Homage to the Prophet of Islam by Western academics
Prophet of Islam [ﷺ] is loved and revered by all the Muslims irrevocably and unquestionably the world over. Recent events in France have again highlighted the hideousness of some elements in the Western countries that have been unable to comprehend this sentiment of Muslims. Time and again, they make blasphemous films, cartoons and write obscenities about Prophet Muhammad [ﷺ] that hurt the sentiments of the followers of Islam, one of the fastest growing religions in the world.
Muslims have love of Prophet [ﷺ] in their blood and react uncontrollably when they see this gratuitous disrespect. It is a fact that the majority of them love the Prophet more than they love their parents, children and other loved ones.
As Muslims we are familiar with the reverent praise for our beloved Prophet [ﷺ] by great Muslim poets and philosophers like Rumi, Jami, Ameer Khusro and Allama Iqbal. But the truth is that great men even from the Occident have held Prophets [ﷺ] in great esteem. It is this inter-faith harmony and mutual respect between different ideologies that needs to be promoted internationally.
One is not surprised after reading these commendations from non-Muslims as Prophet Muhammad [ﷺ] personified that glorious Truth and Integrity of character which no enlightened and insightful individual can deny. Let’s read some of the tributes to our Prophet Muhammad [ﷺ] by the best of the West.
This is an extract from Michael H. Hart’s book, ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’. He explains why he chose Prophet Mohammad [ﷺ] for the no. 1 spot amongst the hundred most influential people of all times:
“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 levels. Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, Islam exerts an enormous influence upon the lives of its followers. It is for this reason that the founders of the world’s great religions all figure prominently in this book. Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Moslems in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons for that decision.
First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.
Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam.
Moreover, he is the author of the Moslem Holy Scriptures, the Koran, a collection of certain of Muhammad’s insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah. Most of these utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad’s lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Quran therefore, closely represents Muhammad’s ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words.
No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived. Since the Koran is at least as important to Moslems as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammed through the medium of the Koran has been enormous. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity.
On the purely religious level, then, it seems likely that Muhammad has been as influential in human history as Jesus. Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time… the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.”
The British philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, who won the Nobel Prize for his book “On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History” wrote:
“It is a great shame for anyone to listen to the accusation that Islam is a lie and that Muhammad was a fabricator and a deceiver. We saw that he remained steadfast upon his principles, with firm determination; kind and generous, compassionate, pious, virtuous, with real manhood, hardworking and sincere. Besides all these qualities, he was lenient with others, tolerant, kind, cheerful and praiseworthy and perhaps he would joke and tease his companions. He was just, truthful, smart, pure, magnanimous and present-minded; his face was radiant as if he had lights within him to illuminate the darkest of nights; he was a great man by nature who was not educated in a school nor nurtured by a teacher as he was not in need of any of this.”
In his ‘Heroes and Hero-worship’, he says:
“How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades”
“The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to us only.”
“A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world; the world’s Maker had ordered so.”
Sir George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950] Irish playwright, critic and political activist said:
“I have always held the religion of Mohammad 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 Saviour of humanity.”
At another place he said about the Prophet [ﷺ]:
“He must be called the saviour 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, Vol 1, 1936]
Leo Tolstoy [1828-1920], Russian Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Philosopher and Educational Reformer said:
“There is no doubt that Prophet Mohammad is one of the greatest reformers who served the social framework profoundly. It suffices him that he led a whole nation to the enlightenment of truth and made it more inclined towards tranquility and peace, prefer modesty and prevented it from shedding blood and giving human sacrifices (though this was never proved against Arabs before Islam) and widely opened to it the gate to development and civilization. This is a great deed that only a strong man can do and a man like that deserves to be regarded with respect and admiration.”
Pierre Simon Laplace [1749-1827], French mathematician and astronomer said:
“Although we do not believe in Divine religions, Hazret Muhammad’s ritual and his percepts are two social exemplars for humanity’s life. So we confess that the advent of his religion and its wise rules have been great and valuable. Therefore we are not needless of Muhammad’s instructions.”
Alphonse de Lamartine, the renowned French historian, speaking on the essentials of human greatness wonders in ‘Histoire De La Turquie’, (Paris, 1854, Vol. II, p 276-277)
“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?”
Indeed, there is none.