Great leaders are neither the product of circumstances nor the result of their individual qualities, but a combination of both their circumstances as well as their individual qualities. If we assume for a while that great leaders are the product of their times then there must be a lot of great people in that particular times, which is not the case. On the other hand, if we assume, for a little while, that someone become great due to his personal qualities, without reference to the his particular circumstances, then there must be great leaders at every moment, which is again not the case. This premise simply leads to the conclusion that great leaders are the product of their circumstances as well as their individual qualities.
World history is full of such innumerable examples where particular circumstances and individual qualities have produced great men. A typical example in this respect is Prophet Muhammad of the Muslims. Prophet Muhammad was born in 571 A.D in Makkah. The times in which he lived are called the ‘Days of Ignorance’ by the Arab historians. The Arabs at that time were in abysmal depths of degradation and every sin and vise existed in their society. Every one was independent and there was no central authority. There was no concept of law and order and might of right was order of the day. Murders, looting and plundering were matters of daily routine for which they were accountable to no one. They treated their females as mere animals and gave them no rights. There was no limit on marriages and an Arab could marry as many wives as he wished. They used to bury their newly born female babies alive for the fear that we might become fathers in law of someone. They worshiped idols and severely treated their slaves.
In these adverse circumstances Muhammad started his efforts for the reformation of his nation. He had the great qualities of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and steadfastness. When he asked his nation to shun violence and vises, they became his enemy and tortured in every possible way. They even made a plot to assassinate him but in the darkness of night he escaped and immigrated to Medina, a nearby city. Muhammad finally succeeded in his mission and a short period of ten years when the entire Arabian Peninsula converted to Islam. The revolution, which Muhammad brought was so much spectacular that after a few years of his death the Arabs defeated the Persian and Roman empires and very soon they hoisted their flag in Egypt, Syria Palestine, Iraq, Persia, Central Asia and even Spain. The ignorant Arabs became rulers of the world and torchbearers of science, culture and civilization.
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