The Religious Pilgrimage in the Liberal Context

The following is an essay that was written by a friend of mine for his English class at uni. He originally wrote it July of last year (2009) after making the pilgrimage to Mecca. He gave it to me to read this past Ramadan, but I wasn’t able to sit down and take a look at it until a week or so ago. I thought it was pretty eloquent and wanted to post it here for others to read. I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I did. May Allah reward and bless the brother for letting me post it to my blog. Unfortunately for you guys, he wants to remain anonymous, so he shall remain unnamed (my friend’s had a change of heart and said it’s ok for me to give him credit for authoring the paper. He also pointed out a part where I had repeated the same passage twice, so I’ve corrected that and also included his name as the author of the essay–if you guys downloaded the file and saved it to your harddisk, please redownload the updated version, may Allah reward and bless you).

From the essay’s opening:

Beneath a myriad of papers written around the idea that ‘truth is relative,’ a dusty Declaration of Independence, and John Locke’s now too lengthy Second Treatise, students of liberal education will find in their libraries a little black book penned by Thomas Shepherd. Upon reading Shepherd’s words entitled, “To my dear son,” perhaps on the topic of understanding hardship as a test from the most merciful, today’s liberally educated will raise a hasty fist, recite some Hardy and go on to praise a novel such as The Alchemist; here, a shepherd more palatable learns how to interpret “the signs of the world” through pseudo-religious spirituality that is now the hallmark of modern societies. Skimming through the ruffled pages encased in black leather, passing Shepherd’s entreaties to his son to “wonder at and love this God forever,” the student may look to the heavens without Hardy’s eloquence or experience and say,

[O!] if but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my esctasy,
That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!”

Read on … The Religious Pilgrimage In the Liberal Context.


About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

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