Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Universe, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful and May His blessings be showered on His Messenger to the World Muhammad (S) and his family and companions.

The Birth of the Messenger of Allah (S) is commemorated every day in our life since it is indeed the birth of the restoration of Islam and the new beginning for Mankind. The coming of Muhammad (S) to this world was also the coming of deliverance, relief, mercy and guidance. Deliverance from inequity, injustice and oppression. Relief from distress and despair. Mercy to the world until the end of it. And mainly guidance to the simple and clear straight path of Islam. In the commemoration of the birth of the Messenger of Allah (S), the Muslims must commemorate the Sunnah and Legacy of this great man who, by the statement of the Qur’an is described as a lamp which spreads light. Allah (swt) says,

“O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah’s Grace by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light. Then give the Glad Tidings to the Believers, that they shall have from Allah a very great Bounty.”(33:45-7)

Those who have consecrated some time to study the life of this great man and Prophet (Peace be upon him) have stated that he was the most influential man that ever walked on earth. Prominent Western scholars have asserted that in their writings and lectures. For instance, Michael Hart said in his famous book on the most influential hundred people in history,
“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.” (M.H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York, 1978, p. 33)

And in the statement of Lamartine, the great French Jurist,
“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 and his triumph after ; 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.”

He also said,
“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)

“….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)

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW said about him:
“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, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936)

MAHATMA GANDHI, speaking on the character of Muhammad, (pbuh) says in (YOUNG INDIA):
“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 this 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.”

THOMAS CARLYLE in his (HEROES AND HEROWORSHIP), was simply amazed as to:
“how one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.”

“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)

EDWARD GIBBON and SIMON OCKLEY speaking on the profession of Islam write:
” ‘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.” (HISTORY OF THE SARACEN EMPIRES, London, 1870, p. 54)

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

According to the Qur’an, this great Prophet is to be the and example in this life for all those who follow him and believe in him. Allah (swt) says,

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exempler for those who hope in Allah and the Eternal life and remember Allah abundantly”(33:21)

With his Sunnah, or way, he was the embodiment of the Holy Qur’an in his manners and actions. Allah Almighty Himself praises Muhammad’s character when He says to him, “And surely you are endowed with a great character and have sublime morals.”(68:4)
Great morals and manners of a perfect man. An ideal human being that the Qur’an wants us to imitate. A human being that is upright, just, fair, honest, God conscious, and more importantly kind and merciful to others.

“Now has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should suffer, ardently anxious is he over you: to the believers is he most kind and merciful.”(9:128)

A Kind and Merciful person, a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings and a Warner, and as one who invites to Allah’s Graceby His leave, and as a Lamp spreading Light. Where are many Muslims today from these attributes and qualities? Islam is about being merciful and kind, witnessing for the truth, bearing the good news, warning from danger, inviting to Allah’s Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness and being a spreading light. A light that takes people away from the darkness of the heart and the mind. A light that clarifies not confuses. A light that clears the path not that blinds the others. A light that encourages, motivates and appreciates those around. A light that brings love and compassion not hatred and malice. A light that unites under it those who feel they need it not a light that disperses and breaks them up in small parties.

As any human being, a Muslim individual cannot be perfect, but at least he, or she, should reflect some of that light that was sent through the Qur’an and shown by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in his translation of the Qur’anic words into actions. The moon does not and cannot have light but at least it reflects the light of the sun. Sometimes it cannot do it all the time but most of the time even incompletely. The old saying goes, “There are two ways to spread light; either by being light itself or by being the mirror that reflects it.”

Imam Hamid Slimi
Quotes: Courtesy of III&E
More of these Citations can be found in III&E Brochure Series; No. 16 (published by The Institute of Islamic Information and Education in Chicago (III&E))