It all began in the year 610 C.E., with a few brave individuals differing in tribe, status, and gender, secretly winding through the alleys of Makkah to meet the man known as Al-Ameen (i.e. the trustworthy). One by one they went, like stealthy shadows in the moonlight, hoping not to be noticed and reported to powerful city leaders. They were prepared to sacrifice it all – their cultures, families, even their own lives – for the sake of worshipping One True Allah.
Al-Ameen had called them to cast aside the pagan religion of their forefathers, and to embrace pure monotheism. The 40-year-old man, whose name was Muhammad, (SA), claimed that Allah saw all people, men and women, free and enslaved, as equal: A message which would, in two short decades, bring peace to the war-torn Arabian Peninsula and beyond; a message forbidding tribal feudalism and corruption by any leader; a message that came to be known as “Islam,” calling for devotion and submission to Allah alone.
Who was he?
Muhammad (SA) was a man of noble descent. He was a paradigm of excellent manners. Allah, the Exalted, praised him saying:
(And verily, you (O Muhammad SA) are on an exalted (standard of) character.) [68:4]
His enemies attested to his excellent manners. Abu Jahl, who was one of the harshest enemies of Islam, said: ‘O Muhammad! I do not say that you are a liar! I only deny what you brought and what you call people to.’
Some of his Companions described his manners saying:
‘He was never rough. He never raised his voice in public or used foul language. He did not repay evil with evil; rather, he forgave and pardoned. He did not raise his hand to hit a servant or woman. He would not become angry if he was wronged, nor would he avenge himself. He only became angry when people transgressed the limits and boundaries of Allah; in that case he avenged. The Prophet (SA) was not given a choice between two matters, except that he chose the easier of the two, as long as it was not a sinful act. If that act was a sinful act, he would be the farthest from it. When he entered his home he was a normal individual, he would clean his clothes, milk his sheep, and serve himself.’
Thomas Carlyle, the famous Scottish writer, attested to this. He said in his book ‘Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History’:
‘But, from an early age, he had been remarked as a thoughtful man. His companions named him “Al Amin, The Faithful.” A man of truth and fidelity; true in what he did, in what he spoke and thought. They noted that he always meant something. A man rather taciturn in speech; silent when there was nothing to be said; but pertinent, wise, sincere, when he did speak; always throwing light on the matter. This is the only sort of speech worth speaking! Through life we find him to have been regarded as an altogether solid, brotherly, genuine man. A serious, sincere character; yet amiable, cordial, companionable, jocose even – a good laugh in him withal: there are men whose laugh is as untrue as anything about them; who cannot laugh. A spontaneous, passionate, yet just, true-meaning man! Full of wild faculty, fire and light; of wild worth, all uncultured; working out his life – takes in the depth of the Desert there.’
‘They called him a prophet, you say? Why, he stood there face to face with them, here, not enshrined in any mystery, visibly clouting his own cloak, cobbling his own shoes, fighting, counseling ordering in the midst of them. They must have seen what kind of a man he was, let him be called what ye like. No emperor with his tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his own clouting. During three and twenty years of rough, actual trial, I find something of a veritable hero necessary for that of itself.’
If we say the physical appearance of a person influences their personality, as do sociologists, the Prophet (SA) was the most beautiful of people as his companions, who saw him, informed us. The Prophet (SA) was of a slightly above-average height. Amazingly, in gatherings, he would appear taller than those actually taller than him – until the people dispersed. In complexion, he was white with a rosy tinge; pale, but not excessively so. His hair was jet black and wavy, but stopped short of curling, and was kept between his earlobes and shoulders. Sometimes he would part his hair at the middle. Other times, he would wear it braided. The Prophet (SA) had the physique of a powerful man. He had a broad upper-back and shoulders, between which was the Seal of Prophet-hood. He had long muscular limbs, large joints and a wide girth. His lean stomach never protruded out past the profile of his chest. His face was radiant, “as if the sun were following its course across and shining from his face,” His shoulders were broad; he was of medium height, neither too tall nor short. He was pleasant looking and majestic; people were full of awe when they saw him for the first time, and knew that his face was not one of a liar.
Prophet Jesus (AS) foretold the coming of another Prophet, whose name would be ‘Periqlytos’ or ‘Paraclete’ or ‘Paracalon’ and who (that is, whose teaching) would last forever, ‘I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Periqlytos), that he may abide with you forever.’ [John 14, 16].
The word periqlytos means ‘illustrious, ‘renowned’ and ‘praiseworthy’ and this is exactly what the name ‘Ahmed’ means. It is confirmed in the Qur’an that the Prophet Jesus did prophesize that a Prophet named ‘Ahmed’ would come after him.
Allah, the Exalted, says:
(And remember when Jesus the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Torah which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.) [61:6]
The Jews sent priests to John, the Baptist, to find out who he was. ‘He confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, ‘’What then? Are you Elijah?” And He said: “I am not.” ‘’Are you that Prophet?” They insisted. And he answered, “No”… And then they said to him: “Why do you baptize then, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor that Prophet?” (John 1:20-25).
‘That Prophet’ is not Jesus, but Muhammad (SA) because John the Baptist continued preaching and baptizing and foretelling the coming of that Prophet during the life-time of Jesus.
What they said about Muhammad (SA)
Alphonse de Lamartine said: ‘Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render Allah unto man and man unto Allah; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured Allahs of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he (Muhammad) had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because. in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and in arms, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in Allah’s name, Persia Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and part of Gaul. “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad.”’
George Bernard Shaw said: ‘I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phases of existence which make itself appeal to every age – I have prophesized about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today. Medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Mohammedanism in the darkest colors. They were, in fact, trained to hate both the man Muhammad and his religion. To them, Muhammad was an anti-Christ. I have studied him, the wonderful man, and in my opinion, far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of humanity – ’
The German Poet, Wolfgang Göthe, said: ‘I looked into history for a human paradigm and found it to be in Muhammad (SA).’
 Common Era or Christian Era, in preference to A.D. (Anno Domini) meaning ‘the year of the Lord’.
 Alphonse de LaMartaine in ‘Histoire de la Turquie,’ Paris, 1854.
 ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.
 A German writer and scientist: Master of poetry, drama, and the novel, he also conducted scientific research in various fields, notably botany, and held several governmental positions.