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[al-Taḥawiyyah Pt 28] The Seal of the Prophets

 

وَأَنَّهُخَاتَمُالْأَنْبِيَاءِوَإِمَامُالْأَتْقِيَاءِوَسَيِّدُالْمُرْسَلِينَوَحَبِيبُرَبِّالْعَالَمِينَ

And he is the seal of the prophets. He is the Leader (imam) of the Pious. He is Chief of the Messengers. He is very dear to the Lord of the Worlds.

As mentioned in the preceding point, the belief that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the seal of the Messengers is part of the fundamental belief in his prophethood. If anyone accepts the entire message of the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) but does not believe that he was the final messenger, that person has not yet entered Islām. Moreover, if one held the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) as being the final messenger and then adopted the belief that there was a Prophet that came after him, he would be considered an apostate by the text of the Qur’ān and all Muslims. Disbelieving that he (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the last and final prophet is tantamount to rejecting Islām in totality.

The Qur’ān has made it clear that: ‘…he is the Messenger of Allāh and the seal of the prophets’.12 The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) himself said: ‘I have many names. I am The Praised One (Muḥammad). And I am the Most Deserving of Praise (Amad). And I am the Destroyer (al-Māhī) as through me, Allāh will destroy infidelity. And I am the Gatherer (al-Hāshir) as following me people will be raised from the graves and gathered together. And I am the Last (al-‘Āqib) as there will be no prophet after me’. It has also been authentically reported that he said: ‘He (Allāh) has sealed the series of prophets with me’.3 The demise of the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) meant that revelation had now ceased, as this is the essence of being a Prophet.

Though the Qur’ān and Sunnah make it patently clear that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the last and final messenger, some people will still claim to be prophets. The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) informed us of this evil when he said: ‘Among my nation will arise thirty great liars. Each of them will claim that he is a prophet. However, I am the seal of the prophets and there will be no prophet after me’.4 These figures either claimed prophethood outright, or claimed that they received revelation from God or His angels.

One such group exists in the twenty-first century known as the Qādianiyyah; a movement that began as far back as 1900 C.E.; named after their founding father and so called prophet Mirza Ghulam Amad al-Qādiāni. Its emergence was facilitated by the British colonialists in the Indian subcontinent, with the aim of diverting Muslims away from their religion and from the obligation of jihād in particular; this was of course to weaken any opposition to colonialism under the guise of Islām.

They openly claim that prophethood did not end with Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam), rather it is ongoing, that Allāh sends a messenger when there is a need, and that Ghulam Amad is the best of all the Prophets. They claimed that Jibrīl would come down to Ghulam Ahmad and that he used to bring revelation to him, and that his inspirations are like the Qur’ān! The World Fiqh Council have issued a decree that all those adhering to this doctrine are apostates, beyond the pale of Islām.

The decree reads:

The claims of Mirza Ghulam Amad to be a prophet or a messenger and to receive revelation are clearly a rejection of proven and essential elements of Islām, which unequivocally states that prophethood ended with Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) and that no revelation will come to anyone after him. This claim made by Mirza Ghulam Amad makes him and anyone who agrees with him an apostate who is beyond the pale of Islām. As for the Lahoriyyah, they are like the Qādianiyyah: the same ruling of apostasy applies to them despite the fact that they described Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a shadow and manifestation of our Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).5

IMĀM AL-ATQIYĀ

The author’s statement: ‘He is the Leader (imam) of the Pious’, refers to the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) being a leader (imām) whose example is to be followed. The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) was not sent to mankind to be merely admired, to relate speech that would be marveled at, or to exhibit great feats of achievement and leadership. He (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) was sent with universal teachings that ought to be followed in every sphere of one’s life. Allāh ordered the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam): ‘Say- If you truly love Allāh, then follow me and Allāh will love you’.6 Whoever follows him and obeys him is one of the pious and is true to his claim of loving the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam).

This statement of al-Ṭahāwi may serve as a refutation of certain extreme ufis who claim that those closest to Allāh, such as their saints, can leave off much of religious practices that the laity must enjoin. They cite the case of Khidr in the Quranic chapter of al-Kahf who was pious yet did not follow the Shari’ah of Mūsā (‘alayhis salām). The reality is that one cannot be considered as pious and god-fearing unless he follows the way of the Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam). The closer he is to his teachings, the more pious he is. The further he is from his teachings, the more impious he is. Allāh said: ‘You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allāh, for all who put their hope in Allāh and the Last Day and remember Allāh much’; if anyone wishes for happiness in the hereafter, he ought to adhere closely to the teachings of the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam).

