Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Muslim Journeys: Bridging Cultures Bookshelf & Let's Talk About It: Topics to Explore

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a collection of books, films, and other resources chosen with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world.

Images

Fifteenth century map by Piri Reis of the coastline of Andalusia and the city of Grenada

Successfully completing the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Any Muslim whose circumstances permit is required to make hajj at least once in a lifetime. In earlier centuries, it was a dangerous and lengthy journey,…

A key scene in a Persian epic poem is illustrated in a 400-year-old watercolor from the holdings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This miniature illustrates the manuscript Mantiq al-Tayr (The Language of the Birds, also known as The Conference of…

Western discussions of Muslim women’s public attire seldom take into account what women themselves think about this issue. In the past decade, the Gallup Organization has been polling intensively in Turkey and other Muslim countries. A Gallup…

Timeline: Number of Captives Embarked and Disembarked per Year, 1525-1867

English text: The foregoing copy of the Lord’s Prayer was written by Prince Abduhl Rahhuman in Arabic, at my request and in my presence on the 29th day of December 1828 in Philadelphia, at which time and place he related to me in detail the…

Portrait of African-American freed slave Yarrow Mamout painted in 1819 by Charles Wilson Peale, in the Philadelphia Museum

Omar ibn Said, (b. 1770?), a freed slave living in North Carolina, is the author of this page written in Arabic script. A note in English on the back states, “The Lord's Prayer written in Arabic by Uncle Moreau (Omar) a native African, now…

Muslim Journeys Resources

The Muslim Journeys project website is intended to introduce the Bookshelf collection to the American public and to enrich the experience of readers by offering online resources that place the books and documentary films in a larger context.  Included on this page are some of the Muslim Journeys project website resources available. 

Websites

To view places on the Sub-saharan itinerary of Leo Africanus, Harvard University’s WorldMap "Leo Africanus' Places" website includes a set of map overlays on a 16th century map, with descriptive information and contemporary photographs from the…

Orhan Pamuk delivered the lecture "My Father's Suitcase" at the ceremony awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. The New Yorker Magazine reprinted the lecture by permission.

Leila Aboulela, Sudanese-born author of Minaret, was interviewed by Anita Sethl for the Guardian newspaper in London, June 2005. She discusses the relative importance of national and religious identity.

Marjane Satrapi, author of the graphic novel Persepolis, was interviewed for an article by Simon Hattenstone in the London Guardian newspaper in March 2008, just before release of the film version of Persepolis.

Kamila Shamsie, author of Broken Verses, is interviewed by Helen Brown for The Telegraph in April 2005. She speaks about her novels and about the some of the characters and other aspects of Broken Verses.

Hisham Matar, author of In the Country of Men, was interviewed in 2007 by Nouri Gana of the University of California, Los Angeles about his childhood, contemporary literature, and his first novel. The interview is posted on Words Without Borders, a…

Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of House of Stone, was born September 26, 1968, in Oklahoma City, and died February 16, 2012 in Damascus, Syria of an asthma attack while covering events in Syria. The interview with his…

Gordon Stewart’s When Asia Was the World includes accounts of various travelers on land and sea. Among the travelers mentioned in the book, Xuanzang, Ibn Fadlan, Abraham bin Yiju, Ibn Battuta, Ma Huan, and Tomé Pires all traversed Indian…

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain is a documentary film and companion website. Inspired by Rosa Maria Menocal’s Ornament of the World, the documentary explores the European society in which Muslims, Jews and Christians lived…

Raised on a site sacred to three great faiths, the Dome of the Rock is an elaborate, architecturally significant domed shrine built over a large rock believed to be the site from which Muhammad ascended to heaven during the Night Journey, ca. 621 CE.…

Rivaling the Hagia Sophia for architectural splendor, the Süleymaniye Mosque was built in the sixteenth century CE for the sultan known as Süleyman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566. The mosque, in Istanbul, is…

A walker’s-eye view of a 1,000-year-old palace is provided in the Alhambra Virtual Walking Tour. The Alhambra is a hilltop stronghold in Granada, a city in the Spanish province of Andalusia. Called Al-Andalus in Arabic, Andalusia was ruled by…

A young U.S. Muslim is leading a global interfaith movement. In a memoir on the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation Eboo Patel relates how he embraced an ecumenical…

Information on the more than 2,000 U.S. mosques is provided in The American Mosque 2011. Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, has surveyed American mosques and their communities with the support of the…

Is veiling is oppressive? It’s not quite that simple. Offering insightful and often surprising analysis, Harvard professor Leila Ahmed has described a mostly unheralded trend among Muslim women: choosing to wear head coverings and concealing…

The stories of numerous Muslim individuals who were brought as slaves to the United States are available in state and national archives. Omar ibn Said, Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima, Nicholas Said, and Mahommah Gardo Bacquaqua are among those who are the…

For information related to narratives of Muslim slaves transported to the Americas between 1514 and 1866,The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database comprises nearly 35,000 individual slaving expeditions. Records of the voyages have been found in…

Videos

This brief video describes the Islamic arts of the book and book illustration in the form of miniature painting. Related primary resource: Ibn al-Nadim on the Transmission and Authorization of Books, The Qur'an on Paradise (image).

This brief video expores the effect of geometric lines and curves on ornamental design in Islamic art, and illlustrates how they also characterize the timeless, breathtaking architecture of the Muslim world. Related primary resources: Al-Wansharisi…

This brief video describes the arts of weaving, knotting, and dyeing fabrics, including patterned carpets, woven calligraphy and their uses in Muslim cultures at all levels of society. Related primary resource: A Geniza Letter Regarding Trade and…

This brief video describes the forms, functions, features, and significance of the garden in Islamic societies, and the motif of gardens in various artistic genres. Related primary resources: The Qur'an on Paradise, Babur on the Construction of the…

The obligation to make the pilgrimage (known as the hajj) to Mecca, combined with the tradition of global trade in Muslim societies, makes international travel important in the lives of many Muslims. This brief video highlights the arts associated…

This brief video describes the structure, architecture and decoration of mosques and other religious buildings and discusses theirvariations in Muslim societies across geography and time. Related primary sources: The Qur'an on the Qibla,…

This brief video describes the arts of Islamic calligraphy, the artistic practice of handwriting based on the Arabic script. Related primary sources: The Qur'an on Paradise,Ibn al-Nadim on the Transmission and Authorization of Books.

The BBC Arabic film Leo Africanus: A Man between Worlds by Moroccan journalist Badr Sayegh retraces key locations visited by Leo Africanus, the Muslim born as Hasan al-Wazzan in the 1480s. Captured by pirates, he was given as a slave to the Pope and…

Muhammad Khalil al-Hussary recites the first chapter of the Qur'an, entitled Al-Fathihah, which means "the Opening." It consists of Translated by Muhammad Asad. Transliteration from Islamicity.com.