Mount Abu Qubays

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Satellite view of Mount Abu Qubays near al-Masjid al-Haram

Abu Qubays (Arabic: أبوقُبَیْس) is a mountain at the east of al-Masjid al-Haram and across al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone). Some believe that this mountain is the place where Adam (a) and Eve descended and were buried. A mosque (masjid) called "Ibrahim" is located on the top of this mountain. There are disagreements about who founded this masjid. Afterwards, some other structures were established on the mountain as well.

Disagreements over Name

There are disagreements over the name of this mountain. Some believe that "Abu Qubays" is derived from "qabas al-nar" (قبس النار, meaning, firebrand}}. It is said that two pieces of tinder descended from the heaven on this mountain. Adam (a) picked them up and fire was made by rubbing them together. Some others have attributed the name of this mountain to a man called Qubays b. Shalikh (or Shamikh). It is said that Qubays was from Jurhum tribe. Apparently, he gossiped about someone called 'Amr b. Madad and his cousin, therefore he took refuge in the mentioned mountain for the fear of getting killed and no one saw him afterwards. Abu Qubays is called Khashab as well, because Abu Qubays and Qu'ayqi'an, the mountain located across Abu Qubays, were called al-Akhshabayn. Al-Jahiz believes that Abu Qubays is another name of Abu Qabus, the Arab sultan.

Name at the Age of Ignorance

This mountain was called Amin [meaning trustee] at the Age of Ignorance. Because, it is said that al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone) was temporarily put by Adam (a) and afterwards by Noah (a) in the mount Abu Qubays.


Place Where Adam (a) and Eve Descended

Abu Qubays is almost a big mountain from which the sun rises upon al-Masjid al-Haram. Al-Masjid al-Haram is located several hundred meters away from Abu Qubays. Al-Ansari al-Dimashqi writes that the height of Abu Qubays is about one mile. Some believe that Abu Qubays is the first mountain created by God. It is said that after the expulsion of Adam (a) and Eve from the heaven, they descended on the mount Abu Qubays near a cave. Adam (a) called the cave "Gharat al-Kanz" (Treasure Cave) and implored God to make it a holy place.

Burial Place of Adam (a)

Although there are disagreements over the place where Adam (a) was buried, some believe that he (a) was buried in the mentioned cave by his son, Shayth (a). It is said that Eve and Shayth were buried in this cave as well. According to a tradition, the bodies were in the Treasure Cave; before the storm, Noah (a) took out the bodies from the cave, put them in coffins, and took them into the ship. When the storm blew over, he (a) returned the bodies into the cave. According to another tradition, he (a) buried them in Jerusalem. Also some believe that Adam (a) has buried his books, Sahayif Munzalah (the revealed scriptures) in the mount Abu Qubays.

Temporary Placement of al-Hajar al-Aswad

It is recorded that Ibrahim (a) and Isma'il (a) put the walls of Ka'ba up to the height where al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone) is located. Then, Ibrahim (a) located al-Hajar al-Aswad, which was put temporarily in the mount Abu Qubays, in its place. When the Prophet (s) was seven, famine struck. The people of Quraysh asked 'Abd al-Muttalib to say rain prayer. Therefore, together with a group of noblemen and royalties of Quraysh, he went to the mount Abu Qubays and said prayer.

According to a tradition, when the moon split (Shaqq al-Qamar), one half of moon was above Abu Qubays and the other half was above Qu'ayqi'an.

Military Application

In 64/683-4, at the time of Yazid b. Mu'awiya, because 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr did not pay allegiance to Yazid, Husayn b. Numayr put arbalests on the mount Abu Qubays and threw stones and fiery balls on the people visiting Ka'ba and burned Ka'ba. Also at the time of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf, who was sent by 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan to fight with Ibn al-Zubayr in 72/691-2, stoned the Ka'ba with arbalests from this mountain.

Masjid of the Mount Abu Qubays

There was a masjid on the mount Abu Qubays that there is a disagreement over its founder. Some called this mosque, Ibrahim and believed that this Ibrahim differs from the prophet Ibrahim (a). Some others called it Ibrahim al-Qubaysi. Ibn Jubayr, who arrived in Mecca on Rabi' II 13, 579/August 5, 1183 and stayed there until the end of hajj rituals, writes, "… We arrived in the holy masjid where the event of splitting the moon happened there".

The Mount Abu Qubays

Building Structures on Abu Qubays

In the second half of 6th/12th century, al-Mukthar b. 'Isa b. al-Qasim (d. 589/1193), the emir of Mecca, built a castle on the mount Abu Qubays from which there have remained no vestiges. The first hermitage of Sanusi sect was built on Abu Qubays about 1252-3/1836-7; 1837-8. When Snouck Hurgronje (the Dutch orientalist) visited Mecca in 1884, there were big buildings belonging to the Naqshbandi order around the Mount Abu Qubays.