultural background have contributed to the pages of history, mapping the previously unmapped, learning the formerly unknown, and entering into the forbidden.  It is the latter – of exploration into the forbidden – that will be the focus of this essay, and, in particular, the infiltration of Europeans into the sacred territories of Islam along the western portion of the Arabian Peninsula known as the Hijaz.  In the following examination, I will relate the stories of three Englishmen, each from different historical eras, who made the annual pilgrimage, forbidden to all non-Muslims, and entered the city of Mecca in the heart of the Hijaz.  This pilgrimage is known in Arabic as the Hajj, and the travels of the men, separated by two hundred and fifty years, reflect an evolving and interconnecting relationship taking place between England and Arabia in particular, and Europe and its developing notions of the Orient in general.


According to Islamic tradition, the Hajj is an obligation for all Muslims to make at some point during their lifetime.  The only exceptions allowed are to those unable to accomplish the journey due to physical or economic impediment, as well as individuals hampered by political realities that would make the trip too dangerous for the would-be traveler.1  Although scholars disagree as to the exact nature of the relationship, almost all concur the Hajj has pre-Islamic origins.  Some recent studies point to an association between Abraham – of the Judeo-Christian traditions – and Mecca going back to well before the claimed revelations of the Prophet Muhammad.2  Francis Peters, in his book The Hajj, deals with this idea when he writes, “There are traditions that others in the city [of Mecca] had connections with Abraham, connections that centered, as Muhammad’s own did, on the Meccan Ka’ba, the House that Abraham build.”3  Al-Ka’ba, or the Cube, is a simple shrine made of stone residing in the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca.  It is the focal point of the Hajj and of the entire Islamic spiritual tradition.  According to custom, God ordered Abraham and his son Ishmael to build the sanctuary as a place of worship in affirmation of the primacy of one God over all others.  This god is known in Arabic as Allah and can be considered, because of the connection with the two traditions, the same god as that of the Torah and the Christian Old and New Testaments.4  Islamic tradition, as pronounced in the Quran, ascribes the source of the Hajj with Abraham as well, claiming Allah ordered him to call all believers to pilgrimage.5  Those who complete the annual journey are known as hajjis, a title each of the following three individuals were able to acquire, despite the unlikelihood.  The first of the hajjis whose story I will chronicle is Joseph Pitts, an ordinary man who gets caught in extraordinary circumstances and lives to tell the tale.

In 1678 Joseph Pitts, from the town of Exon in western England, became a sailor and joined the trading vessel Speedwell.  He was fifteen years old.6  His departure that same year marked the beginning of a fifteen year ordeal in which he would be captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Algeria, forcibly converted to Islam, and become the first Englishman to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and write about it.7  Michael Wolfe describes Pitts’ book, recounting the adventure as “one of English literature’s more curious travelogues on the one hand, an exotic yarn of capture and escape on the Barbary Coast, on the other, an earnest Christian’s effort to disavow his conversion to Islam.”8  Upon reading the travelogue, one will surely notice Pitts as being a deeply religious man with sincere Christian beliefs.  But this, even with the fact of his ill treatment at the hands of a few Muslims while held in slavery in Algiers, does not make him completely prejudiced against the religion of Islam.  He attempts to maintain an honest posture throughout, and, in fact, Pitts makes a great effort to present an accurate picture of Islam, of which he undoubtedly developed a considerable and intimate view during his time in Algiers and his pilgrimage to Mecca.  


Pitts’ route in the Hijaz.  From Freeth and Winstone, Explorers of Arabia, 42.

The demand for greater accuracy and factual information about the world was growing in Europe during Pitts’ time.  This no doubt aided the contemporaneous drive in Europe for nationalistic, economic imperial domination and expansion, an era when a detailed picture of the world furthered the quest for and increased the competition over exploitable lands, resources, and people and fed the seemingly insatiable appetite of empire building.9  Travelogues and various treatises about the Orient flourished during this time.  These new, more genuine portrayals of unknown or little-known lands did contribute to overcoming certain long-held stereotypes predominant in Europe at the time, only to rebuild new and often more insidious ones based on control, manipulation, and assumptions of Western superiority.  While Pitts is by no means a British agent in the service of the Empire, his book, A True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans, is a product of the times it was written.  And its frank style demonstrates a growing quest for knowledge in Europe about the previously unknowable lands that lie to the east.

