We, as Muslim Ummahs, are primarily invested in finding out the dos and do’s and don’t of what the Quran and Sunnah have to say about our day-to-day activities, what we are allowed, and what is prohibited. We quickly overlook a very important aspect of our religion: its history. Its importance can’t be emphasized enough. More than half a billion Muslims and very few are interested in the history of Islam.
History is like a long-term memory where voices are preserved. Why do we have zero interest in finding where it all began and how it came to be? Is it because of the over-emphasis on gaining salvation in the Hereafter that Islamic history loses its significance?
Importance of Cave Hira
Jabal al Noor (جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر), or the ”Mountain Of Light’ or ‘Hill Of Illumination”, also known as Jabal al Hira, is one of the most famous hills on earth. Jabal al Noor holds tremendous significance for Muslims and is a major attraction for pilgrims when they come for Hajj or Umrah.
This mountain houses the Cave of Hira (غار حراء), where Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was blessed with his first revelations and Prophethood, which is why this cave and mountain hold a special place in the hearts of the Muslim Ummah. The importance of Cave Hira is also elevated because it witnessed Angel Jibril promising Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that he would be the seal of the Prophets.
Story Of Cave Of Hira
The cave of Hira was of minor significance before Islam, but it was a place of solitude for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. In his early youth, he felt disturbed by the corrupt society and the polytheistic ways of the kuffar of Makkah. He used to retreat to the Cave of Hira to contemplate the oneness of Allah. He would think about the ways of his forefathers, Ibrahim and Ismail عليه السلام.
He liked spending time in meditation and devotion in this cave. He would take provisions with him to stay for an extended period, and when he returned to Khadija (رضي الله عنه), he would stock up again and go back to the cave. This was his practice until the first revelation of the Holy Quran came down in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.
According to the Quran, this night is called, The Night Of Power. When Angel Jibril was sent down with the first five verses of Surah Alaq. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ recited these words after the angel, who thereupon” left him; and he said;
“It was as though the words were written on my heart.”
He was very alarmed by the experience and feared that he had become possessed. He was terrified and fled the cave. Upon reaching home, Khadija (رضي الله عنه) covered him and helped him calm down with her comforting words:
Lessons Learned From The Story Of Cave Of Hira
- Role Of Wives in Islam
As Prophet Muhammad ﷺ liked spending time alone in cave Hira, he would be gone for days. In some history books, it’s been mentioned a month too. Then Khadijah رضي الله عنه would climb the Jabal Al Noor mountain to bring him provisions and sometimes spend a few days in seclusion with him without saying a single word to avoid interrupting his contemplations. She never gave him a hard time about his long absence from the house and respected his spiritual needs. SubhanAllah!!!
How many women have this level of understanding or this kind of patience? A typical wife would complain of neglect.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Khadijah’s love story was one of a kind. Khadijah رضي الله عنه was a constant source of comfort for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Even when he returned from the Cave after the first revelation, he was terrified and sure he had gone mad or been possessed. Khadijah رضي الله عنه stayed calm and did not share any of his fears; instead, when he was more relaxed, she took him to her cousin, Waraqa Ibn Nawfal, who confirmed every word Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said. Khadijah رضي الله عنه was overjoyed because she firmly believed that something tremendous must have happened.
She was not only the first person to accept Islam but also supported her husband throughout this journey. After the first revelation, she comforted him in the following words:
They covered him, and when the state of fear was over, he said to Khadija, “O Khadija! What is wrong with me? I was afraid that something bad might happen to me.” Then he told her the story. Khadija said, “Nay! But receive the good tidings! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you, for by Allah, you keep good relations with your Kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, entertain your guests generously and assist those who are stricken with calamities.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 4953
- Importance of Knowledge in Islam
Islam emphasizes the great importance of knowledge and education. The first word to be revealed was ”Iqra.” meaning Read. We must try to gain knowledge about what is permitted and what is forbidden so that our Deen and Dunya both can be improved. Knowledge doesn’t mean just acquiring a degree from a prestigious university, it means to become the best version of ourselves. Prophet Muhammad is our role model, he wasn’t educated by a university but had the best of character and qualities. According to Aisha رضي الله عنه:
- Getting Closer To Allah SWT
Getting closer to Allah SWT is the essence of our existence. We are always in pursuit of our worldly desires, that all our worship is always done in a jiffy. We never have the time to shut out our lives and spend quality time with the Quran or in Salah or Dhikr. Something is always more important than our Ibadah, this takes us further away from Allah SWT.
Prophet Muhammad was the beloved Messenger of Allah; everything came to him. Naturally, he was by default devoid of all the diseases of the soul, yet he still used to spend time in Allah’s worship. Our souls are infected with the diseases like greed, envy, anger, and pride, still, we don’t do anything to cleanse ourselves. Getting close to Allah SWT requires patience, consistency and a stong intention. Even the pious of people need to keep trying to strengthen their bond with Allah SWT, there is no end or limit to it.
The three ideal ways to get closer to Allah SWT are Salha, Dhikr and Duaá’. The more love you have for Allah SWT, the more you will get to be closer to him. The closer you eventually get to the Almighty, the more barakah you’ll have in your life. May Allah SWT make it easier for all of us to adopt habits that help us get closer to Allah.
How To Reach The Cave Of Hira?
The distance of Cave Hira from Makkah is about 5km northeast of the Grand Mosque. So visiting it is one of the best things to do on your trip to Makkah.
The road to the mountain is narrow and frequently jammed with traffic. One physical feature that differentiates it from other mountains is its unusual peak, which resembles the hump of a camel or, some say, one mountain on top of another.
The height of this mountain is 650 meters, and it is pretty steep in some areas. The cave has a narrow entry point, about 4m long and 1.5m wide. The cave of Hira covers a total area of about 5.2 square meters. The cave might seem dark from the inside at a glance, but although the cave’s passage is covered with rocks, it allows sufficient sunlight to pass through.
The cave’s passage is covered with rocks; it might be difficult for a person with a heavier build to pass through. The inside area of the Cave of Hira is much airy and more relaxed than the path that leads up to it, making it the perfect place to rest, pray and remember Allah SWT.
The top of the mountain is one of the loneliest places, but the cave, which faces the direction of the Kaaba, is lonelier, and the narrow space can only accommodate about 4 to 5 people. Upon sunset, one can see the entire Makkah city stretched out beneath; back in the time of the Prophet, he could only see nature, but in the present day, we can see huge hotels along the Makkah skyline.
Q. How long does it take to climb Cave Hira?
Visiting the cave requires a lot of effort as it is located at the top of Jabal al Noor. From there, walking 20 meters to and from the cave is required. Climbing Jabal al Noor takes about 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending upon the person’s strength and ability. It is advisable to keep a water bottle along to stay well hydrated during the climb.
Q. Is visiting cave Hira an obligatory part of Hajj?
Every year during Hajj, around 5000 pilgrims climb up the hill daily. Because of many unfortunate incidents, over time, scholars clearly stated that it is not a Hajj or Sunnah of Islam ritual. People should not make it a compulsion and merely treat it as a tourist attraction.
Q. What is written in the Cave Of Hira?
Nothing has been recorded in history that might have been written on the walls. Still, visitors have damaged the holy site over time by engraving words and symbols on the cave walls; It has been challenging to remove because of the cave’s uneven surface.