A work in progress about the role of miracles in contemporary Egypt.
Egypt is full of miracles, large and small; pharaonic, jewish, christian, and islamic; historic and modern. They are fascinating stories to outsiders but play a living role in the communities who share them.
Instead of approaching religion through doctrine or politics we will look at it through the physical manifestations of God in the world.
In the west, miracles are often seen as rare, ancient and abstract; in Egypt they are common and discussed as the daily news. We will bridge this gap of understanding from the distant Bible stories to miracles continuing role in the modern world.
An egyptologist holds a rock wrapped in leather. He found it in a gift shop in upper Egypt and recognized it as talisman popular a few hundred years ago. When shared with a specialist they agreed that it had been in someone's pocket for a long time. Even though he is an avowed atheist he still holds onto it as his lucky rock.
Mossad washes his leg in the water of a church that the holy family stopped at on their trip through Egypt. A year ago 5 doctors told him to amputate his leg due to diabetes, he changed his job to one beside the church and now washes his leg every day in the water and says that it is a miracle the doctors can't explain, but his leg is now much better.
Worshipers roll in the dirt at the Seven Daughters graves in Bahnasa, near Minya on October 14, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. People roll on the ground to get blessings usually to help with back pain or to get pregnant. A major battle occurred during the Islamic invasion of Egypt in the field and thousands of soldiers died making it blessed ground.
Women gather beside a sacred tree that bleeds in the village of Dishna. Every Friday, while the men go into the mosque to pray the women gather outside, they light small fires and wave their children over them 7 times to help get out bad spirits. They also gather blood from the tree for medicinal purposes.
Sheikh Fathala memorized the Quran when he was 7 years old and taught it children in his village throughout his 94 year life. Now that he is bed ridden his daughter has taken over the responsibility of teaching. Most of her day is spent with visitors who come to pray beside the sheikh and take small baggies of blessed water.
A beautiful smell appeared in an abandoned field in the industrial city of 10th of Ramadan. People came from near and far speculating on the source of the pleasant smell. Many people came to gather the sand saying that a martyr had been buried there. Others said it was waste from a soap factory. After a few weeks the local government dumped trash on the spot to discourage visitors. The next day a man passing with the pictured loader pushed the trash aside and picked up a bag of the sand to take home and put in his garden.