Jabal al Nour, which can be translated from Arabic to ‘Mountain of Light’ or ‘Hill of Illumination’, is a mountain near Mecca, in Saudi Arabia’s Hejaz region. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mecca, and no trip to the ‘Holy City’ is considered complete without visiting the mountain. The mountain houses the famed Hira cave. The cave is quite small, as is the mountain which is barely six hundred and fifty metres tall. However, they hold tremendous significance for Muslims throughout the world. The Prophet Muhammad used to spend a lot of time in the cave meditating and it is believed that the archangel, Gabriel, first revealed God’s message to him inside this cave.
Since this is where the Prophet received the first verses of the Quran (the Muslim holy book), the mountain was given the title ‘Jabal al Nour’. The exact date of the first revelation has become lost in time, although it is known that it occurred during the latter part of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on what is known as the ‘Night of Power’. It is quite common for those on pilgrimage to stop by the cave to pray. They also visit other nearby landmarks such as Mount Arafat, Jabal Rahma, Muzdalifah, Jabal al Thur and Jannat ul Mualla.
Mecca is home to the Al Masjid Al Haram (the Holy Mosque), which houses the Kaaba. Mecca is the holiest Islamic city, and non-Muslims are strictly forbidden from entering. In fact, there are checkpoints where visitors will have to prove that they are Muslim before they are granted passage into the city. Muslims will have to apply for a special visa to get into the city for pilgrimage. One can find a lot of prayer related items such as prayer mats, prayer beads, hats and perfume on sale. It is possible to bargain for a good price.