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The Cave of Hira In Jabal Al Noor: History And Importance

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Known as the “Hill of Illumination” or “Mountain of Light”, Jabal Al-Nour Mountain is famous for the Cave of Hira. This was the place where Prophet Muhammad is said to have been blessed with the first of his many revelations. Its significance in Islamic history, along with rising views of Makkah and the Holy Mosque from its summit, makes Jabal Al-Nour a renowned tourist spot among pilgrims worldwide.

In Ramadan 610 CE, the first revelations of the Holy Quran were received by Prophet Muhammad at the Hira Cave. According to the Quran, this night is called ‘the Night of Power’. The legend has it that when Prophet Muhammad was on his usual solitude retreat in the cave, during the final 10 days of the month of Ramadan, Hazrat Jibreel (Archangel Gabriel) visited him and told him to recite the first verse of the Quran.

During the Hajj season, this cave is most visited by the pilgrims, but during Umrah, travellers do not make the visit to the cave obligatory. Followers of the Holy Prophet climb the rock to reach the cave on the top and seek blessings.

How to reach the Cave of Hira?

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Location: In the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, outside Makkah, the Cave of Hira is located in the Jabal Al-Nour Mountain at a height of 634 meters. It is 4 km away from the Holy Kaaba and overlooks the north with its entrance pointing directly towards the Kaaba. This was the place from where the first divine words of revelation are believed to have descended upon Prophet Muhammad to light up the universe.

How to reach: It takes a lot of effort to visit the Hira Cave as it is located at the top of the Nour Mountain, which is a 20 meters’ walk to and from the cave. Jabal Al-Nour is a short drive northwest of the Old City. As the heat is extreme during the day, most pilgrims participate in the summit in the evening or at dawn and dusk.

Depending on an individual’s physical strength and ability, the climb up to the cave takes about 45 minutes to 3 hours. This peak is visible for many kilometres around, and it is advised to bring plenty of water and a flashlight along if climbing in the dark. After a climb of about 1,200 steps, the summit is complete, and one can easily recognise the Cave of Hira by a sign painted on stone.

The mountain is only 3 km away from Makkah at the end of Jabal Al-Nur Road. Vehicles might not go beyond Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, which is where the road ends and the Ghar-e-Hira Trail begins. The path is about half a kilometre of unpaved dirt road.

History of the Cave in Jabal Al Noor

The Cave Hira story dates back to the youth of Prophet Mohammad, when he used to travel all around Syria and Palestine. This presented him with the opportunity for quiet thought and meditation far from the busy crowds of Makkah. He used to frequently climb up to the mountain of Jabal Al-Nour, even before his first revelation, when he needed a place to meditate. In search of solitude, he used to withdraw in the seclusion of the Cave of Hira and apply himself to ardent devotions consisting of prayers and long vigils.

At the age of 40 years, Prophet Mohammad is said to have been presented with his first revelation from Allah through Hazrat Jibreel. During the last third of the month of Ramadan (in year 620), one night when the Prophet was in deep meditation in the Cave of Hira, Hazrat Jibreel visited him with a piece of silk brocade, in which “Read” was written, to which the Prophet said, “I cannot read!”

The angel replied,

“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.”

The angel then gave him his first revelation which affected the Prophet so deeply, that he turned pale and was trembling all over. When he returned home and narrated the incident to his wife, she comforted him and told him that was a Prophet.

Since then, the Prophethood of Muhammad began, and when he moved out of the cave and was halfway down the mountain, he heard a voice in his ears saying,

“O Mohammad, you are the Messenger of God, and I am Jibreel.”

The Prophet was surprised to see the angel present in every direction in the Horizon. Upon his return to the house, he told his wife the complete Cave Hira story and asked her to cover him so that he could relax and recover after the incident. After encouragements from his wife and her cousin, he accepted the message from God and devoted himself to delivering the message of Islam to the idolaters of Makkah and the non-Muslims around the world.

Suggested read: Kiswa Of Kaaba

Apart from being the choicest refuge of Prophet Muhammad, the Cave of Hira also became the most visited Ziyarat (a form of pilgrimage to sites associated with Muhammad, like mountains, caves and mosques) in subsequent centuries.

