Thursday, April 21, 2011

Birds Don’t Fly Over Mecca

A Western Christian friend of mine was having a heated discussion on matters of faith with an Arab Muslim friend of his when suddenly the Muslim said forcefully, “You know what- birds don’t fly over Mecca,” as if to prove once and for all that Islam is the true and final revelation of God.

This was humorous to me until I read this:

The concept of baraka pervades Muslim minds. It matters not whether it is a question of fulfilling the formal, religious duty of hajj, or of giving expression to the more magical attitudes towards Baraka as a power for healing.

Baraka is seen as ‘good’. It could, however, be ‘too good’ for one. At the very center of Islam, in Mecca itself, is a very dangerous possibility that must be avoided. If a pilgrim were to look up into the sky right above the ka’ba, he might have a glimpse into paradise and as a result suffer mental derangement; he would have been exposed to too much Baraka. That is why, if you look carefully, you will see that doves never fly across the roof of the ka’ba. It is, consequently, the place pilgrims choose to walk round and round constantly. If human pilgrims are not available, then angelic ones replace them. The gate to heaven is above the ka’ba. Never could a believer be physically closer to God. Precisely there, however, where Baraka exists in its most concentrated form, it is also unpredictably dangerous. Baraka is not to be played with.

From The Unseen Face of Islam: Sharing the Gospel with Ordinary Muslims at Street Level by Bill Musk, pgs. 238-239 (emphasis mine).

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