PERSONALITY IN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE
The greatness of a man does not consist in the working of miracles or the doing of wonders; neither does it lie in the preaching of sermons or the formulating of theories. It lies in the possession of a mighty personality. Personality is one of the indescribable wonders of the world. It conciliates opposition and inspires respect and imitation, which results eventually in implicit obedience. It changes ideas and revolutionizes the thoughts, beliefs and actions of generations of the races of mankind.
According to those familiar with his life both within and outside of the religion of Islam, the ideal human personality belonged to its Prophet, Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace and blessings of God be upon him), who was arguably able to achieve more in his 23 years of prophethood than any man in history. In fact, Michael Hart (1978) in 'The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In History[ii],' said this about his life:
“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 secular and religious level. ...It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. ...It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.”
The topic of Islamic personality, as exemplified by the Prophet, is a timely one. Currently, within the Islamic world, “the morality of Muslims is in a dubious condition. Their character has developed a number of defects, in consequence of which they have to face disruption, dislocation and the inevitable downfall.”[x] With the world engulfed in media reports of terrorism, sectarian violence, social ills, and other problems having to do with individual conduct and interpersonal relations, the need to re-acclimate to the teachings of the Prophet of Islam about human personality has never been greater. The planet is now comprised of over 1.2 billion Muslim men, women and children, representing almost one quarter of humanity. This community, based on sheer size alone, has the potential to do a great measure of good, or harm, depending on its overall condition and direction, of which basic human personality is an important ingredient.