Joseph Pitts’ participation in the Hajj and his journey into the sacred lands of Arabia maintain this dualistic nature of accurate reporting coupled with an entirely 17th century, Christian critique of the people and customs witnessed.  He begins his description of the event with an explanation of the four Hajj caravans that enter Mecca yearly followed by a detailed summary of the housing accommodations in the holy city.10  The young pilgrim is particularly moved by the devotion displayed among his Muslim counterparts during the initial ceremonies upon entering the Great Mosque.  He writes:

I could not choose but admire to see those poor creatures so extraordinary devout and affectionate when they were about these superstitions, and with what awe and trembling they were possessed.  Insomuch, that I could scarce forbear shedding of tears to see their zeal, though blind and idolatrous.11  

A certain level of respect is obvious in this confession, yet Pitts is quick to mention his overall disapproval, seeing much of the attention paid to the Ka’ba – the focus of their enthusiasm – as being akin to idol worship rather than a symbolic affirmation of the pilgrim’s association with Allah.

A_bird_s_eye_view_of_Mecca_and_surrounding_hillsidesThe author’s description of Mecca and its adjoining countryside is a tremendously precise one that includes explanations of many of the holy sites surrounding Muhammad’s life, like the cave where the prophet supposedly received his first messages from the angel Gabriel.  Pitts reports his findings of this place in a mostly detached if not somewhat praiseworthy way, stating that what he saw in the cave “is not at all beautified,” adding that this characteristic of genuineness is what he admires about the place.12  The author is also quick to prove Muslim superstitions wrong whenever given the chance, as while writing about the “Pigeons of the Prophet” – a title Pitts gives to the numerous birds living in Mecca – Pitts says, “I have heard some say, that in their flight they’ll never fly over the Bayt Allah,13 as if they knew it to be the House of God.  But it is a very great mistake, for I have seen them to fly oftentimes over the Bayt Allah.”14  He is also quick to dispel the belief that, while inside the House of God, one will be “smitten blind for gazing about,” which, of course, Pitts was none too hesitant to do, stating, “I found nothing worth seeing in it, only two wooden pillars in the midst to keep up the roof, and a bar of iron fastened to them, on which hanged three or four silver lamps.”15  Near the conclusion of his account of the Hajj, Pitts gives a heartfelt confession of feelings he shared with the pilgrims while at Arafat16 when he states the following:

It was a sight indeed able to pierce one’s heart to behold so many thousands in their garments of humility and mortification, with their naked heads, and cheeks watered with tears, and to hear their grievous sighs and sobs, they begging earnestly for the remission of their sins, and promising newness of life, using a form of penitential expressions, and thus continuing for the space of four or five hours.17

This is quite possibly his most straightforward request for redemption from God for his own membership, forced though it may be, in what he sees as an untrue and idolatrous faith.  One can almost make out Pitts participating fully with the other hajjis, sharing in their tears with his “pierced” heart rather than remaining the detached observer he at times makes himself out to be in his Account.  To a Christian with as deeply held beliefs as Pitts, this type of participation would be a sin indeed, and it is almost as though he is trying to explain his emotions at the time and why he took part to an extent beyond that of a forced spectator.  In short, Pitts is attempting to explain to God why he became an honest participant – for who other than God and Pitts would know the Christian hajji’s emotional state that day at Arafat?

