By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net
Book: Illustrated Muslim Travel Guide to Jerusalem
Author: Misbahuddin Mirza
Digital book available on iBooks: here
Publisher: QAMSA, LLC
Author of the book under review Misbahuddin Mirza is an engineer by training and profession. He is fascinated by Islamic architecture and last several years has written many articles published in various magazines and websites including TwoCircles.net.
It is no surprise, therefore, that he will pen a book or two. This is his first book and he starts his life as a book author by writing a beautiful illustrated travel guide to Jerusalem. This book will help launch a new genre of guide books for Muslim travelers. Misbahuddin Mirza tells the Islamic history of Jerusalem by careful selection of photographs of important monuments of this important city. Abundance of the photographs and scarcity of the words in this book will rush the reader plan his/her own journey to this historic city.
There have been numerous books on Jerusalem looking at its history, architecture, and politics and some books focusingon the Fadail (benefits) of visting Bait ul Muqaddas (third holiest site for Muslims) but none that weaves Islamic values, history, and architecture and written spefically for Muslim travelers.
With the help of high-quality images (some author’s own, other from publlic sources), Misbah is able to connect us to various layers of history of the Haram in Jerusalem- starting from Ummayad to Abbasid, the Ayyubid, the Mamluk and the Ottoman period.
He tells us important historical incidents like Prophet Mohammad’s ascenscion to heavens on his night journey, Caliph Omar Al Khattab praying outside a church when he came to take over posession of Jerusalem, Imam Al Ghazali writing his famous book Ihya Ulum al-Din, etc.
Author could have also mentioned important Indian connections to Jerusalem– hospice established more than eight centuries ago by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar which continue to exist even today; also freedom fighter Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar is buried in the percinct of Baitul Muqaddas.
In the age of increased airport security and travel bans, it becomes an act of resistance to travel and go beyond borders to connect at human, historical, cultural, spiritual level. This book is a step in that direction.