|During the centuries of the
crusades, all sorts of slanders were invented against
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). But with the birth of the modern
age, 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 opinion.
But the West has still to go a step forward to discover
the greatest reality about Muhammad and that is his being
the true and the last Prophet of God for the whole
humanity. In spite of all its objectivity and
enlightenment there 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 or implicitly. It is here that a searching of the
heart is required, and a review of 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
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 impostor' and claim to be the Prophet of Allah and
invite all the rage of his people? One might ask: for what
reason did he suffer all those hardships? His people offered
to accept him as their King and 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
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 Christ 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
and was bewitched by his wonderful eloquence and oratory? It
was so matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets,
preachers and orators of the highest calibre 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 other human being could possible have
developed at that time?
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
As a matter of fact, Muhammad (pbuh) is the last link of
the chain of Prophets sent in different lands and times
since the very beginning of the human life on this planet.
Read the following writings of the Western authors:
"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. . . his 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 unity 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
"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?"
Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol.
II, pp. 276-277.
"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 an
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 honours 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."
Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay, HISTORY OF THE SARACEN
EMPIRE, London, 1870, p. 54.
"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."
Bosworth Smith, MOHAMMAD AND MOHAMMADANISM, London,
1874, p. 92.
"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."
Annie Besant, THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF MUHAMMAD,
Madras,1932, p. 4.
"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
W. Montgomery Watt, MOHAMMAD AT MECCA, Oxford, 1953, p.
"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
"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
rumours 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."
James A. Michener, "ISLAM: THE MISUNDERSTOOD RELIGION,"
in READER'S DIGEST (American edition), May 1955, pp.
"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."
Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST
INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing
Company, Inc., 1978, p. 33.