You may be an atheist or agnostic, or you may belong to any of the religious denominations that exist in the world today. You may have been a Communist or a believer in democracy and freedom. No matter what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs, personal and social habits happen to be – you must know this man!
He (peace be upon him) was by far, the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated countless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings, and he revolutionised the worlds of human thought and human action for all time – in a span of only 23 years.
His name was Muhammad (peace and blessings of the Almighty Creator be upon him), and he accomplished all these wonders between the ages of 40-63 years old.
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Arabia in the year 570 CE, and when he died at the age of 63, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula had changed from paganism and idol worship to the worship of One God; from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion; from drunkenness and corruption to sobriety and piety; from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living; from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or place before or since.
A non-Muslim’s perspective on Muhammad (pbuh)
The Encyclopaedia Britannica calls him “the most successful of all religious personalities of the world.”
Bernard Shaw (playwright) noted, “If Muhammad were alive today, we would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilisation in our times.
“I believe if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring much needed peace and happiness…I have studied him – the man and in my opinion is far from being an anti–Christ. He must be called the Saviour of Humanity.”
Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to “how one man, single handedly, could weld warring tribes and wondering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilised nation in less than two decades.”
He continues, “A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world; the world’s Maker had ordered so.”
Napoleon also expressed his admiration of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
“I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur’an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness.”
Mahatma Gandhi, India’s non-violent revolutionist adds,
“…I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble.”
French writer, Alphonse de Lamartine asks,
“Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”
Michael H. Hart, the author of ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’ ranks Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as number one and the most influential individual in history,
“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.”
His teachings (pbuh) preserved in full detail
The lives and teachings of other great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about their existence, place of their birth, the mode and style of their life, the nature and detail of their teachings and the degree and measure of their success or failure; that it is impossible for humanity today to reconstruct accurately and precisely the lives and teachings of those men.
Not so for this man: Muhammad (pbuh). Every details of his private and public life, his actions and utterances has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticity of the information so preserved is vouched for not only by faithful followers, but also by unbiased critics and open-minded scholars.
At the level of ideas there is no system of thought and belief – secular or religious, social or political – which could surpass or equal Islam – the system which Muhammad (pbuh) propounded.
In a fast-changing world, while other systems have undergone profound transformations, Islam alone has remained above all change and mutation, and retained its original form the past 1400 years. What is more, the positive changes that are taking place in the world of human thought and behaviour truly and consistently reflect the healthy influence of Islam in these areas.
It is not given to the best of thinkers to put their ideas completely into practice, and to see the seeds of their labours grow and bear fruit in their own lifetime. Except of course, Muhammad (pbuh) who not only preached the most wonderful ideas but also successfully translated each of them into practice. His wife, Aisha (peace be upon her_ was once asked to describe the Prophet (pbuh), and she replied that he was ‘the Qur’an walking’, meaning that his behaviour was the Qur’an translated into action.
At the time of the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) death, his teachings were not mere precepts and ideas straining for fulfilment. They had become the very core of the life of tens of thousands of perfectly trained individuals. At what other time or place, and in relation to what other political, social, religious system, philosophy or ideology did the world ever witness such as perfectly amazing phenomenon? Except of course, Islam, which was established as a complete way of life by Muhammad (pbuh) himself.
History bears testimony to this fact and the greatest sceptics have no option but to concede this point.
Humility in spite of greatness
In spite of the phenomenal success which crowned his efforts, he did not for a moment claim to be God or God’s incarnation or Son – but only a human being who was chosen and ordained by the Creator to be teacher of truth to mankind and a complete model and pattern for their actions.
He (pbuh) was a man with a noble and exalted mission – and his unique mission was to teach humanity in the worship of the One and only God and to teach them the way to honest and upright living, in accordance with the laws and commands of God. He always described himself as a Messenger and servant of God, as indeed every single action and movement of his proclaimed to be.
A world which has not hesitated to raise to divinity, individuals whose very lives and missions have been lost in legend and who, historically speaking, did not accomplish half as much – or even one tenth – as was accomplished by Muhammad (pbuh), should stop to take serious note of this remarkable man’s claim to be God’s messenger to mankind.
Today, after the lapse of some 1400 years, the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. Today, they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills which they did when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was alive. This is our honest claim and this is the inescapable conclusion forced upon us by critical and unbiased study of history.
Find out about him!
The least you could do as a thinking, sensitive, concerned human being is to stop for one brief moment and ask yourself:
Could it be that these statements, extraordinary and revolutionary as they sound, are really true? Supposing the really are true, and you did not know this man Muhammad (pbuh), or hear about his teachings? Or you did not know him well and intimately enough to be able to benefit from his guidance and example? Is it not time you responded to this tremendous challenge and made some effort to know him? It will not cost you anything but it may well prove to be the beginning of a completely new era in your life.
Let’s make a new discovery, the life of this wonderful man: Muhammad (pbuh), whose example and teachings can change your life and our world for the better.
‘You must know this man!’ – originally produced by: S. H. Pasha.