None other is like the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
The rapid spread of Islam has been marked as one of the most significant events in history; for which its reasons are still being debated and discussed. Like Christianity, Islam spread far out from its land of origin. It arose from the Arabian Peninsula, yet today we see its followers from all four continents: Asia, Africa, Europe, and expansion throughout the world.
La Martin –a famous French poet- says: "If we take three aspects into consideration, none other can equal Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.): his lack of equipment, his speed in success, and the greatness in his aim. A man emerges and presents an invitation, while equipped with the least power and support, not even from his close friends and family who in fact turn against him as his enemies. He emerges alone, without a companion or colleague, and begins his mission from self, until others gradually come to accept the message. They joined him while bearing difficult prosecutions and troubles...!" According to La Martin, if we take the above matters into consideration, none other is like the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
But, what is the mystery behind this fast and influential development? The truth is that among all reasons, the most important factor of Islam's fast and influential development is the Holy Quran and its contents. However, in addition to the Holy Quran, the second most influential factors lie in the personality, character, and leadership of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Even after the Prophet's demise, Islam continued to succeed and grow based on the Prophet's recorded sayings and actions.
The question therefore should be redirected to how Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) truly was. The Prophet (S.A.W.) was kind and patient in his personal behavior, yet firm in his social duty. The following account can better present:
The time goes back to when Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was leader of the Muslim society in Madinah. He (S.A.W.) is preparing to participate in the collective prayers, when a Jewish man approaches the Prophet (S.A.W.) in an alley and claims that the Prophet (S.A.W.) owes him. The Prophet (S.A.W.) replies: "Firstly, I do not owe you, and you claim for no reason. Secondly, I do not have money with me at this time, allow me to leave." The man does not allow the Prophet (S.A.W.) to take another step. The gentle behavior of the Prophet(S.A.W.) only causes the man to act harsher. The Jewish man grapples the Prophet (S.A.W.), ties the Prophet's cloak around his neck, and pulls hard on the cloak. Muslims, now wondering why the Prophet (S.A.W.) has delayed in his arrival for prayer, search for the Prophet (S.A.W.), only to find him in the dilemma with a Jewish person demanding money. They want to behave harshly but the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) says: "Leave him alone. I know how I should behave with my friend." The Prophet’s behavior to the Jewish man was so compassionate that the Jewish man utters "I bear witness that there no God except Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah". Now a Muslim, the man then adds, "when you endured me with such a power, I realized that this is not the endurance of a normal man; this is a prophetic endurance…"
In another incident, one of the Quraish aristocrats (1) committed theft. When she was proven guilty, and she admitted his crime, there now came the time to decide her sentence. One said: "O' Prophet of Allah! If possible, ignore execution of the sentence. She is from a very respectable family, and by punishing her, a family will be defamed. Her father came, her brother and many others to make a similar plea. The Prophet said, “It is impossible. Do you want me ignore the laws in Islam?! If she did not come from an aristocratic family, you would have said: yes, she is a thief and must therefore be punished." The Prophet (S.A.W.) did not accept any mediation for this cause and gave the ruling accordingly.
As seen in the above examples, Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was not flexible in the essential affairs of the society, but on the other hand was so kind and forgiving in matters that related to his personal life. He was merciful and forgave easily. This flexibility in behavior was one of most important factors in Islam's rapid development.
(Selected from "The Prophetic Character and Behavior" by Murtada Mutahhari)
1- Quraish was one of most important tribes of Makkah. During the era of ignorance and even after that era, Quraish has special position in the eyes of peoples. Quraish has various races. The Prophet (S.A.W.) belonged to "Bani Hashim".