This cave is the sanctum of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the place of His devotions and meditations, and the sacred spot where the Qur’an began to be revealed. The cave is situated on Jabal An-Nur (the Mountain of Light) on the way to Mina, only 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Makkah. It is a small cave 4 yards (3.7 meters) long and 1.75 yards (1.6 meters) wide. The mountain’s peak is visible from a great distance.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was nearly 40 years old, he had been accustomed to passing long hours in retirement, meditating and speculating over all aspects of creation around him. This meditative temperament helped to widen the mental gap between him and his compatriots. He used to provide himself with sawiq (barley porridge) and water and then directly head for the hills and ravines in the neighborhood of Makkah. One of these in particular was his favorite resort: a cave named Hira’. He would always go there and invite wayfarers to share with him his modest provision. He used to devote most of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on the universe around him.
In Ramadan, in his third year of solitude in the cave of Hira’, Allah’s will desired His mercy to flow on earth: Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was honored with prophethood, and the light of Revelation burst upon him with some verses of the Noble Qur’an, the first five verses of Surat Al-`Alaq.
Based on Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, by Safiyyur-Rahman al-Mubarakfuri.