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On the Wings of an Angel

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The horizons to which Jibril's wings stretched.

JABL NUR – the Mount of Light on which the Rasullulah (SAW) received his first Revelation on 27 Ramadan – is a sweaty climb for the modern pilgrim. For the hardy Arabs of the pre-Islamic Hijaz, it was a gentle walk.

Before Islam, Ramadan was not a holy month. But it was when the Quraish would practice tahannuth, a spiritual retreat. The Makkan patriarch, Abdul Muttalib, used to practice tahannuth. It is presumed that his grandson, Muhammad (SAW), learnt it from him.

Climbing this noble mountain in the early dawn light there is a breathless silence that blankets the landscape. It’s this awe-inspiring emptiness that was the grist for Islam’s first words.

As one stands on Jabl Nur’s topmost peak, the grand design becomes apparent. Below, the Cave of Hira – where the Prophet (SAW) would seclude himself – seems to have been the result of the mountain praying:

“O Allah, one day I will host a great Prophet. Please Allah; allow my rocks to crack open and shelter him.”

So merciful was this “natural” occurrence that one rock fell to provide a bench, upon which the Prophet (SAW) must have sat.

As the vista lightens, and the sun rises over Makkah’s wrinkled peaks and valleys, the enormity of the first Revelation takes shape. One can see from horizon to horizon, and it’s to these horizons that Jibril’s wings extended when he showed himself to the Prophet (SAW).

It’s a truly enchanting moment, when the pilgrim – rewarded for his effort – feels as if he’s sitting on the wings of an Angel.


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