27 Ramadhan 1436
I've been deeply impressed reading Ziauddin Sardar's Mecca: The Sacred City. I started reading it before the fasting month began and have deliberately drawn out my reading such that I'll be finishing it, I think, later tonight. At the heart of the book lies a simple but telling idea: Mecca is not just a symbol, the encapsulation of religious aspiration; it is and always has been a place where people lived amidst all the unflattering man-made vicissitudes that constitute history. The rigorous sense of fidelity in facing difficult truths about the less than admirable past, and present, of the holy city, indeed, of Muslim history in general, has made this a special book for me. I'm more than ever convinced that we cannot afford to ignore what Sardar pithily terms the grit and gore of history, even as we imaginatively carve out our sacred places.
A transformative read.