For the first three years, the Prophet preached to his family and his intimate friends. First among the converts were his wife Khadijah, his first cousin Ali, his old friend Abu Bakr and his slave Zaid bin Haaris.
The mission of Prophet Mohammad (saws) was to restore the worship of the One True God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, as taught by Prophet Ibrahim and all Prophets of God.
In a following revelation, the Prophet was directed to start preaching Islam to everyone. He then began to recite revelations to people in public and invited them to Islam. Forty people (men and women) accepted Islam in the first three years of his preaching.
The leaders of Makkah, took his preaching with hostility. The most hostile to the prophet were Abu Lahab, his wife and Umar bin Hassham (Abu Jahel). Initially the leaders tried to bribe Mohammad (saws) with wealth and power including an offer to make him king in return for abandoning his message. They had also convinced his uncle Abu Talib to persuade the Prophet to stop preaching but the Prophet said: "If they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left to stop me from preaching Islam, I would never stop. I will keep preaching until Allah makes Islam prevail or I die."
When their efforts went in vain the Quraish began to persecute Muslims with physical abuse and torture. Even the Prophet was publicly ridiculed and humiliated .They were frequently throwing filth at him while he prayed in the Ka’bah. Despite all these difficulties the Islamic belief kept all Muslims firm on the religion of Islam.
When the persecution became unbearable for most Muslims, the Prophet advised few of them to emigrate to Abyssinia. It was a country situated south of Saudi Arabia which was under the control of Ethiopia in 615 AD where King Habash (Negus, a Christian) was the ruler. The King allowed them to stay under his protection inspite of the pressure from Quraish leaders. The emigrants were allowed freedom of worship in Abyssinia.
After the death of Khadijah, who died at the age of sixty-five in the month of Ramadan 620 AD, the Prophet married Saudah (ra) and she was the only wife until he was fifty-six years old. Later he married other women. It should be noted here that the Prophet's Wives are referred to as “ Ummul Momineen (Mothers of the Believers )“
To spread the message further, the Prophet went to Taaef, another city near Mecca but he was flatly refused and the residents made fun of him. Their children threw stones at him inflicting injuries. When he came out of the town, Jibreel (as) appeared along with an angel and said, “This angel can destroy the town if you ask him to do so.” The Prophet declined and said that the next generation at Taaef may accept Islam.
After his visit to Taaef, the Prophet had experienced the event of al-Asraa (al-Meraaj) (621 AD). In the Al-Asraa, Jibreel (as) took the Prophet from the Grand Mosque near Ka’bah to the furthest (al-Aqsa) mosque in Jerusalem in a very short time during the latter part of a night. Here, Prophet Mohammad (saws) met with previous Prophets (Ibrahim, Musa, Isa and others) and led them in a prayer. In Al-Meraj, the Prophet was taken by Hazrat Jibreel up to the heavens to show the signs of Allah. When the two reached near the boundary of Lote trees named as Sidratil Muntaha, Hazrat Jibreel said “ I am not allowed to go beyond this, therefore you must now proceed alone.” The Prophet then viewed many things which no man had seen before. He then had audience with Allah. It was on this journey that five daily Salats (Namaze) were prescribed.