"Before he was a prophet" says First Things "Muhammad was a businessman"
The Neo-theocratic journal finds it " perfectly in keeping with honoring him that a market is set up next to the Great Mosque. In fact, there’s always been a market next to the mosque;"
"The Christian heaven which is primarily characterized by the intimate and intelligible presence of God, the paradise of Islam is the perfection of sensual pleasures. And what better way to give a foretaste of these divine gifts than a mall and a first-rate hotel?"
True, but if its bar serves nothing stronger than djinn and tonic, the Seventh Heaven may seem distant. That's why the seven-spires of the Abraj Al Bait shopping center are rising "steps away from the holy mosque." The website of "Makkah’s most prestigious retail address" says the air conditioned supersouk is fishing for tenants with a "Spectacular view of the Ka’abah" that will afford " a new shopping experience."
The location's unbeatable, but what will make pilgrims shop till they drop after a long day stoning the devil ? The prayer rug market is saturated, and forget Cartier and Tiffany --Wahabi austerity frowns on wearing gold on the egalitarian pilgrimage to Islam's Holy Places. Yet with the Black Stone of the Ka'abah in sight, Blackstone's seems ideal. The upmarket widget retailer already stocks meteorite watches and a wider selection could turn Abraj Al Bait into a mecca for extraterrestrial souvenir sales.
A mountain of meteorites overhangs the market. Metal detectors and wholesale de-mining of the formerly war-torn sands of the Western Sahara are turning up thousands of nickel-iron octahedrites and stony chondrites annually. Will the new bazaar commission a fatwa commending heavenly fallout to pilgrims in the market for stones to throw at the pillars of Shaitan?