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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter II : Finality of Prophethood


Chapter II : Finality of Prophethood:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets. (33:40)

On Finality of Prophethood depends the unity of Islam:

The issue of the Finality of Prophethood, like the concept of the Unity of Godhead, is of great importance to Islam as this is the true basis of unity among Muslims. If all Muslims are subservient to one Prophet they are just like the subjects of a king or sons of a father - they are all brethren. If they have some differences these are of no value as compared with unity among themselves. However, if there is more than one prophet in this ummah, this unity cannot be maintained. Thus on the issue of the Finality of Prophethood depends the unity of the Islamic brotherhood.

What is meant by the Finality of Prophethood?

What is the significance of the Finality of Prophethood? The brief reply to this question is that the real object of the advent of prophets and messengers was, as stated in the Quran, to bring guidance (hidayah) from God, and this object was achieved in its perfect form by the advent of the Holy Prophet. Thus, in the Finality of Prophethood is included both meanings, that is to say, perfection of prophethood combined with finality.

With the perfection of prophethood that mission, the need for which arose from time to time, has been completed for all times to come. A prophet was needed in the world so that he could show some of the aspects of God's will and pleasure relevant to the needs of a nation and a country and so that he could make himself an example for other people by manifesting in himself some of the perfect attributes of God. The Holy Prophet appeared in the world with guidance which was meant for all nations, for all mankind, for all countries and for all times to come. This guidance was not lacking in any respect for the fulfilment of the needs of any race, nor did it remain confined to a particular era, nor did the development of any human faculty remain outside of its scope. Moreover, in the person of the Holy Prophet were manifested, in a perfect manner, all the divine attributes, and thus he became a perfect exemplar for all the peoples of the world, for all ages to come. In fact, when his mission was completed, there was no further need for prophethood. All God's works are based on just and right exigencies:

With truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come. 1

All the points which are essential for the Finality of Prophethood as stated in the Quran have been gathered together in the sacred person of the Holy Prophet. For instance, when the Quran mentions a prophet, it makes mention of his advent to a particular people. Noah, Salih, Hud, Shu'aib - they were all sent for their own people. The same was true about Jesus, who was the last of the national prophets. It was said that he was a messenger to the Children of Israel. 2

In general terms, it has been said about other prophets, that there is not a people but a warner has gone among them 3 and for every people a guide 4 and again, for every nation there is a messenger. 5 But when the Quran makes mention of the Holy Prophet, it says: O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, 6 that is, he has not been sent to one particular nation. Then it was said about him: We have not sent thee but as a bearer of good news and as a warner to all mankind 7 (whether black or white, present or future). Again, it was said: We have not sent thee but as a mercy to all the nations 8 and that he might be a warner to the nations. 9

Thus, first of all, the differences of time and space were obliterated, which means that in future there will be only one prophet for all nations and all ages to come. Although these verses alone were enough as decisive proof of the Finality of Prophethood, nevertheless for further clarification, another verse was revealed:

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. 10

In this verse it was also explained that no other prophet would be needed in the world, for the work which other prophets were supposed to do had already been done by the Holy Prophet. No task had remained unaccomplished for which the advent of a new prophet was needed. There has been no prophet in the world who claimed that through him, guidance (hidayah) had attained its perfection. On the other hand, the announcement of this day I have perfected for you your religion is a unique announcement. As compared to this, there is humility expressed by other prophets, so much so that even the Prophet Jesus had to say:

"There is still much that I could say to you, but the burden would be too great for you now. However, when he comes who is the Spirit of Truth, he will guide unto all truth." 11

The significance of the verse Khatam al-Nabiyyin:

When the need for prophethood was no longer present, it was necessary to make an announcement that no one would be appointed to the post of prophethood, and thus it was declared:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. 12