Joseph Pitts finished the Hajj shortly thereafter.  But it would be some ten years before he would return to England a free man and begin to recount his amazing story, of which the pilgrimage to Mecca is but a small part.  His narrative provides a perfect example of a normal person forced into remarkable circumstances, ultimately prevailing in the end against great odds.  Pitts unintentionally added to the changing European discourse occurring at that time concerning Arabia in particular and the Near East in general. This relationship was shifting to a new stage, one of European dominance in which things would never be the same again.  Our next explorer is the quintessential representative of this new European preeminence and its quest to rule in every possible way all the corners of the globe.  Unlike Pitts, this hajji was anything but an ordinary individual.  He was, rather, a man of exceptional stature and ability, often personally overshadowing the events of the Hajj detailed in his massive account of the sacred Islamic event.


Burton in 1864.

In their book Explorers of Arabia, Zahra Freeth and Victor Winstone describe the 19th century English explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton as “strong, physically imposing, capable of commanding any language or dialect with apparent ease, a master of disguise and dissimulation, he could play almost any part with conviction.  Translator, linguist, ethnologist, anthropologist, geographer, philosopher, writer; he achieved a mastery of almost any subject he set his mind to.”18  By all accounts, this is no exaggeration, and the intellectual breadth and scope of his multi-volume tome of the Hajj, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah, is a testament to his capacities in all these areas.  Burton set off on his pilgrimage into the Hijaz in 1853; he was thirty-two years old.  At the time, he was a lieutenant in the Indian Army and in many ways represented the changing circumstances of British “interests,” especially when compared to the Britain of Joseph Pitts some one hundred and seventy years prior.  The Empire was paramount when it came to foreign affairs, and this impressive explorer did little but strengthen its cause.  “We must recognize,” Edward Said writes in his highly influential work on the subject of European cultural imperialism while commenting on Burton’s Personal Narrative, “How the voice of the highly idiosyncratic master of Oriental knowledge informs, feeds into the voice of European ambition for rule over the Orient.”19  The voice Professor Said speaks of, of course, is that of Richard Burton.


Burton’s Hajj route.  From Freeth and Winstone, Explorers of Arabia, 122.

During this time of imperial expansion, growing numbers of Muslims were coming under European control and authority.  Europe had begun to play an unprecedented role in the annual Islamic pilgrimage, issuing necessary travel documents as well as providing much of the seagoing transportation.20  The Hajj Burton participated in was one finding a fast-encroaching Europe creeping into the inner, spiritual refuge of Islam.  Unlike Joseph Pitts, Burton was not a Muslim convert, opting instead to pose as “a wandering Darwaysh,” or Muslim doctor, of Afghani descent from India.21  Although officially in the service of the British Crown, he had a personal reason for making the journey as well.  Burton explains his somewhat romantic drive when he says of his mindset at the time:

Thoroughly tired of ‘progress’ and of ‘civilization’; curious to see with my eyes what others are content to ‘hear with ears,’ namely, Moslem inner life in a really Mohammedan country; and longing … to set foot on that mysterious spot which no vacation tourist has yet described.22  

This statement clearly suggests a motivating force greater than duty alone, yet were it not for the even greater interests of his mother country these dreams might never have been realized, for Great Britain provided the resources, leave from military service, and, ultimately, its final stamp of approval.

Burton set out from his home country on April 3, 1853, having already assumed his new identity.23  The hajji-imposter had no difficulty blending in with his fellow pilgrims during the journey, which took him from Alexandria, up the Nile to Cairo, on to Suez, and from there to Yanbu, north of Jeddah in the Hijaz.  Each leg and stop demands at least a chapter in his linear narrative, which overflows with footnotes, detailed drawings by the author, historical information, and anthropological insights with an often-racial slant common for the time.  From Yanbu, the hajjis traveled east to Medina to visit the prophet Muhammed’s tomb.  Burton’s description of the tomb, the Mosque housing it, the people of Medina, and the entire layout of the city is in many ways the quintessential word in 19th-century, Western literature on this, the second holiest site in Islam.24  This in-depth treatise of Medina spans well over two hundred and seventy pages of his Memorial Edition and contains more than twenty visual depictions, from simple diagrams to intricate maps that have every possible detail included.

Burton hair

From Personal Narrative, Burton (1857).

