This mountain rises up from the flat plains where Mosul province meets Erbil and Duhok provinces. It is at the intersection of Arab, Kurdish, Muslim, Shabak, Kakaii, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Yezidi, Catholic, and Orthodox communities.
The mountain is known as AlFaf in Aramaic and Maqlub in Arabic. Its etymologies are as follows. AlFaf means 'the thousands' in Aramaic, and is thought to refer to the thousands of monks who have lived at the prestigious monastery over the years. Maqlub means upside-down, and is thought to refer to the many geologic strata of the mountain, visible as stratum after stratum. Its also thought 'maqlub' may just be a later name, a corruption of 'maqbol' which means 'acceptable' in reference to its location for a monastery or which means 'to accept' in reference to prayers made there being accepted.