Westward to Mecca

A Journey Of Adventure Through Afghanistan, Bolshevik Asia, Persia, Iraq & Hijaz To The Cradle Of Islam

ALI SHAH, Sirdar Ikbal

Afghan raiders, alchemists, enchanted walls, watery blue-eyed Bolshevists, singing dervishes and mysterious caves

ALI SHAH, Sirdar Ikbal Westward to Mecca A Journey Of Adventure Through Afghanistan, Bolshevik Asia, Persia, Iraq & Hijaz To The Cradle Of Islam

H. F. & G. Witherby, 1928.

First edition. 8vo. Publisher's original green cloth, lettered gilt, in the very rare pictorial dustwrapper. Photographic frontispiece and thirteen further photographic reproductions across twelve plates. A very near fine copy of the book, the spine a trifle faded, in a near fine dustwrapper, with a very bright upper panel, very light wear to the edges, and fading to the spine.

A rare Hajj narrative by the prolific Indian-Afghan writer Ikbal Ali Shah, considered by Edward Denison Ross "the greatest contemporary writer and traveller of the East."
The narrative is notable not just for its frequent literary, religious and historical asides, but also for the Odysseian route taken. He began his pilgrimage in Lahore before making along Khyber Pass into Afghanistan and on into Central Asia. Travelling through Central Asia, Persia and Iraq, Sirdar visited the holy cities of Samarkand, Bokhara, Mashhad and Karbala and was hosted by royalty and tribesmen alike. Heading west from Iran, and captured briefly by a group of Kurds en route, he found himself in Baghdad and unable to travel Southwest through Najd to Mecca due to the Ikhwan Revolt. Consequently Sirdar then had to make a boat trip from Basra to Bombay, double-backing on himself, before taking the pilgrim boat to Jeddah.
Reviewing the book H. A. R. Gibb noted its curiosities "Afghan raiders, alchemists, enchanted walls, watery blue-eyed Bolshevists, singing dervishes and mysterious caves... Is it all true? How like the materially-minded West to ask such questions!"
The book is uncommon, and copies in the dustwrapper especially so.

PROVENANCE: The publisher's file copy, with their bookplate to the front pastedown.

Stock ID: 39488

£1,750.00

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