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Commentary on the Verse of Khaatamun-Nabiyyeen
ot being the father of an adult male does not establish that one is not a Prophet. If the Holy Quran had advanced the argument that anyone who is not the father of an adult male, cannot be a Prophet—or if such were the belief held by some nations prior to the revelation of the Holy Quran—then we could have interpreted this verse of the Holy Quran to be stating an exception to such a belief, or even a negation of such a belief. But there is no nation which believes that whoever is not the father of an adult male does not qualify to be a Prophet. The Muslims and the Christians both believe in the Prophethood of Hadhrat Yahya (John) and the Jews consider him to be a holy man. But no one infers from this that he had an issue, because he was not even married. So, then what does this verse mean: Muhammad is not the father of any adult male among you but he is a Prophet? There must necessarily be some reason behind this statement.
We must also examine the case of a person about whom people used to say, mistakenly, that he was the adopted son of the Holy Prophetsa. After declaring that he was not the adopted son, what was the point of mentioning the Prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa in that context? Had Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, not divorced his wife, and had Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, not married her, would the subject of Khatme Nubuwwat remain hidden? Are topics of such momentous importance usually described only as a passing reference? Furthermore, as we have noted earlier, prophethood has no relevance to whether or not one is the father of a male issue. We must, therefore, ponder over the Holy Quran with a view to finding out if there is any statement to this effect, in any context, according to which if one is proven to be not the father of any adult male, then the application of the word Prophet to him would become doubtful? This is so because the word laakin in the Arabic language, and its synonymous words in every language of the world, are used for removing some kind of doubt. When we peruse the Holy Quran to resolve this puzzle, we find the following verses:
Surely We have given thee abundance of good. So pray thy Lord and offer sacrifice. Surely it is thy enemy who is without issue. (108:2-4)
This verse was revealed in the Meccan period and it contains a refutation of the taunts from the idolaters of Mecca, directed at the Holy Prophetsa after the death of his son. They used to say: He does not have any male issue. His enterprise will come to an end, sooner or later. [Al-Bahrul-Muheet]
After Surah Al-Kauthar was revealed, the Muslims had started thinking that the Holy Prophet would have further children who would survive. But what transpired was that, unlike their anticipation, the Holy Prophet sired no other son after that, who might have survived. But, on the other hand, the male progeny of his enemies survived, concerning whom it had been prophesied that
Surely it is thy enemy who is without issue. (108:4)
So, for instance, the sons of Abu Jahl survived, those of Aas survived, those of Waleed also remained alive (although their progeny accepted Islam later on and some of them were counted among the notable Companions of the Holy Prophetsa).
When the incident of Hadhrat Zaid occurred, misgivings stirred up in the hearts of some people that the Holy Prophet had married the divorcee of Zaid—who was his adopted son—and this was a contravention of the teachings of Islam, because marrying one’s daughter-in-law is not permissible. Then Allah, the Exalted, said that: Your misconception regarding Zaid being the “son” of Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, is invalid. Hadhrat Muhammadsa is indeed not the father of any adult male. The Arabic phrase maa kaana does not simply mean that “he is not a father at the present time,” but it also means “he will also not be a father, even in the future,” e.g., the Holy Quran states:
Allah is the Mighty, the Wise. (4:166)
i.e., Allah was the Mighty, the Wise; he still is so, and will continue to be so in future.
The aforementioned declaration was naturally bound to create another doubt. In Mecca, it was proclaimed through Surah Al-Kauthar that the enemies of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa will remain deprived of male progeny whereas the Holy Prophetsa would not be so deprived. But, several years later, it was now announced in Medina that Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, was at that time not the father of an adult male—nor will he ever be, in future—which implies that the prophecy contained in Surah Al-Kauthar (God forbid) proved to be false and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa was suspect!
