Tuesday 16th December,2008

The group went to Jabal al-Nur today. I wasn’t feeling well but I felt I had to go – after all, this is where it all began.  Three minutes into the climb, I wondered if it was wise to go. The slope was almost vertical and I was feeling ill still—cold, flu and sore throat.

But I steeled myself. I had to make it. Rasheeda wasn’t going on this trip—she was going on an Umrah.

I looked at the top and decided to take  the straight line between the two points. The well worn pathway was winding. On all fours, I began to climb.  There were vendors up there. There were beggars up there . There was even a guy with a camel. I purchased a hot cup of tea.

The slope is very steep. It was littered with discarded snack packs, plastic bottles, styro cups and plates and even faeces. I realized with sadness that many Muslims have lost sense for the sacred - places, people and time.                                                                                                   

 
 View from atop Jabal Nur
Upon reaching the top I enquired of Sheriff the location of the cave. He pointed some distance around a curve.
 
 Scrambling at the entrance of Cave Hira on Jabal Nur
There was a huge, unruly, crowd trying to round the curve. I joined but didn’t stay there long. I decided to try a different route. I dropped some distance from where the crowd gathered. That route was more hazardous because the rocks were sheer and slippery and one slip……

I emerged on one side of the cave. There were people trying to squeeze into a narrow passageway. I stood and watched. I didn’t think it was prudent or polite to go into that crowd. I climbed above, crossed a canvas covered roof and emerged just atop the entrance to the cave. There were just three or four persons at this point, everyone else, about thirty odd, were squeezed in at the entrance, trying to get in. I dared not go.

Contenting myself with some photographs and lamented the state adab amongst  Muslims—their lack of concern for others in their quest to satisfy their own religious fervour – their disregard for the site of the first Revelation for really, the place is a huge dump.

While waiting and watching the mayhem at the mouth of the site of the first Revelation, I saw three baboons. What they eat and how they survive atop that barren hinterland is Allah’s secret. Then, I saw a couple of mountain goats. I took  a couple of photos of these animals.

 
 Baboons near Cave Hira

When I came down from the hill, I felt well—physically, I mean. The fever was gone. Everyone else from our group had gone too as none of them were to be seen. So I traveled back to the hotel on my own. It was easy. I simply took a taxi to the Haram. When I reached there, it was time for Zuhr.

After Zuhr I went to the hotel. I showered. Then news reached me that Rasheeda had gone to perform  an Umrah on behalf of her deceased father. Bless her! Feeling much better too,  I decided as well to go for an Umrah  on behalf of my deceased father.

That Umrah was extremely fulfilling. At times during the Tawaf, I became very emotional and was filled with gratitude to Allah for the parents with whom He blessed me.  It was they who planted the seed of love for Allah in my heart, nurtured it to the best of their ability and if today that flame of love for Allah and Islam and the Messenger Muhammad (SAW) is burning passionately within the sinews of my muscles, my heart, my head, then, I must be grateful to my parents.  I completed the Umrah at 7.00 p.m. but couldn’t get a shave until after Isha.

Tonight at a group meeting to announce the plan for our visit to Madina, I received a call from someone in another Hajj group, Omar Mohammed’s. Haziroon Mohammed, a pilgrim, and a member of our Caroni Jamaah, wanted to meet with Rasheeda. At 10.00 p.m. Rasheeda and I left for the Haram, where we were to meet with Haziroon and others from that group.  To cut a long story short, we were unable to meet anyone. We returned to the hotel at 1.00 a.m.