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| Topic: Finality of Prophethood
Posted: 15 April 2005 at 11:49am
Finality of Prophethood
The Islamic Information and News Network (IINN) is happy to announce that the Islamic book, Finality of Prophethood, by Syed Abul A'la Maududi, a renowned scholar from Pakistan, will be made available electronically. We will insha Allah bring it out in parts due to its length. That Muhammad (S.A.W.) is the last Messenger and Prophet of Allah is a simple fact for any Muslim. The book gives a detailed study why. The book is under copyright by
The Islamic Publications Limited, 13-E, Shah Alam Market, Lahore (Pakistan).
It may be purchased from major Islamic bookstores in the U.S.A. If you happen to own the book and notice any typographic or other errors in the computer copy, please notify us by email at:
The obvious omissions from the book are the two maps which we could not produce in ASCII format and a few Arabic phrases. The Arabic phrases however have been transliterated into the text.
January 5, 1994
The Finality of Prophethood
S. Abul A'la Maududi
Of all the conspiracies hatched against Islam in modern times, the most dangerous is a false claim to Prophethood made in the beginning of this century. This claim has been the main cause of wide spread mental chaos amongst the Ummah for the last sixty years. Like all other schisms, the root cause of this mischief is that the Muslims are generally ignorant of their religion. Had they been truly imbued with its knowledge and developed a clear understanding of the article of faith relating to the finality of Prophethood, it would have been well-nigh impossible for any false claimant to Prophethood to take root and thrive among the people of Islam after the last ministry of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). At this juncture the most perfect and effective remedy for eradicating this evil is to educate the maximum number of people in the best possible manner about true faith in the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and stressing the importance and value of this article of faith in the religion of Islam. It is also imperative that all doubts and skeptical notions about the final ministry of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) should be dispelled through reason and logic. This booklet has been prepared to serve this very purpose. Readers who find it useful should take a step further and extend their full co-operation in the propagation of its contents. This booklet ought to reach all literate people and they having studied it themselves should read it out to the non-literate. It is hoped that a study of this booklet will not only immunize people who have not been contaminated with this malady but would also make the truth manifest to the right-minded persons among those who have received some of its germs. However, those who have fallen victim to falsehood and are impervious to all reason--for them, hope and salvation lies only with Allah.
Abul A'la Maududi
February 12, 1962.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Beneficent
Finality of Prophethood
S. Abul A'la Maududi
"O people ! Muhammad has no sons among ye men, but verily, he is the Apostle of God and the last in the line of Prophets. And God is Aware of everything." (Surah Al Ahzab: 40)
This verse has been revealed in the fifth Ruku' (para or passage) of Surah al-Ahzab. In this Ruku' Allah has provided answers to all those objections raised by the hypocrites, which had given rise to a storm of calumnies, slander and mischief in respect of the marriage of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with Hadrat Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her).
These hypocrites argued that Zainab was the wife of an adopted son of the Holy Prophet and by this connection she stood in the position of the Prophet's daughter in-law. Hence, after her divorce from Zaid, the Prophet had taken his own daughter-in-law as wife.
In order to refute this allegation Allah told clearly in verse 37 that this marriage had Divine sanction behind it and was made to serve as a lawful precedent for Muslim men to marry the wives of their adopted sons after they had been divorced by their husbands. Later in verses 38 and 39, Allah affirmed that no power could hinder the Prophet from discharging a Divine obligation. The Prophets are ordained to fear God, not the people. It has been an invariable practice of the Apostles to transmit the Divine message without any extraneous care and to perform the duties enjoined upon them by Allah without fear or hesitation. Afterwards a verse was revealed which extinguished the basis of all objections. In the first place, they had charged "You have taken your daughter-in-law as wife, in contravention of your own law that the wife of a son is forbidden to his father."
In refutation of this charge it was affirmed by the Almighty:
"Muhammad had no sons among ye men..."
thereby making absolutely clear that the man whose divorced wife was taken into wedlock by the Prophet being not his real son; the act, therefore did not imply violation of it.
The argument of their second charge ran thus: "Admitted that the adopted son is not the real one, and on that basis a father might lawfully marry the divorced spouse of his adopted son, but where was the compulsion for the Prophet to do so?"
Allah affirmed in answer to this charge:
"But, verily, he is the Apostle of Allah".
The implication is that it was Allah's mandate to the Holy Prophet to wipe out all prejudices and declare all taboos that pagan custom had unnecessarily imposed upon the people, as lawful. In this respect the Prophet's action was unequivocal and left no room for doubt. (see footnote 1, below.)
In order to lay particular emphasis upon this point Allah observes: (Khatim Al-Nabbiyeen)
"And he is the last in the line of Prophets,"
which means that no messenger nor even a Prophet charged with the mission of carrying out reforms in the sphere of Law or society which might have been omitted (God forbid) during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH) will ever succeed him. Since Allah ordained the ministry of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to be final, it was, therefore, imperative that he should accomplish the task of uprooting this pagan custom.
Later the point has been further emphasized in the revelation (Wa Kan ul-Allahi Be-kulle Shai-in 'Aleema):
"God is Aware of everything."
