“In spite of his shy and serious nature, Muhammad was a man at ease in the society. He was an affectionate relative and regularly sent messages and presents even to the pagans among his aunts and uncles and cousins. He never developed the common fault of great men, namely of paying attention only to powerful people, and it was said that he always made the person he was with feel as if he or she was the most important person in the world. Countless men claimed to be his friends. Numerous enemies were won over to become friends, but there is no record case of a friend becoming an enemy.

Muhammad himself made clear what the spirit of Islam was, for he was patient, forgiving, and generous. All his life, his behaviour towards people never varied. He accepted all men and women as equals, listened to all who wished to speak to him, deprived himself to give to the needy, forgave almost all his enemies. However much later Muslim rulers may have deviated from his example, it has remained the living tradition of ordinary Muslims, and countless European visitors have experienced their tolerance and hospitality. Where this tradition has broken down, it has been because Islam has been thrown on defensive.”

Reeves, Minou, and Philip J. Stewart. Muhammad in Europe: A thousand years of Western myth-making. NYU Press, 2003.”