Islamic Belief of Finality of Prophethood
by : Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianvi
The holy Quran and the holy Prophet's Ahadith (teachings) eloquently prove that prophethood (nabuwwat and risalat) came to an end with our Prophet Muhammad(SAW). There are decisive verses to that effect. Being the last Prophet in the chain of prophethood, no one ever shall now succeed him to that status of dignity.
"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." (Holy Quran, 33:40)
Interpreters of the Holy Quran
All the interpreters of the Holy Quran agree on the meaning of Khatam-un-Nabieen that our Prophet(SAW) was the last of all prophets and none shall be exalted to the lofty position of prophethood after him. Here are a few examples:
Imam Hafiz Ibn-e-Katheer:
"This verse is conclusive of the precept that our Prophet(SAW) is the last and that there shall be no Nabi (Prophet) after him. When there shall be no Nabi to follow him, the ordainment of a Rasool (Messenger) can not arise by logic of anteriority because the status of a Rasool is more exclusive then that of a Nabi. Every Nabi is not a Rasool, but every Rasool is a Nabi. There exists a continuous and unbroken chain of citations of Ahadith from a large number of venerable Sahabah or Companions of the Prophet(Allah be pleased with them), that there shall be no Nabi or Rasool after Muhammad(SAW)". (Tafseer Ibn-e-Khateer, Vol. 3, P. 453)
"No doubt the Ummah (all Muslims) has unanimously understood from this word (Khatam-un-Nabieen) and its cir*****stantial reference to mean non-existence of a Nabi or Rasool ever after Muhammad(SAW) and that (this word calls for) no reservation or tacit interpretation in it; hence its dissident is certainly the one who rejects the Ummah's unanimity". (Al Iqtisad fil Etiqad, P. 123)
Finality of Prophethood and Ahadith
The Prophet(SAW) unequivocally declared that he was the final Prophet. There are a large number of Ahadith to sustain this article of Islamic faith. Not only that but the Prophet(SAW) was also pleased to bring forth such expositions of this word (Khatam-un-Nabieen) that all doubts relating to his finality in prophethood stand void and misinterpretations exposed. Many people having theological distinctions to their credit have stressed upon the unbroken and consecutive nature of those Ahadith which concern finality of prophethood. Opinions of some of them are quoted below:
Hafiz Ibn-e-Hazam says on page 77 of his Kitab-ul-Fasl:
"All those personages who have dwelt upon the subject of Muhammad'(SAW) prophethood, his miracles and expounded the holy Quran, have stated that he(SAW) had informed that there would be no prophet after him".
Hafiz Ibne-Khateer writes under the caption, "finality of prophethood":
"And on this (Finality of Prophethood) there have come from Allah's Messenger(SAW) "mutawatir" (absolutely certain and numerous) Ahadith which have by an unbroken chain of his companions (Allah be pleased with them)".
Allama Syed Mahmood Aloosi writes in Tafseer Roohul-Mani:
"That he (Muhammad(SAW)) was the final prophet, is ordained by the Quran, acknowledged by the Sunnah and agreed upon by the Ummah; hence a claimant to the contrary will be (determined as) Kaffir (unbeliever) and put to death if he is persistent".
To conclude therefore finality of prophethood is an article of faith by the Qurans text and Mutawatir Ahadith. Some are reproduced below:
The Last Brick
The Prophet of God(SAW) 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 marveled 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). This Hadith has also been related in Muslim, Tirmizi, and Musnad of Ahmad.
Line of Prophethood Terminated
The Holy Prophet(SAW) observed:
"God has bestowed upon me six favors which the former Prophets did not enjoy: (1) I have been endowed with the gift of pithy and perfect speech. (2) I was granted victory owing to my awe. (3) The spoils of war were made lawful unto me. (4) 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. (5) I have been sent by Allah to carry His Divine message to the whole world. (6) And the line of prophets has come to its final end in me." (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
Address to Hazrat Ali
The Holy Prophet(SAW) 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)
Difference With Tribe of Israel
The Holy Prophet(SAW) 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).
Thirty Liars in the Ummah
It is related by Hazrat Thauban(RA) that our Prophet(SAW) said:
"In my Ummah there shall be born thirty liars (dajjals) each of them will claim that he is a prophet but I am the last of the Prophets; there shall be no prophet after me". (Abu Dawood and Tirmizi)
No Prophet or Messenger After Me
The Prophet of Allah(SAW) 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)
Last Prophet: Last Ummah
Abu Hurairah(RA) said, I heard the Prophet(SAW) saying:
"We are the last (ummah) but will precede all on the Day of Resurrection except that the Book was given to them before us". (Bukhari and Muslim)
If There Were To Be A Prophet It Would Have Been Umar(RA)
The Holy Prophet(SAW) said:
"If an Apostle were to succeed me, it would have been 'Umar bin Khattab." (Tirmidhi,Kitab-ul- Manaqib)
I Am Hashir, I am Aaqib, I am Muqaffi
The Holy Prophet(SAW) 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.)
It stands proved in the above written lines that (1) the Holy Quran, (2) unbroken chain of "Mutawatir" Ahadith, and (3) Consensus of the Muslim Ummah vouch that the holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW) was the terminator of the entire chain of venerable prophets with no exception (peace be upon them). Therefore no person after him(SAW) can be called a prophet in any meaning or sense and nobody can fix for himself a prophetic stance by his guile or guise. Consequently, he who does so or tries to do so or if anybody believes in the prophethood of that claimant, then such a person is a cast off from the fold of Islam.
And this finality of the holy Prophet(SAW) is a status which is most dignified, an honor most distinguished and an esteem most high. It is therefore a grave insult to the holy Prophet(SAW), if somebody is so insolent as to lay a claim to the line of prophethood.
Moreover, even if one stretches ones human imagination to the farthest end and presumes there is some prophet who has come in the world, he should seek for a proof to substantiate his hypothesis, i.e. whether or not this new-comer-of-the prophet has been indoctrinated with some fresh disciplines. If it is said that no new learnings were given to the new prophet; rather the same learnings were again revealed to him as had already been revealed to the holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW) that would be an inexplicable repetition. With the existing Prophetic learnings and the indiminishing Quranic reservoir of knowledge, such repetition by the "new prophet" should turn into a divine exercise in futility, whereas Allah the exalted is absolutely above anything futile. And if the plea is that this later claimant to prophethood was specifically bestowed with such learnings as were not conferred upon the holy Prophet(SAW) then this is (Allah forbid) tantamount to (1) belittling doctrinal learnings sent by Allah through Muhammad(SAW), (2) insinuating that the Quran lacks completeness and (3) hinting at the imperfection of the Islamic faith, thereby disbelieving in the Quranic verse (Holy Quran, 5:3), "This day I have perfected your Religion". Such thoughts and actions heap worst indignity upon the holy Prophet(SAW), the Quran and the religion of Islam.
Moreover, if just for the sake of argument, it is supposed that there is a prophet after our holy Prophet(SAW), then as a natural corollary it will become in*****bent upon all to express allegiance to him and believe in whatever he says or does; and conversely disbelief in him will be deemed infidelity and Kufr! Otherwise, what else could prophethood signify? Such supposition in effect amounts to insulting the holy Prophet(SAW) and finding fault with him to the extent that one who believes in him and his entire religion is deemed an unbeliever (Kaffir) deserving hell for ever. It would mean that even belief in the holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW) would (Allah forbid) not be adequate to protect him from disbelief (Kufr) and the Hell.
May Allah the exalted grant all the Muslims his graciousness to remain attached to the cloak of the holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW).
by Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianvi