Before being appointed a Messenger of God, the Messenger Muhammad would spend time in the Cave of Hira in one of the mountains of Mecca. He would go there to think about God feeling repulsed by the pagan rituals and practices of his people. It was at this time that God sent to him the angel Gabriel with the first words of the Quran, “Read! In the name of your Lord who created.” [96:1]
From that moment on, the angel Gabriel would come periodically to the Messenger Muhammad bringing revelation, comforting him, bringing him assistance and teaching him what he needed to know. The Messenger Muhammad informed us that Gabriel would come every Ramadan and revise the Quran with him, and he did this twice in the final Ramadan the Messenger Muhammad witnessed.
Gabriel would teach him things like the timings of the five prescribed ritual devotions. Gabriel accompanied the Messenger Muhammad on the Night Journey to Jerusalem and the heavens and was present during the first battle in Islam, Badr with an army of angels. Gabriel would sometimes come and bring him glad tidings for some of his followers. He brought God’s blessings for the Messenger Muhammad’s first wife Khadijah.
On one occasion the Messenger Muhammad was crying. Gabriel came on the instruction of God and asked him what made him cry. The Messenger Muhammad replied that he was afraid for his followers. God commanded Gabriel to go to the Messenger Muhammad and inform him that he would be pleased with regards to his followers.
Thus, Gabriel has a special place in our religion as God says, “Say, ‘If anyone is an enemy of Gabriel – who by God’s leave brought down the Quran to your heart confirming previous scriptures as a guide and good news for the faithful. If anyone is an enemy of God, His angels and His messengers, of Gabriel and Michael, then God is certainly the enemy of such disbelievers.” [2:97-98]