Bump that!

Prayer bump

A prayer bump, also known as a prayer scar, or a zabiba, zebiba or zehbiba (raisin) in Arabic is a mark on the forehead of a pious muslim, caused by rubbing the forehead against a prayer mat. Islam requires its adherents to pray five times a day (known as salah), which involves kneeling on a prayer mat and touching the ground with one's forehead. When done for extended periods of time, a prayer bump may develop. Devout Muslims consider the presence of a prayer bump to be a worthy sign of religious dedication and piety.

The prayer bump can take the form of a discolouration of the skin, caused by repeated chafing and the build-up of callus. In extreme cases, the callus can be thick enough to create a real bump that portrudes from the forehead. Prayer bumps are common in certain Islamic countries, notably Egypt where they are colloquially called a 'zabiba' (raisin).

Prayer bumps are almost never present in women, rarely in establishment clerics, and are far more common in Egypt than in other countries; for these reasons they are generally seen as an intentional shibboleth of religious identity more than a passive product of regular prayer.

References in Literature

Paul Theroux mentions dealing with a Sudan official with a prayer bump in his book Dark Star Safari

The Prayer Bump is referred to as a mark or trace of prostration in Koran 048:029


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