Ilija Trojanow's journey from Mumbai to Mecca is told in the tradition of the rihla, one of the oldest genres of classical Arabic literature and describes the Hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Islam. 'From the very first moment they realise that the Hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca - is among the duties of each and every Muslim, the faithful long to go.' Trojanov, with the help of his friends, donned the ihram, the traditional garb of the pilgrim. He joined hundreds of thousands of Muslims who each year go on the Hajj, the greatest demonstration of the Muslim faith. In three short weeks he experienced a tradition dating back over one thousand years This is his account, personal yet enlightening, for the interested non-Muslims who remain barred from the holy sites of Islam.
Ilija Trojanow is a novelist and the author of The Collector of Worlds. He was born in Bulgaria in 1965. After fleeing his homeland, he was granted political asylum in Germany. He spent ten years in Kenya and five years in Mumbai before moving to Cape Town in 2003. Peter Lewis is a translator from the German. Ilia Trojanov was born in Bulgaria in 1965. After fleeing his homeland via Yugoslavia and Italy, he was granted political asylum in Germany. He is also the author of Along the Ganges and the novel The Collector of Worlds. Since 2002 Trojanow has been member of the PEN Centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Among other awards he received the Bertelsmann Literature Prize at the Ingeborg Bachmann competition in Klagenfurt (1995), the Marburg Literature Prize (1996), the Thomas Valentin Prize (1997), the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize (2000) and the fiction prize of the Leipzig Book Fair for his novel The Collector of Worlds (2006).