The true import of this revelation is that Allah deemed it best to remove this pagan custom through the agency of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that Allah only could take cognisance of the harm that the perpetuation of this infidel custom would have entailed. Allah was well aware that the line of Prophethood ended in Muhammad (PBUH) whose precedent the whole ummah would follow, and had he not done away with this custom, there would arise no man comparable in status to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who could accomplish the task. And suppose a reformer had arisen in later times who would break this custom, his act would not have constituted a universal or permanent precedent for Muslims of all ages and all countries to follow. No other person that follows will embody the Divine sanctity which attaches to the person of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Hence the precedent of no man but Muhammad has the potential of wiping out the idea of all pagan customs from the souls of men for all times to come.
At this point those who deny the finality of Muhammad's Prophethood (PBUH) demand to know the tradition in which this allegation has been reported. This query in fact lays bare their ignorance. The Holy Qur'an furnishes answers to the charges of the mischief-mongers at several points without actually mentioning the charge. In each case, however, the relevant text bears unmistakable evidence as to which allegation is being answered. In the present case also the answer contains the substance of the question. The use of the conjunctive word "but" at the end of the first sentence presupposes that part of the question had yet to be dealt with. The second sentence, therefore, furnishes answer to the remaining part of the question. The first sentence had revealed to the objectors the answer to their charge that 'Muhammad had married his daughter- in-law.' However, the second point of the question "where was the compulsion for the Prophet to do so" still called for an answer. This answer was provided by the next sentence in the text.
"But verily, Muhammad is the Apostle of God and last in the line of Prophets of God."
The point may be further explained by taking an illustration from ordinary conversation. Someone says "Zaid had not risen, but that Bakr has stood up." Now this conveys the sense that Zaid has not risen, but the matter does not end there, as it gives rise to the query, "If Zaid has not risen, who has stood up then?" The subordinate clause of the above sentence "but Bakr has stood up" supplies an answer to this query. It is the same in the above case.
The Verdict of the Text of the Qur'an
A group who has raised the heresy of a new prophethood in modern times explains the meaning of the idea of the "Finality of Prophethood" as the 'Stamp of Prophethood' thereby implying that all prophets who would succeed Muhammad (PBUH) will bear his stamp and will attain to prophethood by his seal alone. No one, in other words, who does not bear the seal of Muhammad (PBUH) will attain the status of Prophethood. But the context in which the term
"the last in the line of Prophets"
has been revealed in the Holy Qur'an leaves no scope for such speculation. If indeed the term
"last in the line of Prophets"
does bear the meaning intended by this group, then this term is surely out of place in the context in which it has been revealed. Furthermore, when the term is charged with this meaning it distorts the whole purpose of the revealed verse.
In this verse God refutes the charge and dispels doubts created by the mischievous people about the marriage of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her), the divorced wife of the Prophet's adopted son, Zaid. Does it stand to reason to make a sudden interpolation in this context of the point that Muhammad (PBUH) was the 'seal of Prophets' and that Allah had delegated to him the authority of attesting the bonafides of succeeding prophets ?
This interpretation bears no connection with the context-not the least even and is contrary to the purpose of Divine argument against the heretics. If this interpretation were true the non- believers might well have argued: "There is no hurry in doing away with this custom now. You might safely leave this task for your successor prophets who will bear your stamp."
According to a second interpretation of the idea of the finality of Prophethood advanced by this group it is said that the term
"Last in the line of Prophets"
means the "exalted Prophet." They further explain that the line of Apostles will continue, though the excellence of Prophethood has been culminated in the person of Muhammad (PBUH). This interpretation is no less defective and harmful than the other one. It hardly bears any relation to the context and, in fact, conveys a contradictory sense of the verse. Taking this thread of argument the infidels and hypocrites would have plausibly pointed out, "Sir, there will be other prophets after you, howsoever inferior in status compared to you, to fulfil the Divine mission, why must you take it upon yourself to remove this custom also?"
The Dictionary Meaning of the Word 'Khatam-al-Nabiyyin'
It is evident that the text can bear one meaning and it is that Khatam-al-Nabiyyin stands for the Finality of Prophethood with a clear implication that the prophethood has been culminated and finalized in Muhammad (PBUH). It is not only the context that supports this interpretation but also the lexicography.
According to Arabic lexicon and the linguistic usage Khatam means to affix seal; to close, to come to an end; and to carry something to its ultimate end.
Khatama al-'Amala is equivalent to 'Faragha min al-'Almali' which means 'to get over with the task.' 'Khatama al-Ina' bears the meaning 'The vessel has been closed and sealed so that nothing can go into it, nor can its contents spill out.'
'Khatam-al-kitab' conveys the meaning 'The letter has been enclosed and sealed so that it is finally secured.'
'Khatama-'Ala-al-Qalb' means 'The heart has been sealed so that it cannot perceive anything new nor can it forswear what it has already imbibed.'
'Khitamu-Kulli-Mashrubin' implies 'the final taste that is left in the mouth when the drink is over.'
Katimatu Kulli Shaiinn 'Aqibatuhu wa Akhiratuhu means "The end in the case of everything denotes its doom and ultimate finish." Khatm-ul-Shaii Balagha Akhirahu conveys the sense, "To end a thing means to carry it to its ultimate limit."
