Zeal

This is a funny part of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

You probably think that is just a joke. People wouldn’t really hit their heads to show their religious zeal, would they?

Well, actually yes. Take a look at this

The zebibah, Arabic for raisin, is a dark circle of callused skin, or in some cases a protruding bump, between the hairline and the eyebrows. It emerges on the spot where worshipers press their foreheads into the ground during their daily prayers.

I didn’t really want to know. I especially didn’t want to know that this injury caused by bashing one’s head into the floor is considered a signifcant accomplishment.

“The zebibah is a way to show how important religion is for us,” said Muhammad al-Bikali, a hairstylist in Cairo, in an interview last month. Mr. Bikali had a well-trimmed mustache and an ever-so-subtle brown spot just beneath his hairline. “It shows how religious we are. It is a mark from God.”

Yes, there really are Muslims who hit their heads on the floor during prayers to show how pious they are. This actually explains quite a lot about what is going on in the Middle East.

Of course in fairness, I don’t actually know how common this practice is and other religions have had their nutcases, but still, I have to wonder.