It was in this context that Allah, the Exalted stated:
But he is a messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets. (33:41)
viz. Our present proclamation is likely to create misgivings in the minds of the people that this declaration (God forbid) negates the genuineness of Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah; but it would be wrong to draw this conclusion from the aforesaid proclamation. Hadhrat Muhammadsa is the Messenger of Allah despite this proclamation; in fact he is the Khaatamun- Nabiyyeen, i.e., the Seal of the Prophets. He is an adornment for the earlier prophets and, in future, no one can be appointed to the station of Prophethood unless he bears on him the impress of the Seal of Hadhrat Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah. Such a person will be the spiritual son of the Holy Prophet. And the birth of such spiritual sons in the ummah of Hadhrat Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, on the one hand, and acceptance of Islam by the sons of the chieftains of Mecca on the other hand, will conclusively prove the truth of what was proclaimed in Surah Al-Kauthar. The male progeny of Abu Jahl, Aas, and Waleed will disassociate themselves from their respective fathers and will affiliate themselves with Hadhrat Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah. Thus, the Holy Prophet’s spiritual progeny will continue to exist forever, and among them, until Doomsday, there will continue to be individuals who will be appointed to that particular status to which no female can ever be appointed viz. the status of Prophethood, which is exclusive to men.
So if Surah Al-Kauthar and Surah Al-Ahzaab are read together, then the above interpretation would inescapably be found to be the only possible interpretation, without the existence of any other possibility. If one were to interpret Khaatamun Nabiyyeen in the following manner: Hadhrat Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, is not the father of any adult male among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and no Prophet can ever come after him, in future—then this verse becomes meaningless and loses all relevance to its context. Furthermore, it reinforces the taunt of the Meccan disbelievers which is implicitly referred to in Surah Al-Kauthar.
Exegetical Meaning of the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen in the Light of other Verses of the Holy Quran
The Glorious Quran is a perfect and complete Book and one of its miracles is that not only does it mention the Holy Prophet’s unique status of being the Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, but also throws light on its inner meanings at several different places. In this regard, we present the following verses of the Holy Quran as under:
1. Allah, the Exalted, says in Surah Al-Hajj:
Allah chooses His Messengers from among angels and from among men. Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (22:76)
Immediately prior to this verse, the contemporaries of the Holy Prophetsa are addressed, viz. those who existed prior to him are not mentioned in this context. Therefore, the meaning of this verse is: Allah chooses, and will continue to choose, Messengers from among angels and from among men. Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
This verse makes it quite clear that during the Holy Prophet’s time, other human beings will also be raised by God who will come under the title of Messengers.
2. In Surah Fatiha, Allah has taught the following prayer to the Muslims:
O, Allah! Guide us in the right path. (1:6)
The Muslims repeat this prayer several times in each of the five obligatory daily prayers, and as part of several optional prayers at various times. Now, the question is: What is “the path of those who received Divine favours?” The Holy Quran (Surah Al-Nisa) itself has clarified it by saying:
And We would surely have guided them in the right path. (4:69)
viz. If the Muslims act upon the injuctions of the Holy Prophetsa, and are gladly obedient in regard to them, then We will guide them along the Straight Path.
Shortly thereafter, the manner of guiding them along the Straight Path is explained (Surah Al-Nisa) as under:
And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these. This grace is from Allah, and sufficient is Allah, the All-Knowing. (4:70-71)
It is quite clearly laid down in this verse that the path of the Divinely favoured group is the path by treading upon which one is included among the Prophets, the Faithful ones, the Martyrs, and the Righteous.
Some people contend that the word (ma’a), used here, means that such people will be only along with the Divinely favoured group but they themselves will not be included as part of these Divinely favoured ones. On the contrary, this verse cannot possibly be interpreted in this fashion at all because then it would imply: such persons will be along with the Prophets but will not be included among the Prophets; and they will be along with the Faithful ones but not included among the Faithful ones; and they will be along with the Martyrs but not included among the Martyrs; and they will be with the Righteous but not included among the Righteous.
So, according to this interpretation the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, have not only been deprived of Prophethood alone; they have also been deprived of being the Faithful ones—implying that the Holy Prophet’s pronouncement that Hadhrat Abu Bakr was Siddiq (the Faithful one), was (God forbid) incorrect! It also means that despite what Allah says in the Holy Quran, that the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa occupy the spiritual station of martyrs— i.e. Guardians over men (2:144)— is also wrong, God forbid.
