Baitulmaqdis Umrah Chapter 12: Floating in the Dead Sea / Lake of Lut
11 December 2016
Our last stop of the day was to visit the Dead Sea. We were to have our late lunch there and we were given some time to ‘feel’ the Dead Sea. In the bus and admiring the beautiful sun rays that peeked through the scattered clouds.
Totally in love with the sky. Some visitors have chosen to swim in the pool but hey, why swim in pools when you can soak your feet in the Dead Sea ?
With its high mineral and salt content, oddly, the Dead Sea is known as a place of healing and visited by thousands of visitors every year. According to Islamic tradition, the Dead Sea stands as a sign of God’s punishment.
Located between Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Palestine, the Dead Sea is the lowest surface on Earth, at 400 meters below sea level. It is more of a lake than a “sea,” fed by the Jordan River. The fresh water evaporates, however, leaving a salt concentration which is seven times stronger than that of the ocean. No life can survive in the water.
According to Islamic and Biblical traditions, the Dead Sea is the site of the ancient city of Sodom, home of the Prophet Lut (Lot), pbuh.
The Quran describes the people of Sodom as ignorant, wicked, evildoers who rejected God’s call to righteousness. The people included murderers, thieves and individuals who openly practiced immoral sexual behavior. Lut persevered in preaching God’s message, but to no avail; he found that even his own wife was one of the disbelievers.
Allah swt severely punished the Sodomites for their wickedness. The verses describe the destruction of this people as follows:
But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning, And We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold! in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And the (cities were) right on the high-road. (Surat al-Hijr: 73-76)
When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,-Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! (Surah Hud: 82-83)
But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! : Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. (Surat ash-Shuara: 172-175)
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, reportedly tried to dissuade people from visiting the sites of God’s punishment:
“Do not enter the place of those who were unjust to themselves, unless you are weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.”
The Quran describes that the site of this punishment has been left as a sign for those who follow:
“Surely! In this are signs for those who understand. And verily, they (the cities) are right on the highroad. Surely! Therein is indeed a sign for the believers.” (Quran 15:75-77)
“And to Lut, too, We gave wisdom and knowledge; We saved him from the town which practiced abominations. Truly they were a people given to evil, a rebellious people. And We admitted him to Our mercy; for he was one of the righteous” (Quran 21:74-75).
Based on this, if one’s intention in visiting the Dead Sea is not for mere tourism or entertainment, but rather to reflect upon the oppression that took place there and the resultant punishment, and to take heed and admonition, then it would be permissible to go there. Indeed, the fruit of such an intention is that one turns to Allah in one’s own life and fears falling into transgression.
It is also worth noting that although the Dead Sea itself is a place of past punishment, the general area is still part of the Levant (sham), which is a place where many prophets lived and walked (peace and blessings be upon them all), and also where many Companions and pious early Muslims are buried. So there is blessing in that overall region that one can benefit from, and Allah knows best. Source here.
The rocky steps (photo below) was a challenge to me but my mind was focused on getting to the sea. I truly wanted to go down so I did not see my knees as an obstacle. Was it painful on the knees while going down? Of course. Sometimes people forget that even though I am young, my knees and lower back are permanently injured. Going down was hard especially when there was nothing (no handrail whatsoever) to hold on to! Wish I had brought my walking stick and worn my knee guards. Nevertheless, I still made it down.
Alhamdulilah. Purify all intentions (niat) and Allah swt will make it easier for me. People who are scared or gave in to their fear, it is because they lack the faith in Almighty. Don’t. Don’t rely on you. There are far greater divine power out there. Tap on it.
The high salt content in the water. The super salty water was said to be able to heal all cuts and irritation on the skin. I had some cuts on my legs and it I felt a sting when it first touched the water.
The crazy bestie who’s skirt were all wet from playing with water. Initially I only wanted to feel and scoop the water with my hands. I had no intentions to go into the water as I did not bring any extra clothes. I was also too lazy to take off my socks and shoes but then the bestie asked if I was coming back here again. Since I had no idea, what the heck, I just went into the water lol.
Check out the man floating in the water in the background. Lol.
That is another feature of the Dead Sea, it would be difficult to drown here because we would just float on the water. It is perfect for those who cannot swim,
We obviously like playing with water. We had to be careful with our steps because some parts of it were pretty sharp and if not careful, you can earn yourself a cut in your skin.
I am not sure how the Dead Sea is known to have healing properties when it was site of punishment from Allah swt. They even derived skincare and haircare products from the supposed salts. I do not believe this theory, rather, I think it was created and hyped up so that visitors would come visit and buy products, which means at the end of the day, it is purely business.
The sun was setting which means that it was almost time to go. Saying goodbye to the calmness.
Reunited with the parents who did not want to go down to the sea. They felt it was too tedious going down the rocky stairs and chose to chill by the pool instead.
Who would have guessed that such a beautiful place, was once a site of destruction? Allah swt knows best.
It was a nice end to the day.
The more the sun sets the lower the temperature dropped. It was winter after all.
Looking forward to our good night rest and I was the most impressed with this hotel. Cozy room and good food.
Tomorrow we will head to Jerash before making our way to one of the most peaceful cities in the world, the city of Madinah. May our journey be smooth and may our trip continue to be fulfilling inshaAllah.