The Koboi Returns 2023 – 7


The Sidrat al-Muntahā or the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary, is mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith in the context of the Holy Prophet’s ascent (Mi’raj) to receive the Islamic revelation. According to Edith Jachimowicz this tree marks the boundary between the outermost of the seven realms of paradise (astronomical Heaven) with the first of the three realms of God (theological Heaven). It is a boundary that no angel and no man other than the Holy Prophet has crossed.

Two rivers flow from the roots of this tree, watering Paradise (batinîya); and two more flow down through the seven realms of Paradise, to the earthly domain (zahiriya) to become the Euphrates and the Nile. The earth itself is divided horizontally into seven strata which are also known as the Mansions of Hell. The image shown is a detail from an illustration on page 31 of Mi’rajnameh, a fifteenth-century manuscript from Herat, now held in the National Library of France.

While there is no direct connection or association between the Sidrat al-Muntahā of the Islamic revelation and the Pokok Pauh Janggi of the Alam Melayu, there is a clear coincidence of placement within their respective cosmologies. If the Sidrat al-Muntahā is directly below the highest heavens, the Pokok Pauh Janggi is rooted at the threshold of underworld, directly above the Dasar Laut ’. Both trees seem to stand on a cosmic axis, perhaps with differing emphasis on cosmogonic (literal structure of the universe) and escathalogical (allegory of the soul’s final journey at the end of time) aspects of existance.

Jachimowicz, Edith (1975). Islamic Cosmology. In Carmen Blacker, Michael Loewe & J. Martin Plumley (eds.), Ancient Cosmologies. Allen & Unwin.