First, it was established that the paternal relationship of the Holy Prophet was cut off - he was not the father of any male descendants of his followers. With the use of "but" (lakin) 13 which in the Arabic language is a particle of emendation (harf istidrak), the doubt, as if the fatherhood of every kind was denied to him, was removed, because this is what appeared to be the meaning of the words Muhammad is not the father of any of your men. However, the words that follow, but he is the Messenger of Allah, mean that the Holy Prophet enjoyed a kind of fatherhood which was spiritual in its significance. A messenger is a spiritual father for his ummah and the righteous servants of his are his spiritual sons. Thus the words Messenger of Allah implied that although fatherhood in the physical sense was denied to him, it was not denied to him in the spiritual sense. And along with it, another point has been emphasised that his spiritual lineage was established and because of his being Khatam al-Nabiyyin the chain of his spiritual sons will never be cut off. If his prophethood was going to be terminated, in that case, only his spiritual fatherhood would come to an end. As his prophethood would remain operative for all times to come, therefore his spiritual fatherhood would never be cut off. In other words, he is Abul-Bashar, that is, Father of Man. In conformity with this, it is mentioned:

"It has been said in relation to the use of the particle of emendation (lakin) that when the Holy Prophet's being the father of any man was negatived - although it was well-known that every messenger was the father of his ummah as the prophet Lot said: `these are my daughters', 14 and by daughters was meant the believing women - it created the doubt of negation in the Holy Prophet's messengership, because fatherhood and messengership were inter-related. The negation of this doubt was marked by the positive statement of the Holy Prophet's messengership." 15

Further, about the verse Khatam al-Nabiyyin, it is said that this expression is used to prove that his spiritual fatherhood, (affirmed in the form of messengership), extends to the Day of Judgement, as if it has been said that:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but is, in fact, (the spiritual) father of every one of you; he is the father of your sons and the father of the sons of your sons and so on till the Day of Judgement. 16

Every word of the Quran is full of such wisdom that anyone who thoughtfully ponders over its contents has to admit that, however great and sharp in scholarship a person may be, he is not capable of producing such a book of profound wisdom. It is, however, inconceivable that it should be the speech of an unlettered inhabitant of Arabia. If the main object was just to announce that the Holy Prophet was the last prophet, the whole concept would have been spelt out in simple words. But that was not the only objective. What was the reason and true significance of his being the last of the prophets?

Firstly, fatherhood in the physical sense was denied to him, but along with it his being God's messenger was affirmed; that is to say, his fatherhood in the spiritual sense was established. But only that much was not enough, for earlier messengers, too, had the relationship of spiritual fatherhood with their followers. However, their power had its limitations, and when another prophet appeared, this spiritual fatherhood came to an end and the new prophet became the guide and exemplar for the people who were expected to follow in his footsteps and who were called his spiritual sons. As far as the Holy Prophet was concerned, the expression Khatam al-Nabiyyin was used to convey the point that his spiritual offspring will never come to an end. That is why, instead of khatim, the word khatam (a seal) was used, although in another reading khatim has also been used. A seal is put on a thing when it has reached its perfection, that is to say, there is no room for putting anything else inside it. Thus the real object of the use of the word khatam was to indicate that prophethood did not just simply come to an end, but it came to an end by attaining its perfection and excellence in the person of the Holy Prophet - this being the culminating point for which the dispensation of prophethood was established. In short, it was stated in the above-mentioned verse that there was no prophet after the Holy Prophet.

Secondly, prophethood was terminated not without any reason, but it came to an end after it had reached the stage of perfection and excellence. In other words, the object for which it was instituted had been accomplished in its highest form.

Thirdly, Finality of Prophethood meant that the chain of the Holy Prophet's spiritual sons will never be cut off and the light and blessings which he brought to the world will always come to the share of the people.

The interpretation of the Finality of Prophethood by the Holy Prophet himself:

There are plenty of traditions (ahadith) which show that no prophet can appear after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. A unanimously accepted tradition says:

"The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to `Ali: You stand to me in the same relation as Aaron stood to Moses except that there is no prophet after me." 17

If there was a possibility of someone becoming a prophet in the world after the Holy Prophet, Ali could have been the one. Similarly, in another unanimously accepted tradition, the Holy Prophet mentioned the appearance of false claimants to prophethood and then he added:

"I am Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the seal of the prophets); there is no prophet after me." 18

In other words, the Holy Prophet had himself explained the word Khatam al-Nabiyyin, that is to say, no prophet could appear after him. In another authentic hadith it is mentioned:

"Had there been a prophet after me, it would have been `Umar." 19

In another authentic hadith of Al-Bukhari, which has also been mentioned in Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ahmad through different narrators, it runs as follows: "It is reported from Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: `My likeness and the likeness of the prophets before me is the likeness of a person who built a house and he made it beautiful and made it complete except for the place of a brick in the corner. So people began to go round it and to wonder at him and say: `Why have you not placed this brick?' He (that is, the Holy Prophet) said: `So I am that brick and I am Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Seal of the Prophets).' " 20

In yet another unanimously accepted hadith, the Holy Prophet said that his name was al-Aqib which was explained by him as being the one after whom there was no prophet. 21

Similarly in Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said that he had been given superiority over other prophets in six things and the last thing which he mentioned was:

"Prophets have come to an end with me." 22

Again, the Holy Prophet said:

"Verily messengership and prophethood have been cut off. Thus, there is no messenger after me nor a prophet."

