Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad
> Finality of Prophethood and the Founder of the
Books Section > The Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad Ali > Finality of Prophethood and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement
of Prophethood and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya
The interpretation of the prophecy of Jesus Christ vis-à-vis the conception of the Finality of Prophethood has been discussed in detail by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and he has solved all the intricate points connected with the issue in such a beautiful way that the truth of Khatm-i Nubuwwat has shone like the mid-day sun. It is regrettable that those wrong meanings -- that is, that prophets will be made by following the Holy Prophet -- have been attributed to a person who clarified all the dim and hazy points which surrounded the subject of Khatm-i Nubuwwat. He said in plain and unmistakable terms that no prophet, new or old, could appear after the Holy Prophet. I quote only a few of his statements on the subject:
"And how was it possible that any prophet could come, after the Khatam an-Nabiyyin, in the complete and perfect sense, which is one of the conditions of perfect prophethood (nubuwwat-i tammah)? Is it not necessary that the perfect prophethood of such a prophethood should contain the essential requisites of revelation and the descent of Angel Gabriel? Because according to the express teachings of the Holy Quran, a prophet is one who has received the commands and creeds of faith through Angel Gabriel. But a seal has been set on the prophetic revelation for the last thirteen hundred years. Will this seal be broken then?" [This is not the "seal" about which Mian Sahib says that by bearing it prophets are made.]
Such references from the books of the Founder can be produced in great number. As far as his followers are concerned to understand what his views were on Khatm-i Nubuwwat, these statements are enough for them to understand. If other people also ponder over the subject, it would not be difficult for them to understand that when Mian Sahib, with great audacity, can produce references from the writings of Ibn-i 'Arabi, Imam Sha'rani, Mujaddid Alf Thani, etc., after clipping and cutting according to his own liking, it would not he difficult for him to deal with the writings of the Founder of the Movement in the same manner.
Mian Sahib has gained another feather in his cap by inventing and issuing an extremely loose statement, that the writings of the Founder on the subject of prophethood prior to 1901 have been abrogated. In other words, the Founder's affirmations on oath that prophethood had come to an end with the Holy Prophet and that it was his firm belief that no prophet could appear after him -- this was all a lie and his affirmations were false. May Allah protect us from this! On one side the Founder is called Mujaddid, Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and on the other he is regarded as having faith in falsehood! This is the tribute which Mian Sahib, as a son, has paid to his father! This theory of change in 1901 [This subject has been discussed in detail in Maulana Muhammad Ali's Al-Nubuwwat fil Islam, particularly in chapter 9.] is mere fiction which cannot be accepted by anyone except by those disciples who blindly follow Mian Sahib. That Khatam an-Nabiyyin meant one who has brought prophets to an end, was the view advocated by the Founder before, and after 1901, as is mentioned in al-Wasiyyat written after 1901:
"With this particular prophethood is the end of all prophethoods and thus it ought to have been, for whatever has a beginning must also have an end." [Al-Wasiyyat (20th December 1905), p.10.]
Is not Lecture (on Islam) in Sialkot, a book written after 1901? Read what he says in it:
"And the Finality of the Prophethood was granted to him not only because he appeared last of all, in period of time, but also because all the excellences of prophethood came to an end with him." [Lecture Islam, Sialkot (2nd November 1904), p.6]
Has it not been clearly indicated in Haqiqat al-Wahy:
"God the Most High ... created Adam, sent Messengers and Books and last of all he raised Muhammad, the Chosen one, (peace and blessings of God be upon him), who is Khatam al-Anbiya and the best of the messengers." [Haqiqat al-Wahy (15th May 1907), p. 141.]
In the Supplement of the same book he has explained the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin thus:
"And surely our Messenger is Khatam an-Nabiyyin and with him is cut off the chain of messengers, so no one has the right to claim substantial prophethood (mustaqil nubuwwat) after our Messenger, the Chosen one, and nothing remains after him except abundance of communication." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, Supplement, p. 64.]
Have any meanings other than the Last of the Prophets been given to the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin in these four places? However, in spite of all these clarifications, it is being propagated ceaselessly that the Founder did not interpret Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the Last of the Prophets.
If zilli nubuwwat is real nubuwwat then zill al-Allah means Allah himself and when the saints call themselves azlal (azlal is plural of zill. Tr) of the Rahman (the Beneficent), they should also be considered gods, and a king should also be accepted as God -- because in the Hadith the term zill al-Allah has been used for a king.
