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Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad
> View of Companions of the Holy Prophet and
other Muslim Theologians Regarding the Finality of
Books Section > The Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad Ali > View of Companions of the Holy Prophet and other Muslim Theologians Regarding the Finality of Prophethood
of Companions of the Holy Prophet and other Muslim
Theologians Regarding the Finality of Prophethood:
After this, Mian Sahib has put forward a few references which he claims are testimonies of the Ulema (scholars) of the Ummah. They are: Mulla Ali Qari, Muhy-ud-Din Ibn-i Arabi, Imam Abdul Wahab Sharani, Mujaddid Alf Thani, Mirza Mazhar Janjanan and Maulawi Muhammad Qasim Nanotawi. Apart from these, from among the Companions of the Holy Prophet, he has quoted in his support references from Hazrat Aishah, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Munirah ibn Shabah. And at the end of all this he has mentioned the name of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. According to Mian Sahib, all these elders did not believe that the Holy Prophet was the Last Prophet.
Alas, I am forced to reiterate that Mian Sahib did not even try to establish from the sayings and writings of these persons allegedly supporting his views, that Khatam an-Nabiyyin meant a person by following whom prophets will be made in future. Even for the sake of argument, if we admit that all these elders denied the Holy Prophet Muhammads being the Last of the Prophets (and this is, of course, not true), even then, this does not support the meaning given by Mian Sahib to the expression Khatam an-Nabiyyin. He could not bring out as much evidence as Christians do in support of their belief in the Trinity and Atonement. Mian Sahib may not be deceiving himself, but certainly he is deceiving his disciples, when he says that these elders also believed that God raised prophets directly in the beginning and now prophets will be made by the Seal of the Prophet Muhammad. This is such a thought that has not occurred to any Muslim so far, and as Mian Sahib has not produced from the Islamic literature of the last thirteen hundred years a single piece of evidence to support his view, this only confirms his dependence on hearsay.
Now I will discuss the views of the Muslim elders as quoted by Mian Sahib, one by one.
"Had Ibrahim lived and become a prophet, similarly, had Umar become a prophet, they both would have been from among the followers of the Holy Prophet as Jesus and Khidr and Ilyas. Thus this is not against the Word of God regarding Khatam an-Nabiyyin, because the meaning of this expression is that no prophet would appear after him (i.e., the Holy Prophet) who would abrogate his religion and would not be from among his Ummah." [I will discuss it later that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement regarded such a nabi as a muhaddath (one spoken to by God)]
Now, the first question is, whether Mulla Ali Qari by this statement, brings prophethood to an end, or advocates its continuity. The meaning he has given to the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin is that:
"No prophet would appear after him who would abrogate his (the Holy Prophets) religion."
In other words, according to the expression Khatam an-Nabiyyin, prophethood has come to an end, though in a special sense. And according to Mian Sahib this was also the view of all the lexicologists that they believed in the termination of prophethood in a special sense. He says:
"Because the lexicologists also believed that no prophet would come (in a special sense), after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, therefore, according to this belief they rendered Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the last of the prophets. But these meanings are not binding on us."
Now, whatever belief the lexicologists had was the same that was entertained by Mulla Ali Qari; he also believed that Khatam an-Nabiyyin meant that in future, prophets would be made by following the Holy Prophet. (This, indeed is the main point of contention). In spite of all that, the testimony of the lexicologists was not binding on Mian Sahib but that of Mulla Ali Qari was accepted by him. I wonder, what ultimate benefit would Mian Sahib derive by plunging his disciples in this labyrinth. After all, the historical verdict which will be passed, one day, on his writings will not be very flattering to him and his disciples.
"And this is strengthened by the hadith: Had Moses been alive he would have also followed me."
Was it not the testimony of Mulla Ali Qari? Why did Mian Sahib omit this part? Only because it went against his own belief! If the possibility of prophethood without a Law could be inferred from the hadith "Had Ibrahim lived " (although nothing like that is mentioned there), then, form the hadith "Had Moses been alive..." the possibility of (the continuity of) prophethood with a Law could also be deduced, because according to Mian Sahib:
"Something which is not possible in its nature cannot even be mentioned conditionally." (See Chapter 2)
And if, for the sake of argument, Moses (a Law-bearing prophet) were alive he would also have been a follower of the Holy Prophet. This means that it is also possible that a Law-bearing prophet could also be a follower of the Holy Prophet, which makes the door of prophethood wide open that Law-bearing prophets could also come!
Still a greater fallacy which Mian Sahib has tried to create by quoting a statement by Mulla Ali Qari is, that he has quoted one statement and has omitted another. Mulla Ali Qari has also said just before his statement quoted by Mian Sahib:
"Had Ibrahim lived and reached the age of forty and become a prophet then it would necessarily followed that our Holy Prophet would not have been Khatam an-Nabiyyin."
This also shows that according to Mulla Ali Qari Khatam an-Nabiyyin meant the Last of the Prophets. However the point to reflect on is, that these two statements are found at one and the same place. One which throws light on the real issue is not mentioned by Mian Sahib at all and by omitting a part from the whole text he wants us to believe that Mulla Ali Qari did not believe that the Holy Prophet was the last prophet. Whatever Mulla Ali Qari may have believed, it is neither binding on me nor on Mian Sahib, but whatever is written by him is a trust with us and when we want to divulge it to other people we should do so faithfully, the whole of it not that which serves our own interest should be transmitted and whatever is against our views should be camouflaged. These sayings are more precious than money. It is not proper that after declaring oneself a Muslim and a spiritual leader of a group one should be guilty of breach of a sacred trust like that.
"The first revelations which were granted to the Prophet were true dreams, so that he never dreamt but the truth of it shone forth like the dawn of the morning. And this is what God has retained for Muslims and this is from among the parts of prophethood. Thus prophethood in its entirety has not been taken away. That is why I have said, that prophethood with Law has been taken away and this is also the meaning of, there is no prophet after me."
"The name prophet has been wiped out after the Holy Prophet (i.e., no person can be called a prophet)."
And at another place he writes:
"The name of prophethood or prophet does not apply to anyone except the Law-bearing prophet."
Thus in the terminology of Shariah he calls them (who receive true visions) saints (auliya) and does not consider it proper to use the word prophet for them, and who can deny that saints of God are granted revelation. Ibn-i Arabi makes this point further clear:
"All this (the granting of revelation) is found among those men of God who are from among the saints (auliya). And the thing specially bestowed on a prophet and which makes distinct from a saint (wali) is Law-bearing revelation. Thus, no one can be a law-bearer except a prophet and a messenger."
Look in what a plain and lucid manner Ibn-i Arabi regards a prophet and law bearer as one, while prophethood with law (tashri-i Nubuwwah) is mentioned in comparison with saintliness (wilayah). But Mian Sahib has only quoted on part of Ibn-i Arabis statement which suited his own views and those parts which would have clarified the true beliefs of Ibn-i Arabi have been completely ignored. [Every scholar has his own way and terminology for explaining things which should not be confused with the terminology of other scholars. Tr.] When persons like Mian Sahib can stoop so low to lead people in error, what can I say of the conditions of such Muslims except: "Surely we are of God and to him we shall surely return." [An expression used at receiving the news of the death of a person or the loss of a thing. Tr.]
By his conduct Mian Sahib has put such a blemish on the name of his honoured father (that is, the Founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian), the effect of which will disappear only after a very long time. It cannot be said that these statements of Ibn-i Arabi, which are found in abundance in his works remained hidden by chance from Mian Sahibs eyes. Anyone who has just glanced once over Futuhat-i Makkiyyah by Ibn-i Arabi will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that Mian Sahib has simply tried to misconstrue the beliefs of Ibn-i Arabi. On the other hand, if he has not read at all Futuhat-i Makiyyah and has quoted a saying of Ibn-i Arabi after hearing it from his disciples, he will be absolved of this charge. But I still have the right to question how he can rely on hearsay on such an important subject, that is, accepted by the general body of Muslims.
Let me quote another statement by Ibn-i Arabi:
"They (i.e., saints), are the inheritors of the prophets because they are co-sharers with the prophets in receiving the Word of God. And the prophets are conspicuous by Shariah (Law). God the Most High says: He makes the spirit to light by His command upon whom He pleases of His servants. (The Quran: 40:15) Here min which is an indefinite noun, has been used so that he may warn (men) of the Day of Meeting. (The Quran: 40:15 - continued) Thus he brings a thing which is neither law nor command, because a saint (wali) is a bearer of good news and a warner but he is not a law-bearer." (Futuhat-i Makkiyyah, vol. ii, p. 188)
How is it that all these qualifications remained concealed from Mian Sahibs eyes? The answer to this is that either he camouflaged these facts intentionally thinking that no one would bother to verify these points about Ibn-i Arabis writings and if a counter reply was made Mian Sahibs disciples would not read it and they would keep on believing that whatever their leader had said about Ibn-i Arabi was right or, as is his habit, whatever his disciples said, he would cite it without proper investigation and make it the foundation of a new religious doctrine. No doubt Ibn-i Arabi has stated that Wilayat (sainthood) is nubuwaat ammah (prophethood in general) but he has clearly specified that the word prophet cannot be used for such persons. Furthermore, Ibn-i Arabi thinks that this nubuwwat-i ammah or nubuwwat-i lughwi (prophethood in its literal sense) is found in the whole of the ummah. To support his point he quotes the following hadith:
"Anyone who guards the Holy Quran, prophethood is inserted in him between his two sides."
And at another place he writes:
"And this prophethood is found in the animal world also, such as Gods saying: and thy Lord revealed to the bee." (The Quran: 16:68; Futuhat, vol. ii p. 5)
And he further writes that this prophethood will exist in the hereafter as well:
"Similarly prophethood with Law will be cut off in the Hereafter after one enters Paradise and not general prophethood (nubuwwat-i ammah)."
How clear are his statements! According to Ibn-i Arabi this prophethood amounts only to communication with God; in other words, in the literal sense of the word, as is mentioned in a saying of the Holy Prophet also:
"Among those who were before you of the Israelites there used to be men who were spoken to by God, though they were not prophets, and if there is one among my followers, it is Umar." (Al-Bukhari, Kitab: Fazail Ashab an-Nabi, ch. Manaqib Umar)
Look at all these clarifications and see what a great injustice has been done by Mian Sahib by twisting and tangling one of Ibn-i Arabis statements!
"It is not absolute prophethood that has been taken away but it is Law-bearing prophethood."
The opening and the concluding portion of the statement has unfortunately been thrown to the winds. The complete statement runs thus:
"That is why an interpretation of his ruya (true vision) is made and this is a part of the parts of prophethood which God has retained for this Ummah, because absolute prophethood has not been taken away. What is taken away is the Law-bearing prophethood, as this is supported by the following hadith:
What can I say about the cutting and clipping of such statements by Mian Sahib? May God guide him on the right path so that he may be able to take himself and his disciples out of this delusion and deception. A plain and simple utterance was wrenched out of shape in such a way that it appeared like a strong argument against the conception of the finality of prophethood. Well, all Muslims believe that a true vision (ruya saliha) is a part from among the parts of prophethood; and the hadith; "There is nothing left of prophethood except mubashshirat (good news)", is unanimously accepted. Among these mubashshirat are included the inspiration (ilhamat) of Gods saints (auliya), which in the Hadith have been called true visions (ruya al-saliha) because as compared to the light of prophetic revelation, ilham and ruya are included in Gods speech from behind a veil.*
However, this was only left to the ingenuity and erudition of Mian Sahib that he pronounced mubashshirat as true prophethood (ain-i nubuwwah) [Haqiqat an-Nubuwwat, p. 109, where after making a mention of mubashshirat, he say: "something which God declares as true prophethood."] and thus established the excellence of his scholarship for all times to come! As if the Holy Prophet had said: There is nothing left of prophethood except (true) prophethood. Could such meaningless words be uttered by the Holy Prophet? That there is nothing left of prophethood except a part of it that is mubashshirat (good news), is known to every Muslim, but the feather in the cap of Mian Sahib is that he has invented a new meaning of this Tradition that: Nothing has been left of prophethood except true prophethood.
What Imam Sharani has said about Law-bearing prophethood is the same that has been said by Ibn-i Arabi. In fact, Sharanis statement is a commentary of Ibn-i Arabis saying. What is called absolute or general prophethood by Ibn-i Arabi is saintliness (wilayat) or mere communication with God.
Then in the same book al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir (from which Mian Sahib has quoted his reference from Imam Sharani) the point has been clarified at several places. It is stated:
"But for saints (auliya) remain revelation and inspiration wherein there is no Law."
It shows that after Law-bearing prophethood there is nothing left for the Ummah except wilayat (saintliness). At another place Imam Sharani, after quoting Ibn-i Arabis saying, writes:
"Be it known that we are not in the position to explain the station of prophethood, and whatever we talk about it is by speculation of what we have been granted by way of inheritance, because it is not legitimate for any of us to enter the station of prophethood." (Al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir, vol. ii, p. 72)
Mian Sahib has not understood even what maqam-i wirasat (station of inheritance) is, as is clear from the reference he has quoted next.
"Thus attainment of the excellences of prophethood for the followers by way of allegiance and as legacy after the advent of the Seal of the Messengers (i.e., the Holy Prophet) does not contravene his finality." (Maktubat Ahmadiyyah, vol. i, letter No. 27)
To put forth this as evidence by Mian Sahib in his support is either an extreme form of naivety or impudence. Mujaddid Alf Thani says that the acquisition of the "excellences" of prophethood by the followers is not against the Holy Prophets being the Last Prophet and to Mian Sahib this statement means that according to Mujaddid Alf Thani the Holy Prophet was not the Last Prophet! How wonderful is this quick apprehension and understanding of the text by Mian Sahib! If a person says that the attainment of the excellences of prophethood is not against the conception of the finality of prophethood (Khatm an-Nubuwwah), is he not saying in clear terms that Khatam an-Nabiyyin means the Last of the Prophets? Who in the Ummah rejects the view that the attainment of excellences of prophethood by way of allegiance and as a legacy, is against the Holy Prophets being the Last Prophet?
Perhaps, Mian Sahib may go a step further than this. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "Develop in you the ethics of God." When a person has developed in him the Divine manners, then according to Mian Sahib he has become God in the same way that a person becomes a prophet by acquiring the excellences of prophethood! Mian Sahib has committed the same blunder which the Christians have done by taking metaphorical and symbolical expressions in their real sense towards making the Messiah the son of God.
"Let it be known to you, O friend, that God sometimes communicates with a person face to face and such persons are from among the prophets, and sometimes the communication takes place with some of these perfect ones who, although they are not prophets, are their followers. And when a person is honoured with this kind of communication (kalam) in abundance, he is called a muhaddath. And this (divine communication) is not of the kind of inspiration called ilham nor is it that which has been called ilqa fil rau, which is a sudden suggestion made directly to the heart of the inspired one, nor is it the kind of communication which takes place through the agency of the angel. Such communication is addressed to the perfect person (al-insan al-kamil). And God with his blessing distinguishes whomsoever he pleases." (Izalah Auham, p. 915, quoted from Maktubat Ahmadiyya, vol. ii, p. 99)
If the translation does not seem to be correct it could be verified from page 915 of Izalah Auham in Urdu (by the Founder). And for Gods sake, think carefully that a passage has been quoted from Mujaddid Alf Thanis writing and the deduction has been made that he believed in the coming of the prophets after the Holy Prophet, but how is it that his other writing is kept out of sight by Mian Sahib in which Mujaddid Alf Thani clearly indicates that such perfected persons are not prophets but muhaddathin? Mian Sahib! I feel sorry that you keep on disregarding even the Quranic injunction:
"And mix not up truth with falsehood nor hide the truth while you know." (The Quran, 2:42)
For how long will you keep on concealing the truth to give effect to your own desires? I notice that your behaviour is approaching the point of mockery towards Gods religion!
"No excellence has come to an end except original prophethood."
It is simply lack of understanding on the part of Mian Sahib that he regards reflective prophethood (zilli nubuwwah) as prophethood which is in fact opposed to the original prophethood, as if zill al-Allah [Gods shadow or reflection, by which Muslim kings were addressed -- Tr.] should be considered as God. It is a figurative expression. Neither is Gods reflection (truly) God, nor is the Holy Prophets reflection (truly) a prophet.
Thus, a person who considers that original prophethood has come to an end believes in the finality of prophethood. If the sun reflects itself in a thousand mirrors, the original sun is only one and it has not turned into a thousand suns.*
"On the other hand, for the sake of supposition, if another prophet is born after the Holy Prophet, even then it would not effect any difference in the khatamiyyat of Muhammad, although his contemporary may be on some other planet."
The words "for the sake of supposition" (bil-farz) do not express the belief of a person. Again there is no distinction made here between Law-bearing and non-law-bearing prophethood. Nor is there any mention made of one being a follower of the Holy Prophet. Maulavi Nanotawi only means that in the expression Khatam an-Nabiyyin there is also an indication of prophetic excellences and the point of time is not the sole subject, as he writes in the beginning:
"Even if shutting the door (of prophethood) was permitted there were scores of other opportunities for that. The basis of khatamiyyat, however, is on something else with which the delay in terms of a period of time and the shutting of the door aforementioned follow of necessity."
It has been clearly stated here that the author is a believer in the door of prophethood being closed, and according to him the basis of this is not the subsequence in terms of period of time, but something else. And he also declared the denier of Khatm-i-Nubuwwat a kafir [unbeliever/denier] on page 10:
"Then the Holy Prophets clarifications such as: You (Ali) stand to me in the same relation as Aaron stood to Moses, except that there is no prophet after me, which are derived from the expression Khatam an-Nabiyyin are enough in this respect, because (the reporting of) this subject has reached a stage of unbroken continuity, and a consensus of opinion has also been held in this respect As its denier is a kafir, similarly, the denier of that one is a kafir, too."
And furthermore it is stated: "And khatimiyyat of time is also not lost."
To say that such a person does not believe the Holy Prophet to be the Last Prophet is concealing the truth to the highest degree. The other views he has expressed on the basis of "supposition" cannot be adduced to prove that Maulavi Qasim Nanotawi did not accept the Holy Prophet as the Last Prophet.