When the reporter remarked that that was hard on the people, the Holy Prophet said "but there will be mubashshirat (receiving of good news)" which is one of the forty-six parts of prophethood. 23

There are many other traditions on the subject and there is such an abundance of them that they have reached the status of unbroken continuity and a great number of the companions of the Holy Prophet are reporters of these traditions. Thus, it has definitely been established that there can be no prophet after the Holy Prophet and there is a consensus of opinion in the whole ummah against which no opposing voice has been heard during the last thirteen hundred years.

As the unity of Godhead is the basis of Islam and this belief has been clearly and emphatically mentioned in the Quran over and over - and the whole ummah unanimously agrees with this concept, similarly, the other basis of Islam is the Finality of Prophethood. And this doctrine, together with its essential requisites, is recorded in the Quran and the Hadith many times and the ummah in its entirety has confirmed this belief.

Unity of Godhead and the Finality of Prophethood are the two basic principles of Islam:

The basis of the religion of Islam is the unity of Godhead and the Finality of Prophethood (Khatm-i Nubuwwah). The Unity of Godhead required that there should be unity in the human race as well. Therefore, when God perfected the faith of Islam He taught on one hand, the concept of the perfect Unity of Godhead, and on the other, the concept of the Finality of Prophethood so that the worshippers of the One Supreme God may follow one religion. It was for this reason that Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was included in the Muslim formula of faith: there is but One God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This is a point which has also been carped at by the opponents of Islam as if, joining the messengership of Allah with the Unity of Godhead (tauhid) is a form of polytheism. Among Muslims also there is a new sect whose followers are known as the People of the Quran (Ahl-i Quran) and who have prohibited the joining of Muhammadur rasulullah with la ilaha illallah. But the truth of the matter is that unless these two issues are combined, the basis of the religion remains incomplete. If the object of Islam is to establish the worship of one God, to establish the unity of the human race is also one of its objects. The first object can be achieved by affirming one's faith in tauhid and for the second object, affirmation in the messengership of the Holy Prophet (risalat) is essential. To say that with tauhid the mention of the risalat is polytheism is not right, because the concept of divine tauhid has been mentioned in such a perfect manner in the words la ilaha illallah (there is only One Supreme God worthy of worship) that this is enough for the negation of every kind of polytheism.

Nevertheless, it can be said that the affirmation, Muhammadur Rasulullah, does not indicate the admission of the Finality of Prophethood. This is also not right. In fact, with the affirmation of tauhid, the affirmation of the Holy Prophet's messengership also stands for affirming the concept of the Finality of Prophethood. For, when the Kalimah (formula of Muslim faith) has been declared the basis of the Islamic religion, then, as long as this Kalimah is current, no other prophet in this ummah will appear. If there comes another prophet, faith in his messengership, instead of the messengership of the Holy Prophet, becomes essential. And in this way, by changing the foundation of the religion, the foundation of Islam itself is demolished. This can never happen, that by word of mouth the messengership of the Holy Prophet should be confessed and in one's heart one thinks that belief in the risalat of another messenger is also indispensable. It is for this reason that in certain parts of prayer and ritual worship a mentioned has been made of the Holy Prophet; for instance, in the Azan (call for worship) where the words I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah can never be changed till the Day of Judgement. If another prophet was going to appear after the Holy Prophet, these words would not have been a permanent part of the Azan. As long as the call of prayer is sounded, every Muslim will also affirm in a loud voice that the Messenger, belief in whom makes a person enter Islam, is only Muhammad and nobody else.

Similarly, in every prayer (salah), the sending of blessings (darud) on the Holy Prophet is essential. The sending of darud is either on the Holy Prophet or the Al-i Muhammad, in which are included his perfect followers, that is his spiritual offspring and no body outside his ummah, including a previous prophet. For instance, if Jesus Christ comes, sending darud on him is not part and parcel of our prayer because darud is either on Muhammad or the true followers of Muhammad. As regards the true followers of Muhammad, it is essential that they should be the spiritual offspring of the Holy Prophet and Jesus Christ is his brother 24 and not his spiritual offspring. The Holy Prophet's spiritual progeny or al would only be those people who are born within his ummah and attain to every kind of excellence by complete obedience and allegiance to him. On the other hand, Jesus Christ had not attained excellence by following him.

In attahiyyat (sitting position) the words recited mean, peace be on thee, O Prophet. Here the word al-Nabi (the Prophet) indicates that no other prophet can appear in this ummah. If there were the possibility of the advent of another prophet, the word al-Nabi would have become meaningless.

The Prophet is only one:

The words, the Prophet and the Messenger, are specifically used for the Holy Prophet Muhammad not only in Islamic literature but also in the previous scriptures. It is mentioned in the New Testament that when John (Yahya) made a claim to prophethood, "the Jews of Jerusalem sent a deputation of priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He confessed without reserve and avowed, `I am not the Messiah.' Who then? Are you Elijah?' `No,' he replied. `Are you the prophet we await?' He answered, `No.' " 25

The reference regarding "that" prophet is mentioned in the Old Testament thus:

"I will raise them up a prophet from among their breth ren, like unto thee" (i.e. Moses). 26

In any case, in the Gospel of John, the Promised One has only been indicated by the expression the Prophet and this was the question asked of John by the deputation of the Jews. This shows that among them, only the use of the term the Prophet pointed to the one and the only one who was a promised prophet among them and this expression was so popular that when John was asked, "Are you the Prophet?" he immediately understood that he was being asked about the promised prophet. For this reason, the Quran has also used the Prophet and the Messenger for the Holy Prophet, as has been said:

Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. 27

Again:

Obey God and the Messenger. 28

"And if Muslims have any dispute they should refer it to Allah and His Messenger." 29

The expression ya ayyuhan nabiyyu (O Prophet) occurs frequently in the Quran. The use of this expression indicates that Muhammad is the universal Prophet. Surprisingly, it is not only in the earlier prophecies and the Quran that he has been addressed as the Prophet or the Messenger but also whenever among Muslims these words are used, they refer only to one person alone, that is to say, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are, after all, his followers. Even when non-Muslims talk of the Prophet, it means only the Prophet Muhammad, as if this term is inseparably attached to him in the eyes of the whole world.

When we look at the issue from another point of view, the Holy Prophet's particular association with this name extremely delights our hearts, because we see that, before as well as after his advent, all the people understood him to be the Prophet. And then in his sacred person God has assembled those qualities which entitle him to be called the Prophet. For this reason, it is essential for a Muslim to believe in that which was revealed before thee, (that is, the Holy Prophet). 30 Another prophet was not needed, and thus only he became entitled to be called the Prophet and belief in him included belief in all the previous prophets. After him, there will not be any other prophet. If another prophet appears in his ummah, whether it is Jesus Christ or someone else, the use of the term the Prophet becomes doubtful for him and his peculiarity in this respect becomes null and void. The sovereign of the great kingdom of Islam is one. As in Islam God is One God and there is not the least room for anyone to be associated with His Unity - because He is the Possessor of all the excellent divine attributes, similarly the Prophet of Islam is also one and there is no co-sharer in his oneness, because in him are found all the excellences of mankind and of all the prophets. A nation which claims to be the worshipper of One God and the follower of one prophet should create such a unity among themselves that the parallel of this might never be found in the whole world.

The Finality of Prophethood in the eyes of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement:

At this stage I will deal with one question. Are these my own views or the views of the Founder of the Movement, the truth of whose claim I will establish in this treatise? For this, one reference is enough to show what his concept was about the Finality of Prophethood (Khatm-i Nubuwwat) but, because a false allegation has been laid against him, that he was a claimant to prophethood, therefore, I shall quote references from his earlier as well as his later works to clarify this issue.

Prophethood which is perfect and complete has been cut off:

"And the Messenger of Allah is reported to have said that there is nothing left of prophethood except mubashshirat (good news)." That is to say, from the parts of prophethood only one part is left and that is the receiving of good news from among the kinds of true visions and genuine inspirations (mukashifat al-sahiha) and revelation which descend on the chosen ones among the righteous servants (auliya). We believe that the prophethood which is perfect and complete and combines in it all the excellences of revelation has been cut off from the day it was revealed that, Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin' (the Last of the Prophets) (33:40). 31

The Holy Prophet is the last of the prophets and the Quran is the last of the books:

"The concise statement, and the sum and substance of our religion, is: `There is but One Supreme God, (and) Muhammad is God's messenger'. Our faith, which we hold in this earthly life, and with which we shall pass away from this world by the grace and guidance of God, is that our master and leader, Muhammad, the Chosen One, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) and the last of the messengers at whose hand the religion has been made perfect and that the divine favour has reached its completion and by following this course man can reach God, the Most High. We firmly believe that the Quran is the last heavenly book and not a jot nor tittle from its laws and commandments can be added, nor can any of it be subtracted from it. Now, no revelation (wahy) or inspiration (ilham) from God can descend which can alter, abrogate, modify or change any of the commandments of the Quran. If somebody thinks so, he, according to us, is outside the party of the faithful ones and is a heretic and a disbeliever." 32

"O brethren! I have not come with a new religion or a new teaching. I am also a Muslim like you and for us Muslims there is no other book except the Quran which we should follow, or guide others to follow."

"For us, there is no guide and leader whom we should follow or ask others to follow except the Last of the Messengers, Ahmad of Arabia (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!)." 33

Nobody can come after the Holy Prophet, but one who is like a messenger:

"How can the Messiah come? He was a messenger and the iron wall of Khatam al-Nabiyyin prevents his coming. Thus one came who is like him, (but) he is not a messenger (rasul) although he resembles the messengers and is like them." 34

Prophetic revelation cannot resume after the Holy Prophet:

"And I have written this several times, that the coming of the Messiah, son of Mary, after Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) is the cause of great turmoil. Consequently, either it has to be accepted that prophetic revelation will be recommenced, or God will send the Messiah, son of Mary, after making him only a follower and thus depriving him of the essential characteristics of prophethood, but both these positions are prohibited." 35

The advent of a prophet after the Holy Prophet is a disgrace to Islam:

"But God, the Most High, will never allow this disgrace and dishonour to happen to this ummah and neither will He allow disrespect and loss of dignity to befall the Holy Prophet, the chosen, the Khatam al-Anbiya, by sending a messenger with whom the descent of Gabriel was essential, and thus He should turn the house of Islam topsy-turvy, in spite of the fact that He has promised that after the Holy Prophet no messenger will be sent." 36

The meaning of Khatam al-Nabiyyin is the one who brings prophets to an end:

"The twenty-first verse is this: Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin (33:40). This verse also clearly establishes the point that no prophet will appear in the world after our Holy Prophet. Thus, this also is perfect evidence that the Messiah, son of Mary, cannot come back to the world, because he is a messenger and it is included in the true nature and essence of a messenger that he should obtain the knowledge of spiritual sciences through the agency of Gabriel, and it has just been proved that apostolic revelation (wahy-i risalat) has been cut off till the Day of Judgement." 37

It is essential for a prophet to receive apostolic revelation through the agency of Gabriel and that is totally forbidden now:

"Fourthly, the Holy Quran does not permit the coming of another messenger, whether new or old, after the Khatam al-Nabiyyin, because a messenger receives the knowledge of faith through the mediation of Gabriel and the door of the descent of Gabriel with apostolic revelation (wahy risalat) has been shut. And it is forbidden, too, that a messenger should come to the world without apostolic revelation." 38

There is no prophet in this ummah after the Holy Prophet:

"I acknowledge and know it for certain that our Holy Prophet is the Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the last of the prophets) and believe with perfect certainty that our Prophet is Khatam al-Anbiya and no prophet, either new or old, will appear after him for this ummah." 39

Prophets and prophetic revelation have come to an end and there is no messenger after the Holy Prophet:

"God has brought an end to the prophets with our Messenger and prophetic revelation (wahy al-nubuwwah) has been cut off. How then could the Messiah come when there is no prophet after our Messenger? Will he then be separated from his prophethood and come like those who are deposed from their office?" 40

Prophethood has come to an end; the Promised Messiah will be from this ummah:

"And all the traditions (ahadith) agree on the point that the Promised Messiah will be from among this ummah, because prophethood has been brought to an end and our Messenger is Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets). 41

To believe in a prophet after the Holy Prophet amounts to denying the Last of the Prophets:

"And this should also be understood that when our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is Khatam al-Anbiya (the Last of the Prophets), there is no doubt in it that he who believes in the descent of the Messiah, who was a prophet for the Israelites, is a denier of the Khatam al-Nabiyyin." 42

The period of prophethood of Muhammad extends to the Day of Judgement:

"The needs of the time of our master and leader, the last of the messengers, were not, in fact, confined to one category only and that period was also not a limited period but it was so vast that its ambit extends to the Day of Judgement." 43

God will not send a prophet after the Khatam al-Nabiyyin:

"It does not beseem God that He should send a prophet after our Prophet, the Khatam al-Nabiyyin, and it does not beseem Him that He should start the chain of prophethood again after it has been terminated and that He should abrogate some of the Quranic commands or add thereupon." 44

The door of prophetic revelation is closed and the explanation of Khatam al-Nabiyyin is There is no prophet after me:

"Because this is against the saying of God Almighty that: Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) (33:40). Do you not know that the Beneficent Lord has declared our Holy Prophet to be Khatam al-Anbiya without exception and our Prophet has interpreted this verse with la nabiyya ba'di (there is no prophet after me). For the seekers of truth it is evident that if after our Holy Prophet we accept the lawfulness of the coming of another prophet, it means that we have opened the door of prophetic revelation which was closed and this is against what Muslims generally believe in this regard. And how can a prophet appear after our Messenger, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when verily after his death (prophetic) revelation has been cut off and God has brought an end to prophets?" 45

A claimant to prophethood cannot be a Muslim:

"On the other hand, from the same mouth he expressed the opinion about me that my Jama'at (followers) regard me as a messenger of God, as if I have made a claim to prophethood in reality. If the writer's first opinion is correct, that I am a Muslim and have faith in the Quran, then his second opinion, in which he expressed that I am a claimant to prophethood myself is wrong. If this second opinion is correct, then the first one, in which I have been declared a Muslim and a believer in the Quran is wrong. Can an ill-fated fabricator who himself lays claim to messengership and prophethood have any faith in the Quran? And can such a person who has faith in the Quran and in the verse but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) as the words of God say, that he is a messenger and a prophet after the Holy Prophet?" 46

The Holy Prophet's being Khatam al-Anbiya refers to the fact that he is the father of the righteous servants of his ummah and by following him the excellence of prophethood, that is, the favour of God's communication, will be granted:

"Similarly, the Finality of Prophethood (Khatm-i Nubuwwat) in the person of the Holy Prophet should not be denied, and also it should not be understood in a way that would shut the door of divine communion and communication for this ummah. It must be remembered that we believe the Quran to be the last Book and the last Law (Shari`ah) and after this, till the Day of Judgement, there is no prophet, in the sense of one who is the possessor of Law or one who can ever receive revelation without obedience to the Holy Prophet, but the revelation which is the result of obedience will never be cut off. But prophethood with shari`ah and independent prophethood have been terminated, and towards this, up to the Day of Judgement, no way is open. If anyone says that he is not from the ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and claims that he is a prophet with Law or without Law, his example is like that of a person who is lifted up by a torrent and is thrown backwards and he cannot come out of it till he dies. A further elucidation of this point is that when God has promised that the Holy Prophet is the last of the prophets (Khatam al-Anbiya), it has also been pointed out that the Holy Prophet, on account of his (quality of) spirituality is like a father unto those righteous persons whose souls are perfected by obedience to him, and divine revelation and the honour of communication are granted to them, as God mentions in the Quran:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) (33:40).

"It is evident that lakin (but) in the Arabic language is a particle of emendation (istidrak) and stands for the negation of what has passed before. 47 Thus in the first part of the verse, the matter which has been considered void is that the physical fatherhood in relation to males has been negatived, but with the particle lakin this negation has been remedied and the Holy Prophet was declared the Khatam al-Anbiya which means that after him the receiving of the blessings of prophethood directly has been cut off. Now, the blessings of prophethood will only be granted to that person who bears the seal of prophetic obedience in his actions, and in this way such a person will be the son and heir to the Holy Prophet. 48 In short, this verse in one way negatives the Holy Prophet's being a father and in another way his fatherhood has been affirmed, so that the objection which has been mentioned in: Surely thy enemy is cut off (from good), could be removed (103:8). The sum and substance of this verse is that prophethood even without law is cut off in this way - that a person should receive the station of prophethood directly, but it is not forbidden that such a prophethood should be acquired and be graced with the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad. In other words, the possessor of such an excellence should be the follower (ummati) of the Holy Prophet in one respect and from another he should posses within himself by way of acquisition of the splendours (anwar) of the prophethood of Muhammad. If in this way also, the perfection of the really earnest and worthy persons of this ummah is denied, it means, God forbid, that the Holy Prophet was cut off from good on both sides; neither did he have a son in the physical sense nor in the spiritual, and the opponent was right when he raised the objection that the Holy Prophet was abtar (cut off from God or without any children)." 49

In this ummah prophets cannot come because the Quran has made the Shari`ah complete and perfect:

"We are Muslims and believe in God's book, the Quran, and we believe that our leader, Muhammad, the Chosen, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the Prophet and Messenger of God and his religion is the best of all the religions. And we believe that he is the Khatam al-Anbiya and after him there is no prophet, except the one who is nourished by his grace and appears according to his promise and God communes and communicates with His auliya (saints) in this ummah and they are imbued with the colour of prophethood though they are not prophets in reality, for the Quran has brought the needs of the Law (Shari`ah) to perfection. And they are given nothing but the understanding of the Quran. Neither do they add nor subtract anything from it. And any one who dares to do so is a wrong-doer and a devil" 50

All prophethood has come to an end because of the perfection of the prophethood of Muhammad:

"All the prophethoods, and the books which have passed away before, need not be followed separately, for Muhammad's prophethood includes and embraces them all. Besides this, all paths are closed. All the truths that lead toward God are contained therein. Neither will there come a new truth after this, nor was there such a truth before which is not found in it. Therefore with this prophethood came the end of all prophethoods and thus it ought to have been, for whatever has a beginning must also have an end." 51

The granting of the excellence by the Seal of the Holy Prophet means the advent of auliya (saints) in this ummah:

"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 communication of excellences. That is why he was named Khatam al-Nabiyyin, that is to say, by following him, excellences of prophethood are granted and his spiritual impact will imbue others with prophetic blessings. 52 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 Isra'il', that is, `the learned of my ummah will be like the Israelite prophets'. Among the Israelites, although there appeared many prophets, their prophethood was not the outcome of obedience to Moses. On the other hand, all the prophethoods were a direct gift from God and the prophethood of Moses had no part to play in it. Hence they were not called, like me, a prophet from one aspect and a follower (ummati) from another aspect, but they were called independent prophets and the rank of prophethood was granted to them directly." 53

Prophethood has been cut off after the Holy Prophet and only abundance of divine communication has remained:

"And surely prophethood has been cut off after our Holy Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. There is no book after the Quran, which is the best of all the scriptures, and there is no book and there is no law (shari'ah) after the Law of Muhammad." 54

"And surely our Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the Last of the Prophets) and with him has been cut off the chain of the messengers. Thus, no one has a right to claim prophethood substantively after our Holy Messenger and nothing has been left after him except abundance of communication, and that cannot be received without obedience to the Holy Prophet, who is the best of men." 55

The special grace of the Holy Prophet's prophethood has come to an end but his followers will be honoured by divine communication:

"The Holy Prophet has been granted a special grace (fakhr) that he is Khatam al-Anbiya (the Last of the Prophets) in the sense that all the excellences of prophethood have come to an end with him, and secondly, there is no messenger after him who will bear a new law, nor will there be a prophet who will be outside of his ummah, but everyone who will be honoured with divine communication will receive it by his beneficence and he is called a follower (ummati) and not an independent prophet." 56

Footnotes on Chapter II:

1 17:105.

2 3:48.

3 35:24.

4 13:7.

5 10:47.

6 7:158.

7 34:18.

8 21:107.

9 25:1.

10 5:3.

11 John, 16: 12, 13 (The New English Bible)

12 33:40.

13 Used in the Arabic language for the removal of some error, doubt or misconception. (SMT)

14 11:78.

15 Ruh al-Ma`ani, (33:40), p.32 by Abul Fadl Shahab al-Din Al-Sayyid Muhammad Alusi

16 Ibid.

17 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Maghazi, ch. Ghazwa Tabuk. Muslim, kitab Fadail al-Sahabah, ch. Manaqib Ali.

18 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Fitan, ch. La taqumu al-Sa`ah. Muslim, kitab al-Fitan wa Ashrat al-Sa`ah, (ch. mccv: 6988). Tirmidhi, Abwab al- Fitan, ch. laa taqumu al-Sa`ah.

19 Tirmidhi, ch. Manaqib `Umar.

20 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. Khatam al-Nabiyyin. Muslim, kitab al-Fadail, ch. Khatam al-Nabiyyin (ch. cmlviii: 5675).

21 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. la yasubba nasabahu.

22 Muslim, kitab al-Salah, ch. al-Masajid, (ch. cxciv:1062), vol. 1.

23 Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Ru'ya, ch. 2. Al Bukhari, kitab al-Ru'ya, ch. Ru'ya al-Salihah; al-Mubashshirat. Muslim, kitab al-Ru'ya (ch. cmxlvii:5627).

24. Tradition tells us that all prophets are as brothers: "The prophets are, as it were, brothers on the mothers' side; their affair is one and their followers are different" (Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Anbiya, ch. wazkur fil kitab al-Maryam).

25 John, 1:21, The New English Bible. In the Authorised version, instead of "the prophet", "that prophet" is used. In the Arabic version, Al-Nabi is used and this has been adopted in The New English Bible. (SMT)

26 Deuteronomy, 18:18, Authorised Version. The New English Bible says "of their own race" instead of "among their brethren". (SMT)

27 33:54.

28 4:59.

29 Ibid.

30 2:4

31 Taudih Maram, pp. 19, 20 (22 January 1891).

32 Izalah Auham, pp. 137-138 (3 September 1891).

33 Ibid., p. 182

34 Ibid., p. 522

35 Ibid., p. 544

36 Ibid., p. 586.

37 Ibid., p. 614.

38 Ibid., p. 761.

39 Nishan Asmani, p. 29 (26 May 1892).

40 Tuhfa Baghdad, p. 7. (July 1893).

41 Ibid., p. 27.

42 Ibid., p. 28.

43 A'inah Kamalat-i Islam, p. 40, 41 (26 February 1893).

44 Ibid., p. 377.

45 Hamamat al-Bushra, p. 20. (27 July 1903).

46 Anjam-i Atham, pp.27-29 footnote (22 January 1897).

47 About the particle of emendation, it has been mentioned in a book of Arabic grammar: "lakin (but) is a particle of emendation the meaning of which is to remove the doubt which has been created by the earlier statement. This particle lakin comes between the statements which are different within themselves in negation and affirmation to each other." (Sharah Mulla Jam').

48 The translation of these words by Mirza Bashir Ahmad is: "now the perfectness of prophethood will be granted on to the person". (Truth About Khatm-i Nubuwwat, p. 15, published in Rabwah) is totally wrong and against the clear writings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Righteous servants (auliya) who follow the Holy Prophet may acquire excellences of prophethood but not perfectness of prophethood (italics are mine). Complete and perfect prophethood has come to an end and only a part of it remains in the form of true visions (mubashshirat). (SMT)

49 Review on Mubahatha between Batalavi and Chakralavi, p.6 (27 November 1902).

50 Muwahib al-Rahman, pp. 66, 67 (14 January 1903).

51 Al-Wasiyyah, p. 10 (20 December 1905).

52 This sentence could also be translated thus: "And his spiritual impact is to imbue others with qualities of prophetic blessings (ap ki tawajjuh ruhani nabi tarash hai)." This, in fact, will be in consonance with the text which subsequently mentions the coming of the like of the prophets (not prophets) in the ummah. It is interesting to note that one of the revelations of the Founder is: "Thou art to me like the prophets of Israel (that is, by way of reflection (zill) thou resemblest them)" (Tabligh Risalat, vol. 1, p. 61, originally quoted from Ishtihar, 20 February 1886). (SMT)

53 Haqiqat al-Wahy, footnote, p. 97, (15 May 1907).

54 Ibid., Supplement, al-Istifta, p. 64.

55 Ibid.

56 Chashma Ma`rifat, Mulhaqa, p. 9 (15 May 1908).

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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter II : Finality of Prophethood

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