The Significance of Khatme-NabuwwatIslam enjoins upon the faithful a solid belief in the divine decree of Khatme-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) in last of the Messengers and the mercy to the Universe, hazrat Muhammad(SAW). This tenant of Islam is so essential that the slightest doubt in its validity may bring one�s faith to ruin. Those who guard their belief in this basic doctrine are surely protecting their faith in the religion of Allah(SWT).
Individuals who believe in the possibility of new Prophets after hazrat Muhammad(SAW) are, in effect, advancing the notion that the religion of Allah(SWT) is not perfect and are attempting to open the door for the possible alteration, corruption, or rejection of the message of Islam. Mirza Ghulam Qadiani of India, for instance, abrogated Jihad, introduced his own novel interpretation of Quranic verses (in defiance to authentic Hadith), and gave birth to a new faith he called �Ahmadiyyat�. Hussain Ali (Bahaullah) of Iran modified the entire doctrine of Islam, replaced the Holy Quran with his own book, changed the direction of Qibla from Makkah al Mukarrama to Namka in Israel, and named this new faith �Bahaism�.
It should be evident how the mere rejection of the doctrine of Khatme-Nabuwwat enabled misguided or opportunist individuals to challenge the believers from within and divert unsuspecting public from the religion of Allah(SWT).
The Holy Quran has made it abundantly clear, in more than one hundred of its verses, that no new Prophet or prophetic revelation will be sent. Over two hundred hadith (sayings of the holy Prophet(SAW)) further support this injunction of the Quranic Message. The Holy Quran, hadith and Tafseer have been consistent on this point since the advent of Islam. In addition, close companions of the holy Prophet, great scholars, and the entire Ummah have agreed on this basic tenant and consider it Kufr to entertain the possibility of Allah(SWT) commissioning any other Prophet.
The great Imam and founder of the Hanifa School of thought, Imam Abu Hanifa(RA), was so certain of this view that he decreed the very act of questioning a claimant (demanding proof or miracles) to be an act of disbelief in itself. Naturally, this fatwa was issued to stress the importance of an absolute belief in the Finality of Prophethood and to encourage all Muslims to defend this doctrine from corruption for all times.
Any Muslim would shrink from asking a claimant to divinity for proof; that claim very clearly contradicts the teachings of Islam. The very same level of confidence and belief is also required when we are faced with impostor prophets and Messiahs:
There can not be another god besides Allah(SWT) and there can not be another prophet after Muhammad(SAW).
Our duty to defend this basic tenant becomes evident when we review some of the brightest moments in Islamic history. The first rightly guided Caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA), fought against the army of the impostor prophet Musailma, the Liar, despite the fact that, not only Musailma had recognized the Prophethood of Muhammad(SAW), but also the Muslim state was still in its infancy and without the needed resources. As the result of this war, 22000 soldiers of Musailma were eliminated; however, approximately 1200 precious Muslim lives -- including almost 600 Huffaz, Qaris, distinguished soldiers of Badr, and close Companions of the Holy Prophet(SAW) -- were also lost.
To appreciate these figures and understand the determination of early Muslims to protect the religion of Allah(SWT) from possible corruption, we will need to remember that, during the entire life of Rasool Allah(SAW), only 259 Muslim lives were lost in all the battles against the Kuffar. The non-believers had themselves suffered only 759 casualties. In short, our first Caliph, in unison with all the Companions (Sahaba), decreed that the impostor Prophet and his followers should not be allowed to spread their evil. Indeed, none of the companions rested until the complete elimination of the self proclaimed prophet and his followers. This decision of Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA) was so highly regarded, endorsed and accepted by the companions, that Hazrat Umar(RA) proposed an exchange with Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA). He said:
"I will exchange all good deeds of my life time for your acts of one night and one day. One night from those three nights you spent with Rasool Allah(SAW) in the Cave of Thaur and one day from the days of battles against impostor prophets to guard the Finality of Muhammad(SAW).�
Obviously, defending the Finality of Rasool Allah(SAW) should be of utmost importance for us: we should not even entertain the claims of false Messiahs and prophets who will appear from time to time.
It is a sad turn of events that some of our Muslim brothers, who claim to be liberal and broad minded, trivialize the significance and importance of the Islamic principal of Khatme-Nabuwwat and do not appreciate our duty to protect the Deen of Allah(SWT) from all enemies. We hope that this brief message has helped them realize the true message of Allah(SWT).
With Allah is Success and Peace of Allah be upon his Messenger Muhammad and his Followers and Companions.
