Who was Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
Who was Muhammad (peace be upon him)?You may be an atheist or an agnostic or you may belong to any of the religious denominations that exist in the world today. No matter what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs, personal and social habits happen to be— YOU STILL MUST KNOW THIS MAN!He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, laid down a moral code, initiated numberless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings, and he revolutionized the worlds of human thought and human action for all time. His name was Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) - and he accomplished all these wonders in the unbelievably short span of twenty-three years.Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Arabia in 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 debauchery 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 a place before or since.The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him "the most successful of all religious personalities of the world."Bernard Shaw said, "if Muhammad (peace be upon him) were alive today, he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times."Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.Indeed no other human being ever accomplished so much, in such diverse fields of human thought and behavior, in so limited a space of time, as did Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a political thinker, a military genius, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father—all in one. No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these difficult departments of life.The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. None of the other great leaders of the world ever possessed so many different qualities to such an amazing level of perfection as did Muhammad (peace be upon him).The lives and teachings of other great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about the time and the 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 with this man Muhammad (peace be upon him). Not only was he born in the fullest blaze of recorded history, but every detail of his private and public life, of 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 time of his death his teachings were not mere precepts and ideas straining for fulfillment. 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 a perfectly amazing phenomenon? Except, of course, Islam, which was established as a complete way of life by Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself. History bears testimony to this fact and the greatest skeptics have no option but to concede this point.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 a teacher of truth to mankind and a complete model and pattern for their actions. He was a man with a noble and exalted mission —and his unique mission was to unite 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 him to be.Today, after the lapse of some 1400 years, the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or distortion. Today they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind's many ills which they did when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was alive.One in every five persons on this earth firmly believes Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be God's last Prophet and Messenger. Not only individuals, but entire countries, take pride in declaring allegiance to his way of life. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Brunei and Maldives with populations of 260,000 and 230,000. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities, as much as the 120 million in India and the 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada.Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad come from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in every nook and cranny of the globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They live in the most advanced metropolitan areas, in primitive nomadic tents, and everywhere in between.In this century, just as in the each of the fourteen centuries following his death, countless men, women, and children have lived their lives following the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and loving him as no one else in history has been followed or loved. They have eaten and dressed, walked and slept, married and raised families, believed and acted, worshipped and ruled, made war and peace, lived and died, just as he did or taught them to do.Indeed, never in history has a man influenced mankind, even beyond his death, so deeply and pervasively as the Prophet Muhammad has. He brought light and peace to countless hearts and lives. His followers love him more dearly than their own selves. In him they find their greatest source of inspiration and guidance. He is the ultimate norm and the perfect example for them. It is in his example that they find their chief source of support and comfort in personal vicissitudes and tribulations and it is to his teachings that they look to lead them through social and political turmoil. His teachings inspired them to greater and greater heights of spiritual and moral upliftment and achievement in civilization, and still do.In short, Muslims believe that through the Prophet Muhammad, a human like themselves, God has spoken to them and given them an example and a model for all times to come and in all aspects of life, both private and public.