Who was Muhammad?The human need for role models:
Have you ever heard of Moses, Jesus, Confucius, Krishna or the Buddha? How about Gandhi, Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King? If you live in the West, there's a good chance that you know a bit about these people and their accomplishments. In man's eternal search for immortality and meaning, many leaders and heroes, both true and false, have made their appearance on the world stage. The respect and reverence shown to such figures among people of every nationality, in every age, points to a deep human need to believe in someone greater than oneself, in an attempt to transcend the confines of one's own limited existence. We see this theme recur in world myths, legends, hero stories, and in the idealization of people who have been raised by their followers to superhuman or godly status.
Most educated people today are skeptics, and view such stories as the charming remnants of a simpler age. And with globalization and the steady stream of new religions and ideologies that people are exposed to, it may be hard to know what to believe. Some find it easier to ignore spiritual questions altogether, focusing instead on their relationships, careers and 'getting ahead'. Yet we know that excessive materialism stifles the mind and spirit; despite technological advances, the deep yearning to believe in a Higher Power, true leadership, and an ultimate purpose in life remains. In this day and age, who can be trusted as a guide in both spiritual and worldly matters?
There is one leader, still largely unknown to the West, who is an extraordinary role model that people of all backgrounds can relate to: the Prophet Muhammad. The details of Muhammad's remarkable life have been carefully preserved and have been subjected to the scrutiny of historians, east and west. In contrast to others who have achieved renown for their accomplishments in a limited sphere of activity, Muhammad's achievements span all major areas of life. The historian Michael H. Hart wrote: My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Hart, Michael, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History