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Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant : The Holiest Cities of Islam Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 30, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 30, 1997
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

These photographs of the Muslim holy cities Mecca and Medina, taken by a Japanese convert, Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi, are something new for most Westerners, and perhaps even for many Muslims. Non-Muslims are never allowed into Mecca, and it is almost unheard-of for religious and government leaders to allow such pictures to be taken. Most of these images were shot during the holy month of Ramadan, when many faithful are in Mecca and Medina on pilgrimage.

Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, has contributed an essay explaining the history and significance of the two cities. "Mecca and its twin city Medina flourish as the heart and sacred Center of the Islamic universe and will continue to do so as long as there are men and women who accept the truth of Lailaha illa'Llah and Muhammadun rasul Allah," he writes.

Nomachi has worked for National Geographic and Life, and his pictures have the information-packed clarity one might expect. There are fascinating images: literally hundreds of thousands of white-robed believers circling the Ka'bah, Mecca's sacred center; men ritually shaving one another's heads; tired families fasting; small children praying. Nomachi's pictures are oddly cool, but they convey the all-encompassing nature of the faith. Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant will be especially thrilling to those Muslims still planning their pilgrimage. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Some of the photographs in the book show the number of people who make this great journey each year. The crowds and camaraderie that must be felt to be one of the millions there must be amazing. The Hajj chapter has the most text of the entire book. It explains the various stages of the journey well and in much more detail than Hajj Stories did. I really feel like it gave us a good introduction to the amazing trip and the effort it must be to make it. […] The photographs of Medina are beautiful and many show the beautiful designs of Islamic art." —Crafty Moms Share blog --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • ISBN-10: 089381752X
  • ASIN: B000AKXCZA
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 10.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,038,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has stunning and beautiful pictures of Islam's holy areas and pictures of Muslims in action. As a non-Muslim, I would never be able to see these things in person. This book gave me a lot of insight into such things, and I definately do not regret the purchase.
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Format: Hardcover
We get so little information from our media on the largest pilgrimage in the world, that this book is a revelation. Islam and the Hadj are an integral part of the history and culture of the Middle East, and by extension, our world.
The photography is nothing short of stunning, and there is little that is not covered, so that one gets a good sense of the topography, the rites, and of course, the pilgrims.
An essential book not only for Muslims, but perhaps even more for non-Muslims looking to understand one of the world's great faiths.
I will never, as a non-Muslim, be able to visit the holy cities, but this book was the next best thing. Flawless.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful photographic essay on the experience of the Hajj. It includes photos of Mecca and the Kaaba, the physical locus of prayer for Muslims around the world. It also includes photos of the City of Medina, the site of the tomb of the Prophet, Muhammad upon him be peace.
An introductory essay gives a brief description of the historical expansion of the buildings around the Kaaba and the Holy Tomb. Colorful views of the rituals of the pilgrimage provide Westerners with an insight into this essential ritual of Islam. I especially appreciate the photos of Muslims from around the world as they gather together in pilgrimage.
It is a book I have chosen to share with friends and family to increase their understanding of Islam.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi, Seyyed Hossein, Aperture and to everyone who made possible, such a unique collection.

This book has 4 major sections. First is about history, geography, out skirts and some related information about Islam, Hajj and Arabia. Next 3 are covering Mecca, Medina and Arabia. The text, the history, the photographs, the geography, its not just insightful for Muslims but also for non-Muslims. Its a beautiful gift.

I dont agree with one of previous comment that "night exposure is disaster" because for me it doesnt matter that pictures were taken at night or at day, every picture has its mood and every picture is a master piece. Picture doesnt always have to be in daylight and this is very artistic that photographer captured those different times and moods. This book is like one from series of "a day in life of". Coverage was enough to make me sentimental.

In response to comment "two racist cities...", in short, non-muslims were allowed earlier but after the incident of 2 non-muslims digging tunnel underground to get the body of prophet Mohammad (PBUH) from his tomb in the time of ruler salahuddin ayyubi, its restricted now. In response to comment "Where blacks went for...", its true that that was slavery era, east west and everywhere else but mapping Islam with slavery is not right. As a matter of fact, releasing a slave from slavery was very much appretiated in Islam.
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Format: Hardcover
Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant: The Holiest Cities of Islam is a stunning pictorial depiction of the hajj, the annual sacred pilgrimage to Mecca. Particular focus is paid to the specifics of the hajj, but it also succeeds in reminding readers of the extraordinary picture of humanity one obtains at the hajj as well as the powerful role that faith plays in the lives of the pilgrims
While another reviewer points out that sometimes lost is the intimate depictions of pilgrims, as a Muslim, the book is a powerful reminder of what is most important about the hajj: our shared devotion to Islam.
Other readers take pains to point things not within the ken of the book. In particular, one should remember that Mecca and Medina are sacred. One reader makes much of the exclusion of non-believers to the holy cities, but in every there are sacred spaces for which only believers are allowed and for which only believers can imbue it with the spiritual value it deserves. And in every religious tradition, believers inscribe the boundaries of the sacred and the profane. Indeed, Mecca is not the Vatican, it does not warehouse religious artifacts, Mecca and Medina serve as an earthly reminder of their ethereal beliefs on earth.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
... revealed.

Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi is an outstanding Japanese photographer who converted to Islam. Seyyed Hossein Nasr is Iranian-born, and a Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University when this book was first published in 1997. They had "access," which should probably be written in capital letters. You have to have ACCESS to take aerial photographs in Saudi Arabia, and they are most impressive. The "access" came from the Saudi Royal family, in the personages of the governors of Mecca and Medina. The other essential piece of this collaborative effort is the publisher, "Aperture," perhaps THE publisher of photographic books, with my copies of their books on W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paul Strand, et al., readily coming to mind. The result of this collaboration is a very high quality, and in many ways unique book, that can be appreciated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Dr. Nasr commences with a historical explanation of the relevance of the region, starting with Adam and Eve, through Abraham, and then the origins of Islam, with the Prophet Mohammed. I have an overall familiarity with the story, and found the summary useful. The heart of the book, of course, is the photographs. Nomachi has a keen eye, and brings out the sheer diversity of those who consider themselves Muslims, and live over that vast swath of earth from Mauritania to Indonesia. For example, there are some colorfully dressed African women, probably from Nigeria, and other more uniformly dressed women from Indonesia. In another picture, Nomachi brings out the fact that the Muslim men and women from South Africa pray in a single straight line, which is not the norm.
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