The Prophet Muhammad did not start preaching Islam openly very soon. It was a very slow and gradual process. After the first revelation Muhammad said or did nothing apart from sharing his dreadful experience with his wife. He was trembling with fear and Hazrat Khadija comforted him and took him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal. He told Muhammad that he had encountered the one ‘whom Allah had sent to Moses’ and that he would be driven out by his people.
There was a pause for about six months between the first and second revelation. This period is called the ‘fatra’ (the pause). The second message was a verse that marked the beginning of surah Al Mudassir
“O you covered in your cloak,
Arise and warn (the people against Allah’s punishment)
And your Lord Glorify”.(74:1-3)
After this revelation the Prophet began preaching secretly. He started from home and then gradually moved to those people who were closely associated to him. Hazrat Khadija was the first person to embrace Islam, followed by Hazrat Ali, Zaid bin haris and Hazrat Abu Bakr. Soon there were about 40 people who had accepted Islam. The meccan leaders were initially indifferent about the converts but when they found that the Message of the Holy Prophet was spreading and creating a change in the prevalent mentality they became quite apprehensive.
In the third year of Prophethood, Allah commanded the holy prophet with the following message
“”And warn your tribe of near kindred”(26:214)
In obedience to Allah’s command the Prophet gathered all his kinsmen of Banu Hashim and Banu Al Muttalib. He told them about the unity of Allah and that he was sent as a messenger from Allah. The audience was not at all pleased by this message and the opposition started from Abu Lahab (uncle of Prophet Muhammad) who passed some rude statements. Abu Talib another uncle and guardian of the Prophet said
“Do what you have been ordered, i shall protect you but i will not quit the religion of Abdul Mutalib”
The next revelation was
“Then declare what you are commanded and stay away from polytheists” (15:94)
It was after this message that the prophet Muhammad started preaching openly. He gathered the people on the Mount of safa and gave them the Message. He openly discredited practices of idolatry and gave proofs of its falsehood.