Historical Places in Makkah – Part 1
The history of Makkah dates back to the time of prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, PBUH) who, with the help of his son prophet Ismail (Ishmael PBUH), constructed Kaaba on the commandment of Allah at the location as we see today. It can be said the foundations of this city were laid by descendants of prophet Ismail (PBUH). Since Islam also originated from this city, the land of Makkah has witnessed countless events that changed the course of the history and mankind. I will try to gather some important historical places in this post, which is first part of the series.
Cave Hira on Jabal al-Noor (The Mountain of Light)
In Arabic, Jabal means mountain and Noor means light. This mountain is approximately 10 km away from Masjid ul Haram and houses the famous cave Hira. It is believed that the very first verses of Quran were revealed to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the cave Hira where he used to go for solitary worshiping. The angel Gabriel, on commandment of Allah, revealed the following first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq on prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
“Recite in the name of your Lord who created – Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” (Quran 96:1~5)
Cave Hira is located on opposite of small niche that can be seen on top of Jabal al-Noor in below photo.
At the time of first revelation, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was nearly 40. The complete incident has been summarized in Hadiths (sayings of prophet Muhammad PBUH) as below:
“The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet (pbuh) added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.’ Then Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa ibn Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while.” (copied from wikipedia.com)
I took this photo while climbing on Jabal al-Noor to reach cave Hira. The mountain is around 640m tall and the cave at top of mountain is pretty small, approx 2m wide x 3.5m long.
Meanwhile the view on my back was as in below snap.
A bird eye view of Makkah city from Jabal al-Noor. Although government has carved stairs on mountain to reach the cave Hira yet It takes around 1.5 hours (with some rest) to climb and reach the top.
Cave Thawr on Jabal al-Thawr
In Arabic, Jabal means mountain and Thawr means bull. This mountain is approximately 8 km away from Masjid ul Haram and houses the famous cave Thawr. It is the cave where prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companion Abu-Bakr (RA) took refuge from their persecutors, their own tribe Quraish, during the migration to Madinah. Due to danger, they did not took straight path to Madinah. Instead, they moved in opposite direction and hid in cave Thawr for three days and nights before starting their journey from Makkah to Madinah.
The incident has been described in Quran as follows:
“If you help not (your Leader) (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him; when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion ‘Have no Fear, for Allah is with us’: then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you did not see, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. And it is the word of Allah alone which is supreme. And Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.” (Quran 9:40)
The mountain is approx. 1400m tall. The cave is on opposite side of peak as seen in below snap.
Unlike cave Hira, there are no carved stairs to cave Thawr. Just a walking trail. It could take 2~2.5 hours or even more to reach the cave.
You may not have heard the word “Jinn” before. So first thing first, what is a Jinn exactly? The closest synonym which I found is “Genie”, a supernatural creature. Many of you won’t believe that they exist but these are well-known in Islamic scriptures. Jinns are mentioned in many places in Quran e.g. Allah says regarding prophet Suleiman (prophet Solomon) PBUH:
“And before Suleiman (Solomon) were marshalled his hosts of jinn and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks.” (Quran 27:17)
Even there is a complete Surah in Quran, named Al-Jinn. So there is no doubt about that Jinns do exist though they are invisible to us.
Masjid Jinn, also known as Masjid Haras, is built on the place where the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recited the Quran to the Jinns.
Location & Coordinates
Coordinates of car parking for Cave Hira: 21.454980, 39.861829
Coordinates of car parking for Cave Thawr: 21.386562, 39.847211
Coordinates of Masjid al-Jinn: 21.433826, 39.829244