The term Khatam-i-Qur'an is used in the similar sense and the closing verses of Qur'anic Surahs are referred to as Khawatim. Khatim-ul-Qaum Akhirhuum means "The last man in the tribe." (Refer to Lisan-ul-'Arab; Qamus and Aqrab-ul- Muwarid). (see footnote 2, below.)
For this reason all linguists and commentators agree that Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin means 'The Last in the line of Prophets.' The word Khatam in its dictionary meaning and linguistic usage does not refer to the post office stamp which is affixed on the outgoing mail. Its literal meaning is the 'seal' which is but on the envelope to secure its contents.
We have referred to three lexicons here, yet the elucidation of this point is not confined to these works alone. All authoritative dictionaries of the Arabic language interpret the word Khatam in the sense that we have given to it. But the deniers of the Finality of Prophethood in their endeavor to make a sneaky assault on the religion of God argue that if we refer to someone as 'Last of the Poets' or 'Last of the Legists' or 'Last of the Commentators', we do not necessarily mean that no poet, legist or commentator will come after them; rather we only mean to say that all excellence of their act has been concentrated in such men. The actual position, however, is that when we do use these exaggerated epithets for someone we do not thereby replace or remove the original meaning of the word 'Last'. It is preposterous to assume that by its metaphorical use to refer to the excellence or perfection of a man, the word 'Last' loses its original or real significance which is 'Final'. Such an assumption can only be accepted by a person who lacks elementary knowledge of the rules of grammar. There is no grammatical principle in any language by which the metaphorical meaning of a word may be taken as its real or original meaning. Besides, the metaphorical meaning in no case replaces or obliterates the real and basic meaning of the word.
When you tell an Arab 'Ja Khatam ul-Qaum', he will certainly not take it to mean that 'the perfect or the most excellent man of the tribe has come.' He will, on the other hand, take it to mean that 'the whole tribe, even to the last man, has come.'
There is another point to be considered. Such terms as the 'Last Poet', the Last Legist' or the 'Last Narrator of hadith' are eulogies used by men for other human beings whom they deem to be perfect and excellent. Those who use these hyperboles for other men certainly can not say, nor do they know, that people of such excellence will come in later times or not. So in human language these appellations are hyperboles, but when God uses for a person that such and such quality has been culminated in him, there is no reason to take it in the metaphorical sense in the strain of human expression. If Allah had pronounced someone as 'Last Poet', he would have been last poet in the literal sense of the word. If Allah appoints someone as His 'Last Prophet', there is absolutely no possibility of any other person attaining to that dignity after that.
God is Omniscient. Man has but limited knowledge. This being so, how can one construe the human praise of a person as 'Last Poet' or the last of the jurists in the same sense as God's pronouncement of a person as the 'Last Prophet'?
The Observations of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) About the Finality of Prophethood
The meaning of the word Khatam that emerges out of the context of the Holy Qur'an and which is the same as given in all lexicons of the Arabic language is also affirmed by the observations of the Holy Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him). We quote some authentic traditions to illustrate the case in point:
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "The tribe of Israel was guided by prophets. When a prophet passed away, another prophet succeeded him. But no prophet will come after me; only caliphs will succeed me." (Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Manaqib).
The Prophet of God (PBUH) affirmed: "My position in relation to the prophets who came before me can be explained by the following example:
A man erected a building and adorned this edifice with great beauty, but he left an empty niche, in the corner where just one brick was missing. People looked around the building and marvelled at its beauty, but wondered why a brick was missing from that niche? I am like unto that one missing brick and I am the last in the line of the Prophets." (Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Manaqib).
(In other words, with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the edifice of Prophethood has been completed and there is no empty niche in this edifice to provide room for another prophet.)
Four traditions relating to this subject are recorded, in Muslim, Kitab-ul-Fada'il, Babu Khatimin-Nabiyyin. The latter tradition contains the following additional sentence. "So I came and in me the line of Prophets has ended."
The very same tradition in similar words has been reported in Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul-Manaqib, Bab-Fadlin Nabi and Kitab-Adab, Bab-ul-Amthal. In Musnad Abu Dawud Tayalisi this tradition has been incorporated among other traditions reported by Jabir bin Abdullah; and its last sentence reads, "It is in me that line of Prophets came to its final end."
Musnad Ahmad contains traditions reported by Hadrat Ubayyi bin Ka'b, Hadrat Abu Sa'id Khudri and Hadrat Abu Huraira(may Allah be pleased with them) on the same subject with a slight variation of words here and there.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "God has bestowed upon me six favors which the former Prophets did not enjoy:
I have been endowed with the gift of pithy and perfect speech.
I was granted victory owing to my awe.
The spoils of war were made lawful unto me.
The whole earth has been made the place of worship for me and it has become the means of purification for me also. In other words in my religion, offering of prayers is not confined to certain specified places of worship. Prayers can be offered at any place over the earth. And in case water is not available it is lawful for my people to perform ablutions with earth(Tayammum) and to cleanse themselves with the soil if water for bathing is scarce.