Maulana Manzoor Ahmad Chinioti,
President Khatme Nabuwwat University, Chiniot Pakistan,
General Secretary, International Khatme Nabuwwat Movement, and
Member of Punjab Assembly
- This is about the title of Muhammad; for the related name of the mole on his shoulderblade, see Seal of Prophethood (Khatam An-Nubuwwah); for his actual signet-ring, see Seal of Muhammad.
Khatam an-Nabiyyin (Arabic: خاتم النبيين, khātam an-nabīyīn; or Khātim an-Nabīyīn), translated as Seal of the Prophets, is a title used in the Qur'an to designate the prophetMuhammad. It is synonymous with the term Khātam al-Anbiyā’ (Arabic: خاتم الأنبياء; or Khātim al-Anbiyā’). It is generally regarded to mean that Muhammad was the last of the prophets sent by God.
Occurrence in the Quran
The title khatam an-nabiyyin or khatim an-nabiyyin, usually translated as "Seal of the Prophets", is applied to Muhammad in verse 33:40 of the Qur'an. The popular Yusuf Ali translation reads,
- "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things."
There is a difference among the schools of Qur'anic recitation regarding the reading of the word خاتم in verse 33:40 – it can be read as either khātim or khātam. Of the ten qirā’āt (readings, methods of recitation) regarded as authentic – seven mutawātir and three mashhūr – all read خاتم in this verse with a kasrah on the tāʼ (خاتِم, khātim) with the exception of 'Asim, who reads with a fatḥah on the tāʼ (خاتَم, khātam). The reading of al-Hasan, a shadhdh (aberrant) recitation, is also khātam.
The recitation that has become prevalent in most of the world today is Hafs 'an 'Asim - that is, the qirā’ah of 'Asim in the riwāyah (transmission) of his student Hafs. The reading of 33:40 according to Hafs 'an 'Asim is as follows:
- مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّـهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَكَانَ ٱللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًا [note 1]
- mā kāna muḥammadun abā aḥadin min rijālikum wa lākin rasūla ’llāhi wa khātama ’n-nabīyīna wa kāna ’llāhu bikulli shay’in ‘alīmā
Quranic use of the root kh-t-m
The nouns khātam and khātim are derived from the root kh-t-m (خ ت م). Words based on this root occur in the Quran eight times:
- five times as the Form I verb khatama (خَتَمَ)
- once as the noun khātim (خَاتِم), or khātam (خَاتَم) according to the qirā’ah of ‘Āṣim
- once as the noun khitām (خِتَـٰم), or khātam (خَاتَم) according to the qirā’ah of al-Kisā’ī
- once as the passive participle makhtūm (مَختُوم)
"Keystone" ("brick") metaphor
In a well-known hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah, Jabir ibn Abd Allah, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, and recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and others, Muhammad compared the relationship between himself and the previous prophets to a building missing a single brick. In Sahih al-Bukhari it is reported by Abu Hurayrah that Muhammad said, "My similitude in comparison with the prophets before me is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: 'Would that this brick be put in its place!' So I am that brick, and I am the seal of the prophets" (fa’anā ’l-labinah, wa anā khātamu ’n-nabīyīn). This hadith is narrated with similar wording in Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan al-Kubra of an-Nasa'i, and Sahih Ibn Hibban. In Mu'jam al-Awsat, at-Tabarani narrated a variant wording of the hadith with the last statement being, "So I am that [brick], I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me" (fa’anā dhālika, anā khātamu ’n-nabīyīn, lā nabīya ba‘dī). Ibn Hibban also has a variant ending with "I was the place of that brick, with me concluded the [line of] messengers" (fakuntu anā mawḍi‘u tilka ’l-labinah, khutima biya ’r-rusul). In Sahih Muslim and Musnad Ahmad the hadith is also reported by Jabir ibn Abd Allah, with the last statement being "So I am the place of that brick, I have come and concluded the [line of] prophets" (fa’anā mawḍi‘u ’l-labinah, ji’tu fakhatamtu ’l-anbiyā’).Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi in his Musnad has from Jabir, "So I am the place of that brick, with me concluded the [line of] prophets" (fa’anā mawḍi‘u ’l-labinah, khutima biya ’l-anbiyā’).
In another hadith, Muhammad prophesized the appearance of a number of false prophets before the day of judgement, while asserting his status as the seal of the prophets. It is reported by Thawban ibn Bajdad that Muhammad said, "The Hour will not be established until tribes of my ummah (community) unite with the idolaters, and until they worship idols. And in my ummah there will be thirty liars, each of whom will claim to be a prophet, (but) I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me." (kulluhum yaz‘umu annahu nabī, wa anā khātamu ’n-nabīyīn, lā nabīya ba‘dī).Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman reports that Muhammad said, "In my ummah there will twenty-seven liars and dajjals, among whom are four women, (but) I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me".
