The old world was completely disarranged by the middle of the sixth century and man had fallen to such a depth of depravity that no reformer, revivalist or religious preacher could have hoped to put a new life in the humanity worn to its bones. The problem was not to fight any particular heresy or to its reshape a given mode of divine service, nor the question was how to curb the social evils of any society; for, there has never been any dearth of social reformers and religious preachers in any age of place.
How to clear the contaminating debris of idolatry and fetishism, superstition and paganism, piling up from generation to generation during the past hundreds of years over the true teachings of the prophets sent by God, was indeed a task, exceedingly toilsome and unwieldy. It was a Herculean task to make a clean sweep of this wreckage and then raise a new edifice on the foundations of piety and godliness. In short, the question was how to remake man who could think and feel differently from his predecessors as a changed an, re-born or brought back to life again.
"Is he who was dead and we have raised him unto life, and set for him a light wherein he walketh among men, as him whose similitude is in utter darkness whence he cannot emerge?" [Qur'an 6:123]
In order to solve the problem of man once for all, it was necessary to root out paganism so completely that no trace of it was left in his heart, and to plant the sapling if monotheism so deeply that it should be difficult to conceive of a more secure foundation.
It meant to create a penchant for seeking the pleasure of God and humbling oneself before Him, to bring into existence the longing to serve humanity, to generate the will to keep always to the right path and to sow the seeds of that moral courage which restrains all evil passions and desires. The whole problem, in a nutshell, was how to rescue the humanity, then too willing to commit suicide, from the misery of this world as well as of the next. It was an endeavor which makes a beginning in the form of a virtuous life, like that of an elect and godly soul, and then leads on to the paradise promised by God to those who are God fearing and just.
Advent of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was thus the greatest Divine blessing on mankind; that is why it has been so elegantly clothed in words by the Writ of God.
"And remember Allah's favor unto you: how ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace; and (how) ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you, from it." [Qur'an 3:103]
No task more delicate and baffling and no charge more onerous and gigantic than that entrusted to MUHAMMED the Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him), was imposed on any man since birth of man on this planet. And never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution as the Last Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) for he has guided millions of men of many nationalities to the path of justice, truth and virtue by putting a new life in the humanity at the throes of death in the sixth century.
It was the greatest marvel of human history, the greatest miracle the world has ever witnessed. The well-known French poet and litterateur, Lamartine, bears witness to the grand accomplishment of the Prophet MUHAMMED (Peace Be Upon Him) in a language of incomparable elegance and facility.
"Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been interposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto men end men unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design no other instrument than himself, and no other aid, except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert."(66)
Lamartine goes on further to enumerate the achievements of the Great Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him):
"...And more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. On the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become Law, he created a spiritual nationality which blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race. He has left us as the indelible characteristic of this Muslim nationality, the hatred of false gods and the passion for the One and Immaterial God. This avenging patriotism against the profanation of Heaven formed the virtue of the followers of MUHAMMED; the conquest of one-third of the earth to his dogma was his miracle; or rather it was not the miracle of a man but that of reason. The idea of the Unity of God, proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of fabulous theogonies, was in itself such a miracle that upon its utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient temples of idols and set on fire one-third of the world."(67)
This universal and enduring revolution whose objective was rejuvenation of humanity or rebuilding of the world anew, demanded deaf' a new prophethood surpassing the Messengership of the old, for the new Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had to hold aloft the banner of Divine guidance and righteousness for all times to come. God has Himself explained the reason for it.
"Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters could not have left off (erring) till the clear proof came unto them."
"A Messenger from Allah, reading purified pages containing correct scriptures." [Qur'an 98:1-3]