I have been sent by Allah to carry His Divine message to the whole world.
And the line of prophets has come to its final end in me.
(Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) affirmed: "The chain of Messengers and Prophets has come to an end. There shall be no Messenger nor Prophet after me." (Tirmidhi, Kitab-ur-Rouya Babu Zahab-un- Nubuwwa, Musnad Ahmad, Marwiyat-Anas bin Malik)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, I am the effacer and infidelity shall be erased through me; I am the assembler. People shall be assembled on Doomsday after my time. (In other words Doom is my only successor.) And I am the last in the sense that no prophet shall succeed me." (Bukhari and Muslim, Kitab-ul-Fada'il, Bab: Asmaun-Nabi; Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul- Adab, Bab: Asma-un-Nabi; Muatta', Kitab-u-Asma in-Nabi, Al- Mustadrak Hakim, Kitab-ut-Tarikh, Bab: Asma-un-Nabi.)
The Prophet of God (PBUH) observed: "God Almighty hath sent unto the world no apostle who did not warn his people about the appearance of Dajjal( Anti-Christ, but Dajjal did not appear in their time). I am the last in the line of Prophets and ye are the last community of believers. Without doubt,then, Dajjal shall appear from amongst ye". (Ibn Majah, Kitabul-fitan, bab:Dajjal).
'Abdur Rahman bin Jubair reported: "I heard Abdullah bin 'Amr ibn-'As narrating that one day the Holy Prophet (PBUH) came out of his house and joined our company. His manner gave us the impression as if he were leaving us.' He said, 'I am Muhammad, the unlettered prophet of Allah' and repeated this statement three times. Then he affirmed: "There will be no prophet after me'."(Musnad Ahmad, Marwiyat'Abdullah bin Amr ibn'-As.)
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Allah will send no Apostle after me, but only Mubashshirat. It was said: what is meant by al-Mubashshirat. He said : Good vision or pious vision". (Musnad Ahmad, Marwiyat Abu Tufail, Nasa'i, Abu Dawud) (In other words there is no possibility of Divine revelation in future. At the most if some one receives an inspiration from Allah he will receive it in the form of "pious dream."
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: "If an Apostle were to succeed me, it would have been 'Umar bin Khattab." (Tirmidhi,Kitab-ul- Manaqib)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) told Hadrat 'Ali, "You are related to me as Aaron was related to Moses(peace be upon him). But no Apostle will come after me." (Bukhari and Muslim, Kitab Fada'il as-Sahaba)
This tradition is recorded in Bukhari and Muslim in the account of the Battle of Tabuk also. Musnad records two traditions narrated by Hadrat Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas ( may Allah be pleased with him) on this subject. The last sentence in one of these traditions runs as follows : "Behold there is no prophethood after me."
Detailed accounts of the traditions incorporated in Abu Dawud Tayalisi, Imam Ahmad and Muhammad bin Ishaque report that on the eve of his departure for the battle of Tabuk, the holy Prophet (PBUH) had resolved to leave Hadrat 'Ali behind him in order to look after the defense and supervise the affairs of Medina. The hypocrites thereupon began to spread insinuations and rumours about Hadrat 'Ali. Hadrat 'Ali went to the Prophet and submitted : 'O Prophet of Allah, are you leaving me behind among women and children?' On this occasion in order to set his mind at peace the Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "You are related to me as was Aaron with Moses." In other words "as Hadrat Moses on the Mount Tur had left Hadrat Aaron behind to look after the tribe of Israel, so I (Muhammad) leave you behind to look after the defense of Medina." At the same time apprehending that this comparative allusion to Hadrat Aaron might later on give rise to heresies, the holy Prophet (PBUH) immediately made it clear that "There will be no Prophet after me."
Thauban reports: "The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: And there will arise Thirty imposters in my Ummah and each one of them will pronounce to the world that he is a prophet, but I am the last in the line of the Prophets of God and no Apostle will come after me." (Abu Dawud, Kitab-ul-Fitan)
Abu Dawud in 'Kitab-ul-Malahim' has recorded another tradition reported by Abu Huraira in the same subject. Tirmidhi has also recorded these two traditions as reported by Hadrat Thauban and Hadrat Abu Huraira. The text of the second tradition runs thus: "It will come to this that thirty imposters will arise and each one of them will put forth his claim to be the Apostle of God."
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "Among the tribe of Israel who went before you there indeed were such people who held communion with God, even though they were not his Prophets. If ever there arose a person from among my people who would hold communion with God, it would be none else but 'Umar (May Allah be pleased with him)." (Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Manaqib)
A version of this same tradition in `Muslim' contains Muhaddithuna instead of Yukallimuna. But then Mukalima and Muhaddith bear identical meaning i.e., a man enjoys the privilege of holding direct communion with God or a person who is addressed by the Almighty from the unseen. Thus we conclude that if there had been any person among the followers of Muhammad who could hold communion with God without being raised to the dignity of prophethood, it would have been `Umar.
