(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Perched high atop the tallest mountain in the arid plains of Wadi Araba is a monument to one of the unifying figures of the three Abrahamic faiths.
Visible to the naked eye only as a mere white dot floating above the red-rock cliffs of Petra, the tomb of Haroun, or Aaron, stands as a tribute to a man who quietly cemented the foundations of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions.
Preacher, prophet, brother and confidant to Moses, Aaron played a critical role in guiding the Israelite nation and promoting monotheism in the biblical era.
Encumbered by a speech impediment, Moses often relied on Aaron, a skilled orator and diplomat, to speak on his behalf, according to Old Testament and Koranic traditions, delegating his brother to address pharaohs and the Israelite nation in their mission to promote monotheism and the word of God.
Despite playing a pivotal role in guiding the Israelite nation for decades, Aaron, like Moses, was not destined to reach the so-called promised land, according to Judaeo-Christian tradition.
Having previously disobeyed God's orders, Aaron's final hours were spent on a bleak mountaintop known as Mt. Hur in the desert of Wadi Araba: an area better known today as Petra.
Upon God's command, Moses led Aaron and his son up the jagged slopes of Mt. Hur, instructing his brother upon their arrival to lay on a stone-carved slab. Once Moses anointed his brother's body in oils and transferred his garments to his son, Aaron's spirit ascended to the heavens, according to Biblical lore, marking the end of the life of a key figure in the Abrahamic tradition.
The path to the tomb remains as much as it did some thousand years ago: an unmarked trail of jagged rocks cutting and curving up the sloping mountains familiar only to local bedouin guides and trained animals hired to take visitors willing to brave the trek.
The tomb itself is housed in a simple, squat, white concrete mosque, elevated several metres above the surrounding mountaintop by a twisted rock formation.
If the mosque's exterior is understated, the interior is practically mute: a concrete tomb and a single, neatly folded prayer rug are all that welcome visitors willing to brave the five-hour trek.
Nothing tells of the tomb's remoteness more than the worn leather-bound guestbook placed there by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. Weeks, months and even years separate the signatures of those willing to make the pilgrimage to pay their respects to the prophet.
Yet as urban growth and tourism development dramatically alter the face of Petra below, one of the most remote mosques in the world is likely to remain for the time being as it has for centuries: a peaceful place for prayer and reflection on a man whose legacy is shared by billions.