the messenger of allah pbuh was appointed to prophethood at the age of forty, which is the age of complete maturity. the angel appeared to him in the caveof hiraa'on monday, the 17th of ramadhan. when revelation descended on him, it was very difficult for him; his face changed and his forehead perspired.
when the angel, jibreel , first came to him, he told him, "recite." he pbuh replied,"i am not one who can recite." the angel then pressed him hard and said, "recite."
he pbuh said, "i am not one who can recite." this took place three times until he said,
"recite in the name of your lord who created - created man from a clinging clot. recite, and your lord is most generous, who taught by the pen - taught man that which he knew not."(96:1-5)
the messenger pbuh returned to khadijah, trembling, and told her what he had seen. she reassured him, saying, "glad tidings, for by allah, allah will never humiliate you. you keep ties of relationship, speak the truth, bear the burden of the weak, help the needy, provide for the guest and assist those afflicted by calamity."
then she took him to her cousin, waraqah ibn nawfal. he had become a christian in the pre-islamic period and used to write scripture in hebrew. he had written part of the gospel in arabic – as much as allah the almighty willed him to write, and was an old man who had become blind. khadijah said to him, "o my cousin, listen to your nephew." waraqah asked, "o nephew, what have you seen?" so the prophet pbuh informed him of what he had seen. waraqah said, "that is the angel allah sent to moses. if only i was younger and could be alive when your people drive you out." he asked, "will they drive me out?" "yes", replied waraqah, "for no man has ever come with anything like what you have brought but that he was harmed. if i should live to see that day, i will support you vigorously." but he died shortly thereafter.
after that there was a pause in the revelation. the messenger of allah pbuh remained as long as allah willed without experiencing anything, and he pbuh became depressed and longed for it to descend once again.
then the angel appeared to him seated on a chair between the heaven and the earth. he encouraged him and assured him that he was truly the messenger of allah. but he rbuh was frightened, and upon returning to khadijah, said,"wrap me up." then allah revealed:
o you who covers himself, arise and warn. and your lord glorify, and your clothing purify, and contamination avoid. (74:1-5)
allah the almighty ordered him in these verses to warn his people, invite them to allah and to purify himself from misdeeds.
the prophet pbuh prepared himself to carry this great responsibility, for he now knew that he was really the messenger of allah. he pbuh obeyed his lord to the utmost degree inviting everyone to allah – the young and old, the free man and the slave, the male and the female, the black and the white. from every tribe some people responded, those whom allah had willed to be successful in this life and the hereafter. they entered islam based on enlightenment and vision, but the weak-minded of makkah began to abuse and harm them. allah protected the messenger of allah through his uncle, abu talib, who was honoured and obeyed among the quraysh. they dared not upset him by harming the prophet since they knew of his love for him. besides, he adhered to their religion, which made them tolerant of him and not openly hostile.
ibn al-jawzi wrote: the prophet rbuh continued for three years concealing his da`wah; then allah revealed to him: declare what you are commanded (15:94)
so, he pbuh announced it openly. after allah the almighty revealed:
and warnyour closest kindred (26:214)
the messenger of allah pbuh went out, ascended the hill of safa and shouted to get their attention. the people asked, "who is that shouting?" they were told it was muhammad. they assembled before him and he pbuh said,
"if i was to inform you that horsemen were in the valley behind this hill ready to attack you, would you believe me?"
they said, "yes, for we have never known you to lie". he pbuh said, "indeed, i am a warner to you of a severe punishment."
but his uncle, abu lahab, replied, "may you be ruined for the rest of the day. is this what you gathered us for?" and got up.thereupon allah revealed:
may the hands of abulahab be ruined, and ruined is he (111:1) - to the end of the surah.(al-bukhari and muslim)