Dalia Mogahed: The historical figure that I find most inspiring is, as a Muslim, the prophet Mohammad. Peace be upon him.
I think that the reason for that is because he brought to the world a message that could resonate with the young and the old at the same time, the rich and the poor at the same time, women and men at the same time. He brought a message that was so resilient and so flexible that it could thrive in societies as different as China and Nigeria.
And I think that one of the biggest challenges today is to rediscover that vitality and not allow Islam to become ossified as a rigid force.
In very basic terms, he brought a message that said that nothing was worthy of worship except God. And what that means; the implications of that simple message was that all humans were therefore equal. If no one could be worshipped except God, then no one was superior to anyone else.
In fact, exclusively he said that all human beings are as equal as teeth on a comb. So the way I understand that, it was a message of human liberation – a liberation from slavery from one human to another, and instead for all humans to serve God alone.