Muhammad [peace be upon him] is the last of Allah's Messengers and Prophets. His name is Muhammad, son of Abdullah. He was born in Makkah in 570 A.D. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was, in his youth, a combination of the best social qualities. He was an exemplary man of weighty mind and faultless insight. He was favored with intelligence, originality of thought and accurate choice of the means to accurate goals. His long silence helped favorably in his habit of meditation and deep investigation into the truth.
His vivid mind and pure nature were instrumental in assimilating and comprehending ways of life as well as individuals, groups and communities. He shunned superstitious practices but took an active part in useful and constructive activities. In the case of the useless and destructive dealings, he would have recourse to his self-adopted solitude. He refrained from drinking wine, eating meat slaughtered on stone altars or attending idolatrous festivals.
He proved himself to be the ideal of manhood, in possession of a spotless character. He was the most obliging to his compatriots, the most honest in his talk and the mildest in temper. He was the most gentle-hearted, chaste, and hospitable, and always impressed people by his piety-inspiring countenance. He was the most truthful and the best in keeping agreements. Due to the fine reputation he enjoyed among his people, they nicknamed him 'The Trustworthy.'
This impression on people can be deduced by the bliss that overwhelmed their hearts and filled them with dignity. Men's respect, awe and appreciation of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) were unique and matchless. No other man in the whole world has been so honored and beloved. Those who knew him well were fascinated and enchanted by him. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving a nail of his from hurt or injury. He had been favored with many aspects of perfection no one else had been granted, so his Companions found him peerless and loved him.
When he was commissioned as a Prophet at the age of forty, Allah revealed the first Qur'anic Verses to him through the Angel Gabriel. He asked the Prophet (PBUH) to preach the Oneness of Allah and warn people against polytheism.
The Makkan polytheists opposed him and persecuted his followers severely, but that did not shake his faith nor cause his steadfastness to waiver. Nor did it stop more people from responding to his preaching. Finally, when the majority of the people of Al-Madinah embraced Islam, the Makkan Muslims took flight to Al-Madinah. Later on, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) himself migrated to Al-Madinah to establish the Islamic state there.
A few years later, the polytheists of Makkah and their allies succumbed to the growing power of the Muslims, and Makkah was conquered without violence. Some thirty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Islam spread throughout the world, displacing the greatest two empires at the time, the Persian and the Roman.
Allah has summarized the message of His Prophet Muhammad as follows: "We have sent you (O Muhammad) only as a mercy for all the worlds." (21:107)
Many Western scholars and famous personalities have admitted that no faults or flaws are to be found in the character and behavior of the Prophet (PBUH). Some of their observations are remarkable.
Lamartine, the celebrated historian says: "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, 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 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 over 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 twofold, 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 ask, is there any man greater than he?" (Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276-277)
The Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi wrote about the Prophet (PBUH): "I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days. 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 and 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."
George Bernard Shaw wrote: "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 the problems in a way that would bring the much needed peace and happiness. Europe is beginning to be enamoured of the creed of Muhammad. In the next century it may go further in recognizing the utility of that creed in solving its problems." (The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. I, No 8, 1936)
Michael H. Hart says: "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." (M.H. Hart, 'The 100: A Ranking of the most influential persons in history', new York, 1978, p. 33)