Along with his Muslim traveling companions met along the way, Burton left Medina on the Damascus Caravan on 30 August 1853.  Although their original plan was “to stay at Al-Madinah till the last moment” and “accompany the Kafilat al-Tayyarah, or the ‘Flying Caravan’,” those plans were dashed when the Flying Caravan was canceled.25  Rather than upsetting the adventurer, the change excited Burton because the new route was one “no European had as yet travelled down.”26  The Damascus Caravan passed south out of Mecca through the Najd Desert, into the heart of Bedouin country, “where,” the author warns, “robberies are frequent and stabbings occasional.”27  Situated in his narrative during the caravan’s journey through the Najd, Burton includes an entire chapter titled “The Badawin28 of Al-Hijaz.”29  Like the rest of his Personal Narrative, this chapter is weighted with lengthy footnotes, and here the author paints a highly racialized and inaccurate picture of the Bedouin people.  Commenting on Burton’s scientific authority on this subject, Freeth and Winstone write, “The footnotes to his anthropological observations become wildly conjectural, the anatomical detail as expert-sounding as it is often wide of the mark.”30

The caravan arrived in Mecca on 11 September 1853.  The next day Burton entered the Great Mosque and sighted the Bayt Allah, and in displaying his literary prowess he writes:

There at last it lay, the bourn of my long and weary Pilgrimage, realising the plans and hopes of many and many a year. . . .  There were no giant fragments of hoar antiquity as in Egypt, no remains of graceful and harmonious beauty as in Greece and Italy, no barbarous gorgeousness as in the buildings of India; yet the view was strange, unique – and how few [sic] have looked upon the celebrated shrine!31  

How few indeed – other than the many millions of Muslims before him?  As with Pitts, the sight of the Ka’ba moves Burton in a powerful way, but, by his own admission, this is not “the high feeling of religious enthusiasm,” but instead “the ecstasy of gratified pride.”32  Here is a man stirred by the personal satisfaction of achieving a task few of his European counterparts would ever get to experience, this is the climax of his journey, the inner reason for his going on the Hajj.  Yet Burton still notes all he sees in great detail: from the ceremonies surrounding the holy Water of Mecca, known as Zemzem;33 to the Tawaf, or circumambulation;34 to the black stone situated in the corner of the Ka’ba.35  Nothing escapes his keen examination.  The remainder of the author’s account in Personal Narrative is much the same as his detailed elucidations about Medina and the desert Bedouin, replete with diagrams, artistic renderings and sketches, and of course countless footnotes.

Burton Crowd

From Personal Narrative, Burton (1857).

Burton had achieved his goal, joining that short list of non-Muslims to have made the Pilgrimage to Mecca and taken part in the Hajj.  He concluded his journey upon boarding the ship Dwarka sailing out of Jeddah on 26 September 1853.36  Throughout the account the author maintains a dual nature: at once English and Oriental, a poet and a warrior, imposter and insider.  Additionally, his impact on the Western discourse regarding the Orient reflects a dualism of sorts.  On the positive side, Burton’s Personal Narrative, as author Michael Wolfe points out, did contribute to a much more accurate picture of the Hijaz to the Western reader, especially his insights associated with Medina, which was a mostly unknown place at that time in Christian Europe.37  Furthermore, this book closed the chapter on the explanation of the Hajj for curious European audiences in many ways.  For who could add to this meticulous and learned narrative, where seemingly every last detail was explained to a degree beyond which seemed humanly possible?  The level of authority expressed by the author is present throughout these volumes, whether in endless footnotes, richly explained chapters, or added appendices.  The Western reader at the time could hardly question such an exposition, articulated with a breadth and force of which Burton proved so very capable.  This is what makes much of Personal Narrative disturbing, because the general reader will often get lost and lose sight of the fact that, regardless of the details, knowledgeable sounding style, etc., the account is still the subjective vision of a single man – wise though he may be – yet still a man no less, with prejudices all his own and limited, as all figures of history are, by a specific historical, cultural, and geographical background, the product of a specific time and place.  