To hide his fallacious views, Mian Sahib also comes out with the excuse at times that he also accepts the prophethood of the Promised Messiah as zilli and baruzi. If this is true, then it is not prophethood but wilayat (sainthood), because the zill (reflection) of prophethood is wilayat. It seems that Mian Sahib has found a way out of this dilemma to conceal his real doctrine and to keep his disciples in the dark, because he also says that the terms zilli and baruzi have not been coined by God but by the Founder himself. In the same court case, Mian Sahib's close friend, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Secretary or Additional Secretary, when interrogated about the differences between the two sections of the Ahmadis, recorded the following statement:
"We accept the other party of the Ahmadis as Ahmadis. We believe Mirza Sahib (i.e., the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Tr.) to be a prophet. But they believe Mirza Sahib to be a baruzi and a zilli prophet."
This clearly shows that Mian Sahib and his choice disciples, in fact, do not accept Mirza Sahib as a baruzi and a zilli prophet. Perhaps the disciples of Mian Sahib generally cannot accept everything at the moment; prima facie this new doctrine lifts the veil gradually. Thus, the Founder's view that prophethood in the form of zill and baruz and the excellences of prophethood (kamalat-i nubuwwat) remain in this Ummah should be understood in the same sense in which Ibn-i 'Arabi and Mujaddid Alf Thani have expressed their views on the subject. And this is the view of the whole Ummah, and this is what the Founder said before and after 1901. For instance, he says in Izalah Auham (1891):
"Moreover, our Prophet being Khatam an-Nabiyyin bars the coming of any other prophet except one who receives his light from the light of the Prophethood of Muhammad and does not possess perfect prophethood, who in other words is also called a muhaddath (one spoken to by God). Such a person is beyond this restriction; rather, on account of his perfect discipleship and annihilation in the Messenger (fana fir-rasul), he is included in the being of the Seal of the Messengers (Khatam al-Mursalin) as a part is always included in the whole." [Izalah Auham (3rd September 1891), p. 575.]
And in 1901, in his leaflet Ek Ghalati ka Izalah, which according to Mian Sahib has abrogated the previous writings, the Founder says:
"So it is evident that by earning the names Muhammad and Ahmad by way of baruz two Muhammads and Ahmads have not come into existence; similarly, calling (a person) prophet or messenger in the form of baruz does not mean that the seal [Does this seal make prophets or bring prophets to an end?] of Khatam an-Nabiyyin is broken, because a baruz is a part of its original."
And then after 1901 he again wrote:
"And finally it should be remembered that if a follower receives a station of revelation, inspiration and prophethood merely by following the Holy Prophet and is exalted by being given the name prophet, it does not break the seal of prophethood because he is a follower and does not possess a separate existence of his own." [Chashma Masihi (1st March, 1906), p. 40.]
"God, Who is eminent in His glory, has made the Holy Prophet the possessor of the Seal, that is, He granted him a Seal, which was not granted to any other prophet at all, for the dissemination of excellences, then he was called Khatam an-Nabiyyin, that is to say, excellences of prophethood are obtained by following him and his spiritual care (ruhani tawajjuh) is a prophet-fashioner."*
By writing these words in bold letters Mian Sahib has tried to prove that the Founder of the Movement did not render Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the Last of the Prophets but gave this term the same meaning which Mian Sahib had all along advocated, that in future prophets will be raised by following the Holy Prophet. The fact that in the above passage only the receiving of the excellences of prophethood (kamalat-i nubuwwat) has been mentioned, explains the true significance of the aforementioned passage:
"And this holy power did not come to the share of any other prophet. And this is the true meaning of the tradition: Ulama-u ummati ka-anbiya-i Bani Israil, that is, the learned of my Ummah will be like the Israelite prophets." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, p. 97 footnote.]
What a great injustice Mian Sahib has done to his father, that by curtailing and pruning his writings he has mutilated the whole sense of the passage. The Founder only wanted to convey the point that by following the Holy Prophet the learned of this Ummah will become like the prophets of the Israelites and Mian Sahib is stretching it to mean that by the Holy Prophet's seal, prophets will be made! The whole Ummah believes in the doctrine of the learned ones becoming like the prophets of the Israelites, but their actually becoming prophets is something which has been repudiated by the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin itself. Let Mian Sahib ponder for a moment what kind of techniques he is applying to extract his own ideas from a writing of the Founder. He has not done this once, or twice, but all the time, while quoting the other Muslim divines and dignitaries as well.
From the beginning to the end, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has rendered Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the Last of the Prophets and the hadith, la nabiyya ba'di (there is no prophet after me), has been considered by him as its true and clear interpretation and this is the only meaning which he has accepted of Khatm-i Nubuwwat. It is true that he has also accepted the word khatam as implying another meaning, that is, the imparting of prophetic excellences. But the result of Mian Sahib's lack of deliberation is this: that he thinks that this implication has abrogated the previous meanings of the term. The Holy Prophet's passing on prophetic excellences has been mentioned in the earlier and later works of the Founder as well.
In Haqiqat al-Wahy which tells us of the Seal which imparts the Holy Prophet's grace, he also mentions that Khatam an-Nabiyyin means the termination of the dispensation of Prophethood: "and that God sent our Holy Prophet after all other prophets." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, Supplement, p. 44.]
Again in Haqiqat al-Wahy, the Founder interprets Khatm-i Nubuwwat as the termination of the chain of prophethood thus:
"And surely our Messenger is Khatam an-Nabiyyin and with him is cut off the chain of messengers." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, Supplement, p. 44.]
And then he says:
"And nothing remains after him except the abundance of communication." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, Supplement, p. 44.]
Thus, according to the Founder, the receiving of "abundance of communication" (kathrat-i mukalimah), and prophethood or messengership, are not one and the same, as otherwise the statement should read like this:
"With him has been cut off the chain of messengers and nothing remains after him except messengership."
and this obviously is a meaningless statement.
As in the saying: "Nothing has been left of prophethood except mubashshirat (good news)," it is not possible that mubashshirat should be considered true prophethood ('ain-i nubuwwat), similarly, it is not possible that in the statement above: "Nothing remains after him except the abundance of communication," the abundance of communication should be considered prophethood. The Founder further writes:
"And I have been called a prophet by God by way of metaphor, not by way of reality." [Haqiqat al-Wahy, Supplement, p. 44.]
And in Izalah Auham he has already stated that a prophet in the metaphorical sense is called a muhaddath (one spoken to by God). [Izalah Auham (3rd September, 1891), p. 579, detailed ref. quoted in ch. V. See also Izalah Auham, pp. 349, 421.] Thus, in spite of this clear explanation, to give a contrary meaning to a statement of the Founder is to make a mockery of his writings and this is what Mian Sahib has done and has played a similar game with the writings of Ibn-i 'Arabi, Mujaddid Alf Thani, Imam Sha'rani, etc. The Founder had explained the point in a subtle manner for the sake of his less knowledgeable opponents and Mian Sahib on this basis has found an excuse to wash the earlier and later writings of the Founder down the drain.
Mian Sahib has also taken notice of my English comments of the Holy Quran (on verse 33:40) and has discussed my use of the words "primarily" and "secondarily" ["The word Khatam means primarily a seal, and secondarily, the end or the last part or portion of a thing, the latter being the primary significance of the word khatam," The Holy Quran (English) by Muhammad 'Ali, under verse 33:40, 1920 edition. Tr.] If I start quoting the lexicons on this point it would need another long article, therefore, I would only say that in my commentary of the Holy Quran I have given both meanings, firstly, "a seal" and secondly "the last". It is also true that the word khatam is mostly used in the sense of a seal and less in the sense of the last, and this is what I meant when I adopted these meanings in my notes. Both the readings, khatim and khatam, have been mentioned in the reports, but the Holy Quran which is being recited today contains the reading khatam. The popular meaning of the word khatim is the "end", although it is used in the sense of a seal also. The preference given to khatam is for the reason that the object of setting a seal on something is that nothing else will enter therein. Thus, Khatam an-Nabiyyin does mean the Last of the Prophets but it also carries a deeper significance that finality now has been combined with the highest form of perfection and nothing more will enter therein from outside. In other words, prophethood has become perfect and has also come to an end. The use of the word khatim could not convey this significance. And only in this sense could the saying of Hazrat Aishah be considered as correct that: "Say Khatam an-Nabiyyin but say not: there is no prophet after him," because in the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin is included the meaning of la nabiyya ba 'duhu [that is, There will be no prophet after him -- Tr.] as well as the conception of the perfection of prophethood, and la nabiyya ba 'duhu only contains one meaning, that is to say, simply the termination of prophethood.
According to the Founder of the Movement, the word muhr (seal) denotes the transmitting of prophetic excellences also. He has pointed this out, so that when khatam is explained as a seal (muhr), it may not be understood that when a seal is set on something nothing at all can come out of it, which will amount to rejecting the continuous transmission of the prophetic grace (among the followers of the Holy Prophet). On the other hand, this is such a seal that has brought prophethood to perfection, that nothing can be added to it, and at the same time, it has also brought the bestowing of prophetic bounties to perfection; because the real object of prophethood is the transmission of spiritual excellences -- if this is lacking in prophethood, that is not real prophethood. The only true object of prophethood is that it should make others drink to the full from the same stream from which the Holy Prophet himself drank and should illuminate others from the same source from which the Holy Prophet himself received his illumination. Thus, the prophethood of Khatam an-Nabiyyan, as well as its transmission of spiritual excellences, both attained perfection. The Founder expresses the same view in the following words:
"He became Khatam an-Nabiyyin but not in the sense that no spiritual grace will be obtained from him, but he is the possessor of the seal (sahib-i khatam) in the sense that no grace can be obtained by any person except by his seal and that for his followers the door of divine communication and communion shall never be shut . . . substantive prophethood has come to an end with the Holy Prophet but the reflected (zilli) prophethood, which means the receiving of revelation only by the grace of Muhammad, shall remain to the Last Day so that the door for the perfection of human beings may not be closed. " [Haqiqat al-Wahy, pp. 27, 28.]