According to which the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa were at the rank of Shoha’daa was (God forbid) also wrong! Similarly, no person among the Holy Prophet’s followers can attain the rank of Righteous one, and the view that there have been numerous righteous persons among the Holy Prophet’s followers is also (God forbid) a gross misconception!
Can any sensible person, who is conversant with the Holy Quran and Ahadith, subscribe to this interpretation? The word (ma’a) does not simply mean “with”; the word (ma’a) also signifies inclusion, i.e., "among." For instance, the believers are taught the following prayer in the Holy Quran:
And in death join us with the righteous. (3:194)
Every Muslim interprets this verse as follows: O, Allah! count me among the righteous and then cause me to die. No one interprets it as: O, Allah! when a righteous person is about to die then do cause me to die along with him!
Similarly, the Holy Quran states:
The hypocrites shall surely be in the lowest depth of the Fire; and thou shalt not find that they have any helper, except such of them as repent and amend and hold fast to the teachings of Allah, and be exclusively devoted in their worship of Allah: will be included among the believers and Allah will soon bestow a great reward upon the believers. (4:146-147)
Note that in this verse, the phrase (ma’a’l mo’mineen) is employed but it is obvious that the word (ma’a) is used in the sense of the word min, i.e., ‘among’.
Similarly, the following verse occurs in Surah Al-Hirj of the Holy Quran:
O, Iblis! What is the matter with thee, that thou wouldst not be among those who submit? (15:33)
But in Surah Al-A’raaf, the Holy Quran states:
He (Iblis) would not be of those who submit. (7:12)
It is, therefore, evident that the word ma’a, in the Holy Quran’s idiom, is used in the sense of min (in). The world renowned lexicon of the Holy Quran, Mufradaat-ul-Quran, compiled by Imam Raghib, states under the word kataba:
(Al-Mufradaat fi Ghareeb-il-Qur’an, by Imam Raaghib under word “kataba”)
viz. The word ma’a in the verse means: cause us to be in the group of Shahideen which is a reference the statement in the verse in which the word (ma’a) means that those who would be obedient to the Holy Prophetsa will be included in the Divinely Favoured group.
Moreover, the commentary of the Holy Quran Al-Bahr-ul-Muheet, gives further exegesis of the above excerpt from Imam Raghib in the following words:
[Tafseer Al-Bahr-ul-Muheet, vol. 3, p. 387, published in Egypt]
viz. According to Imam Raghib the interpretation of this verse is that those who obediently follow the Holy Prophetsa, will be included—according to their respective status and rank—in the four categories, i.e., in this ummah, the Prophet will be together with the Prophet, the Faithful one with the Faithful one, the Martyr with the Martyr, and the Righteous with the Righteous.
3. Similarly, while referring to the Muslims, Allah, the Exalted, says in the Holy Quran:
O Children of Adam! If Messngers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve. (7:36)
This verse clearly states that Messengers shall continue to appear in the ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
Similarly, Allah says in the Holy Quran:
And when the Messengers are made to appear at the appointed time. (77:12)
This signifies that, in the latter days, Allah will cause, in a figurative sense, the re-advent of all prophets. The Shiites argue on this basis that during the time of Imam Mahdi all the Prophets shall be made to reappear and they will obey him. For instance, it is stated in Tafseer Qummi:
[Tafseer Al-Qummi, under the verse “Iz Akhadha Allaho Meethaaq-an-Nabiyyeen.]
viz. All the Prophets whom Allah has sent, from Adam onwards, will certainly return to this world and will help the Ameer-ul-Mo’mineen (Imam Mahdi).
This implies that, according to the Shiites, after the Holy Prophetsa, all the Prophets will reappear, but the Holy Prophet’s “Khatme Nubuwwat” will still not be undermined!
We have quoted some verses of the Holy Quran, for illustrative purposes, to demonstrate that Follower-Prophets can come within the Holy Prophet’s ummah—in complete subservience and submission to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa—and they constitute an eternal and decisive proof of the truth that the Holy Prophet is a Living Prophet, the Holy Quran is a Living Book, and Islam is a Living Religion.
