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Khaatamun Nabiyyeen - The Islamic Interpretation

Allah ta'ala completed the chain of prophethood by sending the noble Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He is the last and final prophet and no prophet has been or will be born after him.

By Shaykh Saleem Dhorat

- Finality Of Prophethood
- Finality Of Prophethood In The Qur'an
- The Islamic Interpretation
- The Qadiani Interpretation
- Methodology For The Interpretation Of The Glorious Qur'an
- Commentary In The Glorious Qur'an
- Commentary Through Ahadeeth
- Commentary By The Sahabah
- Commentary In The Books Of Tafseer
- Commentary According To The Arabic Language
- Finality Of Prophethood And Muslim Scholars
- Conclusion

Finality Of Prophethood

Allah Ta’ala completed the chain of prophethood by sending the noble Prophet Muhammad . He is the last and final prophet and no prophet has been or will be born after him. The religion of Islam has been completed. There is no need for another messenger from Allah Ta’ala. The noble Prophet said in his sermon of Hajjatul Wida (the Farewell Hajj):

"O people, listen to my words, for I do not see myself and you meeting again in this place and I will not be performing Hajj after this year. O people, Allah says: 'O people, We created you from one male and one female and made you into tribes and nations, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.' There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for the black over the white except through Taqwa [righteousness]."

The Blessed Prophet went on to say, "O people, there is no prophet after me and no new Ummah (will be formed) after you."

Then he said, "Behold, worship your Lord; offer prayers five times a day; observe fast in the month of Ramadhan; pay Zakat of your wealth happily; and perform pilgrimage to the House of your Lord and obey your rulers and you will enter Paradise of your Lord. Let him that is present convey it to the one who is absent. For, many people to whom the message is conveyed may be more mindful of it than the audience."

Then the Prophet asked, "And you will be asked about me (in the Hereafter), what will you say?"

The Sahabah (his companions) replied, "We bear witness that you have conveyed the trust (of religion) and accomplished die mission (of apostleship) and looked after our welfare."

Thereupon, Allah's Messenger lifted his forefinger towards the sky and then pointing towards the people, he said, "O Allah! Bear witness unto it. O Allah! Bear witness unto it."

At that very moment, Allah Ta’ala revealed the following Qur'anic verse in the field of Arafat:

"This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Glorious Qur'an 5:4)


Both, the Prophet's last sermon and this verse of the Glorious Qur'an, clearly inform us that the door of prophethood is closed and the Religion of Allah Ta’ala - Islam - has been completed. There is no need for any addition to or subtraction from this sacred religion and it will reign until the Day of Judgement. The noble Prophet Muhammad brought to its end the chain of prophethood and revelation was finalised. No one can either be a prophet after him, or receive any kind of revelation or inspiration that could be considered to be a source of law in Islam. The Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) is a fundamental doctrine of Islam. The whole Muslim Ummah, from the time of the noble Prophet to this day, has held this belief as an integral part of Faith (Iman). And, according to the Law of Islam, a person who thinks or believes that the chain of prophethood has not ended with the noble Prophet and the door of prophethood has not been closed, is not a Muslim.

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Finality Of Prophethood In The Qur'an

Scores of Qur'anic verses, and hundreds of Ahadeeth of the noble Prophet Muhammad can be cited in support of this belief, i.e. the Finality of Prophethood. To reproduce here all the Qur'anic verses and the Ahadeeth supporting this belief would not be practical. However, a verse from the Glorious Qur'an is quoted here which clarifies this belief of the Muslims. Thereafter, quoting the interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen given by the Muslims and the interpretation given by the Qadianis, I will bring forth evidence to prove that the commentary and the interpretation presented by the Muslims is supported by the Qur'an and the Ahadeeth, and other sources of interpretation of the Qur'an.

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the seal of the prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things." (Glorious Qur'an 33:40)


In this verse the following points should be noted:
  1. Prophet Muhammad has been described as the 'seal of the prophets' or the 'last of the prophets', and not the holder or the possessor of the seal. The holder of the seal in the sense of "prophet-maker" is non else but Almighty Allah.

  2. The noble Prophet is described as the 'seal of the prophets', i.e. all categories of prophets.

  3. A seal is affixed at the end of a message, decree or enlistment so that there can be no further addition to it.

This verse from the Glorious Qur'an is the most clear evidence for the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). The well known Mufassir, Allamah Hafiz Ibne Katheer writes in his book: "This verse is a clear evidence for this belief that there is no prophet after the noble Prophet Muhammad ." (Tafseer Ibne Katheer, Volume 3 pp 501)

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The Islamic Interpretation

The Muslims present the meaning of this verse in exactly the same way as it was understood by those people (i.e. the Sahabah , Tabi’een, Muhadditheen and the learned scholars of Islam) who have transmitted this verse to us along with the entire Qur'an. The term Khatamun Nabiyyeen means 'the final prophet', 'the seal of the prophets' and 'the last prophet'. This verse declares that with Muhammad , prophethood has come to an end; and no prophet of any category will be born after him.

