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Here’s what world’s great personalities say about Prophet Muhammad

"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 the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?"

Rasia Nayeem Hashmi

Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) tops the list of 100 most influential people of all times released by Biography online. Encyclopedia Britannica also confirms Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities. It further claims, “….a mass of detail in the early sources show that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were like-wise honest and upright men.” (Vol. 12)

Muslims around the globe believe him to be the last Prophet, the final one, after whom no other messenger was to be sent again by Allah. They consider him as a acme of perfection with over-flowing guidance and resplendent light.

Even the non-Muslim philosophers and intellectuals who wrote objectively about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), including the greatest intellectuals and prominent philosophers of the western world, are overwhelmed by the greatness of his character, the nobility of his morals, and chastity of his demeanors and sought to understand his (peace and blessings be upon him) greatness.

James Michener

European historian, James Michener in his article, ‘The Extraordinary Personality’, wrote: “With his extraordinary personality, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), caused a revolution in the Arabian Peninsula and in the whole East. He destroyed idols with his bare hands and established an eternal religion that calls for believing in the One Almighty God.”

Leo Tolstoy

Russian writer and philosopher, Leo Tolstoy admired Islam and its teachings of asceticism, ethics and mysticism. He was impressed by the Prophet’s characteristics and wrote in his article, ‘Who is Muhammad?’, “Muhammad is both a founder and a Messenger. He was among the great men who served the social framework profoundly. It suffices him that he guided a whole community to the light of truth and made it incline towards peace and tranquility, pursue asceticism, and prevented it from shedding blood and making human sacrifice, paving the way for development and civilization. This is a great deed that only a strong man can do and a man like him is worthy of respect and admiration.”

Thomas Carlyle  

The famous English philosopher, Thomas Carlyle  devoted a chapter in his book ‘Heroes and Hero Worship’ on the Prophet of Islam(peace and blessings be upon him) which he entitled ‘The Hero as a Prophet: Mahomet: Islam’. In this chapter, he counted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) among the greatest seven figures in history. He defended Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) against prejudiced accusations saying, “Prejudiced atheists claim that Muhammad only desired personal fame, glory and authority … by God this is a false claim! This great deep-hearted son of the desert, with his beaming black eyes, deep soul full of mercy and beneficence, kindness and piety, wisdom and persuasion had thoughts in him other than worldly ambitions. How can this not be when he had a silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest!” After analyzing Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him)character and sublime teachings, Carlyle said, “I like Muhammad for his hypocrisy-free nature.”

Edward Ramsey

The American Orientalist, Edward Ramsey said, “Muhammad came to the world with the message of the One Almighty God to lead the people out of darkness into the light. A new dawn that was perceptible on the horizon emerged. The day on which he received the revelation, the great reformer, Muhammad, restored the justice and freedom that were missing from the world. His sound reasoning enlightened the ignorant and the Arabs were finally roused from the slumber of slavery.”

Alfonso de Lamartine

The French poet and philosopher Alfonso de Lamartine said, “The steadfastness of Muhammad for 13 consecutive years during which he preached his message among his enemies in the heart of Mecca and its environs and among its people, his chivalry, courage, and patience in defying the furies of idolatry infidels, his zeal in spreading his message, the wars he fought with unequal forces, his ambition which was entirely devoted to promoting the word [of truth] and establishing the true dogma and in no way striving for an empire—all of these evidence that Muhammad was backed by an unshakable faith and a true dogma to free humanity from oppression and ignominy. This conviction which engulfed his soul was the source of his strength in revitalizing a great idea that destroyed false gods and introduced a new way of thought with regards to people’s circumstances and affairs. He is the conqueror of ideas, the pioneer of reason, promoter of liberating beliefs and founder of a religion without images.”

“Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he (Muhammad (pbuh)) has in conception as well as in execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and in arms reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God’s name, Persia, Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssina, all the known parts of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and part of Gaul.”

“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, legislation, 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 two-fold, 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 the words.”

“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 the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?”

Michael H. Hart

The American scientist Michael H. Hart in “The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in the History,” New York, 1978., p. 33 wrote, “My choice of Muhammad (pbuh) to lead the list of world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in the history who was supremely successful on both the secular and religious level. It is probable that the relative influence of Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. It is this unparalleled combination of the secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad (pbuh) to be considered to be the most influential single figure in human history.”

Michael Hart attributed the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) success in spreading his message and the world wide spread of Islam to the tolerance of this religion and the greatness of the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him)morals. He chose him to lead the list of the hundred most influential persons in history and said: “Muhammad was the only person in history who was supremely successful in both the religious and secular levels and became a political and military leader.”

George Bernard Shaw

The famous English writer and philosopher Bernard Shaw said, “At present, Europe has started to feel the wisdom of Muhammad and accept his religion as it will likewise exonerate Islam from the false accusations of European medieval ecclesiastics.” He added: “Therefore, it is possible to confirm my prediction by saying that the religion of Islam will inevitably be accepted in Europe in the near future. I believe that if such a man like Muhammad was given authority over the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring much needed peace and happiness.”

William Moyer

The English historian William Moyer in his book ‘The Life of Muhammad’ wrote, “Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is distinguished by the clarity of his words and the facility of his religion. He accomplished amazing deeds. History has never known a reformer who roused souls; revived noble manners and elevated virtue in such a short time as did Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.”

Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon wrote in ‘History of the Saracen Empire’, “‘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 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.”

Gibbon considered the greatest British historian of his time, in History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, states “His (i.e., Muhammad’s) memory was capacious and retentive, his wit easy and social, his imagination sublime, his judgment clear, rapid and decisive. He possessed the courage of both thought and action.”