Many did read the multi-volume work.  In fact, it proved an immediate success upon first publication in 1855 and established the author as a famous traveler and expert of the Orient.38  Edward Said points out that, because Burton’s dominating voice and presence “encounters, and indeed merges with, the voice of Empire,” this composition, along with undoubtedly many others, helped lay the groundwork for future Western control and influence in the Near East, which was fast approaching.39  This leads us to our final traveler and hajji who made the trip several times during the early 20th century.  His name is Harry St John Bridger Philby, who, in many ways, found his way into the Hijaz following the footsteps of Burton.

Numerous parallels exist between Philby and Burton.  Both were British civil servants and agents, each a linguistic master, and the two adventurers had that rare ability, according to Michael Wolfe, to move “with ease between the native and British worlds.”40  Philby was sent in 1917 to meet the future king of Saudi Arabia as a representative of the British Government.41  This meeting is indicative of the changing political landscape of the time.  World War I was in full swing, many local Arab populations were beginning to rise up against longtime Ottoman administration and assert an independence-minded nationalistic sentiment, while the Ottomans became exceedingly bogged down in the bloody conflict.  For long before the story of Joseph Pitts recounted above, the nations of Europe had kept an envious eye on the region that became known as the Middle East, and never before – as with the approaching collapse of Ottoman authority – had a better opportunity than this presented itself to the West.


Philby’s voyages in Arabia.  From Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 566.

The man Philby met while representing the British crown was Ibn Sa’ud, the political and religious leader of the puritanical Islamic movement known as Wahhabism.  The Wahhabis had been in the process of consolidating the long-divided tribal factions of the Bedouin in the land east of the Hijaz, a region known as the Najd.42  By this time, as Wolfe points out, “A quarter of a million Bedouin men, women, and children had moved from desert tents to several hundred mud-brick settlements.”43  This unprecedented social transformation was taking place on the Arabian Peninsula while Sa’ud and his Wahhabi army were literally knocking on the door of the Muslim Holy Lands, which would fall shortly thereafter.  This was the socio-political reality Philby stepped into in 1917.  The relationship between him and Sa’ud would eventually blossom, with the British agent becoming a close and trusted adviser to the Saudi king as well as a convert to his version of Wahhabi Islam.


Philby in 1922.

Philby’s account of the Pilgrimage is unique for the above-mentioned facts.  “He performed the Hajj as a privileged resident,” writes Wolfe, “Traveling with the royal cavalcade, sometimes on camels, at other times by car.”44  The British convert recounts the Hajj, one of subsequently many he would experience, in his book A Pilgrim in Arabia.  His narrative begins in April 1931 with his trip by car to Muna, the holy site east of Mecca.45  Philby illustrates the king’s entourage when he writes, “No less than 300 motor vehicles composed the fleet destined to take the royal family to its destination – its women and slaves and children even down to the less than year old Talal, the baby of the King’s fifty-odd children.”46  From this elucidation, the reader can readily see certain changes taking place on the Hajj.  At this time, apparently, only the royal household was permitted to trek during Hajj by car, but three years later, all who wanted to and could afford it were allowed the luxury.47  After traveling by camel from Muna to Mount Arafat and back to Muna, Philby, accompanying the King’s brother, returned by car to Mecca, where he was able to enjoy the comforts of his own private residence.48

Upon entering the Great Mosque in the holy city, the author tells about the Ka’ba in great detail, explaining the Kiswah, which is the covering of the sacred shrine made from black embroidered silk.  He had the opportunity of seeing the old Kiswa replaced and gives a description of the uncovered Bayt Allah, noting “massive square-cut blocks of unequal size bound together with a strong greyish mortar.”49  Much of Philby’s narrative reads like the account of a detached witness rather than a converted believer and participant.  But a particularly telling moment occurs when he explains the situation of the surrounding area within the Mosque around the Ka’ba facing the Black Stone – from which every hajji must begin the tawaf – when he writes, “The scene round this, the most sacred spot in the Islamic world, was one of amazing commotion and confusion, which suggested to a European mind thoughts of traffic regulations, barriers and turnstiles.”50  In this comparison, of which a man like Philby would be as qualified as any to make, the reader can sense an irony that flows from a person living between two worlds yet beginning to pull away from the earlier world of crowded spaces and over-organized existence – an existence structured, planned, rationalized.  The author immediately labels the idea of adding such “European” regulating devices to be untenable when it comes to the holy shrine because “it would go against the basic principles of Islam.”51  Philby sees this deepest of Muslim spiritual experiences as being incompatible with the “modern” amenities that Europe has to offer.

