By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
05 May 2017
It were the amazing incidents of mercy, magnanimity, clemency, forbearance and forgiveness of the beloved Prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] that fascinated even non-Muslims including orientalists, bishops, intellectuals and analysts. In the following I am quoting some of the writings of Non-Muslims to illustrate how the prophet Muhammad -peace be upon him- appeared in the eyes of some of the Non-Muslim writers.
Stanley Lane-Poole, a British orientalist with his usual acumen writes:
“But the final keystone was set in the eight year of the flight (A.D. 630), when a body of the Quraysh broke the truce of attacking an ally of the Muslims; and Mohammad forthwith marched upon Makkah with ten thousand men, and the city, defence being hopeless, surrendered. Now was the time for the Prophet to show his blood –thirsty nature. His old persecutors are at his feet. Will he not trample on them, torture them, revenge himself after his own cruel manner? Now the man will come forward in his own true colours: We may prepare our horror, and cry shame beforehand. “But what is this? Is there no blood in the streets? Where are the bodies of the thousands that have been butchered? Facts are hard things, and it is a fact that the day of Muhammad’s greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave the Quraysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn they had inflicted on him: he gave an amnesty to the whole population of Makkah. Four criminals, whom justice condemned, made up Mohammad’s proscription list when he entered as a conqueror the city of his bitterest enemies. The army followed the example, and entered quietly and peaceably and no house was robbed, no woman insulted.” (See: Introduction to E.W. Lane’s Selections from the Qur’an)
Benjamin Bosworth Smith (1784-1884), an American Protestant Episcopal bishop, wrote:
“Now would have been the moment to gratify his ambition, to satiate his lust, to get his revenge. Read the account of Muhammad’s entry into Mecca along with the account of Marius Sulla as he entered Rome, one would be in a position to recognize the magnanimity and moderation of the Prophet of Arabia. There were no proscription lists, no plunder, no wanton revenge. From a helpless orphan to the ruler of a big country was a great transition; yet the Holy Prophet retained the nobility of his character under all circumstances.....”. “....if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.” (Bishop Bosworth Smith, Muhammad and Muhammadanism, London, 1874)
Edward Alexander Powell, an American author, writes:
“In their wars of conquest, however, the Muslims exhibited a degree of toleration which puts many Christian nations to shame.” (The Struggle for Power in Muslim Asia)
Ruth Cranston, an American author, lecturer on religion and other subjects and a daughter of Methodist Bishop Earl Cranston wrote:
“Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) never instigated fighting and bloodshed. Every battle he fought was in rebuttal. He fought in order to survive. He fought with the weapons and in fashion of his time. Certainly no ‘Christian’ nation of 140,000,000 people who today dispatch (this is a book written in 1949) 120,000 helpless civilians with a single bomb can look askance at a leader who at his worst killed a bare five or six hundred. The sayings of the Prophet of Arabia in the benighted and bloodthirsty age of the seventh century look positively puerile compared with our own in this ‘advanced’ and enlightened twentieth. Not to mention the mass slaughter by the Christians during the Inquisition and the Crusades – when, Christian warriors proudly recorded, they ‘waded ankle-deep in the gore of the Muslim infidels.’” (Ruth Cranston ‘World Faith’. Page 155 Ayer Publishing 1949)
George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist wrote:
“I have always held the religion of Muhammad 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.”
“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 the much needed peace and happiness. I have prophesied about the faith of Mohammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.
“He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set on this earth.
“He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, and initiated numerous social and political reforms.
“He established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behaviour for all times to come.” (George Bernard Shaw, “The Genuine Islam”. Vol. 1 No.8, 1936)
Annie Besant, a British socialist, theosophist, supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule 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 sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.” (The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, By Annie Besant, Madras, 1932, p.4)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India says in “Young India” speaking on the character of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
“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.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica confirms:
“.....A mass 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)
Prof. C. Snouch Hurgronje, Dutch Scholar of Oriental Cultures and Languages says,
“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....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. The world has not hesitated to raise to divinity, individuals whose lives and missions have been lost in legend. Historically speaking, none of these legends achieved even a fraction of what Mohammad (peace be upon him) accomplished. And all his striving was for the sole purpose of uniting mankind for the worship of One God and the codes of moral excellence”.
Prof. C. Snouch Hurgronje further writes:
“Today after a lapse of fourteen centuries, the life and teachings of Mohammad (peace be upon him) have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. They offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills, which they did when he was alive. This is not a claim of Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) followers but also the inescapable conclusion forced upon by a critical and unbiased history...Every detail of his private life and public utterances has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticities of the record so preserved are vouched for not only by the faithful followers but also even by his prejudiced critics.”(Prof. C. Snouch Hurgronje, Dutch Scholar of Oriental Cultures and Languages)
Michael H. Hart in his book on Ratings of Men, ranked Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) first in the list, who contributed towards the benefit and uplift of mankind.
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 levels” (Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York, 1978, p. 33)
Pierre Crabites, Internationally Celebrated Jurist writes:
“Muhammad was probably the greatest champion of women’s rights the world has ever seen. Islam conferred upon the Muslim wife property rights and juridical status exactly the same as that of her husband. She is free to dispose of and manage her financial assets as she pleases, without let of hindrance from her husband.”
Diwan Chand Sharma says:
“Mohammad 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)
Sarojni Naidu, The famous poetess of India, says:
“It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the 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 indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother”. (S. Naidu, Ideals of Islam, vide Speeches and Writings, Madras, 1918, p.169)
H.G. Wells writes about the din-e-Islam that the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him brought:
“The Islamic teachings have left great traditions for equitable and gentle dealings and behaviour, and inspire people with nobility and tolerance. These are human teachings of the highest order and at the same time practicable. These teachings brought into existence a society in which hard-heartedness and collective oppression and injustice were the least as compared with all other societies preceding it….Islam is replete with gentleness, courtesy, and fraternity.” –
James A. Michener writes:
“Muhammad (peace be upon him), the inspired man who founded Islam, was born about A.D. 570 into an Arabian tribe that worshipped idols. Orphaned at birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan, the slave and the downtrodden. At twenty he was already a successful businessman, and soon became director of camel caravans for a wealthy widow. When he reached twenty-five, his employer, recognizing his merit, proposed marriage. Even though she was fifteen years older, he married her, and as long as she lived, remained a devoted husband”. (James A. Michener, ‘Islam: The Misunderstood Religion’ in Reader’s Digest (American Edition), May 1955, pp. 68-70)
Stanley Lane-Poole writes about the prophet peace be upon him:
“He was the most faithful protector of those he protected, 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…”
The university of Notre Dame of Indiana adds: “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spread awareness concerning character and manner towards one’s parents, relatives, friends, family, humanity, animals, plants and other inanimate objects in a full fledge manner. It is impossible for the human mind alone to grasp all of that teaching or to come up with similar ideologies and ideas”. (See: “Muhammad. The Prophet of Allah [peace be upon him)
Besides, there are many other writings of such non-Muslim thinkers which show how beautifully the Prophet exemplified in his own life peace, kindness, forgiveness and justice regardless of religion, colour, and ethnicity etc.
To sum up, it is necessary here to mention the Quranic verse that all the peace-lovers of the world are quoting; the verse in which Allah Almighty says to the beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, “We haven't sent you but as a mercy to the worlds” (21:107)
A regular Columnist with www.NewAgeIslam.cm , Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background, Islamic writer and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.
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