The best picture I could snap on a moving bus!
I did some homework before visiting this place to find out what is so unique about the Dead Sea.
The other end of the sea is the land that accomodates the Israelis, cruelly seized from the Palestinians (I hate Israelis!)
The 60km length lake situated at the border of Israel-Jordan, is the lowest point on earth, that is 411 metres below the sea level. It is called the Dead Sea because unlike any other seas and oceans of the world, no living thing can survive in it due to its saltiness. The sea water is too salty that if you taste it at the tip of your tongue, your tongue will immediately feel numb and thick as if it is swollen (I have tasted it myself and it’s true!). On top of that, if you wet your hands with the sea water and then rub the palms together, you’ll feel the greasy or oily texture of the water, even when there’s no evidence of oil in existence. If you jumped in to the water, you’ll float like a duck. It is almost impossible to sink here (what more to dive) in the Dead Sea!
Click on the picture to enlarge it. You'll get a clearer picture of the low land structure of the Dead Sea.
So, that’s what the Dead Sea is all about. Of course the fact is gathered from scientific point of view. Another surprising fact: scientists and researchers (such as Werner Keller from Germany) recently announced that the gap of 411 metres is gradually becoming wider that is it now reaching 415 metres or maybe more! Time is the reason this value has changed. With the low replenishment rate, extreme heat, and high evaporation and some volcanic activities, the level of the Dead Sea is lowering at a rate of approximately 1 meter every 10 years. Wow! And you know what? The floor of the sea is estimated at 400 meters deep from the sea surface, which makes the sea bed about 811 to 815 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean!!! SubhanAllah!
The researchers also discover in their studies that there was (used to be) some kind of life form deep within the sea that is yet to be revealed to the world. It has not been easy to conduct investigation due to the hypersalination of the water, but they’ve started to find artifacts! So what had happened there? Let’s study the mystery from different point of view, by going through the history in Islam.
I am aware that I have non-Muslim readers here at my blog. Great! Keep reading. For the non-Muslims, perhaps I should highlight here that the history of the Dead Sea and its mystery was already mentioned in the Al-Quran, thousands and thousands of years ago (approximately at 1800 B.C.) , long before the modern technology arrived to human kind. Which means, what I am about to share with you is not something that is purposely created in the past 100 – 200 years ago to make the story sounds interesting to read. This is a true history in Islam and recent findings further confirm the existence of two cities "swallowed" by the Dead Sea. Hopefully it could convey a good message to you. Happy reading!
I have been looking forward for this visit to take place. We departed for the Dead Sea around noon when the sun was shining brightly and the cool air was so nice. All of us in the bus experienced our ear plugged as we move close to the sea (the same kind of experience when you are in a plane high up in the air. It's due to the high pressure surrounding us). The moment our tour bus arrived at the beach (the Jordanian bus driver refused to park closer, so we had to walk a long way to the beach), I was all ready to get into the water and experience myself the floating sensation that has always been told in stories. But then our tour guide, Ustaz Haji Mansur Manni, immediately refrained us from swimming. We asked why, so he told us of the dark history of the Dead Sea.
During the time of Prophet Lut A.S., he was sent as messenger of Allah to give da’awah (Islamic teachings) to a group of people who practiced homosexual lifestyle (men lust on other men in preference of women). These people lived in the city of Gomorah and Sodom, at the valley of Siddim (Well, that explains where we get the word “sodomy” from!) Unfortunately, Prophet Lut was not only unwelcomed, but also mistreated by the people. They refused to listen to him, instead challenged him to ask Allah to cast a disaster upon them! Astaghfirullahal’azim!
One day, Allah put His final test on the people of Sodom, so He sent down two angels to earth in the form of very handsome and attractive men, to visit Prophet Lut and become his guests at home.
The news of the arrival of these two men was soon spread by no other than the wife of Prophet Lut herself, for she supported and approved the homosexual life style. And so, the people of Sodom became interested and came to Prophet Lut’s house and demanded him to surrender the two handsome guests to them so they could do whatever they want with the guests. Prophet Lut refused, and gave warnings that something bad will take place if they did not stop their perversity.
When the people of Sodom could not be stopped anymore, Allah saved Prophet Lut and his ‘household’, except his wife, and left behind the people of sinners destroyed as has been described by the Qur’an. And how were they destroyed? The angle Jibrail raised the land where the prophet's people lived, tipped it upside down and threw it back on earth, causing the ground near the impact to cave in.
The holy Qur’an cites these in many surahs as:
“turned upside down” – violent earthquake
“showered with brimstones/clays” – volcanic explosion
To simply explain the dreadful catastrophe, imagine you turning upside down a charcoaled meat (caught on fire and still burning) on your grill.
More information, supported by the Qur’an verses can be found from this informative and useful site:
That was me collecting some crystallised salts
I have managed to take some photos of the crystallized salt from the Dead Sea. It really looks like the salt we used in our cookings, but I dare not taste it this time!
Later we went to a souvenier shop and bought many good things for remembrance, such as brooches, bookmarks, T-shirts and many other beautiful small items for decoration.
We finally ended our tour in Amman. (We did not visit the Citadel or Petra, as these places are not related to Islam). So we went back to the hotel, packed our things, ate lunch and prepared for our flight to next destination, Jeddah.
Goodbye Jordan. Goodbye great country of great people. I’ve got many sweet experiences here, and some unavoidable sour faces too! Hahaha! But I’ll never forget the dark history of the Dead Sea. It still gives me goose-bumps till today.