Did the King James Version of the Bible change the world? Bill McKenzie of Dallas Morning News asks this question, here is my take:
Even if Jesus, Muhammad,
Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Moses and the others had the opportunity to print the holy books when they began their missions, the Bible and the Qur'aan would have remained the most influential books in changing the world.
Both the books inspire the followers to believe that the word of God must be spread to all corners of the world. Even though Buddhism was taken up by Asoka, one of the greatest kings of his time who sent emissaries around the world to preach the word of enlightenment, it did not add adherents as fast as the other two perhaps because it addressed the enlightenment within an individual whereas community building was the focus of Christianity and Islam. Since Hinduism does not have the conversion component, it still remains in the top slot mainly because it is one of the oldest religions.
As a pluralist who believes in the divinity of all religions as the pathways to becoming part of the larger energy called God, I believe Qur'aan seems to be the book that leads the pack in changing the world, while the Bible runs toe to toe for many reasons; the biggest of all the reasons was reliance on the book.
Prophet Muhammad was crystal clear in his last sermon, to paraphrase him, "O People, I am leaving this book and my practices to you, that is all you need to know to lead a moral life, and you cannot go wrong with it if you follow them." The responsibility to be a good human being was placed directly on shoulders of the individuals and hence reliance on the book.
Neither Jesus nor Muhammad encouraged the establishment of clergy; it was between the individual and the creator. Indeed, many Christians and Muslims refer to the book more frequently than the followers of other religions. The profession of clergy was bound to happen with a need for getting the word of God out.
The Muslim prayers require one to recite at least a few chapters during the prayers and without an exception every one of the 1.6 billion Muslims can recite at least five chapters, and about 5% of the Muslims have memorized the whole Qur'aan; word for word.
The phrase "People of the book" was indeed coined by Prophet Muhammad, meaning those who follow a book to live a moral life. The emphasis was on the book. The King James Version of the Bible certainly became available to the masses bolstered by the printing press and it will continue to be number one book in hands of the people.
A majority of Muslims, if not all, start every activity of their day by invoking the blessing of God and place themselves under the trust of God. As a result I place Qur'aan as the book that has changed most people.
12 Opinions including mine are included in this piece at Dallas Morning News;