One in every five persons on this earth firmly believes that the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is the last Messenger of God. He was a Muslim and there are more than 1.3 billion such Muslims today.
Not only individuals but entire countries take pride in declaring their allegiance to him. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Maldives or Brunei with populations of 230,000 and 260,000. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities; as much as 120 million in India and 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam, the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada.
Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) come from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in every nook and cranny of this globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They live in the most advanced, sprawling megalopolis as well as in the most primitive nomadic tent, village, hamlet, and even in the bush.
As now so always, down the centuries, across the planet, from end to end, billions and billions of men and women have lived all their lives, loving the Prophet (Pbuh) and trying to follow in his footsteps, as no one else has been so loved and followed. They have lived and died, believed and acted, married and raised families, worshipped and ruled, made war and peace, even eaten and dressed, walked and slept, just as he did or taught them to do.
Indeed, never in history has a man influenced mankind, even beyond his death, so deeply and so pervasively as he has. He brings light and peace to countless hearts and lives. Muslims love him more dearly than their own selves. In him they find their greatest source of inspiration and guidance. He is the ultimate norm and the perfect example for them. Faith in Allah and His Messenger is their mainstay and Allah is their chief source of support and comfort in all personal vicissitudes and tribulations. To him they also look to lead them through social and political turmoil. He has always inspired them to greater and greater heights of spiritual and moral upliftment and civilizational achievements. And still does.
In short, Muslims believe that through him, a human like themselves, God has spoken to them, and guided him to live amongst them, setting an example and a model for all times to come. Even today he motivates and induces whole populations to yearn and strive to shape their private lives, politics and policies according to Allah”s teachings.
Muhammad, the Prophet
Muhammad received his first revelation from God at 40, through the Angel Gabriel. He continued to receive revelations for 23 years, on topics ranging from the Oneness of God and His wondrous handiwork, to stories of earlier prophets, morality and ethics, and life after death. These revelations became collectively known as the Quran, and are considered by Muslims to be the literal word of God; the Prophet”s own words were collected separately.
Muhammad”s call to monotheism and social reform was heavily opposed by the Makkan elite; after enduring thirteen years of intense persecution, he and his followers were invited to relocate to Madinah, a town to the north that had been torn apart by generations of intertribal warfare. Muhammad successfully settled their differences and forged a bond of brotherhood between the two warring factions, as well as between the locals and the new emigrants. For Arab tribal society, this was an amazing accomplishment.
The early Muslims learned to implement the golden rule under the Prophet”s tutelage: “No one truly believes until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.”