The Meaning of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen According to Arabic Lexicon
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at believes the Holy Prophetsa to be the Khaatamun Nabiyyeen in real and figurative sense of the word Khaatam, as supported by the Arabic lexicon. For instance:
The Last Prophet
On the basis of the verses of the Holy Quran and Ahadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa is clearly proved to be the Khaatamun Nabiyyeen in the sense that he was the last Prophet among all the law-bearing Prophets. His law (Shariah) is immutable and eternal. It will never be abrogated. This meaning of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen is invariably and without exception accepted by all the Muslim sects. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at also believes in it in this sense. Hadhrat Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the 3rd Supreme Head and Imam of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, stated in the context of the Status of Khatme Nubuwwat:
“Hadhrat Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, is unique in his Status of Muhammadiyyat: no one has that status except him. He is Khaatamun Nabiyyeen and in terms of spiritual excellences, he is the Last Prophet. He was the Last Prophet even at the time when Prophet Adam had not been granted physical existence—much less the status of Prophethood. In short, all Prophethoods are the derivatives of the Prophethood of Hadhrat Muhammadsa, because Allah, the Exalted, created the entire universe for the sake of his Prophethood and for the station of Muhammadiyyat. Therefore, just as the spiritual elevation of Hadhrat Ibrahim, on whom be peace, is not contrary to Khatme Nubuwwat—despite his reaching the seventh heaven—similarly, the spiritual elevation of Hadhrat Adam, on whom be peace, does not interfere with the station of Khatme Nubuwwat, in spite of his reaching the first heaven. The Holy Prophetsa, is on record having said that his spiritual sons viz. the inspired scholars who acquire knowledge of the Holy Quran from and through him and keep the Shariah contained in the Holy Quran alive and sparkling will continue to appear in every century; they too are like the Prophets who reached the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth heaven, respectively; and that one such person will be born who, after attaining all stages of extreme humility and love divine and the consequent attainment of the highest pinnacle of devotion and ardour, arrive at the seventh heaven, by the side of Hadhrat Ibrahimsa, and would, therefore, find seat at the feet of the lord and master: Hadhrat Muhammad, the chosen onesa. Just as Hadhrat Ibrahim’s spiritual elevation to the seventh heaven, does not run counter to Khatme Nubuwwat, similarly the spiritual elevation of this great spiritual son of the Holy Prophetsa to the seventh heaven, does not in any way interfere with the Holy Prophet’s exalted station of Muhammadiyyat. Furthermore, this scenario, the truth of Meraj (ascension) teaches us that nobody’s spiritual elevation, within the confines of the seven heavens, causes any intervention in Khatme Nubuwwat, because that supreme elevated station is far too high. Indeed we have been required to strive for the achievement of spiritual rank in accordance with our respective potentials. We have also been given the glad tiding that within the ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, a high-ranking son of his will be born who will attain to the height of the seventh heaven. But still, his rank lies at the feet of the Holy Prophetsa.” [Al-Fazl, 17 April, 1973]
The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at states in his book Izaalah Auhaam:
“Our lord and master, the Holy Prophetsa, is stationed at the highest level in the heavens above which there exists no higher attainable spiritual station.
Near the farthest lote-tree, in the company of the Most Exalted Companion.
and the invocations of peace and blessings on him, by the Ummah, are able to reach him all the time.
The Chief of Prophets
Prophethood is a spiritual excellence. A Prophet is a personage of high rank. Similarly, among personages of any excellence and high rank, the Khaatam is the only personage who achieves the final rank on the scale of that particular excellence.
Below we produce forty one such examples, in the societal context of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent and the Arabic-speaking countries, in support of the foregoing statement:
The aforementioned instances of the usage clearly establish that, according to the Arabs and other pertinent researcher-scholars, whenever a subject who is being praised is given the appellation of Khaatam-ush-Sho’araa, or Khaatam-ul-Foqahaa, or Khaatam-ul-Mohadditheen, or Khaatam-ul-Mufassireen, then it means ‘the best poet’, ‘the greatest faqeeh’, and ‘the most esteemed mohaddith or mufassir’, respectively.
