Leopold Weiss, Statesman and Journalist, Austria (part 1 of 2)
Description: A correspondent for the Franfurter Zeitung, one of the most prestigious newspapers for Germany and Europe, becomes a Muslim and later translates the meanings of the Quran. Part 1.
By Ebrahim A. Bawany
Published on 16 Jan 2006 - Last modified on 08 May 2006
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> Stories of New Muslims
Muhammad Asad was born Leopold Weiss in July 1900 in the
city of Lvov (German Lemberg), now in Poland, then part of the Austrian Empire.
He was the descendant of a long line of rabbis, a line broken by his father,
who became a barrister. Asad himself received a thorough education that would
qualify him to keep alive the familyís rabinnical tradition.
In 1922 Weiss left Europe for the Middle East
for what was supposed to be a short visit to an uncle in Jerusalem. At that
stage, Weiss, like many of his generation, counted himself an agnostic, having
drifted away from his Jewish moorings despite his religious studies. There, in
the Middle East he came to know and like the Arabs and was struck by how Islam
infused their everyday lives with existential meaning, spiritual strength and
At the young age of 22, Weiss became a correspondent
for the Franfurter Zeitung, one of the most prestigious newspapers for Germany and Europe. As a journalist, he traveled extensively, mingled with ordinary people, held
discussions with Muslim intellectuals, and met heads of state in Palestine, Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
During his travels and through his readings,
Weissí interest in Islam increased as his understanding of its scripture,
history and peoples grew. In part, curiosity propelled.
Muhammad Asad, Leopold Weiss, was born in Livow, Austria (later Poland) in 1900, and at the age of 22 made his visit to the Middle East. He later became an outstanding foreign correspondent for the Franfurtur
Zeitung, and after his conversion to Islam travelled and worked throughout the
Muslim world, from North Africa to as far East as Afghanistan. After years of
devoted study he became one of the leading Muslim scholars of our age. After
the establishment of Pakistan, he was appointed the Director of the Department
of Islamic Reconstruction, West Punjab and later on became Pakistanís Alternate
Representative at the United Nations. Muhammad Asadís two important books are:
Islam at the Crossroads and Road to Mecca. He also produced a monthly journal
Arafat and an English translation of the Holy Quran.
Let us now turn to Asadís own words on his