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The Qadiani Interpretation

The Qadianis, in order to establish the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, define the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen as follows:
  1. Khatamun Nabiyyeen means 'the best' or 'the superior' of the prophets.

  2. The word Khatam in die above quoted verse means 'a seal' in the sense that die noble Prophet . sets a seal on people and those with his seal become prophets.

  3. The word Khatam means 'decoration'. Thus, the noble Prophet is like an adornment for the whole congregation of the prophets.

  4. The word Nabiyyeen (prophets) means 'the law-giving prophets'. Thus, the noble Prophet was the last of the law­giving prophets.
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Methodology For The Interpretation Of The Glorious Qur'an

Before I bring forth evidence to support the meaning which the Muslims have taken of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen, let me quote a passage (concerning the commentary of Qur'an) from the book of the great Mufassir, Allamah Suyootee . He writes in his book, Al-Itqan: The scholars of Islam have said, "Whoever wishes to see the commentary and the interpretation of the Qur'an, should firstly look in the Qur'an itself. Because, if it is brief in one place, it will be full of details in the next. If he is unable to find it in the Glorious Qur'an, he should turn towards the Ahadeeth of the noble Prophet , because it explains and clarifies the Qur'an. Imam Shafi'ee has said, 'Every judgement given by the noble Prophet is based on what he has understood from the Glorious Qur'an.' If he is unable to find it in the Ahadeeth, he should refer to the sayings of the Sahabah , because they were present when die Qur'an was being revealed, and they have learnt (and understood) the Qur'an directly from the noble Prophet himself, to whom it was revealed." (Al-Itqan, vol 2 pp 175)

"After these three sources (i.e. the Glorious Qur'an, the Ahadeeth and the sayings of the Sahabah one must refer to those books of Tafseer which contain the opinions of the Sahabah and Tabi’een, e.g. Tafseer of Ibne Jareer, Ibne Abi Hateem, Ibne Majah, Hakim, Ibne Hibban, etc." (Al-Itqan, vol 2 pp 190)

"If one still cannot find the Tafseer (and this is very rare), then he should refer to the Arabic language, because the Qur'an was revealed in this language." (Al-Itqan, vol 1 pp 121)

Shaykhul Islam, Allamah Ibne Taymiyyah has also stressed the same point in his book, Muqaddamah Fi Usool at-Tafseer, (Pages 93-105).

Let us now follow the aforementioned sequence of interpreting the Qur'an and see which interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen is correct - the Islamic interpretation or the Qadiani interpretation.

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Commentary In The Glorious Qur'an

There are more than a hundred verses in the Glorious Qur'an in support of the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). Since this article is short and concise, I will quote just three.

  1. "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Glorious Qur'an 5:4)

    It is evident from this verse that Allah Ta’ala has completed the religion of Islam for this Ummah, therefore, there is no need for a new prophet after the noble Prophet Muhammad .


  2. "Say: O people! I am sent unto you all, as the Apostle of Allah..." (Glorious Qur'an 7:158)

    The word "all" in this verse clarifies that the noble Prophet has been sent for the entire humanity until the Day of Judgement. Thus, this is a clear announcement of the Finality of Prophethood.


  3. "We have not sent you hut as a bringer of good tidings and a warner to all mankind, but most people know not." (Glorious Qur'an 34:28)

In this verse the noble Prophet has been described as a bringer of good news and a warner to "all mankind". Therefore, there is no need for another prophet after him.

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Commentary Through Ahadeeth

The belief of the Finality of Prophethood has also been stressed in many Ahadeeth which reach the sublime degree of Tawatur. Some of these Ahadeeth are quoted here:
  1. Prophet Muhammad said, "My likeness and the likeness of the prophets before me is the likeness of a person who built a house and made it complete and beautiful, except the place of a brick in a corner. So people began to go around it and wonder at it and say, 'Why has not this brick been placed?' I am the brick and I am the last of the prophets." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, vol 2 pp 501; Saheeh Muslim, vol 2 pp 248)

  2. Prophet Muhammad said to Ali , "You stand to me in the same relation as Haroon stood to Moosa, except that there is no prophet after me." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, vol 2 pp 633; Saheeh Muslim, vol.2 pp 278)

  3. The Prophet said, "Verily, the apostleship and prophethood has finished. So there is no apostle and no prophet after me." (Tirmizi, vol 2 pp 53)

  4. Prophet Muhammad said, "I am the last of the prophets and you are the last of the Ummahs (nations)." (Ibne Majah pp 307)

  5. The Prophet said, "Verily, thirty liars will be born in my Ummah; every one of than will claim to be a prophet, though I am the last of the prophets, and there will be no prophet after me." (Muslim)

There are more than 200 authentic Ahadeeth which support the belief of Khatme Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood). Hence, this doctrine is decidedly and unanimously acknowledged as an article of faith in Islam. At the same time, special attention should be paid to the last Hadeeth mentioned above wherein the noble Prophet , besides confirming this belief, clearly predicted that claimants to prophethood will be born in his Ummah after him. He has, therefore, warned the Muslims to beware of such impostors and always keep in mind that he is the last of the prophets, which obviously means that, there will be no prophet of any kind born after him.

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Commentary By The Sahabah

A fact which no one can deny is that the Prophet's Companions, the Sahabah understood the meaning and interpretation of the Glorious Qur'an better than anyone else apart from the noble Prophet himself. Therefore, it is worth our while to look at their interpretation of the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen in the verse under discussion.
  1. Qatadah says, "[The verse] 'But he is the Apostle of Allah, and the seal of the prophets', [means he is] the last of them." (Ibn-e-Jareer, vol 22 pp 11)

  2. Abdullah Ibne Mas'ood recited the verse, "But he is a prophet who has terminated the chain of prophets." (Al Qurtubi, vol 14 pp 197)

  3. Hasan says regarding the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen in the Glorious Qur'an, "Allah Ta’ala has terminated the chain of prophets by (sending) Prophet Muhammad and he is the last to be sent." (Durre Manthoor, vol 5 pp 204)

These three examples will suffice. In this article, Khatme Nubuwwat, Mufti Muhammad Shafee has quoted the names of 80 Sahabah who have given the same interpretation to the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen. From them are great companions like Aboo Bakr, 'Umar, Ali, Ibne Abbas, Ibne 'Umar, Aboo Hurayrah, Ubay, A'isha .

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Commentary In The Books Of Tafseer

This belief is supported by innumerable views of high-ranking and God-fearing scholars in the study of the Qur'an, many of whom are accepted by the Qadianis too. To note here all the relevant quotations would take us too far afield. However, the references of some of the Tafseers are cited for those who wish to seek more knowledge and information.
  1. Tafseer of Allamah Ibne Jareer (vol 22 pp 11);

  2. Tafseer of Allamah Ibne Katheer (vol 8 pp 89);

  3. Sharh-e-Mawahib of Allamah Zurqani (vol 5 pp267); Roohul Ma'ani of Allamah Aloosi (vol 7 pp 60);

  4. Tafseer Khazin (vol 3 pp 370);

  5. Madarikut Tanzeel of Allamah Nasafee (vol 32 pp 370);

  6. Other references include Tafseer Al Kabeer of Allamah Razi , Tafseer Baydhawi, Tafseer of Aboo Sa'ood , Ma'alimut Tanzeel of Baghawi and Jalalayn of Allamah Suyooti .

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Commentary According To The Arabic Language

The word 'Khatam' can, in Arabic, be read in two ways - Khatim and Khatam. The word 'Khatim ' means 'terminator' or 'seal', and the word 'Khatam' means 'last' or 'seal'. Thus, whichever way it is read the ultimate meaning is the same when applied to the Prophet , i.e. he is the last of all categories of prophets.

It is also useful to quote the opinion of eminent scholars in the study of the Arabic language regarding the term Khatamun Nabiyyeen in this particular verse of the Glorious Qur'an.
  1. Imam Raghib Al-Isfahani writes, "'And the seal of the prophets', because he Prophet Muhammad has terminated the prophethood, i.e. he has completed it (the prophethood) by his coming." (Al-Mufradat pp 142)

  2. Allamah Azhari writes, "’Khatim ‘ and 'Khatam' are from the names of the noble Prophet Muhammad . And in the Glorious Qur'an: 'Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the seal of the prophets', means he is die last of them." (At-Tahzeeb)

  3. It is stated in Lisanul Arab, "Whether it is 'Khatim ' or 'Khatam', it means 'last of them'."

  4. It is stated in Qamoos, "’Khatam’ or 'Khatim ' is the 'last person' like the seal (which is affixed at die end of the letter). From this word is the noble verse 'Khatamun Nabiyyeen', i.e. the last of them."