The Prophet of God (PBUH) said: "No Prophet will come after me and there will, therefore, be no other community of followers of any new prophet." (Baihaqi,Kitab-ul Rouya; Tabarani)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: "I am the last in line of the prophets of God and my Masjid is the last Masjid (referring the holy Masjid of the Prophet)." (see footnote 3) (Muslim, Kitab-ul-Hajj; Bab:Fadl-us-Salat bi Masjidi Mecca wal Medina)
A large number of such traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have been reported by the companions and a great many compilers have recorded them from authoritative sources. A study of these traditions shows that the Holy Prophet on several occasions, and in various ways and in different words made it explicitly clear that he was the last Prophet of God; That no prophet would follow him and that the line of prophets had ended in him. Furthermore, those would claim to be Prophets and Messengers of God after his time would be imposters and liars. (see footnote 4).
There can be no authentic, creditable and conclusive interpretation of the words of the Holy Qur'an, Khatam-un- Nabiyyin, than that given by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) for the credentials of the Holy prophet (PBUH) need no proof and the authority of his words is unassailable. His words are authentic and a proof in itself. When the Prophet is explaining a Nass of the Holy Quran, his explanation is the most authentic and a proof positive.
The question is who else besides the Holy Prophet (PBUH), to whom the Qur'an was revealed, is better qualified to comprehend its meaning and to explain its contents to us? And he who advances an alternative explanation, shall we regard his claims as worthy of our consideration let alone our acquiescence?
Referring to this tradition disbelievers in the Finality of Prophethood argue that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) called his mosque (Masjid) `the last mosque' despite the fact that it is not the last mosque, as countless other mosques have been built after it all over the world. Similarly when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: `I am the last Prophet,' it did not mean that the line of prophets had ended, but that Muhammad (PBUH) was the last as regards his excellence amongst the Prophets of God and Mosque was the last one in the same sense. Such foolish reasoning is an irrefutable proof of the fact that these people have lost the faculty of perceiving the true meaning of the words of God and those of His Prophet(PBUH). Even a cursory glance through the whole chain of traditions in the context of which this particular tradition has been recorded makes true import of the words of the Holy prophet clear to any man. In this context the various traditions which Imam Muslim has recorded on the authority of Hadrat Abu Huraira, Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar and the mother of the Faithful Hadrat Maimuna narrate that there are only three mosques in the world to which the greatest sanctity is attached, and these are sacred above all other mosques. Worship in these mosques is rewarded with thousandfold blessings in comparisons to offering prayers in other mosques. It is because of this reason that it has been declared lawful to undertake a journey to these mosques to offer prayers therein. No other mosque, save these three, can claim such sanctity that a person should make a journey to offer worship there leaving all other mosques. Among the three mosques which bear the greatest sanctity in Islam, the first one is `Masjid Al-Haram' which was built by Hadrat Abraham(peace be upon him); the second one is the`Masjid al-Aqsa' which was erected by Hadrat Sulaiman (peace be upon him); and the third mosque is `Masjid-i-Nabawi' in the Holy city of Medina which was founded by the Holy Prophet(PBUH). The observation of the Holy Prophet in regard to `the last mosque' should be viewed in this context. The words of the Prophet(PBUH) meant that no Prophet would come after him, hence there would be no fourth mosque after the last Masjid-i-Nabawi(a mosque of the last Prophet). It follows, therefore, that no other mosque should bear such sanctity, that worship in it should be rewarded with more blessings in comparison with worship in other mosques and further there shall be no fourth mosque towards which it is lawful or even desirable for people to make a journey in order to offer prayers.
In contrast to the observations of the Holy Prophet the deniers of the Finality of Prophethood quote the following words scribed to Hadrat `Aisha: "Say, indeed, that the Holy Prophet is the Final Apostle of God; but say not that no prophet will come after him." In the first place it is an audacity to quote the words of Hadrat `Aisha for contradicting the explicit command of the Holy Prophet(PBUH). Moreover the very words attributed to Hadrat `Aisha are not authentic. No authoritative work on Hadith contains this observation of Hadrat `Aisha nor any notable compiler of traditions has recorded or referred to it. This tradition is derived from a commentary entitled Durr-i- Manthur and a compilation of Hadith Known as Takmilah Majma-ul- Bihar, but its source and credentials are unknown. It is the height of audacity to put forward a statement of a lady companion in order to contradict the explicit observations of the Holy Prophet which the eminent traditionists have transmitted on the most authentic chains of transmission.
The Consensus of the Companions
After the Holy Qur'an and sunnah, the consensus of the companions of the holy Prophet (PBUH) holds the third position. All authentic historical traditions reveal that the companions of the prophet (PBUH) had unanimously waged a war on the claimants to the prophethood and their adherents after the demise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
In this connection the case of Musailama is particularly significant. This man did not deny that Muhammad (PBUH) was the Prophet of God; he claimed that God had appointed him as a co- prophet with Muhammad to share his task. The letter which had addressed to the Holy Prophet just before the Mussailama's death reads:
"From Musailma the prophet of God to Muhammad the Prophet of God(PBUH). I wish to inform you that I have been appointed as your partner to share in the burden of prophethood." The historian Tabari has recorded a tradition which says that the `call to prayers'(Adhan) which Musailama had devised for his followers included the words, "I testify that Muhammad is the Prophet of God."
Despite Musailama's clear affirmation of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), he was declared an apostate and ostracised from the society of Islam. Not only this but a war was waged on Musailama. History also bears witness to the fact that the tribe of Hunaifa (Banu Hunaif) had accepted Musailama's claim to prophethood in good faith. They had been genuinely led to believe that Muhammad (PBUH) had of his own accord declared Musailama as his partner in prophethood. A man who had learnt Qur'an in the Holy City of Medina went to the tribe of Banu Hunaifa and falsely represented the verses of the Qur'an as having been revealed to Musailama.
Though Banu Hunaifa had been deliberately misinformed, nevertheless the companions of the Holy Prophet did not recognize them as muslims and sent an army against them. There is no scope here for taking the view that the companions had fought against them as rebels and not as apostates. Islamic Law lays down that in the event of a war against the rebel Muslims, the prisoners taken in battle shall not be taken into slavery. The law further requires that even the rebellious Dhimmis, when taken as prisoners in battle, shall not go into slavery. But when military action was taken against Musailama and his followers, Hadrat Abu Bakr declared that the women and children of the enemy would be taken as slaves; and when they were taken prisoner in battle, they were enslaved. From among these a girl was given as a slave to Hadrat `Ali. She bore him a son named Muhammad bin Hanfiya, who is a renowned figure in the history of Islam. (Al- Badaya wan-Nihaya, Vol. VI, pp. 316 & 325)
This event is a clear proof of the fact that when companions fought against Musailama, they did not charge him with rebellion. The charge against him was that he had preferred a claim to prophethood after the line of Prophets had ended in Muhammad (PBUH) and he had thus misled other people to affirm faith in his claim of prophethood. The action against Musailama was taken immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) under the leadership of Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (may God be pleased with him), and it had the unanimous support of the entire body of the companions. There can be found no better and explicit example of the consensus of the companions than this.
The Consensus of all the Ulema of the Ummah
Next in line of authority after the consensus of the Companions stands the consensus, in matters of religion, of those ulema of the Muslims who came after the time of Companions (may God be pleased with them). A glance through the history of Islam from the first century up to the modern times reveals to us the fact that the ulema of all periods in every Islamic country of the world are unanimous in their conviction that no new prophet can be raised after Muhammad (PBUH). They all agree in the belief that anyone who lays a claim to Prophethood after Muhammad (PBUH) and anyone who puts faith in such a claim is an apostate and an outcast from the community of Islam.
The following facts are appended as an illustration of this:
A man in the time of Imam Abu Hanifa (80 A.H.-150 A.H.) laid claim to Prophethood and said "Let me show you the proofs of my prophethood." The great Imam thereupon warned the people: "Anyone who asks of this man the credentials of prophethood, shall become an apostate, for the Prophet of God (PBUH) has explicitly declared: "No prophet will come after me." (Manaqib al-Imam-i-Azam Abi Hanifa, Ibn Ahmad al-Makki, Vol. I, p.161, published in Hyderabad, India, 1321 A.H.)
`Allama Ibn Jarir Tabari (224 A.H.-310 A.H.) in his renowned commentary of the holy Qur'an gives the following interpretation of the verse, 'walakin Rasul Allahi wa Khatam-ul Nabiyyin': "He has closed and sealed the prophethood and the door (of prophethood) shall not open for anyone till the end of the world." (Vide Commentary of Ibn-i-Jarir, Vol. 22, p.12)
In his book `Aqida-i-Salfia, while explaining the beliefs of the pious forbearers and particularly those of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, Imam Tahavi (239 A.H.-321 A.H.) writes that Muhammad (PBUH) is a highly venerable servant of God. He is the chosen Prophet and the favorite Messenger of Allah. He is the last of the Prophets, Leader of the pious, chief of the Messengers of Allah and the beloved one of the Lord. After him every claim to Prophethood is an error manifest and worship of one's evil-self." (Sharah al-Tahawiya Fil-'Aqidat-ul-Salfia, Dar-ul-Ma'arif, Egypt, pp. 15, 87, 96, 97, 100, 102)
`Allama Ibn Hazm Andulasi (384 A.H.-456 A.H.) writes: "It is certain that the chain of Divine revelations has come to an end after the death of the Holy Prophet(PBUH). The proof of this lies in the fact that none but a prophet can be the recipient of Divine revelations and God has affirmed that Muhammad has no sons among ye men and he is the Messenger of God and that He has sealed the office of Prophethood." (Al-Mohallah, Vol. 1, p.26)
Imam Ghazali (450 A.H-505 A.H.) says `If the right of denying the authority of consensus be admitted, it will give rise to many absurdities. For example, if someone says that it is possible for a person to attain the office of Prophethood after our Apostle Muhammad(PBUH), we shall not hestitate to pronounce him as an infidel, but in the course of a controversy the man who wishes to prove that any reluctance in pronoucing such a person as an apostate is a sin shall have to seek the aid of consensus in support of his arguments, because reason is no arbiter against the possibilty of the existance of a `new prophet.' As regards the followers of the `new prophets' they will not be utterly incapable of making various interpretations of La Nabiya Ba`di, "There will be no Prophet after me" and Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin, `Last of the Prophets.' A follower of the `new prophets' might say that Khatam-ul-Naibiyyin, `Last of the Prophets' bears the meaning "last of the prominent Messengers." If you argue that "prophets" is a common word, he would very easily give this term a particular significance with regard to his own `prophethood.' In respect of `No Prophet will come after him', such a man would contend that this expression does not say that `No Messengers will follow him.' There is a difference betwen a Prophet and a Messenger. The status of a Prophet is higher than that of the Messenger. The fact is that such absurdities can be indulged in ad infinitum. It is not difficult, in our view, to make different interpretations of a word. Besides, there is no ample scope for people to commit blunders ever and beyond these points in the exposition of these clear words. We cannot even say that those who make such interpretations are guilty of the denial of clear injunctions. But to refute those who have but their faith in the false expositions we shall say that the entire Ummah by a consensus of opinion recognizes that the words `No Prophet shall come after him' and the context of the traditions suggests that the Holy Prophet meant that `No Prophet, nor Messenger shall follow him.' Furthermore, the Ummah is agreed on the point that above words of the Holy Prophet leave no scope for a different interpretation than given to it by the consensus of the Ummah and he who would not join the consensus is no more than a dissident. (Al-Iqtisad Fil Aiteqad, p.114, Egypt)
[We have quoted here the original Arabic text (in the Urdu Edition) of the opinion of Imam Ghazali because the deniers of the idea of the Finality of Prophethood have vehemently challenged the authenticity of this reference.)
