The Well of Souls (Arabic:Bir el- Arweh) is the name of a natural cave located immediately beneath the Sakhrah (the Foundation Stone) in the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In addition to a small well shaped hole in the stone that looks into the cave, there is also an entrance on the southern side, via a set of steps passing through a gap between the stone and the surrounding bedrock. The cave takes the form of a moderately sized room (similar in floor space to the stone), the ceiling curving to the ground gently, and the floor having been flattened and carpeted. The southern end of the cave, through which the steps enter it, has man-made walls to provide structural support to the cave roof above the steps.
Since Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad ascended heavenwards from the stone, a related tradition has grown up that states that the Last Judgment will happen at the Sakhrah, and that the souls of the dead gather in the well of souls to wait for that event, and to pray.
According to pre-Islamic folklore, the well of souls was a place where the voices of the dead could be heard along with the sounds of the Rivers of Paradise, as, according to the folklore, the cave is located on top of the Abyss of Chaos; the cave is now known to have no exit apart from those leading to the surface of the Sakhrah, and the sounds have been argued to be a resonance effect similar to hearing the sea from seashells. The well of souls is sometimes conflated with the guf, a location in Jewish mythology, where the souls of the not-yet-born are stored, though the guf is usually considered to be a more heavenly location than an earth-bound one.
The Well of Souls is sometimes considered the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant in legends stating that the Ark was hidden beneath the Temple Mount, but removed when Solomon's temple was destroyed by the neo-Babylonians. In this context it appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark, although relocated to Tanis, Egypt.