in every five persons on this earth firmly believes that the Prophet
Muhammad is the last Messenger of God. He was a Muslim and there are
more than 1.3 billion such Muslims today.
Not only individuals but entire countries take pride in declaring their
allegiance to him. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from
those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and
125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Maldives or Brunei
with populations of 230,000 and 260,000. Even in non-Muslim countries,
large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities; as much as
120 million in India and 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last
half century, Islam, the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad, has
become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also
in America and Canada.
Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad come
from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in
every nook and cranny of this globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They
live in the most advanced, sprawling megalopolis as well as in the most
primitive nomadic tent, village, hamlet, and even in the bush.
As now so always, down the centuries, across the planet, from end to
end, billions and billions of men and women have lived all their lives,
loving the Prophet and trying to follow in his footsteps, as no one
else has been so loved and followed. They have lived and died, believed
and acted, married and raised families, worshipped and ruled, made war
and peace, even eaten and dressed, walked and slept, just as he did or
taught them to do.
Indeed, never in history has a man influenced mankind, even beyond his
death, so deeply and so pervasively as he has. He brings light and
peace to countless hearts and lives. They love him more dearly than
their own selves. In him they find their greatest source of inspiration
and guidance. He is the ultimate norm and the perfect example for them.
Faith in him is their mainstay and he is their chief source of support
and comfort in all personal vicissitudes and tribulations. To him they
also look to lead them through social and political turmoil. He has
always inspired them to greater and greater heights of spiritual and
moral upliftment and civilizational achievements. And still does.
In short, they believe that through him, a human like themselves, God
has spoken to them, and guided him to live amongst them, setting an
example and a model for all times to come. Even today he motivates and
induces whole populations to yearn and strive to shape their private
lives, politics and policies according to his