According to this usage, the interpretation of (Khaatamun Nabiyyeen) would be as follows: every excellence of Prophethood and Messengerhip reached its end in the person of Hadhrat Muhammad, the chosen onesa; there has never been—nor can there ever be, in future—any Prophet who may be superior to him or even his equal. In other words, he is superior in rank to all the prophets (Afzal-ul-Anbiyaa’) and the leader of all the Messengers (Sayyed-ul-Mursaleen), and he personifies the combined attributes of all the Prophets. The scholars of Muslim ummah have always shown unanimity in subscribing to this interpretation of the expression Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at also accepts, from all possible angles, this particular interpretation of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen as well. The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at stated in this regard:
“My religious belief is that if the Holy Prophetsa were to be isolated, and all the Prophets who had ever appeared upto his time were to try to collectively accomplish the same task and bring about the same reformation as was wrought by the Holy Prophet himselfsa, they could never accomplish that. They did not have the drive and the force which Our Prophetsa was endowed with. If someone were to assert that (God forbid) this statement accounts to blaspheming the Prophets, then I would say that such an uninformed person will fabricate an untruth against me. I consider it a part of my faith to show respect and reverence towards the Prophets. But the excellence and superiority of the Holy Prophetsa over all the other prophets is the most integral part of my faith, and it is interwoven into every fibre of my being. It is not within my power to eradicate it.” [Al-Hakam, 17 January, 1901]
One Who Put an End to Prophets
If the interpretation of "one who put an end to Prophets" is adopted, then the issue that demands attention is: how did the Holy Prophetsa put an end to Prophets? The question of putting an end to their physical life and material existence did not arise, because all the other Prophets had already died physically—the only Prophet, i.e., Hadhrat Isa, on whom be peace, who was considered to be alive, is still regarded as alive, even after the Khaatamun Nabiyyeensa.
As regards “putting an end to Prophets” in the figurative sense, it is indeed correct that Hadhrat Khaatamun Nabiyyeensa has put an end to all Prophets in respect of the excellences of Prophethood: compared to all the other Prophets, he was higher in the level of perfection, more elevated and more eminent. His true grandeur is that, in him, not only the Prophethood but all possible spiritual excellences also reached the end limits. For instance, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at wrote in one of his couplets:
In his holy personage, every excellence reached its end. No doubt, every Prophet came to an end.
He further amplified in his book, Taudheeh-e-Maraam:
“Our leader and master, and leader of all, and the most superior of the Messengers, Hadhrat Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, Muhammad, the chosen onesa, has ... the most elevated status and superior rank which ended with his own personage of perfect attributes (zaate kaamil-us sifaat) such that it is not for anyone else to even gauge the nature of it, much less attain it.” [Roohaani Khazaa’in vol. 3, p. 62]
The Seal of the Prophets
In Arabic language, the word Khaatam is used for Seal. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at believes the Holy Prophetsa to be also the Seal of the Prophets.
In this context, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at wrote in his book Haqiqatul Wahi:
“Allah, the Exalted, made the Holy Prophetsa to be the Possessor of Seal, viz. He gave him the Seal, for the dissemination of (his) perfection, which was certainly not given to any other Prophet. It was for this reason that his name was determined to be Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, viz. following him imbues one with the excellences of Prophethood, and his spiritual attention is Prophet-carving. And this particular faculty of holiness was not granted to any other Prophet. This is meaning of the Hadith:
The (righteous) scholars of my ummah are like the Israelite Prophets.
Although numerous Prophets came to the Children of Israel, but their Prophethood was not the outcome of their obedience to Prophet Moses, on whom be peace. Rather such Prophethoods were endowments directly granted to the recipients from God. Following Prophet Moses, on whom be peace, did not have anything at all to do with those.” [Haqeeqatul Wahi, footnote, Roohaani Khazaa’in vol. 22, p. 100]
Furthermore, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at also made a forceful announcement to the effect that blessings emanating from this Seal of Muhammadsa, can be received only by coming under complete subservience to the Holy Prophetsa. In this context, he wrote in his book Haqiqatul Wahi (Roohaani Khazaa’in vol. 22, pp. 118-119):
“I always wonder how high was the status of this Arab Prophet, whose name was Muhamamd, thousands of blessings and peace be upon him. One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognized as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his life-time all that he desired. He is the fountain-head of every grace and a person who claims any superiority without acknowledging his grace, is not a man but is the progeny of Satan. He has been bestowed the key to every exaltation…”
Whatever the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at wrote on this particular aspect of the Khatme Nubuwwat of the Holy Prophetsa, has found support and confirmation among the contemporary scholars.
