Mount Thawr (Arabic: جبل ثور) is a famous mountain in Mecca. The fame of this mountain is because of the cave where the prophet (s) at the beginning of Hijra (the Immigration) in Laylat al-Mabit sought shelter there from the polytheists. Polytheists went to the door of the cave, but thanks to the divine assistance, they could not find the Prophet (s).
Mount Thawr is located south of Mecca and Masjid al-Haram, on road to Yemen. Some have recorded the name of this mountain as Athal or Thawr Athal. Further, some historians have recorded it as Abu Thawr which does not look to be a correct name. It is not unlikely that this naming, meaning "cow" has been because it is like a cow heading towards south of Mecca!
In the past, people climbed Thawr from two main passes, one of which was difficult but short and the other was easier to climb but longer. The distance of mount Thawr depended on the way people chose; thus, this distance has been mentioned one parasang [about 5.6 km], 2-3 miles and two hour walk from Mecca. Currently , the distance of mount Thawr to Masjid al-Haram is 3 to 4 kilometers.
Cave of Thawr
Cave of Thawr is located on top of mount Thawr with a view over surrounding mountains. It is in the form of a rock or a hallowed rock and looks like an upside-down boat. Its altitude from the ground is a little more than 500 meters. Climbing up to the cave is very difficult and requires making a lot of efforts.
Cave of Thawr has two entrances, one in the west which is very narrow and almost at the bottom of the cave, entering from which is very difficult, and another is on the east which is somehow wider and it is believed that it has been made by a miracle from God after the Prophet (s) entered the cave.
Length of the cave is about 18 hand spans [about 4 meters] and its width in the middle is 11 hand spans [near to 2.5 meters]. The height inside the cave is about the height of a man and its area is 2.5 cubic meters.
Some historians have mistaken the cave of Thawr, where the Prophet (s) took refuge, with the cave of Hira where the first revelations appeared for him.
Presence of the Prophet (s) in the Cave
- Main article: Laylat al-Mabit
After God informed the Prophet (s) of the plot of the polytheists for killing him, Imam Ali (a) stayed in the bed of the Prophet (s) while he (s) left Mecca for Yathrib at night. To escape the polytheists who were searching for him, the Prophet (s) took refuge in the cave of Thawr together with Abu Bakr and remained in there for three days and nights. The holy Qur'an has mentioned the story of polytheists' plot, the Prophet's (s) leave from his house in Mecca and his stay in the cave of mount Thawr.[Note 1])
For the blessing of the Prophet's (s) stay in this cave, several miracles happened such as spinning of a spider's net in the front of the cave, nestling of two wild pigeons and in a report growing of a tree.
Polytheists who were searching for the Prophet (s) came up to the opening of the cave of Thawr, but God stopped them from entering it. This way, Quraysh who saw the spider's net and the eggs of the pigeons, assumed that the cave must have been an isolated one. Because, had anyone entered it before, the spider’s net would have been cut apart, the eggs of the pigeons would have been broken and the pigeons would have not been sitting there with ease.
People's Seeking Blessings from the Cave
Mount of Thawr has been regarded as blessed by Muslims after the three days staying of the Prophet (s) there and has always been a place of visiting for hajj pilgrims.
Around the year 800/1397-8 or according to another report 810/1407-8, the ruler of that time ordered to extend the range of the entrance of the cave so that people would have less troubles there. In later times, the ruler of Mecca, widened the entrance of the cave once again. Today, the height of the opening and the width of the cave is about half a meter.
- إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَى وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (Quran 9:40
- The material for this article is mainly taken from کوه ثور in Farsi Wikishia.