Mountains have fascinated and attracted us from ancient times. Climbing to the summit of a mountain is a great achievement and gives us joy like no other. Being on top of a mountain is like being on the top of the world.
Mountains are regarded as sacred because many places of pilgrimage are situated on their tops. They are mentioned in the scriptures of many religions. Great rishis and munis have made them their abode and have attained salvation on their peaks.
Hardly any Haji misses to visit the two famous and sacred mountains situated in Mekka during Hajj. These are known as Hirra and Sour. The first revelation of the Quran was made at the famous cave of Mount Hirra. The other mountain, Sour, also has a cave on top of it where the Prophet stayed for a brief period while on Hijrat towards Madina. These two mountains occupy great importance in Islamic history. Mount Hirra is also known as Jabal Noor, meaning the mountain from where humanity received light.
Two other important mountains in Islamic history are Mount Rahmat, from where the Prophet gave the famous last sermon in which the broad contours of Islam were briefly spelled out to his disciples, and Mount Uhad, the place where the famous battle of Uhad was fought and where graves of about seventy famous Shuhada are located, including the one of Syeduss Shuhada Hazrat Hamza (RA), the beloved uncle of the Prophet. The Prophet said many times that Uhad loves him and that he too loves Uhad. These mountains, like many other places in Mekka, have witnessed great events in Islamic history and Seerat Paak (the pious life of the Prophet).
Two other important hillocks are called the Safa and Marwah. These have now become part of the Haram-e-Sharif. The Hajis perform Saai between them. The Saai starts from Saffaa towards Marwah with measured treads and a short run between two green lights and culminates after completion of seven rounds between the two symbolic hillocks. Women are exempted from running between the two green lights, unlike the men for whom it is necessary to run between them. Another important hillock is in Muzdalifa, called Masharul Haram. The Hajis have to stay here for the night on their way to Mina from Arafaat. This is called Waqoofi Muzdallafa. Staying for the night on this hillock is virtuous and desirable but not compulsory. The Haji can spend the night anywhere in Muzdalifa.
It is clear from the above narrative that mountains occupy a special place in Islam. They have been mentioned at several places in the Quran also. The holy Quran says that Allah has made mountains on earth as pegs to sustain the earth and give it balance and regulate its movement. Allah has made passes on the mountains so that people may easily walk over them and find their way to the other side of the mountains. Their roots are deep inside the earth to give the earth necessary stability and rigidness. Mountains are also robust. They bear the vagaries of weather, wind, rain and the effects of climate change with calm, and bear a special kind of serenity. These are the same qualities which people possess after achieving a certain level of spirituality. These spiritual beings are unmindful of the trials and tribulations of their lives and bear whatever comes their way with composure and serenity. Mountains also bear the brunt of all shocks and act as stabilisers of earth. Mountains make the earth firm to enable it to sustain flora and funa on it. They help maintaining biodiversity, ecological balance, landscape. It was only due to the existence of the sacred mountain of Judi that humanity was saved from total annihilation when the Arch of Prophet Nuh was stationed on its top. This episode has been mentioned in Holy Quran at several places with great detail.
Mountains symbolise greatness, height, strength, and enjoy a special status among all the creations of Allah. A conversation between a mountain and a squirrel has been beautifully visualised by poet Iqbal in a poem.
Almighty God is the greatest of all and most powerful of all. He being the supreme commander on the day of Judgement will make the mountains fly like particles of dust. The mountains will be rendered into pieces of sand and will be seen flying in all directions. Those who deny the day of Judgement are astray, as per the Quran. In yet another place in the Quran, Allah says that it is “We who have fixed the mountains in the earth so that it maintains its balance and does not get derailed (in its rotation and revolution). We made passages and passes on the mountains so that people can walk on them and find their way.”
Back home in Kashmir, who can deny the spiritual significance of mountains like Amarnath, Shankaracharya, Harmukh and Kajinag among Hindus. Similarly, Muslims revere places like Koh-i-Maran (The mount of serpents), Charar-i-Sharif, and so many other places of pilgrimage scattered all over the mountains of Kashmir. These places of pilgrimage are open to all, without any distinction of caste and creed. Elsewhere in India, mountains of Kailash, Mansrovar, Gangotri, etc, are well-known places of pilgrimage.
Mountains are the repositories of spiritual treasure. Many of them contain hidden treasures also, in the shape of many minerals, metals, gems, plants, herbs, etc. One mountain in Kupwara has been named as Khazan Matti, meaning a “treasure pot”. It is believed that this mountain contains huge quantity of treasure in it. Some mountains pour out gushing water from their rocks which has healing and medicinal effects.
It has rightly been said: “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
The writer is a retired telecom engineer. [email protected]