According to Islamic scriptures, Jibreel (جبريل Gabriel) is the angel who first appeared to Muhammad in the cave of Hijra and taught Muhammad the Qur'an.
Jibreel, according to the Qur'an
The Qur'anic verses 21:91 and 66:12 in conjunction with the tafsir's, tell us he was sent to breathe Allah's spirit into Maryam's (Mary's) vagina.
[وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَةَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِى أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا
(And Maryam, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity (private part).) meaning, who protected and purified her honor, by being chaste and free of immorality,
[فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا]
(And We breathed into it (private part) through Our Ruh,) meaning, through the angel Jibril. Allah sent the angel Jibril to Maryam, and he came to her in the shape of a man in every respect. Allah commanded him to blow into a gap of her garment and that breath went into her womb through her private part; this is how `Isa was conceived.
Jibreel, according to the Hadith
Gabriel sometimes came to Muhammad in the form of a man.
"...Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says."...
Narrated Abu Huraira:
One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came...
...Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet said, "That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion."...
Sometimes he would appear with six hundred wings.
..."Abdullah (bin Mas'ud) informed us that Muhammad had seen Gabriel with six hundred wings."
During the first revelation, Gabriel was rather forceful with Muhammad and succeeded in terrifying him:
The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read.
The Prophet added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.' Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?' Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, 'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous." (96.1, 96.2, 96.3)
Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me."
Gabriel is the medium through which Allah communicated with Muhammad.
Narrated Said bin Jubair:
...The Statement of Allah: And 'When we have recited it to you (O Muhammad through Gabriel) then you follow its (Qur'an) recital' (75.18) means 'listen to it and be silent.' Then it is for Us (Allah) to make It clear to you' (75.19) means 'Then it is (for Allah) to make you recite it (and its meaning will be clear by itself through your tongue). Afterwards, Allah's Apostle used to listen to Gabriel whenever he came and after his departure he used to recite it as Gabriel had recited it."
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
Allah's Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur'an. Allah's Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).
Gabriel taught Muhammad how to pray.
Narrated Ibn Shihab:
"...Don't you know that once Gabriel came and offered the prayer (Fajr prayer) and Allah's Apostle prayed too, then he prayed again (Zuhr prayer) and so did Allah's Apostle and again he prayed ('Asr prayers and Allah's Apostle did the same; again he prayed (Maghrib-prayer) and so did Allah's Apostle and again prayed ('Isha prayer) and so did Allah's Apostle and (Gabriel) said, 'I was ordered to do so (to demonstrate the prayers prescribed to you)?'"...
According to the Hadith, Gabriel is the reason why Muhammad attacked the Banu Qurayza.
When Allah's Apostle returned on the day (of the battle) of Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench), he put down his arms and took a bath. Then Gabriel whose head was covered with dust, came to him saying, "You have put down your arms! By Allah, I have not put down my arms yet." Allah's Apostle said, "Where (to go now)?" Gabriel said, "This way," pointing towards the tribe of Bani Quraiza. So Allah's Apostle went out towards them.
Gabriel opened Muhammad's chest and washed his innards with Zam-Zam water, and then he took Muhammad to heaven.
Narrated Abu Dhar:
Allah's Apostle said, "While I was at Mecca the roof of my house was opened and Gabriel descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven..."
This page is featured in the core article, People of the Book which serves as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about this topic
- Gabriel - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Gabriel