Mount Qaf

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Map of the world according to Zakariya al-Qazwini showing the Islamic view of how the universe is structured and how sky and earth are supported, while being consistent with Quranic verse 22:65. Mount Qaf is the most important of the mountains surrounding the earth, holding it in its place like pegs.

Mount Qaf, also known as Cafcuh or Kafkuh, (Persian: قاف‌کوه ‎‎ Qaafkuh or کوه قاف Kuh-e Qaaf; Arabic: جبل قاف‎‎ Jabal Qāf or Djebel Qaf) is a mythological mountain.

Iranian tradition[edit]

Historically Iranian power never extended over all of the Northern Caucasus and ancient lore shrouded these high mountains in mystery.[1] In Iranian tradition this mountain could be any of the following:

Arabic tradition[edit]

Mount Qaf in Arabic tradition is a mysterious mountain renowned as the "farthest point of the earth" owing to its location at the far side of the ocean encircling the earth.[2] Because of its remoteness, the North Pole is sometimes identified with this mountain.[3][4] It is also the only place in this world where the Roc will land.[2]

Zakariya al-Qazwini published ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt ("The Wonders of Creation", literally "Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing")[5] in the 16th century, a book that was influential in early modern Islamic society. According to Qazwini's cosmology, the sky is held by Allah so that it does not fall on Earth. The Earth is considered flat and surrounded by a series of mountains —including Mount Qaf— that hold it in its place like pegs; the Earth is supported by an ox that stands on Bahamut, a giant fish (Arabic: بهموت‎‎ Bahamūt) dwelling in a cosmic ocean; the ocean is inside a bowl that sits on top of an angel or jinn.[6]

According to certain authors, the Jabal Qaf of Muslim cosmology is a version of Rupes Nigra, a mountain whose ascent —such as Dante's climbing of the Mountain of Purgatory, represents the pilgrim's progress through spiritual states.[7] In some traditions —such as in a fabricated hadith quoted by Al-Tabari— Mount Qaf is a mountain range that surrounds the farthest edges of the Earth, instead of a single mountain.[8]

In literature[edit]

Mount Qaf is associated with Qaf surah in certain interpretations of the Quran (Tafsir) because of ayah 7 referring to mountains.[9]

This mythical mountain is mentioned in two novels by Salman Rushdie: Grimus and Shame.[10] Mount Qaf (original Turkish title Kafdağı) is also the title of a novel by Turkish author Müge İplikçi.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Daniel G. Prior: Travels of Mount Qāf: From Legend to 42° 0' N 79° 51' E. in: Oriente Moderno, Nuova serie, Anno 89, Nr. 2. (Studies on Islamic Legends) 2009, pp. 425–444

References[edit]

  1. ^ كوه قاف در اسطوره و عرفان ايراني
  2. ^ a b Mount Qaf - Mythology Dictionary
  3. ^ Ibrahim Muhawi & Sharif Kanaana. Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales. Berkeley University of California Press
  4. ^ Irgam Yigfagna; al-Jabal al-Lamma
  5. ^ The Wonders of Creation - World Digital Library
  6. ^ Zakariya al-Qazwini. ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt (The Wonders of Creation). Original published in 1553 AD
  7. ^ Irgam Yigfagna; al-Jabal al-Lamma, p. 44
  8. ^ Q659: Where is mount 'Qaf' - Tafseer Raheemi
  9. ^ Brannon M. Wheeler, Moses in the Qur'an and Islamic Exegesis. p. 99
  10. ^ Mittapalli Rajeshwar, Joel Kuortti (eds.) Salman Rushdie: New Critical Insights, p. 25