According to the authoritative dictionary Lisan al-Arab of Ibn Manzur,
The khitām of a group of people, the khātim of them, or the khātam of them, is the last of them, according to al-Lihyani. And Muhammad is khātim of the prophets. At-Tahdhib (of al-Azhari): Khātim and khātam are among the names of the Prophet. And in the Qur'an: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and khātim of the prophets," that is, the last of them. And: It was also recited as khātam. And the saying of al-'Ajjaj, "Blessed to the prophets is this khātim," is based on the well-known recitation, with a kasrah (khātim). And also among his names is al-‘āqib, and its meaning is "last of the prophets."
According to Taj al-Arus of al-Zabidi,
Khātam: The last of a people, like khātim. And with this definition is the saying in the Qur'an, "khātam of the prophets," that is, the last of them.
And among the names of the Prophet are khātam and khātim, and he is the one who sealed prophethood by his coming.
The title is generally regarded by Muslims as meaning that Muhammad is the last in the series of prophets beginning with Adam. The belief that a new prophet cannot arise after Muhammad is shared by both Sunni and Shi'i Muslims. Some of the most prominent historical Sunni texts on creed (aqidah) explicitly mention the doctrine of finality of prophethood. For example, in al-Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah it is asserted that "Every claim to the prophetic office after his is a delusion and a wandering desire." In another popular work, al-Aqidah an-Nasafiyyah, it is stated, "The first of the prophets is Adam and the last is Muhammad."
Hartwig Hirschfeld doubted the authenticity of the verse 33:40 and claimed it to be of late origin.Yohanan Friedmann states that Hirschfeld's arguments "that the title khatam an-nabiyyin is unusual, that it only appears once in the Qur'an, that the word khatam is not Arabic…do not seem valid arguments against the authenticity of the verse."
Frants Buhl accepted the traditional meaning of last prophet.
Josef Horovitz suggested two possible interpretations of khatam an-nabiyyin: the last prophet or the one who confirms the authenticity of the previous prophets. Heinrich Speyer agreed with Horovitz.
According to Alford T. Welch, the traditional Muslim belief that Muhammad is "last and greatest of the prophets" is most likely based on a later interpretation of 33:40.
The first modern academic to have studied in detail the history of the doctrine of finality of prophethood is Yohanan Friedmann. In his seminal article, Finality of Prophethood in Sunni Islam (1986), he concluded that although the notion of finality of prophethood "eventually acquired an undisputed and central place in the religious thought of Islam," it was contested during the first century AH. He states, "While it is true that the phrase khatam an-nabiyyin is generally interpreted as meaning 'the last prophet', the exegetical tradition and other branches of classical Arabic literature preserved material which indicates that this now generally received understanding of the Qur'anic phrase is not the only possible one and had not necessarily been the earliest." Due to this Friedmann states that the meaning of khatam an-nabiyyin in its original Qur'anic context is still in doubt.
Wilferd Madelung takes Friedmann's findings into consideration in observing that the original Qur'anic meaning of the term is not entirely certain. However, in a more recent paper he states, "Most Muslims at the time no doubt understood it to mean that he was to be the last prophet and Islam was the final religion, as Muslims have commonly understood it ever since."
Carl W. Ernst considers the phrase to mean that Muhammad's "imprint on history is as final as a wax seal on a letter."
David Powers, also making use of Friedmann's research, believes that the early Muslim community was divided over the meaning of the expression, with some understanding it to mean he fulfilled or confirmed the earlier Christian and Jewish revelations, while others understood it as signifying that Muhammad brought the office of prophethood to a close. He suggests that the Qur'anic text underwent a series of secondary omissions and additions which were designed to adapt the text to the dogma of finality of prophethood, and that the idea of finality only became the prevailing interpretation (alongside the notion of confirmation or fulfillment) by the end of the 1st century AH / 7th century. In a review of Powers' book, Gerald Hawting goes further, suggesting that the development of the doctrine was not complete before the 3rd century AH / 9th century. Madelung comments that Power's argument, that verses 36-40 are a later addition dating from the generation after Muhammad's death, is "hardly sustainable."
Uri Rubin holds that the finality of prophethood is a Qur'anic idea, not a post-Qur'anic one, and that the expression khatam an-nabiyyin implies both finality of prophethood and confirmation. In response to Powers and other modern scholars skeptical of the early origin of the doctrine, Rubin concludes from his study "that, at least as far as Sura 33 is concerned, the consonantal structure of the Qur'anic text has not been tampered with, and that the idea of finality of prophethood is well-represented in the text, as well as in the earliest available extra-Quranic materials." Rubin reexamines the early extra-Qur'anic texts cited by Friedmann and other modern scholars, and concludes that rather than indicating that the notion of finality of prophethood is late, the texts confirm the early origin of the belief. He concludes that "there is no compelling reason to assume that the Muslims of the first Islamic century originally understood the Qur'anic khatam an-nabiyyin in the sense of confirmation alone, without that of finality."
