Dr Saab, we have crossed intellects about this topic a few times before and I respectfully feel a little reminder/reality check is in order. You wrote:-
[“My dilemma: If we consider for a moment that intelligent life on other planets are superior to inhabitants of planet earth, we will have to admit that they even excel the exalted Prophet Muhammad in wisdom, knowledge, character, servitude (being an 'Abd) and greatness - a thought that makes me shudder. The rebuttal might be easy for RK followers since they think little of Muhammad (S).
But RK, in my humble opinion, envied Prophet (S). Just one evidence: His dropping of the last two verses of Surah 9 At-Taubah.
9:128 There has come to you (O Mankind) a Messenger, one of your own, who feels your burden. He is full of concern for your betterment, and for those who choose to believe, he is MOST compassionate and merciful. ]
I would prefer you to use an earlier translation of this verse:-
9:128(All humanity must realize that) there has come to you a Messenger one of your own who feels your burden. He is full of concern for your betterment, and for those who attain belief, he is compassionate, merciful.
The use of the word “most” is getting too close to the way it is used for Allah; He being Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, where we have the Al in phrases for example Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi etc. PLEASE NOTE THERE IS NO ‘AL’ PRECEDING RAHIMUN IN 9:128:-
Laqad jaakum rasoolun min anfusikum AAazeezun AAalayhi ma AAanittum hareesun AAalaykum bialmu/mineena raoofun raheemun
raūfun(he is) kind raḥīmun(and) merciful.
In the following we are asked not to make any distinctions between all of the Messenger’s of Allah, even though some excelled in some aspects to others:-
2:136 (O You who have chosen to believe) Say, “We believe in God, and the Revelation that has been given to us, and (the surviving Truth) in what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, as well as the Tribal Israelite prophets - and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to all prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among them (since all of them were one in Purpose and they got their Guidance from the One True God). And for Him, we are Muslims.”
ABRAHAM “AN EXEMPLARY LEADER FOR ALL MANKIND”
2:124 And remember when his Lord had Abraham go through trying circumstances with His Commands, and he fulfilled them. Then He said, “I have appointed you an exemplary leader for all mankind.” He asked, “And of my offspring (will there be exemplary leaders as well)?” He replied, “My Covenant does not include the wrongdoers.”
DAVID “RULER ON EARTH”
38:26 (We said to him), "O David! We have made you a ruler on the earth therefore, establish the System of justice and equity for people. Never let your judgment be swayed by personal whims causing you to deviate from the Path of God. For those who wander from the Path of God, is a strict retribution for having forgotten the Day of Account."
JESUS PUT COMPASSION AND MERCY INTO THE HEARTS OF HIS FOLLOWERS
57:27 Then, in succession, We followed them up with (other of) Our messengers. We caused them to be followed by Jesus son of Mary and gave him the Gospel. And We placed kindness and compassion in the hearts of those who followed him. As for monastic asceticism - ......
From the above examples we can see that the last Messenger of Allah was no less, NOR ANY BETTER, that the Messenger’s that came before him. To make any distinction between them would be an act/belief contrary to the Quran so we cannot and must not do so.
I have heard that the universe came into existence for one purpose, so that Muhammad could be born and some even believe Muhammad was with Allah when the universe was created! The Sufi’s on the “good stuff” who wrote this lost sight of the Quran and copied the Bible, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God....and the word became flesh” etc.
Elevating the last Messenger above and beyond his role as a Messenger and an example for us to follow [by following the Quran only], is idolisation.