The sayings of Muhammed are a treasure of wisdom not only for Muslims but for all of mankind.” (Preface to The Sayings of Muhammed by Sohrawardi).
When I realised I didn’t know our beloved Prophet SAW as well as I should, I decided that the time has come for me to get to know him better. After all, that is what being a Muslim is all about. It made sense to me, to see for myself where it all began
It was after coming back from my last umra trip, in 2010, somewhere in February , that I decided, the next time I get the opportunity to perform my umra again, I was going to climb Jabal Nur and see Hira' cave. I wanted to do so at the last trip but since no one wanted to climb up with me and I was told by the guide that it would take me 2 hours to climb up, I decided against it because it was unfair to make the rest of the people in the group, waiting for me, for 4 hours.
So, when my business partner (sister R) told me about our plan to go for umra in February 2011, the first thing I said to her was." you and I, are going to climb Jabal Nur and see Hira' cave, come what may!" and much to my delight, she agreed!
Those who knows me, did not believe me when I said that I plan to climb Jabal Nur, for the sheer reason that I am such a diva when it comes to outdoors. I don't do hiking or walking or let alone mountain climbing! My idea of walking is just going to the fridge to get some food or shopping. I melt under the sun and would run to the nearest air-conditioned place whenever possible. My husband calls me a 'creature of comfort', a title which I wholly agree and even he, was sceptical about my intention but honestly, I felt that it was something which I had to do.
The 2nd day after we arrived in Makkah, we set out at about 7.30 am, dragging our guide along, made our way to Jabal Nur. I was really feeling under the weather and a bit feverish from flu and I was still determined to go, nevertheless. I knew that if I back out this time, I might never get the same chance again.
The three of us (me, sister R and our guide) started climbing up the road leading to the bottom of the mountain. OMG!! The road was even steeper than the mountain! We (me and my partner minus the guide!) huffed and puffed our way to the bottom of the mountain after stopping about 10 ten times. The road leading up to the mountain was only about 200 metres!
Anyway, we posed for the camera, all smiling before the climb up and we begun. I tried to imagine what it was like during the Prophet(s) time, climbing the steep rocks to get to the cave. I can't say that I was tracing the footsteps of the Prophet(s) because we were told that the route we were taking is an easier route and the route that the Prophet(s) took was actually on the other side of the hill and way much steeper. Sister R and myself looked at each other and said, "what?! steeper than this?" We concluded that our Prophet(s) was indeed, a mighty man, to be able to such a steep mountain.
The climb was not easy, I have to say. I must have stopped about 100 times before reaching a quarter of the way! Luckily I was wearing niqab hence people could not see me sweating like a donkey! They could only see my eyes and thank God eyes don't sweat! At one point a time whilst I was perching on one of the rocks to catch my breathe, an old turkish lady with a walking stick, zoomed past me!I stared at her in disbelief. Seriously ????!!!! Boy! was I unfit!
Half way through, sister R told me that she was ready to strangle me for suggesting the climb. hahahaha! too late!
As we continued climbing, I was beginning to feel excited. I couldn't wait to get to the top and was even willing to pay anyone, who would be willing to give me a piggy-back ride all the way to the top ASAP. Somewhere along the way, sister R over-took me and was almost reaching the peak. What?!! How did that happened?
Finally, after seemed like an eternity, I reached the top. I had to sit down for a spell to catch my breathe. I looked up and saw that I could almost see the whole of Makkah from up here. The view was breathtakingly beautiful. Sister R and myself, then took the steps down leading down to the entrance of the cave. Lo and behold! There it was, where it all started! This is the place where our beloved Prophet(s) received the first revelation whilst meditation alone. This was where Angel Gabriel first appeared before Prophet(s) squeezed him so tight and asked him to read. Prophet(s) told Gabriel that he was not a reader as he was illiterate. Then Angel Gabriel asked Prophet(s) to read again and Prophet(s) said that he could not read so Gabriel squeezed Prophet(s) again and after the third time, Angel Gabriel revealed the 1st verse to Prophet Muhammad SAW.
“Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
Taught man that which he knew not.”
Surah Al-Alaq 96:1-5
It was surreal! I felt that to be able to see the cave with my own eyes, after hearing about it for so long, is truly priceless.
We didn't enter the cave because there were too many people pushing and jostling to get into the cave. The cave was very small and it was just enough to admit a single person in. Even though I couldn't enter the cave but seeing it with my own eyes even from afar, seems to make everything real for me. Learning about it in history books is one thing but seeing it with my own eyes is something else altogether. I felt that I am one step closer to knowing our Prophet(s) personally and that I have conquered the impossible. Even though Prophet(s) passed away before our time but somehow seeing Hira’ Cave made his spirit came alive somehow. I always have trouble connecting with history. I mean, you can’t feel connected to people whom you have never met or known personally but that day, at Hira’ Cave, I finally felt connected.
After we have taken our fill of the view, we started our journey down. Going down was easier somehow and it was faster but we had to be careful as one false move, we could be tumbling down rocky terrain. Oh, did I mention the monkeys? You must also watch out for wild monkeys as they can be a little bit rowdy and they do bite. If you want to take pictures of them, make sure you stand quite a distance away, otherwise you might find one of them running away with your camera and never to be seen ever again.
For those who are planning to perform umra or hajj in the near future, I would strongly suggest that you climb up Jabal Nur and I assure you that you will not be disappointed. For both sister R and myself, we are contented....next expedition...Thur cave, insyaAllah....