A Critical Study of Prophet Muhammed (saw)
Throughout history there hardly has ever be an individual who was roundly successful in both secular and spiritual affairs. It is extremely difficult to project someone whose mission was prophesized long before he was born, attested to while he was alive and left a legacy of complete code of life in all human endeavor other than Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
Prophet Muhammed (saw) was a prophet, a messenger, a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a leader, a statesman, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father and so on. From childhood, through his youth, prophethood until death has been seen by sincere people as honest, merciful, sincere, kind, truthful, trustworthy and humble among others.
Here are the excerpts of what scholars, critical thinkers, orientalists and the like have said about the life of Prophet Muhammed (saw):
Sir George Bernard Shaw said:
“He (Muhammed) 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 numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come”. Shaw concluded that, “I believe that if a man like him were to assume the leadership of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring to this world much needed peace and happiness” (The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, 1936).
Michael H. Hart stated:
“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 religious and secular levels”. Hart concluded that, “It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history”……(The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. Michael H. Hart, Available online).
Lamartine, the famous historian, mentioned:
“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammed ?” He concluded, “As regards all the standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he ?”……(Histoire De La Turqvie, Paris 1854 – Vol. II, pp. 276-277).
Thomas Carlyle stated:
“How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.”….”The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammed) are disgraceful to ourselves only”…….(Heroes and Hero-worship)
The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 12) cited:
“….A mass of detail in the early sources show that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were likewise honest and upright men”…..”Muhammad is the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities”.
Mahatma Gandhi pointed out:
“I became more than 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 (Muhammed), the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission”…..(Young India Newspaper).
Ramakrishna Rao, an Indian Professor of Philosophy, clarified:
“The personality of Muhammad, is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior; Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero”……(Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam)
Wolfgang Goethe, the most famous European poet, believed that:
“He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as a divine law and not as a book of a human being, made for education or entertainment. ” (Noten und Abhandlungen zum Weststlichen Dvan, WA I, 7, 32).
John Esposito, a professor of religion and international affairs, pointed out:
“Muhammad was among those great religious figures, prophets and founders of religions, whose remarkable character and personality inspired uncommon confidence and commitment. His phenomenal success in attracting followers and creating a community-state that dominated Arabia could be attributed not only to the fact that he was a shrewd military strategist but also to the fact that he was an unusual man….Muhammad’s followers found him righteous, trustworthy, pious, honest and compassionate”……(Islam: The Straight Path. John L. Esposito. Oxford University Press. 2004)
(……to be concluded next week)