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     There exists a strong belief for “Ashabi-Kahf” which is regarded as one of the holy places in Nakhchivan. Each year ten thousands of people make a pilgrimage to this place. “Ashabi-Kahf” attracts the attention from the viewpoint of its historicity and richness of religious beliefs. “Ashabi-Kahf” is situated in the eastern part of Nakhchivan city nearby the former Hachaparag village. The entrance of caves starts from the north and stretches towards the inside of the mountain. The holiness of the cave is connected with the legend existing amongst the folks and it is depicted in some sources. “The ruler Dagh Yunis turned his face back from the God and found a refuge in Totems while his tyranny was endless. There was reigning Kufr (decline from the beliefs-Transl) among the people. Vezir Temirkhan (it is also pronounced as Tamreykha or Temilkhan) didn’t tolerate this and together with his some Monotheistic confessional friends run out of the city and found refuge in the mountains to escape this tyranny and to find the way out from this situation. On their way they met the shepherd of the ruler. After getting information about the situation he also claimed that he was fed up form this oppression and decided to join them. Meantime the shepherd’s dog also followed him. They became afraid that the dog could bark and this could serve as a signal about their whereabouts. Despite of his efforts the shepherd couldn’t drive the dog away from himself. He hit the dog and broke its one leg. After a while they saw the dog coming again. When the shepherd broke its second leg the dog spoke as a man and informed that he had also escaped from the tyranny and died. The shepherd buried it not far from the entrance of the cave, on the place, which is called “Gitmir” and put his hand stick on its grave. After it they ran away for finding refuge in the cave. Meantime they went into a deep sleep. While they woke up they felt a hunger. In order to assess the situation they sent Vezir to the city to buy some bread for them. When Vezir wanted to pay for bread he was caught. They asked him to give information about the money that he paid. Where did you get this money? Did you find a treasure? He tried to convince them that this money didn’t belong to anybody else but to him and he had taken it yesterday when he left the city. They explained him that it belonged to the ruler Dagh Yunis, who reigned three hundred years ago.       Vezir felt that there was a miracle in connection with it and after retelling all what happened with them the crowd began to move towards the cave. After explaining the crowd that his friends could be frightened from this, Vezir run to the cave to alert his friends. He explained the miracle that happened. They all raised their hands and pleaded the God to help them to disappear. The God heard their voice and they disappeared in the form as each of them rested against the rocks. Having entered into the cave the people found their tracks and since that period the cave had become the place of worship.     The legend, which was spread among the folks, was also reflected in some sources with some changes. Later, the added part of the legend to this main myth much more increased its holiness. According to that legend, Ahli Beyt’s son Hazrati Ali had made a pilgrimage to this cave had done his namaz there and his horse’s tracks had remained on this rock.     It would not be out of place if we note that the first and foremost reference to this legend could be found in “Gurani-Karim”‘s eighteenth Kahf sure. Here it is depicted the escape from tyranny and the God’s protection and the salvage mission. In the aye the most interesting place that attracts our attention is the news about the structure of the cave. Because there are also some other caves named as “Ashabi-Kahf” in some other countries and those are also thought to be the same one as mentioned in “Gurani-Karim”. This matter is interpreted in the 18th sure’s 17th aye as following: “If you looked, you could have found the tending sun coming from the right side and setting in the left without touching them and their being could have been found on a larger place of the cave..”.    Another interesting point attracting the attention in this aye is that when we told the words “If you looked, you could have seen” it is meant Rasullulah’s looking. It is evident that looking at the cave from its entrance means the right and left sides from the entrance. Namely the right side (from this viewpoint the right of the cave) of the person entering (looking) into “Ashabi-Kahf” is the place from where the Sun rises. It means that the cave is on the south-north direction.    While tracing back the history of the legend related to the cave, it is said to overlap with the period when the above-mentioned people found a refuge there: By gods will the mountain was divided and they hid themselves there.     “Gurani-Karim”s “Kahf” sure says: “Find a refuge in the cave and your God will have mercy on you.”     It is evident from here that being contrary to what is sad in the legend the cave existed before and those people who escaped knew this.     One question especially attracts our attention here. How many were they who found refuge in the cave? In connection with this, there exist various thoughts in the legends. In the sources the number of people is shown to be 5, 6, 7 and sometimes 8. But in Nakhchivan it is said the persons disappeared there were 7. The existence of worship place of “7 unknowns” and existing way of swearing by this name indicate to the fact that they were 7. Of course, this is only a legend. But the reality is as it is shown in “Gurani Karim”: “You, people: “They are three people, the fourth is their dog. Again: “They are five people the sixth was there dog.” Some other people say: “They are seven the eighth is there dog”.You tell that God knows the exact figures. There are a few people who have got information and knowledge about them…” So, it is not our purpose to open the debates about their number. And there are also different thoughts related to the dog. In some sources it is shown that it was driven out. But some sources show that the dog was killed by the shepherd and buried by him.      The acquaintance with the structure of the cave gives us an opportunity to say that this place was the primary living settlement. There are all conditions for protection from the winter cold and summer hot. By the recent years the natural spring, which was at the entrance of the cave, could provide the needs of portable water. Now this spring has dried. The natural refuges in the cave remind the separate rooms. The walls are considerably blackened from the influence of a long term burning fires. The hardly over passing natural entrance and the slippery cliffs were protecting this cave from the enemies and wild animals. Although this place is entirely covered by rocks and stones there are some trees and bushes, as well. Coming to the historicity studies of “Ashabi-Kahf” we should note that in connection with this cave there exists a lot of information in Islam and as well as in the European historiography. The location of the legend is shown to be Spain, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Anadolu and Dogu Turkistan. Majority of the authors connect this legend with Christianity; that means they think that it happened before prophet Jesus and then it had been included into “Gurani Karim”.

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