For instance, it is written in the [sic. Urdu] translation of the Holy Quran by the renowned scholars of the Deobandi school of thought viz. Maulana Mahmood-ul-Hasan and Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani:
“Just as all the degrees of light, in the material world, reach their ultimate end in the sun, similarly the whole range of ranks and excellences of Prophethood and Messengership reaches its end with the soul of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. In this regard, we can say that he was Khaatamun Nabiyyeen both in respect of rank as well as in respect of time scale. And whoever became the recipient of Prophethood did so in consequence of receiving the impress of the Holy Prophet’s Seal of Prophethood…”
Similarly, the caretaker of Daar-ul-Uloom Deoband, Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyeb, wrote:
“The grandeur of the Holy Prophet does not just exhibit itself in terms of his Prophethood, but equally so with respect to his capacity to generate Prophets (Nubuwwat Bakhshi) viz. whichever individual—imbued with the potential for Prophethood—came within the focus of the Holy Prophet, he crystallized into a Prophet.” [Aaftaab-e-Nubuwwat-e-Kaamil, p. 109. Published by Idaarah Usmaaniyyah, 32 - Anarkali, Lahore, Pakistan]
The upshot of the foregoing discussion is that whether one looks at it from the angle of the Holy Quran and Ahadith, or the Arabic lexicons, this fact stands out in bold relief that, in the entire contemporary Muslim world, it is the unique privilege and distinction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at that it alone believes the Holy Prophetsa to be the Khaatamun Nabiyyeen in every respect, and has firm faith in this sacred tenet on the basis of deeply acquired perception.
The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at has expressed himself poetically as follows:
As for us, we certainly have the faith of Muslims
[Izaalah Auhaam, Roohaani Khazaa’in vol. 3, p. 514]
Exegesis of the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeenin the Ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa
1. The Holy Prophetsa placed a strongly effective key in the hands of his ummah, after receiving the revelation of the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, which is of great help in understanding its meaning. Recall that the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen was revealed in the year 5 Hijra and the Holy Prophet’s son, Ibrahim, was born in the year 9 Hijra and died the same year. The Holy Prophet’s remark on his death was:
Had he lived, he certainly would have become a true Prophet. [Ibne Maajah, Kitaab-ul-Jana’iz]
This statement by the Holy Prophetsa was made long after the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen had been revealed and it provides a very clear exposition of, and commentary on, the expression Khaatamun Nabiyyeen. The intent of the Holy Prophet’s statement is that the title Khaatamun Nabiyyeen is not an impediment to anyone becoming a true Prophet, or (my) Faithful-Prophet (Siddeeq Nabi), or (my) Follower-Prophet (Ummati Nabi). If the Holy Prophetsa had understood the meaning of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen to be that there cannot appear any kind of Prophet after him, then he would have said on this occasion: Even if my son Ibrahim had remained alive, he still could not have become a Prophet, because I am Khaatamun Nabiyyeen. But the Holy Prophetsa, quite the contrary, conveyed the following: Although I am Khaatamun Nabiyyeen, but had my son remained alive he would certainly have become a Prophet. In other words, what stood in the way of Ibrahim’s becoming a Prophet was his death—not the existence of the verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen. An analogy would be that if a promising student died and, on his death, it is remarked, "Had he lived, he certainly would have passed M.A." This statement can be made only if it is possible for a human being to obtain the degree of M.A. But if the M.A. degree has as such been irrevocably rescinded, and it is no longer possible for anyone to obtain the M.A. degree, then on the death of a promising student it cannot be remarked: Had he lived, he would surely have become a recipient of M.A. degree.
The Imams of the Compilation of Ahadith are agreed on the authenticity of this saying of the Holy Prophetsa:
Had he (Ibrahim) lived, he certainly would have become a true Prophet.
