“Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea. Behold! they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not: thus did We make a trial of them, for they were given to transgression. When some of them said: ‘Why do ye preach to a people whom Allah will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?’ said the preachers: ‘To discharge our duty to your Lord, and perchance they may fear Him.’ When they disregarded the warnings that had been given them, We rescued those who forbade Evil; but We visited the wrong-doers with a grievous punishment because they were given to transgression. When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: ‘Be ye apes, despised and rejected.'” — Koran 7:163-166
“On Thursday (Sept. 15th, 1853), we arose before dawn, and prepared with a light breakfast for the fatigues of a climbing walk. After half an hour spent in hopping from boulder to boulder, we arrived at a place situated on the lower declivity of the Jabal Sabir, the northern wall of the Muna basin. Here is the Majarr al-Kabsh, ‘the Dragging-place of the Ram,’ a small, whitewashed square, divided into two compartments. The first is entered by a few ragged steps in the south-east angle, which lead to an enclosure thirty feet by fifteen. In the north-east corner is a block of granite, in which a huge gash, several inches broad, some feet deep, and completely splitting the stone in knife-shape, notes the spot where Ibrahim’s blade fell when the archangel Gabriel forbade him to slay Ismail his son. The second compartment contains a diminutive hypogaeum. In this cave the patriarch sacrificed the victim, which gives the place a name. We descended by a flight of steps, and under the stifling ledge of rock found mats and praying-rugs, which, at this early hour, were not overcrowded. We followed the example of the patriarchs, and prayed a two-bow prayer in each of the enclosures. After distributing the usual gratification, we left the place, and proceeded to mount the hill, in hope of seeing some of the apes said still to haunt the heights. These animals are supposed by the Meccans to have been Jews, thus transformed for having broken the Sabbath by hunting. They abound in the elevated regions about Arafat and Taif, where they are caught by mixing the juice of the Asclepias and narcotics with dates and other sweet bait.” — Sir Richard F. Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah, Tylston & Edwards 1893, volume 2, pp. 219-220.
“Wife: Bin Laden Loves Gardening, Cars, Jihad,” from Newser, October 17 (thanks to James):
(Newser) – Osama bin Laden was a tough dad who liked growing corn and sunflowers when he wasn’t busy preparing for jihad, his first wife and his fourth son reveal in a memoir to be published this month. Bin Laden loves fast cars and owned a gold Mercedes and a speed boat, but shuns the use of most modern appliances and would beat his children for “showing too many teeth” when laughing, writes Najwa bin Laden, mother of 11 of the al-Qaeda leader’s 14 children. She married him when she was 15 and he was 17.
Growing Up bin Laden tells how bin Laden–a math whiz and fluent English speaker –became increasingly radical over the ’80s and ’90s, forcing his family to spend nights in the desert without shelter to prepare for hard times ahead. He once ordered his children’s pet monkey to be run over because “it was not a monkey at all, but was a Jewish person turned into a monkey by the hand of God.”…