Episode 26: The Cave of Hira
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
This session discusses the background to the momentous occasion of the beginning of revelation. It was a pivotal moment in human history: people had long been entrenched in darkness, as there had been 600 years since revelation had come to man.
In the months prior to revelation, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was nearing 40 years old. He had been reflecting on the immoral nature of society, and took time out to reflect on these issues. To do this, he would often go alone to the mountains, and frequent the cave of Hira on Mount Noor. The cave has enough room for 2 people to stand at most, and narrows at the end. There are openings at both ends, which provided good ventilation. Looking through one opening, the Ka’ba was visible in the distance. Here, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) found quiet, peace and serenity to contemplate life in isolation: this practice is known as at-Tahannuth. The first time he spent a prolonged period at Hira was during Ramadan: he would take food supplies with him so he could spend days there. There is speculation about the specifics of what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would do i.e. what was his form of praying, what was he actually reflecting on? Allah inspired that desire for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to go into isolation and reflect, to prepare his heart for revelation.
Similarly today, we should observe etiquettes when we make preparations to face Allah in worship, such as during salah and reciting the Quran e.g. by paying full attention to worship, purifying oneself with wudu, and facing the Kiblah.