Life in Makkah
In the Cave of Hira
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ accustomed to pass long hours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects of creation around him. He used to provide himself with Saweeg (barley porridge) and water and then directly head for the hills and ravines in the neighborhood of Makkah. One of these in particular was his favorite resort – a cave named Hira’, in the Mount An-Noor. It was only two miles from Makkah, a small cave 4 arm’s-length long by 1.75 arm’s-length wide. He would always go there and feed any poor people who came to him. He used to devote most of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on the universe around him. This seclusion attended with this sort of reflective approach must be understood in its Divine perspective.
 şee the basic story in Sahih Al-Bukhari no. 3, and Ibn Hisham 1/235-236.
Gabriel AlahisSalam brings down the Revelation
When he was forty, the peak of one’s life – and they say it is the age when Prophets were always ordered to disclose their Message . The stones in Makkah would greet him with Salam. He would not have dream except that it would become reality, as clear as dawn.The light of Revelation burst upon Prophet ﷺ with some Verses of the Noble Qur’ân.
At this stage, Prophet ﷺ came back to his wife Khadijah Radiallahu anhoo, and said, “Cover me, … cover me.” They covered him . He informed Khadijah Radiallahu anhoo of the incident of the cave . His wife tried to soothe him and reassured him saying, “Allâh will never disgrace you. You bear the burden of the weak; you help the poor and the needy, you entertain the guests and endure hardships in the path of truthfulness.” She set out with the Prophet to her cousin Waraqah bin Nawfal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul-‘Uzza, who had embraced Christianity in the pre-Islamic period, and used to write the Hebrew Scriptures and he would write from the Injeel in Hebrew what Allâh willed for him to write. He was an old blind man. Khadijah Radiallahu anhoo said, “My cousin! Listen to your nephew!” Waraqah said. “O my nephew! What did you see?” Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ told him what happened to him. Waraqah replied, “This is ‘Namus. i.e.. (the angel who is entrusted with Divine Secrets) that Allâh sent to Moses. I wish I were younger. I wish I could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” “Anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility: and if I should be alive till that day, then I would support you strongly.” A few days later Waraqah died.
Some details pertinent to the successive stages of Revelation
Ibn AlQaiyim, mentioning the stages of the Revelation
The First: The period of true vision. It was the starting point of the Revelation to Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ
The Second: What the angel invisibly cast in the Prophet’s mind and heart, without being seen. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ said: “The Noble Spirit revealed to me, ‘No soul will perish until it exhausts its due course, so fear Allâh and gently request Him. Never get impatient to the point of disobedience of Allâh. What Allâh has can never be acquired but through obedience to Him.””
The Third: The angel used to visit Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ in the form of a human being and would speak to him directly. This would enable him to fully understand what the angel said. The angel was sometimes seen in this form by the Prophet’s Companions
The Fourth: The angel came to him like the toll of a bell and this was the most difficult form because the angel used to seize him firmly and sweat would stream from his forehead even on the coldest day. If the Prophet ﷺ was on his camel, the camel would not withstand the weight, so it would immediately kneel down on the ground. Once the Prophetﷺ had such a revelation when he was sitting and his thigh was on Zaid’s thigh, Zaid felt the pressure had almost injured his thigh.
The Fifth: The Prophet ﷺ saw the angel in his actual form. The angel would reveal to him what Alláh had ordered him to reveal This. as mentioned in (Qur’an), in Surat An-Najm (Chapter 53 – The Star), happened twice.
The Sixth: What Allah Himself revealed to him in heaven, i.e. when he ascended to heaven and received Alláh’s Order for Salat (prayer).
The Seventh: Allah’s Words to His Messenger at first hand without the mediation of an angel. It was a privilege granted to Moses a and clearly attested in the Qur’an, as it is attested to our Prophet ﷺ me in the Surat Al-Isra’ (Chapter 17 – The Journey by Night) of the Noble Qur’an.
Some religious scholars added a eighth stage in which they state that Alláh spoke to the Prophet ﷺ directly without a curtain in between.