Imam Shahaab wrote:
viz. As for the authenticity of this Hadith, there is no doubt in it, because it has been included by Ibn Maajah and others, for instance it is mentioned by Ibn Hajr. [Al-Shahaab Ali Al-Baidhaavi, vol.7, p.175]
The renowned Imam of the Ahle Sunnah wal Jama’ah denomination—who was of the Hanafi school of Jurisprudence—Mulla Ali al-Qari, God’s mercy be on him, determined this Hadith to be robust and tripartite in its sources of tradition. He wrote:
viz. Had Ibrahim lived and became a Prophet, and similarly if Hadhrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) had become a Prophet, they both would certainly have been the obedient followers (or ummati) of the Holy Prophetsa, just like Hadhrat Isa, Hadhrat Khizr, and Hadhrat Ilyas, on all of whom may be peace. This scenario does not contradict the Verse of Khaatamun Nabiyyeen because this phrase only means that now, after the Holy Prophetsa, there can be no such Prophet who may abrogate the Holy Prophet’s Law (Shariah) and who is not one of the Holy Prophet’s ummati (obedient follower). [Mauzu’at-e-Kabeer, p. 69]
2. In a Hadith recorded by Muslim, the Promised Messiah, who was to appear, has been given the appellation "Nabi Ullah" (Prophet of Allah) four times! [Saheeh Muslim, vol. 2, Chapter: Zikr-ud-Dajjaal]
3. A well-known Hadith of the Holy Prophetsa is as follows:
viz. (Hadhrat) Abu Bakr is the most superior in this ummah unless a Prophet is born (in this ummah). [Kunooz-ul-Haqaa’iq]
4. Hadhrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, is reported to have said:
viz. (O, people!) you may say that he (i.e., the Holy Prophet) was Khaatamul Anbiyaa’, but do not say that there will be no Prophet after him. [Takmalah Majma-ul-Behaar, p. 83]
Coupled with this, consider the aforementioned Hadith contained in Ibn-e-Maajah according to which the Holy Prophetsa said: Had my son Ibrahim lived, he would certainly have become a Prophet.
These Ahadith clearly establish that, within this ummah, the door to a particular kind of Prophethood is open: the door of becoming the recipient of Prophethood through completely losing one’s own identity in (the loving obedience to) the Holy Prophetsa.
No doubt, there are other Ahadith, in contrast to the kind mentioned above, which apparently indicate that the door to prophethood is closed. In our view all Ahadith can, in principle, be reconciled with each other if the Ahadith declaring Prophethood to be closed are taken to refer to a Prophethood which brings a New Law, or Prophethood which is independent in its own right. And the Ahadith which admit the possibility of potential Prophethood are taken to refer to the Non-Law-bearing Prophethood, or Ummati (or Follower-) Prophethood. In this way all the Ahadith become completely congruent with each other and, in this respect, all the Ahadith become congruent with the meaning of the verses of the Holy Quran. For further details along these lines, please refer to the booklet "Al-Qaul-ul-Mubeen fi Tafseer-e-Khaatamun Nabiyyeen".
So, if all the Ahadith are viewed collectively, in total perspective, then it becomes plainly obvious that after the Holy Prophetsa, the advent of New Law-bearing Prophets, or Prophets in their own right, is closed. However, there does exist the possibility of such a Prophet who would be an Ummati Prophet and an obedient follower of the Shariah of the Holy Prophetsa. It is indeed on the same basis that all the sects of Islam unanimously believe the Promised Messiah, who was to appear, to be the Follower-Prophet in his relation to the Holy Prophetsa, and affirm that he will be the Holy Prophet’s Ummati Prophet. And this, precisely is also the belief of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at.
Earlier Saints and Exegesis of Khatme Nubuwwat
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at goes further in this regard and declares that it fully endorses, in principle, all such exegeses of the tenet of Khatme Nubuwwat which clearly bring out and augment the aforementioned eminence and unique grandeur of the Holy Prophetsa, as enunciated by the Muslim saints during the last thirteen centuries. (Please refer to the booklet Khaatam-ul-Anbiyaa).