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by Imam Ajmal Masroor
Today marks the birth of the greatest man to have ever walked on this earth - the blessed Prophet Muhammad. 1434 years ago a great man and a Prophet was born in Makkah. Over time he would turn the tide of history and the destiny of humanity forever. His followers, the Muslims are nearly quarter of the world’s population. Many people have been asking me how should we should mark and remember his life? Should we be organising birthday celebrations or taking part in processions? Should we be observing any special fasts or conducting special prayers?
My response on this matter has always been simple – I do not need to celebrate a particular one day of the year to remember the Prophet. I celebrate the life of the Prophet every day of my life by living the teachings of his life, emulating him and shaping my character by his. I love him more than I love myself but my love for him is not blind or irrational. I love him because he is the final messenger of God. I admire him because he was able to change the world like no other human beings in history.
I mark his life by highlighting his contributions to the humanity. If the blessed prophet's life mission was to help refine the character of human beings, my mission in life is to become the most refined person in character and help my fellow human beings achieve the same. I am proud to be a Muslim following the footsteps of the most influential man ever.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him) has been termed by historians of various faiths and cultures as the most influential man to have ever walked the earth. His contribution to human civilization has been noted by Michael Hart in his infamous book called “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History”, where he wrote: "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."
Muslims from all corners of this earth and throughout time have emulated him with deep love and reverence. They love him more than they love themselves and even their family. Their depth of adoration for him is based on their firm belief in God, knowledge of his great character and total conviction on his Prophethood. His adversaries have tried to mock and ridicule him. Yet he is the only person in history whose life has been meticulously recorded, analysed and followed. Not a single substantial negative trait or character flaws have been identified to this date. They accuse of him of all sorts but not a single human being around him could ever say that he either uttered a foul word to anyone, participated in anything immoral or wronged anybody in his entire life – both before and after prophethood.
Reverend R. Bosworth-Smith wrote in his booked entitled “Mohammed & Mohammedanism: "Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was pope without the pope's claims, and Caesar without the legions 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 a Right Divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without instruments and without its support. He cared not for dressing of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."
He was the Prophet supreme, the mercy to the entire humanity and most importantly the architect of a seismic change in the world. He brought the Arabs from the depth of darkness and ignorance and in that process liberated the entire universe from the worship of false gods, materialism and corruption.
The blessed Prophet’s influence encompassed all aspect of life including personal and public. The French book called Histoire De Turquie, by Lamartine states:"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?" The answer is unequivocal, he certainly was the greatest man ever. He was and still remains the Prophet of all people and for all times.
George Bernard Shaw, the famous author and philosopher in his quest to understand Muslim world took personal journey into the life of the Prophet and he 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 its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness." The world does not recall anyone, whether it was Alexandra the Great or Jesus, who has occupied such an esteem place as Muhammad. He was not just a local leader whose words and life was lost soon after his death but hundreds of years later more people follow his footsteps than when he was alive. His life and work paved the way for laying the early foundation for knowledge and science.
His greatest contribution to the humanity is the faith based on knowledge and certainty as opposed to superstitions or super natural experiences. He worked tirelessly to lift human beings from ignorance to knowledge and usher profound enlightenment inspired by the Quran. The essence of his teaching is all about creating a refined and conscientious mind and soundness in character. He roused the world to be good to their fellow human beings through love, compassion and fairness. He emphasised proliferation of knowledge through reading, writing, reflecting, critical and creative thinking and through that process connecting with God and fellow human beings.
He was able to bring and restore peace around him and barely fifty years after his death his companions were able to defeat the two warring super powers of the earth at that time, the Roman and Persian Empires. Their defeat brought to a sharp end the valueless immoral and unethical lifestyles that prevailed in the world then. He changed people’s character and they in turn changed the world for better. He is the embodiment of what God wishes for the entire humanity.
It is in the context of 21st century world I would like to highlight that the blessed Prophet remains the most significant and relevant historical figure for all times. If people of all faith and no faith were to follow his teachings the world would be a better place.
©Ajmal Masroor 2013