4.3 Desires for Seclusion
At first Mohamed took over Khadija's trade. He was very successful but he longed to be alone, to think, to reflect, to contemplate. Trade was only a duty to him and the substantial profit that he made was of no interest to him. Khadija, ever sympathetic and understanding, could perceive that his heart was not in it and so she relieved him from his duties in order to give him the leisure he longed for. At last he had the liberty to go up alone to the mountains to reflect and worship. In the heights of the mountain of Hira there was a cave where he would go and spend the whole month of Ramadan every year.
This was not something peculiar to Mohamed. It was an ancient custom of the Arabs, a custom they had practiced since the days of Abraham when their religion, the religion of Abraham and Ishmael, was the pure worship of Allah alone. The years and the frailty of human memory and human nature had corrupted their religion, little by little, until it had become the base worship of stone idols, but, even so, they still retained some of the rites and customs of Abraham.
This custom suited Mohamed's reflective nature. Up in the cave of Hira he would forget everything and think only of the Great Power that seemed to be guiding him to Itself, the Truth hidden behind the veils of material existence. He used to forget himself, to forget to eat and drink, and after such periods of worship and contemplation he used to return so thin that Khadija grew concerned about him.