You Must Know This Man!
You may be an atheist or an agnostic. Or you may belong to any one of the religious denominations that proliferate in the world today. You may be a Communist or a Fascist or a believer in free enterprise, freedom and human rights. You may be a fundamentalist, fanatic or just about anything else. But no matter who or what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs or personal and social habits and proclivities happen to be, YOU MUST STILL KNOW THIS MAN!
He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a “religion,” as people call it, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numberless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings in perpetuity, and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and action for all times to come.
HIS NAME WAS MUHAMMAD, peace and blessings of Almighty God be upon him – and upon all the Prophets of God, listed in the Bible or anywhere else! And he accomplished all these wonders in the unbelievably short span of about two decades or less.
Muhammad, peace and blessings of Almighty God be upon him, was born in Arabia on 20th August, in the year 570 of the Christian era, and when he died after 63 years, 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; and from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral sublimity and 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, a famous British playwright and social philosopher and commentator of the 20th Century, said about him that if Muhammad were alive today he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times.
Thomas Carlyle, a 19th-Century essayist and historian, was amazed how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades. Napoleon and Gandhi never tired of dreaming of a society along the lines established by this man in Arabia thirteen centuries before their time.
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 and blessings of God Almighty 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 demanding and difficult departments of life.
The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were mostly one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields such as religious thought, political reform, academic scholarship, philosophical acumen or military leadership. None of the other great leaders of the world ever combined in himself so many different qualities to such an amazing level of perfection as did Muhammad, peace and blessings of God Almighty 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 this man Muhammad, peace and blessings of God Almighty 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 most 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 of practically every political leaning and religious persuasion.
The fact is the life and teachings of this man Muhammad, peace and blessings of God Almighty be upon him, are the only true and authentic historical record of any individual, people, time or culture that humanity has in its possession. While all other history is mostly guesswork and speculation, the full and detailed record of his teachings exist in our hands today, not in the form of analysis and conclusions by historicists and scholars, but in the form of raw and primary data that all generations of the human race can analyze and understand by themselves for all times to come.
At the level of ideas there is no system of thought and belief – secular or religious, social or political – which could surpass or equal ISLAM – the system which Muhammad, peace and blessings of God Almighty be upon him, propounded. In a fast-changing world, while other systems have undergone profound transformations, or have mostly disintegrated and perished, Islam alone has remained above all change and mutation, and retained its original form for the past 1400 years.
What is more, the positive changes that are taking place in the world of human thought and behavior today, and have done since the advent of Islam, truly and consistently reflect the healthy and salubrious influence of Islam in these areas.
Furthermore, it is not given to the best of thinkers to put their ideas completely into practice, and to see the seeds of their labors grow and bear fruit, in their own lifetime. Except of course, Muhammad, peace and blessings of God Almighty be upon him, who not only preached the most wonderful ideas but also successfully translated each one of them into practice in his own lifetime.