A few months Sree posted an item about screenwriter Kamran Pasha's upcoming novel on Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. It's called "Mother of the Believers" and will be out in April, from Atria books. Kamran's TV credits include Sleeper Cell and Bionic Woman, and his video game credits include 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.
Right now, however, Kamran is on Hajj, with his mother, and he's blogging about his journey.
Here are some of his recent entries.
From November 19, before leaving the US for Saudi Arabia:
Upon arriving in Medina, they check in to the Hilton and walk with their pilgrimage group to the Prophet's Mosque, the largest house of worship in the Islamic world:
I don’t think I can put in words the emotions that ran through me when I stood at Prophet Muhammad’s grave. A unique mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy at finally being able to address the man who I believe to be God’s messenger. And deep sorrow that I can only do so through barriers of stone and earth rather than face-to-face as had those who were lucky enough to have lived at his side.
A few days later, on his last day in Medina, Kamran addresses the issue of why Muslim men pray separately from women:
The Muslim response is simple – prayer is a time for inner reflection and contemplation, a period when the natural sexual energy between men and women should not serve as a distraction. This is particularly a concern due to the intimate nature of worship in Islam, where formal prayer consists of ritual bowing and prostration. Muslim women like my mother tell me that they appreciate the separation of the sexes at these times, as they would feel self-conscious and vulnerable bowing with men’s faces peering at their rear ends from behind. And any man who is being honest and not “politically correct” would admit that the sight of a woman kneeling in such a position would arouse him sexually.
On December 2, Kamran and his mother arrive by bus in Mecca and join with the crowds chanting "Labbayk Allahumma labbayk” – “I answer your call, O God, I answer your call.”
And then, along with thousands of other worshipers, they enter the Grand Mosque.
My heart pounded as we drew nearer, and I could see people all about me kneeling on the ground, tears streaming from their faces. And then I saw the object of their veneration – the Kaaba, a fifty-foot tall cubical structure draped in a black cloth covered in gold calligraphy of verses from the Qur’an. It was a building whose image had been branded on my mind since childhood. Every Muslim household has pictures of the Kaaba hung proudly on its walls, and it is toward this simple stone building that a billion Muslims all over the world pray five times a day. This is the House that had been built by Abraham and Ishmael three millennia before. A House that had once been contaminated with 360 idols and graven images, but had been cleansed by the Prophet Muhammad and restored to the worship of the One God. For Muslims, this place is the center of the entire universe, and it is believed that the Kaaba exists in two dimensions simultaneously. Both as a physical building on this planet, as well as a spiritual archetype that exists in Paradise beneath the Throne of God.
As I looked upon the Kaaba with my own eyes for the first time, I felt both awe and wonder. And a deep sense of warmth and familiarity. It felt like I had come home after a long journey and been reunited with an old friend.
Kamran will be blogging through next week. Read the rest of his blog posts here. And please leave your comments.