Hira (Arabic: حراء Ḥirāʾ ) or the Cave of Hira (غار حراء Ġār Ḥirāʾ ) is a talus cave about 3 kilometres (2 mi) from Mecca, on the mountain named Jabal al-Nour in the Hejaz region of present-day Saudi Arabia.
It is notable for being the location where Muslims believe Muhammad received his first revelations from God through the angel Jebril (Arabic: جِبرِيل ) (alternatively spelled Jabraeel, جبرائيل , as is pronounced in certain Quran recitation schools and some Arab tribes). To Christians, Jebril is known as Gabriel and to Jews as Gavri'el.
Taking 600 steps to reach, the cave itself is about 3.7 m (12 ft) in length and 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in) in width. The cave is situated at a height of 270 m (890 ft). During the Hajj season an estimated five thousand visitors climb to the Cave of Hira daily to see the place where Muhammad is believed to have received the first revelation of the Quran on the Night of Power. The majority of Muslims do not consider visiting the cave as an integral part of the Hajj. Nonetheless many visit it for reasons of personal pleasure and spirituality, and though some consider it a place of worship, this view conflicts with Salafist interpretations of Islamic ritual. While the Cave of Hira plays an important role in the Al-sīra (prophetic biography) it is not considered as holy as the other sites in Mecca (for example, the Masjid Al-Haram) and so under most interpretations of Islam, the same reward is received for praying here as any other place in Mecca.
- In pictures: Hajj preparations Pictures #4 and #5 are of Jabal an-Nūr and the Hira cave.
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