SAYYID AL-MURSALĪN

All the Prophets of Allāh are great, and are superior over the rest of mankind. The greatest of all the Prophets is Muḥammad b. ‘Abdullah (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam), both in this life and the life to come.

The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) said: ‘I will be leading the children of Adam on the Day of Resurrection. I will be the first to rise from the grave. I will be the first to intercede and the first whose request will be granted’. He (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) also said: ‘I will be the leader of all mankind on the Day of Judgment’.

The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) stated that he is the leader of all of the Children of Adam (‘alayhis salām) because he had to make such a statement, for we could not possibly know his position except through him. Since no prophets would come after him, he had to inform us of his exalted position in Allāh’s sight. In the same way, he told us about the virtues of the prophets before him (‘alayhimus salām). That is why he followed up his statement by saying: ‘and this is not boasting’.

ABĪB RABB AL-‘ĀLAMĪN

The author said that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is: ‘Beloved to the Lord of the Worlds’. This is confirmed by the fact that he enjoyed the highest degree of Allāh’s love, known as “khullah”, translated as intimacy. Love is used in many senses and is of varying levels. The word “khullah” denotes love of the highest and purest level. This is the type of love Allāh has for the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam). There are only two people from all mankind who are loved by Allāh in this way, namely Ibrāhīm (‘alayhis salām) and Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam).

The Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) once said: ‘Allāh took me as His most intimate friend (khalīl) as He had taken Ibrāhīm as His most intimate friend.’ On another occasion he said: ‘If I were to take an inhabitant of the earth as my most intimate friend, I would choose Abū Bakr. However Allāh, the Most Gracious, has taken your companion (i.e. the Prophet) as His most intimate friend’. Both of these prophetic narrations are found in the collection of Muslim.

People went to two extremes in explaining the khullah that Allāh has for Ibrāhīm (‘alayhis salām)

and Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam). The Mu’tazilites negated the very basic meaning of the word love and all its varying levels, like khullah. Others went to the opposite extreme and affirmed love in an exaggerated sense, such as infatuation, enslavement and the like. Ahl al-Sunnah are always positioned in the middle, between two evil extremes. They clarified that the Love of Allāh for His servants is true, pure, and befits His Majesty.

Points of Benefit

  1. The verse: ‘Rather he is the Messenger of Allāh and the seal (khātam) of the prophets’, can also be read as khātim al-Nabiyyīn, which means Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the one who sealed prophethood and brought it to an end; which in turn implies the cessation of Messengers, as Messengers are of a greater rank than Prophets. As for the reading of khātam al-Nabiyyīn, it means that Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the last of the Prophets. Together they enrich the meaning of the verse: Muḥammad was not simply the last Prophet, but his coming signified the end and cessation of prophethood to mankind. It also points to the fact that the ending of prophethood occurred with one last Prophet and not more than that.

  2. The coming of ‘Isā (‘alayhis salām) towards the end of time does not contradict the notion that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the seal of all Prophets. The Prophethood of ‘Isā (‘alayhis salām) began before that of Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam), he was raised up and then will descend when Allāh decrees. When he does, he will follow the Shari’ah of Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) and rule by that; signifying that he is no longer receiving revelation and instead following the revelation that came with Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam), the last and final Messenger.

  3. We believe in all the Prophets that Allāh has sent, whether we know of them or not. Indeed all the Prophets are great, but Muḥammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) is the greatest of them all.

Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad’s explanation of al-’Aqeedah al-Ṭaḥāwiyyah, edited by Asim Khan, will soon be published as a hardback book. Islam21c have exclusive rights to share extracts from the book for its readers, and will be posting certain sections of the book on a weekly basis. The book: al-’Aqeedah al-Ṭaḥāwiyyah, is a short text outlining the ‘aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah in short statements. Each extract posted is a complete explanation of any one of those statements.

1Q. Al-Ahzāb, 33: 40.

2Also read as Khātim al-Nabiyyīn, which means Muammad is the one who sealed Prophethood and brought it to an end; which in turn implies the cessation of Messengers, as Messengers are of a great rank than Prophets. As for the reading of Khātam al-Nabiyyīn, it means that Muammad is the last of the Prophets. Together they enrich the meaning of the verse: Muammad was not simply the last Prophet, but his coming signified the end and cessation of Prophethood to mankind. It also points to the fact that the ending of Prophethood occurred with one last Prophet and not more than that.

3H. Muslim

4H. Muslim

5 Majma’ Fiqh al-Islāmi p. 13

6Q. Āl-‘Imrān, 3: 31.

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad and Asim Khan

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