The Sublime Life of Muhammad
It is this high and noble spirit of tolerance that should dominate the world if the world is to live in peace and men are to live in happiness. It is this spirit that makes every study of the life of Muhammad, to whom God revealed these genuine truths, and of every scholarly study undertaken only for the sake of knowledge, capable of achieving a mastery of such cosmic and spiritual principles as will guide humanity to the new civilization it seeks. Every deep research undertaken in such a study will expose secrets many men believed for a long time to be forever closed to scientific investigations, but on which the investigations of psychology have shed illuminating light. The life of Muhammad, as we have had occasion to see, is a human life that realized in itself the highest ideals of which man is capable. On this account, the Prophet's life constitutes a good example and true guidance to whosoever wishes to reach human perfection through faith and the work of virtue. What highness and nobility can compare with that which made the life of Muhammad-even before his commission to prophethood-the example of truthfulness, dignity and trustworthiness, just as it made that life after the commission to prophethood one long poem of self-sacrifice in the cause of God-the cause of truth and goodness, the final end of all prophethood? Muhammad exposed his life to death many times; his people sought to tempt him with wealth, sovereignty, and all things desired by men; but he resisted them all. He remained the best of all men in nobility, ethical virtue, and dedication to the cause of God.
This human life of Muhammad attained exalted levels of vision and nobility, of power and magnanimity such as no other life has realized. It was a human life which kept itself in communion with the cosmos from eternity to eternity, and with the Creator of the cosmos by His grace and mercy. Were Muhammad not exactingly truthful in the conveyance of his Lord's message, some thinkers throughout the centuries would have come up with some evidence to this effect, and some principle taught by Muhammad would have been exposed as untrue. But 1,350 years [The current year is Islam's one thousand, three hundred, eighty-seventh year, A.H. -Tr.] have passed while that which Muhammad conveyed from his Lord continues to be the model of truth and genuine guidance. Sufficient is it to mention in support of this that what God revealed to Muhammad, to the effect that he was the last of the prophets and messengers of God, has never been successfully overthrown by anybody else's claim to be a prophet and a messenger of God. Throughout the world during all these centuries many men have achieved the greatest possible heights of power and excellence in all aspects of life. None of them, however, has been given the gift of prophethood, of conveying a message from God. Before Muhammad, however, the prophets and the messengers were many, each of whom warned his people that they had gone astray, and each one sought to bring them back to the religion of truth. Yet none of them claimed that he was sent to all men or that he was the last of the prophets. But Muhammad made this claim which was revealed to him by God, and the centuries have proved his claim to be true. What Muhammad conveyed was no fabrication but a true report of a divine message meant to provide guidance and to bring mercy to all mankind.
In conclusion, let me say that the utmost purpose I have hoped my book to achieve is that it may have prepared the road for further researches and studies in these matters. Such researches and studies, we hope, will be wider in scope and deeper in insight than this book. In writing these pages, I have exerted all the effort of which I am capable and explored all the field that my vision could, with God's grace, encompass. God says:
"God only holds a man responsible to the extent of his capacity. He holds every man responsible for what he has done whether good or ill. 0 God! Grant to us that we may not forget, that we may not fall into error. 0 God! Grant to us that we may not have to bear the great burden of those who have gone before us. 0 God! Grant to us that we may not have to bear a burden beyond our capacity. Grant us Your forgiveness, and have mercy on us. You alone are our Lord and Master. Help us therefore to achieve victory over the Godless." [Qur'an 2:286]