Before We Begin our "A to Z of Muhammad" - Let's See What 12 Famous People Have Said About Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) Throughout the Centuries...
His complete biography has been authenticated and circulated amongst scholars around the world starting while he was still alive and continuing up until today. One of the first examples we quote from is from the Encyclopedia Britannica, as it confirms:
(Regarding Muhammad) "... a mass of detail in the early sources shows that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were likewise honest and upright men."
Another impressive tribute to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him is in the very well written work of Michael H. Hart, "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History." He states that the most influential person in all history was Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, with Jesus second. Examine his actual words:
"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, page. 33.]
According to the Quran, Prophet Muhammad was the most excellent example for all of humanity. Even non-Muslim historians recognize him to be one of the most successful personalities in history. Read what the Reverend R. Bosworth-Smith wrote in "Mohammed & Mohammedanism" in 1946:
"Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was pope without the pope's claims, and 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 a Right Divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without instruments and without its support. He cared not for dressing of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."
While we are reviewing statements from famous non-Muslims about Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, consider this:
"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.]
And then we read what George Bernard Shaw, a famous writer and non-Muslim says:
"He must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness."
[The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936]
Then we found that K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, an Indian (Hindu) professor of Philosophy, in his booklet "Muhammad the Prophet of Islam" calls him the "perfect model for human life." Professor Ramakrishna Rao explains his point by saying:
"The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Muhammad the Prophet. There is Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."
What should we think about our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, when someone with the worldly status such as Mahatma Gandhi, speaking on the character of Muhammad, peace and blessings 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. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life."
English author Thomas Carlyle in his 'Heroes and Hero Worship', was simply 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."
And Diwan Chand Sharma wrote in "The Prophets of the East":
"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]
Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was nothing more or less than a human being, but he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest 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.
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 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 this 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 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." He continues, "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."
Edward Gibbon and Simon Ockley, on the profession of ISLAM, writes in "History of the Saracen Empires":
"I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, AND MAHOMET, AN 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 have 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]
EWolfgang Goethe, perhaps the greatest European poet ever, wrote about Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. He said:
"He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as Divine Law and not as a book of a human being, made for education or entertainment."
[Noten und Abhandlungen zum Weststlichen Dvan, WA I, 7, 32]
[Please continue to chapter 5 - "What Do Muslims Say?"]