What non-Muslim scholars said about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Nepolean Bonaparte – Quoted in Christian Cherfils BONAPARTE ET ISLAM (PARIS 1914)
“I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness.”
M.K.Gandhi, YOUNG INDIA, 1924
"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." YOUNG INDIA, 1924
Lamartine - Histoire de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol II, pp. 276-77:
"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls... the forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unit of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
"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?"
Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay - History of the Saracen Empire, London, 1870, p. 54:
"It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran...The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God', is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion."
Rev. Bosworth Smith, Mohammed and Mohammadanism, London 1874, p. 92:
"He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, 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 the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports."
Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, Madras 1932, p. 4:
"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."
Montgomery Watt, Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953, p. 52:
"His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad."
James A. Michener, 'Islam: The Misunderstood Religion' in Reader's Digest (American Edition), May 1955, pp. 68-70:
"Muhammad, 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.
"Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God's word, sensing his own inadequacy. But the angel commanded 'Read'. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God."
"In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred, and rumors of God's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced, 'An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human-being.'
"At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: 'If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you worshipped, He lives forever.'"
Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc. 1978, p. 33:
"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."
Sarojini Naidu, the famous Indian poetess says – S. Naidu, Ideals of Islam, Speeches and Writings, Madaras, 1918
“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'... “
Thomas Caryle – Heros and Heros Worship
“how one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades?”
“…The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammed) are disgraceful to ourselves only…How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades….A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world; the world’s Maker had ordered so."
Stanley Lane-Poole – Table Talk of the Prophet
“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...”
George Bernard Shaw - The Genuine Islam Vol.No.8, 1936.
“I believe 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 much needed peace and happiness.
I have studied him - the man and in my opinion is far from being an anti–Christ. He must be called the Savior of Humanity.
I have prophesied about the faith of Mohammad that it would be acceptable the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”
Annie Besant, wrote in ‘The Life and Teachings of Muhammad’ :
“It is impossible for anyone who studies the personality of the great Prophet of the Arabs, and come to know how this prophet he used to live, and how he taught the people, but to feel respect towards this honorable prophet; one of the great messengers whom Allaah sent”
J.W.H. Stab wrote in ‘Islam and its Founder ’ :
“ Judged by the smallness of the means at his disposal, and the extent and permanence of the work that he accomplished, no name in world's history shines with a more specious luster than that of the Prophet of Makkah. To the impulse, which he gave, numberless dynasties have owed their existence, fair cities and stately palaces and temples have arisen, and wide provinces became obedient to the Faith. And beyond all this, his words have governed the belief of generations, been accepted as their rule of life, and their certain guide to the world to come. At a thousand shrines the voices of the faithful invoke blessings on him, whom they esteem the very Prophet of God, the seal of the Apostles… Judged by the standards to human renown, the glory of what mortal can compare with his?”
Dr. Gustav Weil writes in ‘History of the Islamic Peoples ’:
“Muhammad was a shining example to his people. His character was pure and stainless. His house, his dress, his food - they were characterized by a rare simplicity. So unpretentious was he that he would receive from his companions no special mark of reverence, nor would he accept any service from his slave which he could do for himself. He was accessible to all and at all times. He visited the sick and was full of sympathy for all. Unlimited was his benevolence and generosity as also was his anxious care for the welfare of the community.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer said:
“Us, Europeans, with all our concepts could not reach what Muhammad has reached, and no one will be able to precede him. I have looked in the history of humanity for an example and found that it was Muhammad, as the truth must be revealed. Indeed, Muhammad succeeded to subdue the entire world to monotheism”.
K. S. Ramakrishna Rao in his book 'Mohammed: The Prophet of Islam' writes:
"The personality of Muhammad is most difficult to get the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of him I can catch. What dramatic succession of picturesque scenes? There is Muhammad the Prophet; there is Muhammad the General; Muhammad the King; Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Preacher; Muhammad the Philosopher; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint... In all these magnificent roles and in all these departments of human activities he is equally a hero."