How beautiful was the whole explanation which was distorted into something entirely different!
"So the fact that he has been called a prophet as well as a follower indicates that he shall possess both the aspects of followership (ummatiyyat) and prophethood (nubuwwat) as it is necessary that both these aspects should be found in a muhaddath. But the possessor of perfect prophethood (sahib-i nubuwwat-i tammah) owns one aspect of prophethood only. In short, muhaddathiyyat is imbued with both colours. That is why in Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, God the Most High gave this humble servant the name of follower as well as prophet." [Izalah Auham (3rd September 1891), p. 533. A detailed discussion on this point will be fund in An-Nubuwwat fil Islam, ch. 7 and 8, Ahmadiyya Movement, ch. 4. Tr.]
Before concluding, I would like to put a question to Mian Sahib. When he has categorically denied the meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the Last of the Prophets, from which verse of the Holy Quran does he bring Law-bearing prophethood to an end? Had he said that although Khatam an-Nabiyyin means the Last of the Prophets, but by this is actually meant the last of the Law-bearing prophets, then he would have kept himself aloof from the Babi doctrine. However, by denying the termination of absolute prophethood he has fully fallen in line with the Babis. If he had said that the verse "This day have I perfected for you your religion," [The Holy Quran, 5:3] denotes that the Law (Shariah) has come to an end, then Mian Zahir-ud-Din, [Mian Zahir-ud-Din, a clerk in the Canal Department at Gujranwala wrote a book entitled Nabi Ullah Ka Zahur (The Appearance of a Prophet of God) in 1911. In this book the writer tried to prove that the Holy Prophet was not the last of the prophets and that prophets would continue to appear after him. The author had some correspondence with the Maulana Nur-ud-Din after which he was excommunicated from the Ahmadiyya community. This was followed by repentance on the part of Zahir-ud-Din, but the repentance was not long-lived. In 1913 he published another pamphlet in which he tried to defend his previous views. For the promulgation of these beliefs, the Ahmadiyya community again cut off all connections with him. It is also alleged that he claimed khilafat for himself and that was one of the reasons of his excommunication. Tr.] who conforms to his ideas to a certain extent, argues that such words are also to be found about the law of Moses: "Again, We gave the Book to Moses to complete (Our blessings) on him who would do good, and making plain all things and a guidance and a mercy," [The Holy Quran, 6:155] and Mian Sahib's own disciples sometimes use this very argument.
I say that if the Law (Shariah) has been made perfect, it has consequently come to an end; similarly, if prophethood has reached a stage of perfection it necessarily means that prophethood has also come to an end. And this is a decisive and ultimate argument against him. It is now up to him to reject it and adopt for himself an entirely different religion or join the followers of the Bab.
I have given conclusive proof from the lexicons about the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin, that it was invariably explained by the words the last of the prophets and until now Mian Sahib has not quoted the authority of a single lexicon to prove that the term meant prophet by following whom prophets will be made in future, or, khatam al-qaum meant that person, by following whom, a nation shall come into existence. Similarly, I have quoted the evidence of nine different reports by the Holy Prophet and have also mentioned that there are forty reports like that on the subject where the Holy Prophet's being the final prophet has been clearly explained. But Mian Sahib has not quoted a single report which would support his meaning -- that by following the Holy Prophet new prophets shall be made in future.
Then I have shown from the writings and sayings of Muslim savants, including the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, that they all believed that the Holy Prophet was the Last Prophet. There have been a few exceptions of those who believe in the coming of Jesus Christ, but they have interpreted it in this way, that Jesus had been born or appointed before the Holy Prophet -- and this assumption of theirs is wrong -- or have declared him only a mujaddid (at the time of his second coming) which is correct, but Jesus was prophet of God and his coming as a mujaddid after being deposed from his office of prophethood is not proper. This doctrinal error has been rectified by the Founder.
On the other hand, Mian Sahib has not shown from the writings of any of the Muslim divines, including the Promised Messiah, that prophets shall be made in future by following the Holy Prophet. The true and real basis of our faith is the Holy Quran and the Tradition (Hadith). I have cited all these other testimonies as additional and conclusive proof against him. And my final demand is that he should produce even a solitary authority from the Hadith, lexicons and the sayings of the Imams in support of his meaning about the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin.