The road to Hira Cave

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I recalled the moment of climbing a certain mountain named Jabal Nur (The Mountain of Light) with some pilgrims. Our journey started from the taxi stand in front of Al-Masa’ Hotel where a friendly Arabic elder approved our offer. For ten Saudi Real per person, the Sheikh was willing to take us to the foot of the mountain and wait until we returned. So we set out to use his white GMC.

Despite his advanced age, the white bearded sheikh whose face is full of wrinkles here and there turned out to be blessed with a cheerful nature. He was driving while telling stories that occasionally interspersed with laughter. Above the gray dashboard is a brown wooden stick.

After passing the Aisha Mosque our car drove out of Mecca until arrived at a suburb dominated by white box houses. Its narrow and uphill road reminds me of Rio de Janeiro Brazil. In the middle of the road we encountered a red taxi driven by a dark-skinned Indian man. The two cars passed and stopped next to each other. The sheikh said a cheerful greeting warmly welcomed by the Indian. Both spoke for a moment like a close friend. They laughed and then suddenly the sheikh reached for his wooden stick and bolted the head of the Indian. They both laughed again, said their greetings, then went back on their way.

We entered the village deeper and the streets were getting uphill. So steep and high rise until a person who rolled down most likely got a souvenir of great bruises all over the body. Even the speed of our GMC is somewhat stagnant until the sheikh must press the gas firmly in a neutral position before entering the first gear. He does it with a passionate eye until I’m sure this guy is fit to be given a role in The fast and the furious. After struggling to climb we finally arrived at a T-junction surrounded by houses and grocery stores. The sheikh explained this is the farthest limit the car can go and we have to travel on foot. He promised to wait there and he was the one who kept his promise.

The by-foot journey begins from the shops that continue until the mountain foot. There we find groups after group of people from various countries who are about ascending or just descending. We climbed the ladder steps so high for an hour. Walking while chatting helped to forget the fatigue until we were not aware that we were at a thrilling height. The houses looked small and the people at the foot of the mountain began to look no further than the dots. The wind is getting tighter and cooler until the journey becomes more exciting.

The higher we climb, the more often we meet the Afghan or Pakistani men sitting on the stairs asking for donations. In front of them was a small bag of cement complete with a spoon. They patch the holes in the ladder independently and expect the faithful brothers for their services. Alhamdulillah Allah gave us something to share.

When the legs begun to stiffen we stopped at a coffee shop that the wall is nothing more than a perforated wire and of hole-fully zinc roof. While the pilgrims order coffee or instant noodles, I sat on an old couch filled with holes as if involved in a shoot-out. An old golden prayer rug overlaid towards the qibla and anyone who wants to pray is welcome. I had time to think why this building is dilapidated? Hollow roof and walls of all holes. Soon the question was answered. A strong wind blows the zinc-brown color and produces an awkward symphony of “ting tang ting tang.” The roof waggles but alhamdulillah not to let loose. The gusts of wind also blew us until the veils of the women were almost loose. Now I just understand the function of the holes. Had the wind not been given a way out through the holes before then maybe stalls and all its contents will be slammed down from this high mountain.

The journey went on and this time on the right side we looked a bunch of gray baboons for toddlers. Some of them eat peanuts and others drink canned drinks. “Kyaaaaaa ….” came the scream of a woman. It turned out that one of my worshipers was disturbed by the baboons who tugged at his clothes. The new baboon is willing to leave after being given a can of cold drinks.

We continue walking until finally arrived at the top of the hill. All of us was tired but satisfied because the journey is completed. After taking a snapshot we went to Hira cave which before the decline of revelation used by the prophet as a place to uzlah or alienated from the morality decline of Quraysh society. He frequent to uzlah since three years before appointed as prophet. On the night of the 21st of Ramadan, the prophet was struck by the arrival of a strange figure who ordered him to read, “Iqro’ ya Muhammad! Read O Muhammad! “Commanded by strange figure that was none other than Angel Gabriel.

The frightened prophet replied, “I am a man who can not read (iliterated).” Then Gabriel embraced him until he was exhausted. It repeated three times until finally Gabriel read Al-Alaq verses 1-5. What the prophet had to do is only repeating the Gabriel chant. These were the first verses of the Qur’an which came down and it was through this event that he was made an apostle.

To go to Hira Cave we have to pass through a narrow gap in the middle there is a large rock. It takes patience and flexibility to get through it. “Oh I’m not fit.” One of my chubby pilgrims was stuck between the rocks and had to be pushed by his comrades. While the lady was pinched, a little girl slipped in agile as an parkour expert.

Alhamdulillah after going through these difficulties we arrived at Hira Cave. Not large in size, inside this cave there is a window-like slit that gives clear view to the city of Mecca. There are also two stones that can be used as a seat. People were lining up to enter the cave either for a picture or prayer. I myself do not recommend the pilgrims to pray there because there is no virtue, except when the obligatory time of prayer has arrived and we have no other place to do it.

Although there is no special worship that is recommended to be done in Jabal Nur but there is a hadith that tells of a magical event that occurred on this mountain. At that time the Messenger of Allah was standing there with Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talha bin Ubaidillah, and Zubair bin Awwam; then the mountain moves. The prophet said to it,

اهْدَأْ! فَمَا عَلَيْكَ إَلَّا نَبِيٌ أَوْ صِدِّيْقً أَوْ شَهِيْدٌ

“At ease! Above you are none but a Prophet or a shiddiq (the trustworthy and loyal) or a martyr.”[1]

Then it is true what the Prophet said to the mountain. Abu Bakr was a shiddiq or who justified his apostles without any hesitation. He is the most beloved of the Messenger of Allah. Then there was Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talha, and Zubair who all died as martyrs.

[1] [1] Narrated by Muslim (no. 2417) and Ahmad (volume 2 page. 419).

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