Louis Palme / Dec 01, 2012

News stories coming out of the Middle East have introduced Western readers to a phenomenon unique to Muslims:  a dark spot or scar in the middle of the forehead.  For devout Muslims, these scars are a sign of piety, indicating strict adherence to their required five-times-a-day prayers.  Below are just a few of the Islamic religious leaders who seem to have indelible marks on their foreheads.



Sheikh Khalid


Nageh Ibrahim


Ayman Zawahiri


Such a scar is known in the medical world as a Clavus, or commonly called a “prayer callus.”  They are caused by repeated bowing of the head onto a prayer carpet, most likely a dirty prayer carpet judging by the extent of the scarring.  Maceration and secondary fungal or bacterial infection are a common overlying feature in the soft clavi, or calluses.  

Christian prophesy talks about the “mark of the Beast,” and some have speculated that it might be some futuristic bar code tattooed on to everyone’s forehead for identity and financial transactions, or perhaps it is some sort of warning symbol that the person is evil.  Here is what the text in Revelations 14 and 16 says: “Whoever worships the beast and its image and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand will himself drink God’s wine, the wine of His fury, which He has poured at full strength into his cup of His anger!  . . . Terrible and painful sores appeared on those who had the mark of the beast and on those who had worshiped its image.”

So the question might be, what have been the actions and pronouncements of these devout Muslims, and are they consistent with what would be considered Godly?

Ayman al-Zawahiri – He was spiritual adviser to Osama bin Laden and succeeded him as the leader of Al Qaeda.  Al-Zawahiri is the most wanted criminal in the United States for his involvement in the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., which resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths of innocent people. There is a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.  He joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 14, and, although trained as a medical doctor, has made a career of terrorism. Al-Zawahiri was imprisoned in Egypt for dealing in weapons, and he was jailed in Russia for promoting jihad in Chechnya. Before plotting the attack on the U.S., he was paid $2 million by the Iranian government to plot the overthrow of the Egyptian government in 1990.  Al-Zawahiri had this to say about Osama bin Laden: “I have lived with him up close and have seen nothing but good from him.” Here is what he said to the people of the U.S. and Great Britain: “Make sure, you peoples of Crusaders alliance, to have catastrophes hit you. These will be brought to you by the policies conducted by Bush and Blair and their followers. You, people of the Crusaders alliance, we have warned you, but it seemed you want us to drink your death, so taste what you have already given to us. . . . it is the same reciprocated treatment. Are the people in your countries not women and children?”

Sheikh Khaled Abdallah – the hardline Egyptian ‘tele-Islamist’ on the Islamist satellite television channel al-Nas who brought the anti-Islam film trailer, “The Innocence of Muslims,” to the attention of Muslims, resulting in over 75 deaths, including four American deaths at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. According to the New York Times, al-Nas “traffics in demagoguery and hatemongering.  Abdallah is its star. In previous broadcasts, he has called the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring ‘worthless kids’ and condemned newspapers that don’t support his views.”  Apparently, Abdallah’s main targets are the Egyptian Christian Copts who comprise one-tenth of the population.  The TV channel name, al-Nas (Man), comes from the final Surah of the Quran, which says, “I seek refuge in the Lord  . . . from the evil of the whisperings of the slinking (Shaitan) who whispers into the hearts of men.”

The Salafists in Egypt attempted to use the September 11, 2012, rioting over the “Innocence of Muslims” film as a pretext for demanding the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (aka the blind sheikh) who is serving a life term for his involvement in the first bombing of the World Trade Center in February, 1993, which killed six and injured over 1,000 people.

Nageh Ibrahim --  A senior member and chief ideologue of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, the Egyptian Sunni Islamist movement which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. This group has been dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and replacing it with an Islamic state.  Ibrahim was imprisoned for 24 years for his involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Following new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s recent decree to make his decisions irrevocable by the judiciary, Ibrahim warned that he expects to see, beginning in December, targeted assassinations of prominent liberal politicians and intellectuals who dare to oppose Morsi’s latest edicts.  Spokespersons for al-Gamaa al-Islamiya denounced Ibrahim’s statement, but tensions are increasing in Egypt over Morsi’s apparent power-grab.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi  --  Recognized as the unofficial spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, al-Qaradawi is sometimes heralded as the Ayatollah Khomeini of Egypt.  He had been exiled from Egypt since the 1960’s for his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood.  He is media-savvy, and actually worked on the establishment of the Al Jazeera satellite television network, where he still gives a weekly broadcast world-wide to 60 million viewers.  Since the overthrow of Egyptian president Mubarak, al-Qaradawi has interjected himself into the Arab Spring revolution, even taking the podium in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On November 16, he was invited to lead the Friday Prayers at Al Azhar University, considered the world’s center of Islamic learning.  Al-Qaradawi has written extensively, including the best-selling book, “The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam.”  Based on his writings, he supports suicide bombings, wife beating, punishment for female rape victims, and the murder of Jews.  He recently stated, “I ask God to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.”  

It is difficult to discern spiritual piety in any of these men with spotted foreheads. They rejoice in the death of innocent human beings.  They plot violence instead of peace. They model themselves after Muhammad who bragged that he was made victorious through terror.  (Bukhari, Vol. 4, No. 220) Muhammad, too, had a distinguishing mark – a hairy mole on his back which was like an apple. (al-Tabari’s History, Vol. VI, para. 1126)  If these marks signify anything, they are warnings of the evil contained therein. Muslims and non-Muslims alike should be aware.

Disclaimer: The articles published on this site represent the view of their writers.