Umrah and Holy Break 2012 – Part 2 Jabal Al Nour

One fine morning on our third day in Mecca, we went to Jabal an-Nour (also Jabal an-Nur or Jabal Nur). Jabal Al Nour meaning “The Mountain of Light” has been so called because the first “light” of Muhammad’s message, Islam, was here.  It houses the Hira cave where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is said to have received his first revelation from Allah through the angel Gabriel. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to climb it a lot before getting his first revelation and loved to stay in the cave for long.

Hiring a taxi from near Abraj Al Bait Complex for 30 SAR we were driven to the mountain, located about 5.3km straight line northeast of Masjid Al Haram (coordinate: 21° 27′ 27.2″ N, 39° 51′ 33.9″ E – start of Hira Cave trail)

Our taxi driver dropped us at roadside at the mouth of small road leading to start of Hira cave trail. Cars can actually be driven up to this start but with steep inclining road at the end and narrow U-turn space, many don’t give a chance to drive up to here.

Jabal Al Nour

When we arrived there, many, mainly from Turkey, have started their hiking. From our drop off point to the start of Hira cave trail is about 400m. Though it seems a short distance – (think about width of Doha’s Landmark Mall – it gives a shock warm up to our rarely-exercising body from its 45-degree inclining asphalted road). Meanwhile as we climbed up, brown-orangish standalone giant rock, Jabal Al Nour, gives us a blocking view of challenging trail in advance. Can we?

To reach Hira Cave, climber actually only needs to take 600 steps. But with the cave is at a height of 270 m  this is a test of determination. During our hiking, we were accompanied by many old Turkish women and men. While we frequently needs to make a brief stop …age doesn’t lie J….they were so determined to reach the peak and gave their support to us. I must admit their determination to go up to the peak. As my friend puts it, it’s because of here (he signals his hand to his heart), not age or strength.

600 steps to go!
It's because of determination

Hira cave trail has been facilitated with wide cemented steps and several rest areas along its 1.2km (perhaps) long trails only. Some rest areas (with simple shade or roof, and seating) are even big enough for more than tens of climbers. Don’t worry much about water as these rest areas sell drinks and light snacks! (bring yours as required though, just in case)

Half-way the trail we were greeted by a group of monkeys making some noises and eagerly expect something from climbers. Also, don’t be surprised with some people make a living by as if he made a repair on cemented steps or just simply lying on the ground asking for people generosity. One thing that disappointing me is trashes scattered around many places.

Long time residents of Jabal Nour
I don't know what it means; graffiti is unfortunately every where on Jabal Al Nour
115 meters more....
Pilgrims, Clock Tower, and Rock

As we climb up trail become less steep and even flat, giving us a quite pleasure walk. When you reach a big rest area with its small cafeteria then you are almost there. Hira Cave is concealed on the other side of the hill, about 5 meters from the peak and behind two big and deep rocks. Measuring only 3.7m in length and 1.6m in width, the cavity is formed by stacking of three big rock plates. Access to cave can be either from very narrow passage shortcut to the cave entrance (that only thin person can pass through) or from edges of big rock to the top of cave.

Hira Cave from above
One of the accesses to Hira cave is through this very narrow rock gap
In front of Hira cave
With strong old women from Turkey

Hira cave should be able to reach within 30-60 minutes.

Unlike climbing up, the walk down the hill is an enjoyable one. We jokingly gave ascending climber a warm support  ‘Keep it up! Keep it up!

On the way down; that big white stuff is a large rest area

Visiting Hira cave indeed a unique experience. Muslim can reflect how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s seeking of Allah, how great is support from Prophet’s wife Khadija and all hardships they faced.