Cave of Hira & Jabal Al Noor Importance

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The Cave of Hira holds a lot of significance for Muslims worldwide as the Prophet Mohammad is believed to have spent time in the cave meditating and is said to have been presented with his first revelation of the Quran by Hazrat Jibreel.

Even though the Cave of Hira is an important part of the Prophetic Biography, the place is not considered as holy as other sites in the city, such as Al-Haram Mosque. Therefore, a lot of pilgrims do not consider visiting the cave as an important part of the Hajj journey. It is nevertheless among the most preferred Ziyarats of Makkah and most pilgrims do pay a visit to the holy cave.

Inside Ghar e Hira

If a pilgrim wants to go inside Ghar e Hira, there is a narrow entry point. The cave that looks dark from the outside but is amply let on the inside. The passage is comfortable for people with a lean physique but might be a little difficult for heavier people to pass through it. The path towards the cave is covered with stones, letting in sufficient sunlight. Upon crossing the narrow passage, you reach an open area from where Ghar e Hira is easily visible. As you move a little forward, you can enter the cave and reach the place where Prophet Mohammed used to sit and pray. Inside Ghar e Hira, it is much cooler than the path that leads to it. Therefore, it is a good spot to rest and remember Allah, especially if there is not a lot of crowd. Praying there is becomes difficult when there are many pilgrims.

5 Facts about the Cave of Hira

  1. With dimensions of 4 m and 1.5 m in length and width, this cave is set on a 380 m slope mountain, possessing a shape that is similar to a camel’s hump.
  2. According to researcher Mohie ElDin Al-Hashmi, the Hira Cave has enough space to hold six adults at a time.
  3. During Hajj, approximately 5,000 pilgrims trek up to the cave daily.
  4. After sunset, the top of the Nour mountain offers a panoramic view of the Makkah city dotted with bright yellow city lights.
  5. In recent times, in light of a few accidents of pilgrims falling while climbing their way up to the cave, it was suggested to build stairs to the cave site and enclosing. The suggestion was rejected by The Scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas saying, “Climbing up to this cave is not one of the rituals of Hajj or Sunnahs of Islam, rather it is an innovation and is one of the things that lead to shirk or associating others with Allaah. Based on that, people should be prevented from climbing up to it; no stairs should be built and it should not be made easier to climb up to it, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”

If you are planning a trip to Makkah for Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage, it is recommended to visit the cave for its historic and religious significance and also for the splendid top view of the holy city.

The Cave of Hira FAQs

Why is the Cave of Hira famous?

Known as the Hill of Illumination or Mountain of Light, Jabal Al-Nour Mountain is famous for the Cave of Hira. This was the place where Prophet Muhammad is said to have been blessed with the first of his many revelations.

What is the location of the Cave of Hira?

In the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, outside Makkah, the Cave of Hira is located in the Jabal Al-Nour Mountain at the height of 634 meters. It is 4 km away from the Holy Kaaba and overlooks the north with its entrance pointing directly towards the holy Kaaba.

How to reach the Cave of Hira?

Hira Cave is located at the top of the Nour Mountain, which is a 20 meters’ walk to and from the cave. After a climb of about 1,200 steps, the summit is complete, and one can easily recognise the Cave of Hira by a sign painted on stone.

What is the importance of the Cave of Hira in Islam?

The Cave of Hira holds a lot of significance for Muslims worldwide. Prophet Mohammad is believed to have spent time in the cave meditating and is said to have been presented with his first revelation of the holy Quran by Hazrat Jibreel.

What are the other names of the Cave of Hira?

Known as the Hill of Illumination or Mountain of Light, Jabal Al-Nour Mountain is famous for the Cave of Hira.

Dr Omar Ayoub

Dr. Omar Ayoub is a tech enthusiast and a part time researcher and accounts authorship of several international publications. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from USA and has an experience of more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia working in tourism, hospitality, education, technology and retail sector. His interests include traveling, writing, and exploring trending technologies.

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