What They Say About Muhammad
During the centuries of the Crusades, all sorts of slanders were invented
against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). With the birth of the modern age,
however, marked with religious tolerance and freedom of thought, there
has been a great change in the approach of Western authors in their
delineation of his life and character. The views of some non-Muslim
scholars regarding Prophet Muhammad, given at the end, justify this
The West has still to go a step forward to discover the greatest reality
about Muhammad, and that is his being the true and last Prophet of God
for all of humanity. In spite of all its objectivity and enlightenment
here has been no sincere and objective attempt by the West to understand
the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). It is so strange that very glowing
tributes are paid to him for his integrity and achievement, but his
claim of being the Prophet of God has been rejected explicitly and implicitly.
It is here that a searching of the heart is required, and a review if
the so-called objectivity is needed. The following glaring facts from
the life of Muhammad (pbuh) have been furnished to facilitate an unbiased,
logical and objective decision regarding his Prophethood.
Up to the age of forty, Muhammad was not known as a statesman, a preacher
or an orator. He was never seen discussing the principles of metaphysics,
ethics, law, politics, economics or sociology. No doubt he possessed
an excellent character, charming manners and was highly cultured. Yet
there was nothing so deeply striking and so radically extraordinary
in him that would make men expect something great and revolutionary
from him in the future. But when he came out of the Cave (Hira) with
a new message, he was completely transformed. Is it possible for such
a person of the above qualities to turn all of a sudden into 'an imposter'
and claim to be the Prophet of Allah and thus invite the rage of his
people? One might ask, for what reason did he suffer all the hardships
imposed on him? His people offered to accept him as their king and to
lay all the riches of the land at his feet if only he would leave the
preaching of his religion. But he chose to refuse their tempting offers
and go on preaching his religion single-handedly in the face of all
kinds of insults, social boycott and even physical assault by his own
people. Was it not only God's support and his firm will to disseminate
the message of Allah and his deep-rooted belief that ultimately Islam
would emerge as the only way of life for humanity, that he stood like
a mountain in the face of all opposition and conspiracies to eliminate
him? Furthermore, had he come with a design of rivalry with the Christians
and the Jews, why should he have made belief in Jesus and Moses and
other Prophets of God (peace be upon them) a basic requirement of faith
without which no one could be a Muslim?
Is it not an incontrovertible proof of his Prophethood that in spite
of being unlettered and having led a very normal and quiet life for
forty years, when he began preaching his message, all of Arabia stood
in awe and wonder at his wonderful eloquence and oratory? It was so
matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets, preachers and orators
of the highest caliber failed to bring forth its equivalent. And above
all, how could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature contained
in the Qur'an that no human being could possibly have developed at that
Last but not least, why did he lead a hard life, even after gaining
power and authority? Just ponder over the words he uttered while dying:
"We, the community of the Prophets, are not inherited. Whatever
we leave is for charity."
As a matter of fact, Muhammad (pbuh) is the last link of the chain
of Prophets sent in different lands and times since the beginning of
human life on this planet. Read the following writings of the western
Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol II, pp. 276-77:
"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding
results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to
compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous
men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything
at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before
their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires,
peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then
inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods,
the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls... the forbearance
in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and
in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic
conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all
these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave
him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unit
of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is,
the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods
with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
"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?"
Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay, History of the Saracen Empire,
London, 1870, p. 54:
"It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion
that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which
he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions
of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes
of the Koran...The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation
of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with
the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet
the Apostle of God', is the simple and invariable profession of Islam.
The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any
visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the
measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the
gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion."
Bosworth Smith, Mohammed and Mohammadanism, London 1874, p.
"He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's
pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing
army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue;
if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine,
it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments
and without its supports."
Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, Madras 1932,
"It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character
of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he
lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one
of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put
to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet
I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a
new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher."
W. Montgomery, Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953, p. 52:
"His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the
high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up
to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement
all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor
raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures
of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad."
James A. Michener, 'Islam: The Misunderstood Religion' in Reader's
Digest (American Edition), May 1955, pp. 68-70:
"Muhammad, the inspired man who founded Islam, was born about
A.D. 570 into an Arabian tribe that worshipped idols. Orphaned at
birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor and needy,
the widow and the orphan, the slave and the downtrodden. At twenty
he was already a successful businessman, and soon became director
of camel caravans for a wealthy widow. When he reached twenty-five,
his employer, recognizing his merit, proposed marriage. Even though
she was fifteen years older, he married her, and as long as she lived,
remained a devoted husband.
"Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought
shy of serving as the transmitter of God's word, sensing his own inadequacy.
But the angel commanded 'Read'. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable
to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which
would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There
is one God."
"In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved
son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred, and rumors of God's personal
condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced,
'An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute
such things to the death or birth of a human-being.'
"At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but
the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the
hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: 'If
there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is dead. But if
it is God you worshipped, He lives forever.'"
Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons
in History, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc. 1978, p. 33:
"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."
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