In the Malay cosmology, 5. Kayangan is located above the Pokok Pauh Janggi which rises through the 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi, which is directly above the 6 Dasar Laut or ‘underworld’. In the Islamic cosmology, in the uppermost realm of Heaven, there is the Toba tree, “whose shade a rider could travel for a hundred years without crossing it.” Down below, in the realm of the seven hells, the Zaqqum tree rises out of the Hellfire with fruit-stalks like the heads of devils. Then there is the Sidrat al-Muntahā, which marks the boundary between the seven realms of paradise and the three realms of the domain of God. There is also the Tree of Immortality in the Garden of Eden which plays a significant role in Man’s descent into the world to experience the difficulties of life and death, by whose difference, the nature of paradise can be understiood. There is also the the Olive Tree that stands in no place, or every place. According to the Holy Koran, it stands “neither of the East nor West.” It’s oil is the source and being of earthly light.
I would like to suggest that the Pokok Pauh Janggi can be seen as a single tree that serves similar functions to the various Holy Trees of Islam. Anker Rentse offers an insight into the syncretic assimilation of the local Malay Cosmology with the Islamic one. “Shurga, Heaven, is on the top of Pauh Janggi, and Nuraka, Hell, is down below its roots. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into hell’s big boiling-pot, kawah nufaka, whence the whirl-pool. Underneath the pot burns everlasting fire. A dragon guards the hole, the gate to hell (pintu nuraka) with its body in order to prevent the ocean from running dry.
Image: Eighteenth century Ottoman diagram from the Causus/ The Malay Cosmos diagram is adapted after Md. Salleh Yaspar in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman.
Rentse, Anker. “NOTES ON MALAY BELIEFS.” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 11, no. 2 (117) (1933): 245–51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41559822.
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