Throughout history, human beings have celebrated the qualities of men and women whose lives were believed exemplary and inspiring, giving rise to the cult of prophets, sages, military leaders, and charismatic political figures. Of all this galaxy of individuals who have dominated human thought and imagination, the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ, and Gautama Buddha continue to enjoy unbelievable influence in societies around the world. The Prophet Muhammad's reputation and influence are most evident in the daily rituals of Muslims, who link his name in prayer to that of the grand patriarch Abraham. Few people are as memorable as Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha. What is distinctive about Muhammad is that he is referenced not as a savior but as a final messenger who metaphorically brought the last divine direct connection, through which men and women could maintain direct and unmediated contact with the celestial world. Yet, this very claim of the man from Arabia has made him simultaneously the most hated and most loved human being ever to step on the surface of this earth: The venom directed at him and his movement has coagulated in the bloodstream of history. Our age is as affected by this poison as were the generations that came after him. The great irony is that his message was called Islam and the root of this word is very much related to another Arabic word, salaam (peace).