Philby’s text enters into a meditation on individualism in Islam.  According to him, the religion is very socially minded and democratic, but the one element that “makes the human ego all-important above the claims of society, race and even family” is in a “single-minded devotion to the Almighty.”52  Philby comes to terms with the commotion and clamoring of the pilgrims because it plainly reflects, unfiltered by the trappings of everyday life, their everlasting devotion to Allah, and their humble and heartfelt attempt at personal salvation.  Here the former British agent shows, even if in a somewhat secular fashion, his attraction to Islam by its straightforward, no-strings-attached approach to the one path all religious traditions attempt to master: spiritual enlightenment.  In closing his account of the Hajj in Mecca, the author expresses his loyalty to the Wahhabi-administered government and its management of the Pilgrimage.  The reader must not forget that he was an important and integral part of this regime until his death.

In many ways, Philby can come to represent the final chapter in Britain’s pursuit to comprehend, participate in, and explain Mecca during the Hajj, the holiest center of Islamic life.  He was a man that gained a great deal of his initial education in and expertise of these places – which were off-limits to non-Muslims – in the Christian centers of Europe, following in the footsteps of all who passed before but eventually crossing over the once well-defined boundaries many of these previous travelers from the north sought to verify.  His crossing-over, finalized in his conversion to Wahhabi Islam, foreshadowed the decline of high imperialism and completed the exploration of the Hijaz.  After Philby, those who entered the Muslim holy lands were less the curious traveler or outsider and more, as Philby indicates, the true spiritual seeker, looking for personal salvation.  The Hijaz became, in a sense, a completed work in the pages of the Western will to define, order, and understand that which it sought to profit from.  Philby’s own maps of Arabia, compiled over the remainder of his life, filled in the “huge white blot” that Burton speaks about in the opening pages of his Personal Narrative.53  As Michael Wolfe notes of Philby’s accomplishments, “None of the famous names associated with Arabian exploration … covered half so much territory.”54

The common and apparent thread connecting Pitts, Burton, and Philby is not so much the specific circumstances of their travels, but it is, rather, the imperial presence beneath the surface of each narrative: that of Great Britain.  It is Britain that one discerns throughout all three accounts despite the fact that we might be examining but a small portion of a much greater whole.  With that in mind, we are somewhat justified in the following generalization: each hajji discussed above symbolizes, in various ways, the imperial progression of England –  at least in so far as its relation with Arabia is concerned.  Pitts, the first Englishman to experience the Hajj and write about it, was seized from a helpless trading vessel, powerless to forces he did not understand but, instead, had to learn from, feeding the expanding imperial desire for knowledge.  He is in many ways a young colonial power that has yet to establish its dominant status but must ramble down that painful course of life to gain the experience necessary to eventually master what once mastered it.  Burton, by far the most famous 19th-century British explorer to enter the Hijaz, signifies Great Britain at its imperial prime – voracious, eager, overly self-confident yet capable, just coming into greatness.  The England of Burton sees no limits to its appetites and wants to satisfy them all.  If Burton represents a Great Britain in the prime of life, Philby symbolizes the country at its imperial maturity – wiser and developed, having a significant pool of experience to draw from, a country with keen diplomatic expertise, which takes it into the most unwelcoming parts of the globe with ease.  But in Philby one might also discern the signs of decline, an empire outstretched, being swallowed by the land and people it originally set out to consume.  The stories of these three travelers serve as a narrative for exploration in a context displaying the dynamics of high imperialism, which sought with eager force to know the world that it wanted to rule and exploited that innate drive and urge for newness and knowledge in us all.


