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Monday, July 11, 2005

Do You Know This Man?

Born in Arabia in the year 570 A.D., started his mission of spreading Islam (submission to One God) at the age of forty, and then departed from this world. During this short period of 23 years of his Prophethood, he changed the complete Arabian Peninsula from paganism and idolatry 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 bankruptcy to the highest standard of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since. Imagine all these unbelievable wonders in just over two decades!



What did they say about him?



Lamartine, the renowned French historian speaking on the essential of Human Greatness wonders: “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… This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls… all these attest not to an imposter, but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God…” [Lamartine, Historie de la Turquie, Paris, 1854, vol. II pp. 276-277.]



Mahatma Ghandi speaking on the character of Muhammad (peace be upon him) says in ‘young India’; “I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… 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, 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. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”



Thomas Carlyle in his ‘Heroes and Hero-worship’, was simply 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.”



Diwan Chand Sharma wrote: “Muhammad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him” [D.C. Sharma. ‘The Prophets of the East’, Calcutta, 1935. pp. 12.]



Edward Gibbon & Simon Oakley speaking on the profession of Islam wrote: “I believe in One God, and Muhammad, 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 honor of the Prophet has never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.” [History of the Saracen Empires, London, 1870, p.54.]



Speaking on the aspect of equality before God in Islam, the famous poetess of India, Sarojini Naidu says: “It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy for, in the Masjid (Mosque), when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: ‘God Alone is Great’… I have been struck over and over again by the indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.” [S. Naidu, ideals of Islam, vide speeches & writings, Madras, 1918, p. 169.]



In the words of Professor C. Snouck Hurgronje: “The league of nations founded by the Prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations… The fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.”



The American writer Micheal H. Hart in his book on rating of who contributed towards the benefit and upliftment of mankind writes: “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 levels.” [M.H. Hart, ‘The 100: a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’, New York, 1987, pp. 33.]



Muhammad (peace be upon him) was nothing more or less than a human being. But he was a man with a noble mission, teaching honesty and upright living based on the commands of God. He always described himself as a “servant and messenger of God”, and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.



Today after a lapse of fourteen centuries, the life and teaching of Muhammad (peace be upon him) have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. They offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills. This is not a claim of Muhammad’s followers, but also the inescapable conclusion forced upon by a critical and unbiased history. The British philosopher Georges Bernard Shaw said: "It is also the only religion which is in harmony with all the various stages of life. I view that Muhammad should be named the rescuer of humanity. If a man like Muhammad ruled the world, he would solve its problems."

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