Mecca is Islam’s holiest city and the area around it abounds with places connected to Islam and to the Prophet Muhammad. Al Nour Mountain or the Mountain of Light to the east of the Ka’aba and just 2 miles out of Mecca, the site of the Hira cave, where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have received the first verses of the Qur’an from the angel Jibreel, is one such place. During Hajj several thousand Muslims a day climb up 270 meters to see the small cave where this important event took place. The prophet is thought to have come to the cave often to contemplate on the ignorance and evil around him. The incident is said to have occurred in 610 CE on what is known as the Night of Power. Although not considered a part of the pilgrimage, many Muslim go up the hill to retrace the steps of the Prophet and out of a deep sense of spirituality.
The mountain appears as a prominent outcrop from the town below and a continuous thin ribbon of white clad figures can be seen scaling its bare rocky side. According to those who have completed the climb, it takes about two and a half hours to get to the cave. However this seems to be a matter of fitness as many people report differing times. According to some only 600 steps are needed to get the cave. This seems to be from the top of the mountain as the cave is in a dip about 50 meters away from the peak on the side not visible during the climb. The views from the top are said to be amazing and the Ka’aba can be seen clearly. The trail though arduous is provided with steps in the steepest part and rest areas with a simple roof and seating are available along the way. There are even monkeys half way up the mountain who eagerly look for handouts from climbers. Access to the cave itself is through a very narrow gap and many won’t be able to fit in there. Drinks and light snacks are available along the route.
In the heart of Islam’s holiest place Raffles Makkah Palace offers easy access to all holy sites in addition to a calm ambience suited to a place of pilgrimage. Take advantage of the Makkah hotels several excellent offers and stay at its well appointed spacious contemporary guest rooms and suites while on pilgrimage or business. Other attractive aspects of this Makkah hotel include restaurants serving a delightful selection of local, Middle Eastern and international cuisines, a spa offering relaxing and invigorating therapies and unparallel access to shopping, the city’s largest prayer hall and other attractions of the Abraj al Bait complex in which the hotel is located.