Mohy-us-Sunnah Baghawi ( died 510 A.H.) writes in his commentary Ma`lam-al-Tanzil: "God brought the line of Prophets to an end with him. Hence he is the final Prophet.......Ibn `Abbas affirms that God(in this verse) has given His verdict that no Prophet will come after the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH)." (Vol. 3, p. 158)
`Allama Zamakhshri (467 A.H.-538 A.H) writes in his commentary entitled Kashshaaf, "If you ask how Muhammad can be the last of the Prophets when Hadrat `Isa (Jesus Christ) will appear towards the end of the world? I shall reply that the finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) means that no one will be endowed with prophethood after him. Hadrat 'Isa is among those upon whom prophethood was endowed before Muhammad(PBUH). Moreover, Hadrat 'Isa will appear as a follower of Muhammad and he will offer prayers with his face towards the Qiblah of Islam, as a member of the community of the Muslims." (Vol. 2, p. 215)
Qazi 'Iyad (died 544 A.H.) writes: " He who lays a claim to prophethood, affirms that a man can attain the office of prophethood or can acquire the dignity of a prophet through purification of soul, as is alleged by some philosophers and sufis; similarly a person who does not claim to be a prophet, but declares that he is the recipient of Divine revelation, all such persons are apostates and deniers of the prophethood of Muhammad(PBUH), for Muhammad (PBUH) has conveyed the message of God to us that he is the final Prophet and no Prophet will come after him. He had also conveyed to us the Divine message that he has finally sealed the office of Prophethood and that he has been sent as a Prophet and a Messenger to the whole of mankind. It is the consensus of the entire Ummah that these words of the Holy Prophet are clear enough and eloquently speak of the fact that they can admit of no other interpretation or amendment in their meaning. Hence there is no doubt that all these sects are outside the pale of Islam not only from the view-point of the consensus of the Ummah but also on the ground of these words having been transmitted with utmost authenticity." (Shifa, Vol. 2, pp. 270- 271)
`Allama Shahrastani (died A.H. 548), in his renowned book, Almilal wan Nahal, writes: "And similarly who says that a prophet shall come after Muhammad (PBUH), there are no two opinions that such a man is an infidel." (Vol. 3, p. 249)
Imam Razi (543 A.H.-606 A.H.), in his work Tafsir Kabir while explaining the meaning of the verse Khatam-un-Nabiyyin states: "In this context the term Khatam-un Nabiyyin has been used in the sense that a Prophet whose ministry is not final may leave some injunctions or commandments incomplete or unexplained thus providing scope for a succeeding prophet to complete the task. But the Prophet who will have no successor is more considerate and provides clear guidlines for his followers, for he is like a father who knows that after him there will be no guardian or patron to look after his son."(Vol. 6, p. 581)
Allama Baidawi(died A.H. 685), in his commentary, Anwar-ul-Tanzil, writes: "In other words he, Muhammed (PBUH), is the last of all Prophets. He is the one in whom the line of Prophets ends or the one whose advent has sealed the office of Prophethood. The appearance of Hadrat 'Isa (peace be upon him) after Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is not a contradiction of the finality of Muhammed's Prophethood, because Hadrat Isa will appear as a follower of the Shariah of Muhammed." (Vol. 4, p. 164)
'Allama Hafiz-ud-Din Al-Nasafi (died A.H.710), in his commentary, Madark-ut-Tanzil, writes: "And he Muhammad(PBUH) is the one who has brought the line of prophets to an end...in other words he is the last of all prophets. God shall not appoint another prophet after him. In respect of Hadrat `Isa(peace be upon him) it may be stated that he is among those who were appointed Prophets before the time of Muhammad(PBUH). And when Hadrat `Isa appears again, he will be a follower of the Shar'iah of Muhammad, and one among faithful." (p. 471)
`Allama `Alau-din Baghdadi (died A.H. 725) in his commentary, Khazin, writes: "Wa Khatam-un-Nabiyyin,' in other words, God has ended prophethood in him, Muhammad(PBUH). Henceforth there is no prophethood after him, nor is there any partner with him in prophethood...Wa Kan Allahu Bikulle Shaiin `Alima, God is aware that no prophet will come after him." (pp. 471-472)