1.  David Edwin Long, The Hajj Today: A Survey of the Contemporary Makkah Pilgrimage (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1979), 9.
2. Francis E. Peters, The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 40-48; Long, The Hajj Today, 3-5.
3. Ibid., 41.
4. Ibid., 27.
5. Ibid., 7.
6. Joseph Pitts, A True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans (London: University of London, 1903), 1-2.
2. Michael Wolfe, ed., One Thousand Roads to Mecca (New York: Grove Press, 1997), 104.
8. Ibid., 102.
9. Ibid., 105.
10. Pitts, A True and Faithful Account, 59-60.
11. Ibid., 81-82.
12. Ibid., 85.
13. The Ka’ba. Literally “the House of God.” In Michael Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca (New York: Grove Press, 1997), 575.
14. Ibid., 89.
15. Ibid., 89-90.
16. Michael Wolfe calls Arafat “the desert plain and mountain fifteen miles east of Mecca, where pilgrims perform the rite of standing (wukuf) during the high point of the Hajj.” In One Thousand Roads to Mecca (New York Grove Press, 1997), 571.
17. Ibid., 97.
18. Zahra Freeth and Victor Winstone, Explorers of Arabia: From the Renaissance to the End of the Victorian Era (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1978), 123.
19. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), 196.
20. Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 192.
21. Sir Richard Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah Vol. 1, memorial edition (New York: Dover Publications, 1964), 45.
22. Ibid., 2.
23. Ibid., 5.
24. Michael Wolfe writes, “Burton’s great contribution to the pilgrim literature concerns Medina.” This is because the Swiss traveler John Lewis Burckhardt, who participated in the Hajj some forty years before Burton, wrote the “definitive” text of Mecca.  One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 199.
25. Sir Richard Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah Vol. 2, memorial edition (New York: Dover Publications, 1964), 50.
26. Ibid., 51.
27. Ibid.
28. Badawin is an alternative spelling for Bedouin.
29. Ibid., 76-123.
30. Freeth ad Winstone, Explorers of Arabia, 142.
31. Burton, Personal Narrative Vol. 2, 160-161.
32. Ibid., 161.
33. Ibid., 162-164.
34. Wolfe defines tawaf as “turning or circumambulation; a pilgrim rite comprising seven circuits of the Ka’ba.” One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 580. Burton’s description of tawaf is in Personal Narrative Vol. 2, 165-168.
35. Burton, Personal Narrative Vol. 2, 168-169.
36. Ibid., 276.
37. Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 199.
38. Ibid., 197.
39. Ibid., 195-196.
40. Ibid., 384.
41. Ibid., 385.
42. William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 2nd edition (Boulder: Westview Press, 2000), 226.
43. Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 325.
44. Ibid., 384.
45. Harry St. John Bridger Philby, A Pilgrim in Arabia (London: Robert Hale Limited, 1946), 21.
46. Ibid., 22.
47. Ibid., 32.
48. Ibid., 34.
49. Ibid., 37.
50. Ibid., 37-38.
51. Ibid., 38.
52. Ibid., 38.
53. Burton, Personal Narrative Vol. 1, 1.
54. Wolfe, One Thousand Roads to Mecca, 385.



Burton, Sir Richard Francis.  Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah, Vol. I and Vol. II.  Memorial Edition.  New York: Dover Publications, 1964.

Cleveland, William.  A History of the Modern Middle East, 2nd edition.  Boulder: Westview Press, 2000.

Freeth, Zahra and Victor Winstone.  Explorers of Arabia: From the Renaissance to the End of the Victorian Era.  New York: Holmes and Meier, 1978.

Long, David Edwin.  The Hajj Today: A Survey of the Contemporary Makkah Pilgrimage.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 1979.

Peters, Francis E.  The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Philby, Harry St. John Bridger.  A Pilgrim in Arabia.  London: Robert Hale Limited, 1946.

Pitts, Joseph.  A True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans.  London: University of London, 1903.

Said, Edward.  Orientalism.  New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Wolfe, Michael, Ed.  One Thousand Roads to Mecca.  New York: Grove Press, 1997.






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