Babylon & Beyond

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SAUDI ARABIA: Baboons around the prophet's cave

December 16, 2007 |  3:23 pm

A pair of videos courtesy of guest videographer Mohammed Jafri.

The first shows hundreds of pilgrims crowding to get into the tiny cave where the prophet Muhammad is believed to have first received the message of God.

The cave, located in Mt. Hira outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the site of the original miracle that led to the founding of Islam. Muhammad, then a wealthy merchant living in Mecca, is believed to have been meditating inside the cave when the angel Gabriel appeared, bringing the first revealed verses of the Koran, ordering him to read. Muhammad was illiterate, and said he couldn't, and then Gabriel ordered him to recite after him.

The second video is MUCH weirder. The area around the cave is inhabited by a pack of wild baboons. On the day this video was shot, one of the baboons made moves to attack a pilgrim. The man fell while running away, badly cutting his foot.

Anyone out there with information or theories on how a family of baboons came to be living on a barren mountain in the Saudi desert, please write in.

— Ashraf Khalil in Mecca