If Tripping with Allah is a road book, it’s a road book in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, rather than On the Road. Amazonian shamanism meets Christianity meets West African religion meets Islam in this work of reflection and inward adventure. Knight, the “Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature” seeks reconciliation between his Muslim identity and his drinking of ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea that has been used in the Amazon for centuries. His experience becomes an opportunity to investigate complex issues of drugs, religion, and modernity.
Though essential for readers interested in Islam or the growing popularity of ayahuasca, this book is truly about neither Islam nor ayahuasca. Tripping with Allah provides an accessible look into the construction of religion, the often artificial borders dividing these constructions, and the ways in which religion might change in an increasingly globalized world.
Finally, Tripping with Allah not only explores Islam and drugs, but also Knight’s own process of creativity and discovery.
MICHAEL MUHAMMAD KNIGHT is a novelist, essayist, and journalist. He converted to Islam at 16, after readingAutobiography of Malcom X, and traveled to Islamabad at age 17 to study at a madrassa. He is the author of The Taqwacores, Impossible Man, Osama Van Halen, Journey to the End of Islam, and William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur’an. Knight lives in New York and North Carolina.