Non-Muslim intellectuals on Mohammed (ﷺ)

Non0Muslim intellectuals on Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.W)

Historian, John William Draper in his well known work, “A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe”, observes:

“Four years after the death of Justinian, 569 A.D., was born at Makkah, in Arabia, the man who, of all men, has exercised the greatest influence upon the human race.”

The well known British historian, Sir William Muir, in his “Life of Mohammed” adds:

“Our authorities, all agree in ascribing to the youth of Mohammad a modesty of deportment and purity of manners rare among the people of Makkah. The fair character and honorable bearing of the unobtrusive youth won the approbation of his fellow-citizens; and he received the title, by common consent, of Al-Ameen, the Trustworthy.”

James Michener in his well known work, “Islam, The Misunderstood Religion” writes:

“Orphaned at birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor and the needy, the widow and the orphan, the slave and the downtrodden. At twenty he was already a successful business man, 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 husband.”

The celebrated British writer, Thomas Carlyle, in his book “On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History”, observes:

“Ah on: this deep-hearted son of the wilderness with his beaming black eyes and open social deep soul, had other thoughts than ambition. A silent great man; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere.

While others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell there, this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things. The great mystery of Existence, as I said, glared in upon him, with its terrors, with its splendors; no hearsays could hide that unspeakable fact.

‘Here am I’; such Sincerity as we name it, has in very truth something of divine. The work of such a man is a voice direct from Nature’s own Heart. Men do and must listen to that as to nothing else; all else is wind in comparison.”

Dr. Marcus Dods, in his work, “Mohammad, Buddah and Christ” writes:

“Certainly he had two of the most important characteristics of the prophetic order. He saw truth about God which his fellowmen did not see, and he had an irresistible inward impulse to publicize this truth.”

John Davenport in his well known work, “An Apology for Mohammad and the Koran”, admits the honesty and sincerity behind Mohammad’s (ﷺ) claim of being an apostle of God, when he says:

“It is strongly corroborative of Mohammad’s sincerity that the earliest converts of Islam were his bosom friends and the people of his household, who all intimately acquainted with his private life, could not fail to have detected those discrepancies which more or less invariably exist between the pretensions of the hypocritical deceiver and his actions at home.”

Again John Davenport, in states:

“With all that simplicity which is so natural to a great mind, he performed the humblest offices whose homeliness it would be idle to conceal with pompous diction; even while Lord of Arabia, he mended his own shoes and coarse woolen garments, milked the ewes, swept the hearth, and kindled the fire.

Dates and water were his usual fare and milk and honey his luxuries. When he traveled he divided his morsel with the servant. The sincerity of his exhortations to benevolence was justified at his death by the exhausted state of his coffers.”

W. Montgomery Watt writes in his “Mohammad at Makkah”:

“His readiness to undergo persecution 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 Mohammed as imposter raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.

Thus, not merely must we credit Muhammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all: if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past.”

A well known writer, Bosworth Smith, in his well known book “Mohammad and Mohammadanism”, adds:

“Head of the State as well as of the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope’s pretensions, Caesar without the legion 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 Mohammad, for he had all the power without its instructions and without its supports.”

James A. Michener, in his invaluable work, “Islam: The Misunderstood Religion”, observes:

“…Forced now to fight in defense of the freedom of conscience which he preached, he became an accomplished military leader, Although he repeatedly went into battle outnumbered and out speared as much as five to one, he won some spectacular victories.”

Stanley Lane-Poole, in his work, “The Speeches and Table Talk of the Prophet Mohammad” adds:

“The day of Mohammad’s greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave the Koraysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn in which they had afflicted him and gave an amnesty to the whole population of Makkah.

Four criminals whom justice condemned made up Mohammad’s proscription list, when he entered as a conqueror to the city of his bitterest enemies. The army followed his example, and entered quietly and peacefully; no house was robbed, no women insulted. One thing alone suffered destruction.

Going to the Kaaba, Mohammad stood before each of the three hundred and sixty idols, and pointed to it with his staff, saying, ‘Truth has come and falsehood has fled away!’ and at these words his attendants hewed them down, and all the idols and household gods of Makkah and round about were destroyed.

It was thus Mohammad entered again his native city, through all the annals of conquest there is no triumphant entry comparable to this one.”

Alphonse of Lamartine, in his well known work, “Histoire de la Turquie”, observes:

“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 Mohammed? 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 the souls.

On the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become law, he created a spiritual nationality which blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational beliefs, a founder of twenty terrestrial empires and one spiritual empire. Of all standards by which human greatness can be measured, we may well ask … is there any man greater than Mohammed?”

George Bernard Shaw said about him:

“I have always held the religion of Mohammed in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, 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 the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Mohammed that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”

(Sir George Bernard Shaw in ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.)

Michael H. Hart, a Christian American, astronomer, mathematician, lawyer, chess master and scientist, after extensive research, published an incisive biography of the 100 most influential persons in history. The biographical rankings with explanations describe the careers of religious and political leaders, inventors, writers, philosophers, scientist and artists.

From this research, which included illustrious personalities such as Jesus Christ, Moses, Caesar, etc.
Michael H. Hart rated Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)(ﷺ) as number one. He concluded the biography with the word:

“My choice of Mohammed 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.”

(“The 100: A ranking of the most influential persons in history” New York, 1978, p. 33)

Dr. Annie Besant in her book “The Life and Teachings of Muhammad” Madras, 1932, p. 4. says:

“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.”

Mahatma Gandhi, speaking on the character of Mohammed (ﷺ) said:

“I wanted to know the best of one who holds today’s 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.” [Young India, 1924]

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)

K. S. Ramakrishna Rao in his book ‘Mohammed: The Prophet of Islam’ writes:

“The personality of Mohammed is most difficult to get the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of him I can catch. What dramatic succession of picturesque scenes?

There is Mohammed the Prophet; there is Muhammad the General; Mohammed the King; Mohammed the Warrior; Mohammed the Businessman; Mohammed the Preacher; Mohammed the Philosopher; Mohammed the Statesman; Mohammed the Orator; Mohammed the Reformer; Mohammed the Refuge of Orphans; Mohammed the Protector of Slaves; Mohammed the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Mohammed the Saint…

In all these magnificent roles and in all these departments of human activities he is equally a hero.”

Conclusion

It is unfortunate that the West instead of sincerely trying to understand the phenomenal success of Islam has considered it a rival religion. During the centuries of the crusades, all sorts of slanders were invented against Islam, this trend gained much force and impetus and a huge amount of literature was produced to tarnish the image of Islam and its preacher Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Truth needs no advocates to plead on its behalf. But the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam has created great confusion even in the minds of some free and objective thinkers.

What we have witnessed early in 2006, starting with the offensive Cartoons published in several European newspapers in the name of freedom and th violent reaction by some Muslims across the world makes it a duty on every Muslim to help introduce the true picture of the beloved Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ)(peace be upon him) to the world around us, introduce it the way Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ)(Sallallaho Alaihe Wa’alay Wa’salam ) taught us to. In the Holy Qur’an, Almighty God states:

“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance.”

(Holy Quran 16:125)

We end it by saying an Urdu language couplet:
Batlado Gustakh-e-Nabi Ku Ghairat-e-Muslim Zinda Hai
Unper Mar Mitne Ka Jazba Kal Bhi Tha Aur Aaj Bhi Hai

Greatest reformer

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