Cave Hira

A cave in Mount Hira (near Mecca) is the location where the Prophet Muhammad received his revelations from Allah through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad lived in this cave while he received messages from God and therefore refrained from leaving for prolonged periods of time. Muhammad resided here to meditate and contemplate his life and the world around him. He was 40 years old. At this period of his life, solitude became dear to him, and he used to withdraw into seclusion into the cave of Mount Hira and there apply himself to ardent devotions consisting of long vigils and prayers. One night during the last third of the month of Ramadan, the archangel Gabriel revealed on Allah’s command the first revelation of the Qur’an. Also known as the Angel of Revelation, Gabriel suddenly appeared to him and said, “Read!” Muhammad at first thought that he was expected to read actual script, which, being illiterate, he was unable to do, so he answered, “I cannot read”. But the angel said a second time, “Read!”; and again Muhammad replied, “I cannot read”. At this Gabriel (paraphrasing the Prophet)“…seized and pressed me to himself until all strength went out of me. ‘Read!’ the awesome voice commanded again; then he released me…” and Muhammad then received the first lines of the Qur’an and understood, in sudden illumination, how he was called upon to “read”, that is, to receive and understand, God’s message to man.