In Search of Blessings – Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a country located off the southern coast of the Indian Sub-continent. A republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system with its official seat of government in Sir Jayawardenapure-Kotte, the capital. As a result of its geographic situation, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia.
It has also been a center for the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Sri Lanka has more than beautiful sights and colorful culture, it is the location of Adam’s Peak; a popular destination for any Muslim searching to get in touch with the roots.
Prominently reaching skyward through the lush woodland of the southwestern Sri Lanka is the peak of Sri Pada, or the “Holy Footprint”; more commonly referred to as Adam’s Peak. This mountain has the unique honor of being sacred to the followers of four major religions; Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.
This mountain was named Smanala Kanda by the aboriginal inhabitants of Sri Lanka before development of religions. The Arabs record it as being the only footprint of Adam where he stood for thousand years of penance on that particular foot.
Arab tradition also suggests that when Prophet Adam (AS) was expelled from the heaven; Allah placed him on this peak to make the shock less terrible.
The mountain is more easily seen from the sea than from land and also appears much more impressive. The peak seems to resemble a high rising pyramid, shooting straight for the skies from amidst the thick vegetation of brilliant green forests that surround it.
Early Arab seafarers fascinated with the peak wrote of it as “the highest mountain in the world” and also as “the mountain visible from three days sail”. The ancient Sinhalese also believed it to be of great height and native legend tells “from Seyllan to Paradise is forty miles and the sound of the fountains of Paradise is heard here”.
The mountain has now attained a legendary status as a mystic pilgrimage destination for any believer who would like to track the foot steps of the great. The pilgrimage season commences in December and continues until the beginning of the monsoon rains in April , during the months from May to October the mountain is obscured by velvet clouds.
Climbing the Peak is a challenge because of the steep terrain; however chains, believed to have been placed by Alexander the Great, make the track considerably easy for the many pilgrims that pay their respect every year. On the very top of the peak is an oblong platform 74 x 24 feet; here stands a small Buddhist temple and the Shrine of Saman with the Footprint.
So who was Prophet Adam (AS) and why is his footprint such a fascination for the masses?
Allah created the earth, the heaven and everything in between for man’s survival. He created angels for His worship and obedience and bestowed them with all the bounties. He taught them the method of His obedience and veneration.
After this, Allah the Merciful created Prophet Adam (AS) and his progeny so that they may reside in the earth, He said to the angels that He intended to appoint man as His ambassador on earth and that He would allow them to use the earthly bounties and unearth the treasures hidden in it.
The angels found this unsuitable that Allah should prefer some other creature over them for the position of Caliphate on earth. They said “What? Will Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood; and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy Holiness?” Allah then said, “Surely I know what you do not know” (Sural al-Baqarah:30)
Allah told the angles that He was about to create Adam (AS) and bring him to life, He asked the angles to bow before him. Scholars all over believe that this prostration was not out of worship; it was Allah’s Will and so it was done.
When Allah created Adam, all the angels obeyed Allah’s decree and prostrated; all but one, Iblis. When Allah inquired him, he said “I am superior than Adam, You created him from clay and me from fire”; Iblis did not obey Allah’s command and was cast out of the heavens, this was the birth of Shaitan.
Iblis, now an outcast, enforced his disobedience by threatening Allah that he will misguide His believers and spread chaos in the world, Allah the All-Knowing replied to his feeble threats by saying “Go! Do as you wish and trouble whomsoever you can with your instigation. Involve the people in your falsehood and deceit and make them false promises and show them your mirages. But remember well, those of my servants who are sincere with firm beliefs and an unshakable faith will never submit to you. You will never be able to deviate them, their hearts and ears will never submit to your whisperings”.
And so it began, Shaytan’s grudge against mankind; Allah bestowed knowledge upon Prophet Adam (AS) and illuminated him with His light; it is mentioned in Sura-e-Baqarah: “And He taught Adam all the names..” (Baqarah: 31).
After enlightening Adam with His wisdom, Allah placed Prophet Adam (AS) and his spouse Hawa (RA) in paradise and cautioned them: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it plenteous wherever you wish; but do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust” (Baqarah: 35).
This is when Shaytan saw an opportunity to hurt mankind and deprive him of Allah’s bountiful blessings; disguised in the form of a wise old man, he appeared in front of Prophet Adam (AS) and befriended him. Shaytan started whispering to Adam “Actually Allah has not really prohibited this tree from you, if you eat from it you and Hawa will transform into angels and will live forever in this place”.
At first Shaytan’s whispers did not have much effect on Prophet Adam (AS) and Hawa (RA) but eventually he succeeded in entrapping Hawa (RA) who convinced Prophet Adam (AS) to eat from the forbidden tree. Prophet Adam (AS) was expelled from paradise and sent to earth; this was not as a punishment because Allah had intended Prophet Adam (AS) to be the first ambassador of Islam on earth.
Adam’s peak was where he landed, and the place where his foot print is preserved was the place he stood for years and years praying and asking for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness.
Adam’s Peak is not just a mystified mountain, it is in fact the first contact point of man on this earth. Besides that, Adam’s Peak also represents Allah’s commands, the birth of Shaytan and in a nutshell the origin of Islam and the Islamic Domain itself.
Pictures from: www.mysrilankaholidays.com
Richard Edwards has been blessed with a mind that is always open for knowledge and a soul that seems to have the sole purpose of enlightening others. A HR expert by profession with four years of experience in the field of Human Resources and a Masters degree in Business Administration, Richard was exposed to various facets of the human life; through his passionate creative writing he intends to broadcast his learning so that others may benefit from it.