“You see, Akib,” mama said. “our personal knowledge is an invisible personal treasure. It is stored in our thoughts and feelings, in our mind and heart. If we do not pay attention to it, even worse, if we do not cultivate it or activate it, none of the earthly treasures can compensate the lack or the slumber of our personal knowledge.” As she spoke, mama glanced at me. I realized that her words were also meant for me. Understanding my great interest in learning, and my thirst for knowledge, mama once told me that she would give her blessings if I ever decided to travel to Java to seek such knowledge. Moreover, she said, there are four types of journeys lauded in Islamic teaching. The first, hijrah, is migration to live amongst a Muslim community. Secondly, alhaj, to go to the Holy Land of Mecca. Thirdly, ziyarah, to conduct a pilgrimage to visit holy or venerated people and the places sacred to them. Fourthly, rihla, a quest to seek knowledge. Touched, proud, and nostalgic, as he remembers every person who has helped him along his path. These are the feelings that wash over Daoed Joesoef, the writer, as he becomes the first Indonesian to receive Doctorat d’Etat (State Doctorate), the highest of its kind, from the University of Sorbonne, with honors. There are many people lining up the corridors of his memory, and at the beginning of the line is a woman. “Emak”, a name he calls his mother—Mama. She tireless encourages him to study, to grasp his dreams. But who is Emak? What are her words of wisdom and teachings? We can read all about it in the chapters in this book.