Allama Ibn Kathir (died A.H. 774) writes in his well- known commentary, "Hence this verse is a clear proof of the fact that no prophet will come after Muhammad(PBUH) and when it is said that no prophet will come after him it is a foregone conclusion that no messenger will succeed him either, for the office of a messenger holds prominence over the office of a prophet. Every messenger is a prophet, but all prophets are not messengers. Any one who lays a claim to prophethood after Muhammad(PBUH) is a liar, a disruptionist, an imposter, depraved and a seducer despite his wonderous jugglery and magical feats. Any one who would make this claim in future till the end of the world belongs to this class. (Vol. 3, pp. 493-494)
Allama Jalal-Ud-Din Suyuti (died A.H. 911) writes in his commentary entitled Jalalain, "God is aware of the fact that no prophet will succeed Muhammad (PBUH) and when Isa (PBUH) will reappear in the world he will act according to the Shariah of Muhammad (PBUH)." (p. 768)
Allama Ibn Nujaim (died A.H. 970) in his renowned work of the canons of Fiqh entitled, 'Al-Ashbah wan-Nazair', Kitab- us-Siyyar:Bab: al-Raddah, writes: "A person who does not regard Muhammad (PBUH) as the last Prophet of God is not a Muslim, for the finality of Muhammad's prophethood is one of those fundamental articles of faith which a Muslim must understand and believe." (p. 179)
Mulla Ali Qari (died A.H. 1016) in his commentary Fiqh Akbar, writes: "To lay a claim to Prophethood after the ministry of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a sheer infidelity by the consensus of Ummah." (p. 202)
Shaikh Isma'il Haqqi (died 1137 A.H.) while elucidating this verse in his commentary Ruh-ul-Bayan, writes: "Asim reads the word Khatam with a vowel stress on the letter ta which means the instrument of stamping and sealing, just as 'Printer' is the machine which imprints. The connotation of the word is that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the last of all prophets and God has sealed the office of prophethood through his agency. In Persian the same meaning will be expressed by the term 'Mohar Paighambran'. The seal of Prophets i.e., his (Muhammad's) advent sealed the door of prophethood and the line pf prophets ended in him. Other reciters pronounce the word Khatim with the vowel point under the letter ta which means to say that Muhammad (PBUH) was the one who sealed the doors of prophethood. In Persian the same meaning will be expressed by the term 'Mohar Konindai Paighambran,' 'Sealer of the prophets,' so both ways the word Khatam bears one and the same meaning........Henceforth the Ulema of the Ummah of Muhammad(PBUH) will inherit only spiritual eminence from him. The inheritance of Prophethood is extinct, for Muhammad(PBUH) has sealed the office of Prophethood for all time to come. The appearance of Hadrat Isa (PBUH) after Muhammad(PBUH) is not a contradiction of the finality of Muhammad's prophethood. The term Khatam-un-Nabiyyin makes it clear that no one will be appointed a prophet after Muhammad(PBUH).
Hadrat Isa (PBUH) was appointed Prophet before Muhammad(PBUH) and Isa(PBUH) will appear as a follower of the Shari'ah of Muhammad(PBUH). He (Isa)(PBUH) will offer prayers with his face turned towards the Qiblah designated by Muhammad(PBUH). Hadrat Isa (PBUH) will be one among the faithful of Islam. He will neither receive any Divine revelation nor will issue new injunctions; he will act as a follower of Muhammad(PBUH). `Ahl-Sunnat wal Jam'at (the Sunni sect) believe that no prophet will come after our holy Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) because God has affirmed: "wa-lakin Rasul Allahi wa Khatam-un-Nabiyyin", and the Prophet has said: La Nabiya Ba`di (There will be no Prophet after me.) Henceforth anyone who says that a prophet will succeed Muhammad(PBUH) will become an apostate, because he has denied a basic article of faith. Similarly anyone who casts doubt about the finality of Muhammad's prophethood, will also be declared an infidel, because the foregoing discussion has distinguished right from wrong. And any claim to prophethood after Muhammad(PBUH) is absolutely false."
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|Posted: 15 April 2005 at 11:50am|
In Fatawa-i-Alamgiri which was compiled by the eminent scholars of the Indian sub-continent at the command of Aurangzeb Alamgir, in the 12th century Hijri, it is recorded: "A man who does not regard Muhammed (PBUH) as the final Prophet of God, is not a Muslim, and if such a man claims to be a messenger or prophet of God, he shall be proclaimed an apostate." (Vol. 2, p. 263)
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Note: The 99 names of Allah avatars are courtesy of www.arthafez.com