There are many religions in the world. They can be classified into many groups based on varying parameters. One of the religions advocating for existence of one supreme source of eternal power is Islam. In the same manner as Christianity and Judaism, Islam ideology is based on monotheism. However, Islam is not as old as these other religions. It was founded by one individual whose disposition continues to puzzle many. Muhammad is the man behind formation and growth of Islam. Successes witnessed in the spread of this type of religion are directly attributed to extraordinary influential personality of Muhammad. The man born in 570 A.D. is behind Islam religion which since its formation the religious beliefs throughout the world have considerably changed in both the dimensions of belief systems and culture (Masud, 2002).
He is regarded as a father and an absolute prophet of Islam. He started his preaching in Mecca. He was inspired by the revelations he received during his sleep. An angel named Gabriel appeared to him with a revelation that would later shape his future. Even though the revelations terrified him, they became the source of Islam teachings. Some of these revelations are believed to have come at the right time when non-believers were making inquiries about some aspects of the existence of man. It thus became a divine duty for Muhammad to ensure that the revelations were recorded in Quran and taught exclusively to the new converts.
The world has had enough of outstanding personalities. These are the people whose distinguished contributions to specific fields of life are remarkable. However, there is one man called Muhammad whose exemplary character traversed a number of fields. There are enough reliable records about his ability to articulate issues. A detailed study would show that he was a man of colossal character. The kind of personality displayed by Mohammad is regarded up to now as one of the best of all ages. Muhammad’s way of life remains mysterious in the face of several academicians in religious studies. A good number of them including those who did not believe in him as a messenger of God can attest to the fact that he was of an impeccable character. He had extremely effective leadership skills reflected in his ability to influence a sizable number of people. It is no mean task to set up a religion as an individual especially during the intolerant era he was living in. Muhammad’s charisma enabled him to marshal enough staunch supporters who were even ready to kill anyone opposing his ideology (Armstrong, 2007).
Everyone in his right thinking must be astonished by Muhammad. Several questions have be asked about him and there many more to come. It is important to outline what exactly made him different from fellow religious leaders of his time. What enabled him to put up so much spirited fight against mainstream religions must also be explored as the truths about him are sought.
As mentioned earlier, Muhammad excelled in all aspects of his life. He successfully managed a good share of responsibilities ranging from simple family chores to an overwhelming military leadership. Just to mention but a few, Muhammad succeeded in preaching religious instructions, crusading against social inequalities, providing moral guidance, leading the military and his family. There is no person of our ages who can match his nature of performance in a number of areas of social life.
Muhammad’s early life in Mecca focused on societal inequalities. The gap between the have and have-nots did not please him at all. He saw this as a way in which people of Mecca were drifting away from fundamental fairness of life. Poverty in Mecca continued to escalate among the majority of the residents. The misery of many was catalyzed by a consistent accumulation of riches and power into the discretion of a few individuals. Muhammad in his brilliance accurately pointed out this imbalance in the society of Mecca. He went a step further to marry some of the women whose husbands were killed in battle fields. This showed his personality as a man who was willing to take full responsibility rather than propagation of a sheer theory. This and other admirable acts made many of his followers to strongly believe in his teachings (Armstrong, 2007).
During his life time, Muhammad preached earnestly for the realization of moral and social reforms. These are the things that appeals most to humanity. He was seen by a majority of afflicted Arabs as a man coming to their rescue. It is naturally easy to believe what is advocated by a person who delivers massages of hope. Muhammad in his divine role was bringing message from God and delivering it to the people. Despite the rejection he faced in Mecca, his voyage to Medina depicted an excellent level of commitment. Consistent push for reforms was so crucial in expansion of this religion.
Great thinkers have always been known to be absolute theorists. It is rare to see these brilliant men put their skills in practice. On the contrary, the great Muhammad’s deeds and words were manifested in execution of the ideologies he passionately preached. He made sure that whatever he yearned for was successfully put in to action. When he died at the age of sixty three, he had not only delivered his teachings successfully but also had integrated these teachings in day to day lives of a good number of his followers. This kind of behavior can be summarized as surreal. He did not want to become what he was not. That is why despite all these resounding achievements, he could not claim to be God (Armstrong, 2007).
Muhammad maintained a humble position as simply a man carrying out his noble task of bringing together the human race though the worship of one God. One element he integrated in his activism was the maintenance of religious simplicity and purpose.
Rapid spreading out of Islam from its early foundational stages lies on the kind of social and cultural settings which existed at Muhammad’s time. The prophet of God was able to integrate two elements in his time to foster his delivery of massage from God. He capitalized on the religious conversations among those who did not believe. He clearly understood the importance of religion in humanity. The conversations among non believers played a very crucial role in mapping out the religious vacuum in the society. Muhammad took a further step in preaching both in public and when he was with few people with in Mecca.
Quran records that after consistent teachings by the prophet, many people accepted Islam. This led to the spread of Islam across Mecca and subsequent conversations brought about a newly found religion. With the use of wisdom he was able to expand the number of Islam followers. However, the number was not impressive at the initial stages of his mission. People were only excited to hear his teachings but most of them were noncommittal in their decisions. For the sake of smooth transition, he incorporated existing religion in the new Islam. He made a few changes to the existing religion in which most people adored idols. He was careful not to introduce major changes which would have attracted more resistance. Other practices which were integrated to the new teachings included incantations and fasting (Armstrong, 2007).
Another tactical approach used by Muhammad in advancing his religious ambitions was the use of political influence. He began to rule over the few who had accepted his teachings. In the process he formed an army which was later vital in conquering those who opposed him. Army officers were used in compelling the tribes around them to accept Islam. Some of these tribes are those who had earlier rejected him. To further justify his decision to use military, Muhammad said that he was instructed by whoever sent him to use such brutality. It became a rule in this new religion that anyone who did not accept his teachings was an enemy to his empire. Everyone who believed in Muhammad’s massage was expected to join in the fight against the opposing factions.
Most of the battles done under his instructions were not intended for defending his territories but rather moves to expand Islam. Soldiers in his camp were made to believe that they would get to paradise if they continued fighting. This became an important source of inspiration within the military. When he had acquired a good number of followers, Muhammad extended his philanthropy to spreading Islam in form of gifts and money. When he finally took over Mecca, he instructed that all moneys collected were to be used in some purposes. Among the uses of these money was to encourage people to love and accept Islam (Spencer, 2006).
Detailed examination of these means of approach shows that there is no one method which played an outstanding role in ensuring success of Muhammad. The success can be attributed to collective combination of all these approaches.
Muhammad declined to use his supernatural powers in advancing the revelations he ostensibly received. He did not to behave like he was god himself. This strange form of display in character came out in his teachings on wealth. He commanded that his belongings must be destroyed so that no one would confuse him for Allah. This is one of the elements which were at his disposal but abhorred the use of it. He wanted to avoid any chance of creating an individual cult.