Dr. Gustav Well

German orientalist Dr. Gustav Well in “History of Islamic Peoples” stated, “Muhammad was a shining example to his people. His character was pure and stainless. His house, his dress, his food – they were characterized by a rare simplicity. So unpretentious was he that he would receive from his companions no special mark of reverence, nor would he accept any service from his slave which he could do for himself. He was acceptable to all and at all times. He visited the sick and was full of sympathy for all. Unlimited was his benevolence and generosity as also was his anxious care for the welfare of the community.”

Edward Montet

Famous French scholar and professor of theology and professor of oriental languages, Edward Montet claimed, “Islam is a religion that is essentially rationalistic in the wildest sense of this term considered etymologically and historically…the teaching of the Prophet, the Quran has invariably kept its place as the fundamental starting point, and the dogma of unity of God has always been proclaimed therein with a grandeur of majesty, and invariable purity and with note of sure conviction, which it is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam…A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and consequently so accessible to the ordinary outstanding might be expected to posses and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning its way into the consciences of men.”

Arthur Glyn Leonard

Soldier, ethnographer and Rhodesian pioneer, Arthur Glyn Leonard in “Islam, her Moral and Spiritual values” wrote, “It was a genius of Muhammad, the spirit that he breathed into the Arabs through the soul of Islam that exalted them. That raised them out of the lethargy and low level of tribal stagnation up to the watermark of national unity and empire. It was in the sublimity of Mohammed’s deism, the simplicity, the sobriety and purity it inculcated the fidelity of its founder to its own tenets, that acted on their moral and intellectual fiber with all magnetism of inspiration.”

Stanley Edward Lane-Poole

British Orientalist and archaeologist wrote about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “He was the most faithful protector, the Sweetest and most agreeable in conversation. Those who saw him were suddenly filled with reverence, those who came near him loved him; they who described him would say, “I have never seen his like either before or after.” He was of great taciturnity, but when he spoke it was with emphasis and deliberation, and no one could forget what he said …”

Professor Jules Masserman

U.S. psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Professor Jules Masserman stated, “People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Mohammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same.”

John William Draper

English-born American scientist, philosopher, physician, chemist, historian and photographer John William Draper in his book ‘A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe’ states, “Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born at Mecca, in Arabia the man who, of all men exercised the greatest influence upon the human race . . . Mohammed . . .”

John Austin

 British philosopher John Austin, “Muhammad the Prophet of Allah,” in T.P.’s and Cassel’s Weekly for 24th September 1927, wrote about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “In little more than a year he was actually the spiritual, nominal and temporal rule of Medina, with his hands on the lever that was to shake the world.”

Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje

Dutch scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje claimed, “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.”

Bosworth Smith

Famous British historian R. Bosworth Smith in “Mohammed and Mohammedanism 1946” stated, “By a fortune absolutely unique in history, Mohammed is a threefold founder of a nation, of an empire, and of a religion.”

He added, “Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man had the right to say that he ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.”

William Montgomery

William Montgomery Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh in ‘Mohammad At Mecca’ writes, “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 Muhammad.”

David George Hogarth

English archaeologist and author David George Hogarth wrote about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),  “Serious or trivial, his daily behaviour has instituted a canon which millions observe this day with conscious mimicry. No one regarded by any section of the human race as Perfect Man has been imitated so minutely. The conduct of the Founder of Christianity has not so governed the ordinary life of His followers. Moreover, no Founder of a religion has been left on so solitary an eminence as the Muslim Apostle.”

Washington Irving

American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, Washington Irving well-known as the “first American man of letters” wrote about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in ‘Life of Mahomet’, “He was sober and abstemious in his diet, and a rigorous observer of fasts. He indulged in no magnificence of apparel, the ostentation of a petty mind; neither was his simplicity in dress affected, but the result of a real disregard to distinction from so trivial a source … In his private dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and the weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints … His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect were shown to him.”

Annie Besant

British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator, political party member, educationist, and philanthropist and nationalist leader in India Annie Besant in ‘The Life and Teachings of Muhammad’ wrote, “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 of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.”

The above are the opinions of some non-Muslim Western philosophers and intellectuals about the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him). But there’s no dearth of intellectuals in India who were also impressed by the personality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and revere him (peace and blessings be upon him) as a great person.

M.K Gandhi

India’s towering leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, in his statement published in “Young India,” 1924, wrote, “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind……….I became more than ever 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 pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his mission.

These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was no more for me to read of that great life.”

Sarojini Naidu

Speaking on the subject 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 worshipers are gathered together, 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 invisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.”

Diwan Chand Sharma

Diwan Chand Sharma in his book ‘The Prophets of the East’ says: “Muhammad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him.”

K.S Ramakrishna Rao

K.S Ramakrishna Rao, an Indian Professor of Philosophy in his booklet, (“Muhammad, The Prophet of Islam”) calls him the “Perfect model for human life.”

Prof. Ramakrishna Rao explains his point by saying: “The personality of Muhammad (pbuh), it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it can I catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad (pbuh), the Prophet. There is Muhammad (pbuh), the Warrior, Muhammad (pbuh), the Businessman; Muhammad (pbuh), the Statesman; Muhammad (pbuh), the Orator; Muhammad (pbuh), the Reformer; Muhammad (pbuh), the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad (pbuh), the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad (pbuh), the Judge; Muhammad (pbuh), the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is like a hero.”

Shankar Acharya

Sources:

https://www.dar-alifta.org/foreign/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=58&CategoryID=5

https://www.iium.edu.my/deed/articles/muhammad.html

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/personalities-what-non-muslims-say-about-muhammad-prophet-islam#what-non-muslims-say-about-%E2%80%A6muhammad-prophet-islam-peace-and-blessings-be-upon-him-and-his-family

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