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Eid special! Michael Wolfe on the Hadj pilgrimage

Broadcast here September 25th, 10-11:00 a.m. Central (1500 GMT). For only $3.95 a month you can listen to shows on-demand before they are broadcast – and also get free downloads and other perks from Kevin! If you are a subscriber, just log in to the members area of to get early access to the shows. Non-subscribers only get access to the No Lies Radio show archives the day after the broadcast here. Help Kevin keep these shows on the air – become a subscriber today!

Poet and author 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.

One Thought to “Eid special! Michael Wolfe on the Hadj pilgrimage”

  1. To believe out of conviction Or to believe out of convenience. That is the question.

    Obviously Michael Wolfe has answered that question for himself. He adds a few more drops in the bucket of dishonesty and denials belonging to the muslim community at large.

    That is the path always chosen by people who are unaware of the Majesty, Grandeur and Power of Allah. As a consequence, they perceive puny tyrants and parasitic bullies as powerful giants they ought to accomodate at all cost.

    Quran [029:2-3] : "DO MEN THINK that on their [mere] saying, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test ?. Yea, indeed, We did test those who lived before them; and so, [too, shall be tested the people now living: and] most certainly will God mark out those who prove themselves true, and most certainly will He mark out those who are lying." (as translated by Muhammad Asad)

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