years ago in the deserts of turkistan
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“Never have I spent a night so awake, and so mindful of nothingness. Under the cover of that sky and that infinity, I recited every poem I’d ever memorized — mumbling to myself — and looked into myself as carefully as I could until dawn…”

Jalal Al-e Ahmad, in a journal entry written in Mecca and dated 29 Farvardin 1343 (10 April 1964), from Lost in the Crowd.

His Hajj narrative was interesting to read, in part because he made his pilgrimage as a somewhat skeptic observer rather than as a participant seeking spiritual gain. In one of his last journal entries, dated 10 Ordibehesht 1343 (30 April 1964), he wrote, “…I mainly came on this trip looking for my brother [who passed away while making his own pilgrimage in an earlier year]— and all those other brothers — rather than to search for God. And God is everywhere for those who believe in him.”

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