Main article: Prophethood (Ahmadiyya)
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Ahmadi Muslims) while accepting Muhammad as the 'Seal of the Prophets' (Khatamun Nabiyyin) and the last prophet to have brought a complete and comprehensive universal law for humanity (last law-bearing Prophet), believe that prophethood subordinate to Muhammad is still open. Muhammad is believed to have brought prophethood to perfection and was the last law-bearing prophet, the apex of man's spiritual evolution. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence nor alter his teaching or bring any new law or religion. The Ahmadiyya community believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi, who claimed a certain kind of prophethood but never claimed to have brought any new divine laws or change the law of Muhammad, but to have been Divinely appointed to revive and universally establish the law/religion of Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya community draws upon various opinions of Islamic scholars throughout the history of Islam to show the possibility of non-law bearing prophethood within Islam.The Ahmadiyya movement understands this term to indicate the culmination and authentication of prophethood in Muhammad, rather than its absolute cessation. Something that has caused controversy in recent times between Ahmadis and the (mainly Sunni) mainstream who accuse them of denying the finality of prophethood.
The Bahá'í Faith regards Muhammad as a Manifestation of God and as the Seal of the Prophets, but do not believe Revelation or Scripture from God has ended. In particular, Bahá'ís regard the end-times prophecies of Islam (and other faiths) as being both metaphorical and literal, and see the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh as fulfilling these prophetic expectations. The latter of these is the founder of the Bahá'í religion, which considers Islamic law as secondary or tertiary to its own. Muhammad is seen as ending the Adamic cycle, also known as the Prophetic cycle, which is stated to have begun approximately 6,000 years ago, and the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh as starting the Bahá'í cycle, or Cycle of Fulfillment, which will last at least five hundred thousand years with numerous Manifestations of God appearing throughout this time. Moreover, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri Bahá'u'lláh gave the Title "King of the Messengers" (sultán al-rusul) to the Báb, and the "Sender of the Messengers" (mursil al-rusul) to himself. Additionally, the Kitáb-i-Íqán shows the Islamic concept of the oneness of the prophets and the Hadith, "knowledge is a single point, which the foolish have multipied," to reveal that the term "Seal of the Prophets", like Alpha and Omega, apply to all the prophets: "Whilst established upon the seat of the “first,” they occupy the throne of the “last.”." In summary, these interpretive and legal differences have caused the Bahá'ís to be seen as heretics and apostates by some Muslims, which has led to their persecution in different countries.
The concept of the finality of prophethood of Muhammad has caused controversy in recent times. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet (non law-bearing prophet), subordinate to Muhammad in accordance with Islamic prophecies. Ahmad founded the movement in Qadian, India in 1889 and claimed to be the "Promised Messiah" and Mahdi. His claims resulted in a violent reaction among many Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.
Salafi and Sunni scholars vehemently opposed him and in subsequent years a movement opposed to Ahmadiyya beliefs was founded. This movement is subject to violence and abuse in many Muslim countries, is still very active in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries where Ahmadiyya adherents are present.
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- ^Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, March 13, 1986. Published in Effendi, Shoghi; The Universal House of Justice (1983). Hornby, Helen (Ed.), ed. Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá'í Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India. p. 500. ISBN 81-85091-46-3.
- ^Taherzadeh, Adib (1977). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 2: Adrianople 1863–68. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 352. ISBN 0-85398-071-3.
- ^Seena Fazel and Khazeh Fananapazir (1993). "A Bahá'í Approach to the Claim of Finality in Islam". Journal of Bahá'í Studies. 5 (3): 17–40.
- ^"Personal Interpretation of the term 'Seal of the Prophets'". bahai-library.com.
- ^Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Kitab-i-Iqan". bahai.org. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- ^Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Kitab-i-Iqan". bahai.org. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- ^"Official Web Site :: Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz KHATM-E-NUBUWWAT". www.khatm-e-nubuwwat.com.
- ^"Report on the situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan - Majlis Tahafaz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat". www.thepersecution.org.
- ^Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International RelationsHarvard Human Rights Journal, Vol 16, September 2003
Violent Dhaka Rally against Sect, BBC News
Eight die in Pakistan Sect Attack, BBC News
Sect offices closed in Pakistan, BBC News