There is Persian verse, "Do not eat halva alone. Dry bread you may eat alone, but when you make halva, call a friend". The first person whom Muhammad wanted to share his experience with was his wife Khadijah. He said to her, "Come with me to the mountains". He also took his cousin 'Ali with him, and he and Khadijah experienced the wonder of nature too. It was not that Muhammad took them from their religion; it was the generous mind that wished to share with others. He wanted them also to experience the joy he esteemed best. It was not that he converted them from their idol worship, but seeing them astray he took their hands to lead them the right way. He taught them to worship the living God with all the bows they had made before their idols.
It was the completion of religion that was to manifest: that man should worship the God within, the God who sees with our eyes, who hears with our ears, who experiences as the plants, as the rocks - that man should no longer worship the images nor the pictures - nor worship with the priest pretending to teach this belief and that belief - not with a voice calling, "Come to this church, or to that place". In the desert, on the sea, in the forest, wherever he has time, without intermediary, he himself should worship and recognize God. There began to be a great opposition among the people of Mecca, because one thought, "The temple that my father in law keeps will be done away". Another thought, "The temple that my sister's husband keeps will not exist any more". All such worldly thoughts came to their minds, and they made a great opposition to Muhammad. Abu Talib and Khadijah by their influence kept the opposition down but the poorer disciples who came to Muhammad were much more persecuted than they were.
Then his beloved wife Khadijah died. Muhammad had already lost two sons, and his uncle Abu Talib also died For his grateful heart the loss of his uncle who had brought him up was a first great blow. Then the death of his wife was a very great grief. Next to a mother's and parent's care, if there was any comfort in his life, it was owing to his wife whose devotion and care were very great.
His marriage had brought him the repose and exemption from daily toil which he needed in order to prepare his mind for his great work. But beyond that it gave him a loving woman's heart that was the first to believe in his mission, that was ever ready to console him in his despair and to share his responsibilities, keeping alive within him the thin flickering flame of hope, when no man - not even himself - believed in him, and the world was black before his eyes.
People have often blamed the Muslim religion, saying that it has taken away woman's freedom. If one reads the life of Khadijah one will see how she was honoured. Muhammad would never eat without her, he would never drink without her, he would never go anywhere without her. When she came into the room he would get up from his seat and say, "My queen, this is your seat". Such respect he gave her.
Her devotion was very great. When Muhammad did not believe in himself, she said, "Why should you not be chosen ? I bear witness that you are a righteous man, that there is none other like you. Why should you not take God's message ? I believe that you are the man". She accepted and believed in her husband's thought to which he himself was as yet in doubt, confirming it to him and preferring it to her ancestors' belief. By her braveness she gave him great encouragement. For her Allah says in the Qur'an, "We comforted him through her when he returned to her" - for she raised him up again and made his burden lighter for him, assuring him of her own faith in him and presenting to him the futility and uselessness of men's babble. She was the first Muslim. All the credit goes first to her - and from one woman to the whole world. It is a great sign of his worthiness that those who knew Muhammad best, his own family, believed him worthy, and especially his wife. In the relation of husband and wife all the faults, all the defects are known. If there had been the least doubt in Khadiyah's mind whether he was deserving, she would not have been his first disciple, she would not have been his first adviser and consoler. Many are great outside who in their own village are nothing, because there their faults are known.
Muhammad was in great grief. For days he would weep, calling her name. The only thing that consoled him was the word from within, whispered by the lips of his heart, "Thou art the man, thou art the warner, thou art the reformer
It was very hard for his disciples to keep him cheerful and happy as he was before. They were such faithful disciples. They surrounded him, and wherever there might be any danger they would run before him, thinking, "May we be killed and not he", thinking that to give their lives in the cause of truth was happiness.
After Khadijah 'Ali was the next disciple of Muhammad; he was not only his cousin but was almost adopted by him. Muhammad opened his soul first to those who were so closely attached to him. He took them sometimes with him to Ghare-e-Hira and had them join in his prayer held in the solitude to the living God. Muhammad's uncle, Abu Talib who had brought him up, had said to him, "I do not know much about religion, but I know that you are a righteous man. I entrust my son 'Ali to you, and I am sure that you will guide him well". So Muhammad took 'Ali into his guidance, and sometimes left him in the mountains for days. There mysticism was taught to him, the science of breath was taught to him, Sufism was taught to him. __
Muhammad went and spoke on Mount Safa. The Sufis who were there were his first disciples. They were philosophers, metaphysicians, they were ascetics, they were not idol worshippers.
Then the religion of Muhammad appealed to some souls which were ready for it, the first among them Zaid and Abu Bakr, a prominent man among the Quraish, the possessor of great wealth, a man with clear conception and right judgment, who showed in bis Khilafat great energy together with prudence and honesty. His unhesitatingly adopting the new faith was itself the proof of his being much more evolved than his opposing brothers.
Othman followed him, who was a man of letters, which was hard to be found in those days, especially in Arabia. He was of great assistance in recording the surahs of the Qur'an whenever revealed. He was the third Khalif after Abu Bakr. Then came Abd'ul Rahman, then Sad, the conqueror of Persia in his later days and Zubair. These were the first disciples who were blessed by an initiation taken in the hand of Muhammad.
Once 'Umar, an enemy, prepared a poisoned sword, as they used to do then, and went to kill Muhammad. On his way he was told that his sister had become a follower of Muhammad, and he determined to kill her first. He went to her house, and found her reading the Qur'an. She said to him, "I do not fear you, nor your big voice, nor your sword, nor your terrible looks. Since I have learned the truth I fear God and I fear no one else". 'Umar said, " You speak much of truth. If that is the truth, read it to me". She read from the Qur'an. 'Umar was melted, his heart was moved. He had feeling in him, and that feeling was melted. With his sword in his hand he went to Muhammad and said, "I have started with the intention to kill you. I have been so much against you, but I have understood the truth. Do kill me". Do you think that Muhammad, who was forgiving to all, to his bitterest enemies, could kill him ? He at once embraced him, saying, "My brother, I am glad that thou art come to be my disciple".
A few more followed him from the humbler walks of life. The predestined purpose of Muhammad's life showed its promising character even in its small beginning. First his wife and cousin to become his followers, who were close enough to him to see his merits as well as his faults, who would have seen if there appeared the least little thing in his life that might take away their faith in him as a prophet inspired of God. Then although few, but the most intelligent in the land at the time adopted his religion first. They were among his friends and saw him in every capacity of life. If they had the least cause to doubt his prophetship they had without any doubt left him. This was a great testimony to his prophetic bliss and, however small, a hopeful foundation, which in the end fulfilled the promise of God to his ancestor Abraham :
"As for Ishmael, I have heard thee.