Who is the prophet Mohammed?
Muslims believe that God revealed the Koran to Mohammed starting in the early 6th century through the Angel Gabriel. Mohammed is not only considered part of a long line of major prophets, including Moses and Jesus, but Mohammed is also considered the last prophet.
Why are depictions of the prophet seen as heretical by most Muslims?
Among Sunni Muslims in particular, depictions of any prophets, whether it be Mohammed or Jesus or Moses, are shunned to avoid worship of a person or a figure rather than God. God is the absolute in Islam and shares no partner and has no associates. Throughout history, there have been some depictions of the prophet in Islamic art, and it is common to find his name in the form of calligraphy. His name as God's messenger and as part of the Islamic declaration, shahadah, is drawn in Arabic and hung in homes and mosques. Shia Muslims are less opposed to depictions and images of Islamic leaders.
In what ways does the prophet's life affect Muslims today?
In mosque sermons, Muslim homes, Islamic studies and literature on the religion, the prophet's way of life and his words are studied and repeated as examples to live by. While Muslims do not believe the prophet to be perfect, as perfection is believed to be reserved only for God, they revere his relationship with his companions, followers, enemies, wives and neighbors as the ideal that humans should aspire to emulate. The Muslim declaration of faith, or shahadah, is "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah."