Khaatamun Nabiyyeen - The Islamic Interpretation
- Khaatamun Nabiyyeen - The Islamic InterpretationBy Shaykh Saleem Dhorat
- Finality Of Prophethood
- Finality Of Prophethood In The Qur'an
- The Islamic Interpretation
- The Qadiani Interpretation
- Methodology For The Interpretation Of The Glorious Qur'an
- Commentary In The Glorious Qur'an
- Commentary Through Ahadeeth
- Commentary By The Sahabah
- Commentary In The Books Of Tafseer
- Commentary According To The Arabic Language
- Finality Of Prophethood And Muslim Scholars
Finality Of Prophethood
Allah Ta’ala completed the chain of prophethood by sending the noble Prophet Muhammad . He is the last and final prophet and no prophet has been or will be born after him. The religion of Islam has been completed. There is no need for another messenger from Allah Ta’ala. The noble Prophet said in his sermon of Hajjatul Wida (the Farewell Hajj):
"O people, listen to my words, for I do not see myself and you meeting again in this place and I will not be performing Hajj after this year. O people, Allah says: 'O people, We created you from one male and one female and made you into tribes and nations, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.' There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for the black over the white except through Taqwa [righteousness]."
The Blessed Prophet went on to say, "O people, there is no prophet after me and no new Ummah (will be formed) after you."
Then he said, "Behold, worship your Lord; offer prayers five times a day; observe fast in the month of Ramadhan; pay Zakat of your wealth happily; and perform pilgrimage to the House of your Lord and obey your rulers and you will enter Paradise of your Lord. Let him that is present convey it to the one who is absent. For, many people to whom the message is conveyed may be more mindful of it than the audience."
Then the Prophet asked, "And you will be asked about me (in the Hereafter), what will you say?"
The Sahabah (his companions) replied, "We bear witness that you have conveyed the trust (of religion) and accomplished die mission (of apostleship) and looked after our welfare."
Thereupon, Allah's Messenger lifted his forefinger towards the sky and then pointing towards the people, he said, "O Allah! Bear witness unto it. O Allah! Bear witness unto it."
At that very moment, Allah Ta’ala revealed the following Qur'anic verse in the field of Arafat:"This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Glorious Qur'an 5:4)
Both, the Prophet's last sermon and this verse of the Glorious Qur'an, clearly inform us that the door of prophethood is closed and the Religion of Allah Ta’ala - Islam - has been completed. There is no need for any addition to or subtraction from this sacred religion and it will reign until the Day of Judgement. The noble Prophet Muhammad brought to its end the chain of prophethood and revelation was finalised. No one can either be a prophet after him, or receive any kind of revelation or inspiration that could be considered to be a source of law in Islam. The Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) is a fundamental doctrine of Islam. The whole Muslim Ummah, from the time of the noble Prophet to this day, has held this belief as an integral part of Faith (Iman). And, according to the Law of Islam, a person who thinks or believes that the chain of prophethood has not ended with the noble Prophet and the door of prophethood has not been closed, is not a Muslim.
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Finality Of Prophethood In The Qur'an
Scores of Qur'anic verses, and hundreds of Ahadeeth of the noble Prophet Muhammad can be cited in support of this belief, i.e. the Finality of Prophethood. To reproduce here all the Qur'anic verses and the Ahadeeth supporting this belief would not be practical. However, a verse from the Glorious Qur'an is quoted here which clarifies this belief of the Muslims. Thereafter, quoting the interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen given by the Muslims and the interpretation given by the Qadianis, I will bring forth evidence to prove that the commentary and the interpretation presented by the Muslims is supported by the Qur'an and the Ahadeeth, and other sources of interpretation of the Qur'an."Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the seal of the prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things." (Glorious Qur'an 33:40)
In this verse the following points should be noted:
- Prophet Muhammad has been described as the 'seal of the prophets' or the 'last of the prophets', and not the holder or the possessor of the seal. The holder of the seal in the sense of "prophet-maker" is non else but Almighty Allah.
- The noble Prophet is described as the 'seal of the prophets', i.e. all categories of prophets.
- A seal is affixed at the end of a message, decree or enlistment so that there can be no further addition to it.
This verse from the Glorious Qur'an is the most clear evidence for the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). The well known Mufassir, Allamah Hafiz Ibne Katheer writes in his book: "This verse is a clear evidence for this belief that there is no prophet after the noble Prophet Muhammad ." (Tafseer Ibne Katheer, Volume 3 pp 501)
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The Islamic Interpretation
The Muslims present the meaning of this verse in exactly the same way as it was understood by those people (i.e. the Sahabah , Tabi’een, Muhadditheen and the learned scholars of Islam) who have transmitted this verse to us along with the entire Qur'an. The term Khatamun Nabiyyeen means 'the final prophet', 'the seal of the prophets' and 'the last prophet'. This verse declares that with Muhammad , prophethood has come to an end; and no prophet of any category will be born after him.
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The Qadiani Interpretation
The Qadianis, in order to establish the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, define the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen as follows:
- Khatamun Nabiyyeen means 'the best' or 'the superior' of the prophets.
- The word Khatam in die above quoted verse means 'a seal' in the sense that die noble Prophet . sets a seal on people and those with his seal become prophets.
- The word Khatam means 'decoration'. Thus, the noble Prophet is like an adornment for the whole congregation of the prophets.
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- The word Nabiyyeen (prophets) means 'the law-giving prophets'. Thus, the noble Prophet was the last of the lawgiving prophets.
Methodology For The Interpretation Of The Glorious Qur'an
Before I bring forth evidence to support the meaning which the Muslims have taken of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen, let me quote a passage (concerning the commentary of Qur'an) from the book of the great Mufassir, Allamah Suyootee . He writes in his book, Al-Itqan: The scholars of Islam have said, "Whoever wishes to see the commentary and the interpretation of the Qur'an, should firstly look in the Qur'an itself. Because, if it is brief in one place, it will be full of details in the next. If he is unable to find it in the Glorious Qur'an, he should turn towards the Ahadeeth of the noble Prophet , because it explains and clarifies the Qur'an. Imam Shafi'ee has said, 'Every judgement given by the noble Prophet is based on what he has understood from the Glorious Qur'an.' If he is unable to find it in the Ahadeeth, he should refer to the sayings of the Sahabah , because they were present when die Qur'an was being revealed, and they have learnt (and understood) the Qur'an directly from the noble Prophet himself, to whom it was revealed." (Al-Itqan, vol 2 pp 175)
"After these three sources (i.e. the Glorious Qur'an, the Ahadeeth and the sayings of the Sahabah one must refer to those books of Tafseer which contain the opinions of the Sahabah and Tabi’een, e.g. Tafseer of Ibne Jareer, Ibne Abi Hateem, Ibne Majah, Hakim, Ibne Hibban, etc." (Al-Itqan, vol 2 pp 190)
"If one still cannot find the Tafseer (and this is very rare), then he should refer to the Arabic language, because the Qur'an was revealed in this language." (Al-Itqan, vol 1 pp 121)
Shaykhul Islam, Allamah Ibne Taymiyyah has also stressed the same point in his book, Muqaddamah Fi Usool at-Tafseer, (Pages 93-105).
Let us now follow the aforementioned sequence of interpreting the Qur'an and see which interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen is correct - the Islamic interpretation or the Qadiani interpretation.
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Commentary In The Glorious Qur'an
There are more than a hundred verses in the Glorious Qur'an in support of the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). Since this article is short and concise, I will quote just three."This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Glorious Qur'an 5:4)
It is evident from this verse that Allah Ta’ala has completed the religion of Islam for this Ummah, therefore, there is no need for a new prophet after the noble Prophet Muhammad ."Say: O people! I am sent unto you all, as the Apostle of Allah..." (Glorious Qur'an 7:158)
The word "all" in this verse clarifies that the noble Prophet has been sent for the entire humanity until the Day of Judgement. Thus, this is a clear announcement of the Finality of Prophethood."We have not sent you hut as a bringer of good tidings and a warner to all mankind, but most people know not." (Glorious Qur'an 34:28)
In this verse the noble Prophet has been described as a bringer of good news and a warner to "all mankind". Therefore, there is no need for another prophet after him.
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Commentary Through Ahadeeth
The belief of the Finality of Prophethood has also been stressed in many Ahadeeth which reach the sublime degree of Tawatur. Some of these Ahadeeth are quoted here:
- Prophet Muhammad said, "My likeness and the likeness of the prophets before me is the likeness of a person who built a house and made it complete and beautiful, except the place of a brick in a corner. So people began to go around it and wonder at it and say, 'Why has not this brick been placed?' I am the brick and I am the last of the prophets." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, vol 2 pp 501; Saheeh Muslim, vol 2 pp 248)
- Prophet Muhammad said to Ali , "You stand to me in the same relation as Haroon stood to Moosa, except that there is no prophet after me." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, vol 2 pp 633; Saheeh Muslim, vol.2 pp 278)
- The Prophet said, "Verily, the apostleship and prophethood has finished. So there is no apostle and no prophet after me." (Tirmizi, vol 2 pp 53)
- Prophet Muhammad said, "I am the last of the prophets and you are the last of the Ummahs (nations)." (Ibne Majah pp 307)
- The Prophet said, "Verily, thirty liars will be born in my Ummah; every one of than will claim to be a prophet, though I am the last of the prophets, and there will be no prophet after me." (Muslim)
There are more than 200 authentic Ahadeeth which support the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). Hence, this doctrine is decidedly and unanimously acknowledged as an article of faith in Islam. At the same time, special attention should be paid to the last Hadeeth mentioned above wherein the noble Prophet , besides confirming this belief, clearly predicted that claimants to prophethood will be born in his Ummah after him. He has, therefore, warned the Muslims to beware of such impostors and always keep in mind that he is the last of the prophets, which obviously means that, there will be no prophet of any kind born after him.
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Commentary By The Sahabah
A fact which no one can deny is that the Prophet's Companions, the Sahabah understood the meaning and interpretation of the Glorious Qur'an better than anyone else apart from the noble Prophet himself. Therefore, it is worth our while to look at their interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen in the verse under discussion.
- Qatadah says,
"[The verse] 'But he is the Apostle of Allah, and the seal of
the prophets', [means he is] th
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