The Finality of Messengership with Prophethood
Dr. Mohammed Alam Qurayshi
The Holy Quran clearly declares:
"Mohammed (pbuh) is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the seal (last) of the Prophets. And God is Aware of everything."
(Ref: The Chapter of Ahzab, verse 40)
The above verse unequivocally announces the end of divine prophethood and messengership.
However, the Bahais misinterpret the above verse to suggest that Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was the last of the Prophets, but the line of Messengers would continue.
Firstly, let me point out that this another Bahai misinterpretation of Quran. All Muslims scholars irrespective of their sect, unanimously agree that every Apostle (Rasul) is necessarily a Prophet (Nabi), while every Prophet need not be a Messenger.
Pay attention to the citation from Tafseer-e-Jalaluddin, commentary of Surah Hajj: Verse No 52; Kashshaf Vol 12, p 165, Baizavi Vol 14, p 57,
The Holy Quran has used the words 'Prophet' and 'Messenger' with different meanings, but this does not affect the meaning of 'the last Prophet (khatamun Nabiyyeen).' A Prophet is the one to whom God sends revelation, based on which he is informed about the unseen world, notwithstanding whether he is responsible for conveying it or not. Also, he may follow an existing Book or Shariat or be a bearer of another Shariat.
However, a Messenger is the one who in addition to possessing news from revelation is the possessor of at least one of the 3 below-mentioned characteristics:
He is responsible for conveying to the people the news that has been revealed to him.
He holds an independent Shariat and is not a follower of the Shariat of another Apostle.
He is sent with a divine Book
On the basis of this it can be said that an Apostle possesses some characteristics which are not necessarily required for a Prophet. Thus, on the basis of logic whoever is an Messenger has to be a Prophet, whereas a Prophet need not be an Apostle. Just like, all men are human beings, but all human beings are not men. All Messengers are Prophets but all Prophets are not messengers. This idea is supported by traditions as well.
Janabe Abu Zar inquired from the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), 'How many Prophets were sent?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied, '1,24,000.' Abu Zar asked, 'Of them how many were Messengers?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied, 313.'
Proofs to this effect are many. To conclude let me present those traditions from the Prophet (pbuh) himself wherein he declares that he is the last Apostle sent by Allah.
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."
(Ref: Tirmidhi, Kitab-ur-Rouya Babu Zahab-un- Nubuwwa, Musnad Ahmad, Marwiyat-Anas bin Malik)
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) prophesized: And there will arise thirty imposters in my community 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."
(Ref: Abu Dawud, Kitab-ul-Fitan)
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was aware that people would use baseless arguments to fraudulently claim Messengership and therefore, he made this information common amongst the people.
Abu Dawud in 'Kitab-ul-Malahim' has recorded another tradition reported by Abu Huraira on the same subject. Tirmidhi has also recorded these two traditions as reported by Hazrat Thauban and Hazrat 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 above tradition indicates that after the Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh), we will have individuals who will claim to be an Apostle, but in reality he will not be sent by Allah. Having said that, we are grateful to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who warned us of their falseness of these so called "prophets" and "messengers"so that we would not fall victim to their deceit.
Dr. Mohammed Alam Qurayshi