The same opinion (i.e. Khatamun Nabiyyeen means the last and final prophet) can be cited in many more books written by high-ranking scholars in the study of the Arabic language; e.g. Kulliyyate Abul Baqa, Majma'ul Bihar, Sihah, Tajul Uroos, etc.

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Finality Of Prophethood And Muslim Scholars

All Muslim jurists and scholars in the study of the Qur'an, the Ahadeeth and Islamic Law are unanimous on die point that there will be no prophet after Prophet Muhammad . and anyone who claims to be a prophet after him, is a disbeliever outside the fold of Islam. Some statements of well-known personalities, who are respected as authorities on Islam by both Muslims and Qadianis, are quoted here:
  1. Mulla Ali Qari : "To claim prophethood after our Nabee , is Kufr (infidelity) by consensus (of the Ummah)." (Sharh Fiqhi Akbar pp 202)

  2. Hafiz Ibne Hazm Undulusi : "It is accurately related from Rasoolullah , through all those numerous people who have narrated (the subject of) his prophethood, his miracles and his book, that he had informed us that, there would be no prophet after him." (Kitabul Fasl, vol 1 pp 77)

  3. Hafiz Ibne Katheer : "From the Mercies of Allah Ta’ala upon His Servants is sending Muhammad as a messenger to them. Then from His Reverence for them is terminating the chain of prophets and messengers with his advent and the completing of the Haneef Deen for him. Allah Ta’ala in His Book and His Rasool in Mutawatir Ahadeeth have informed that there is no prophet after him; so that the Ummah knows that everyone who claims this status after him is a liar, slanderer, an impostor, astray and one who leads other people astray." (Tafseer Ibne Katheer, vol 3 pp 494)

  4. Qadhi 'Iyadh : "Similarly, one who claims prophethood of someone along with our Prophet or after him... or one who claims prophethood for himself or considers its acquisition possible... then all these people are infidels belying the Prophet because he has informed us that he is the last prophet, there is no prophet after him and he has been informed by Allah Ta’ala that he is the last prophet sent to the entire mankind." (Ash Shifa, pp 246-247)

  5. Ibne Hibban : "He who goes towards the opinion that prophethood can be acquired and has not terminated or that a Walee is more virtuous than a prophet, such a man is a Zindeeq. His execution is obligatory for belying the Qur'an and (its verse) Khatamun Nabiyyeen." (Sharh Mawahibul Ladunniyyah, vol 6 pp 188)

  6. Fatawa Alamgeeri: "If a person does not recognise that Muhammad is the last prophet, then he is not a Muslim." (Fatawa Hindiyyah, vol 2 pp 363)

  7. "(A person who) claimed prophethood after our Prophet or testifies to a claimant to prophethood, has become an infidel." (Mughnee Al-Muhtaj, vol 4 pp 135)

  8. "One who claims prophethood or testifies to a claimant to prophethood, has indeed become a Murtad (apostate), because when Musaylamah claimed prophethood and his people testified his claim, they became apostates with that act. Likewise, Tulayhah Al-Asadee and those who testified to his claim (to prophethood)." (Mughnee Ibne Qudamah Hanbalee, vol 10 pp 112)

  9. Imam Tahawi : "Every claim (to prophethood) after him (i.e. Muhammad ) is rebellion and deviation." (Aqeedah Tahawiyyah)

  10. Imam Ghazali : "No doubt the Ummah has unanimously understood from this word [i.e. Khatamun Nabiyyeen] and its circumstantial reference that it declares the non-existence of a Nabee and a Rasool after him [Prophet Muhammad ] and that [this word is so clear and unequivocal that] there is no scope for any exception or any other interpretation. Hence, it's rejecter is certainly a rejecter of the Ijma (Consensus)." (Al-Iqtisad Fil-I'tiqad pp 123)

  11. Allamah Aloosi : "And the Prophet Muhammad being the final prophet is a belief based on what the Qur'an has described, and the Sunnah has stated clearly and the Ijma of the Ummah. Therefore the claimant, or the believer of a belief other than this, will be declared a Kafir. (Roohul Ma'ani, vol 7 pp 65)

Similarly, all the Muhadditheen including Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Nasa'ee, Imam Aboo Dawood, Imam Tirmizi, Imam Ibne Majah, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad Ibne Hambal, Imam Tahawi, Imam Ibne Abi Shaybah, Imam Tabrani, Imam Bayhaqi, Imam Ibne Khuzaymah, Hafiz Ibne Hajar Al-Asqalani, Allamah Ayni, Allamah Nawawi, all the Mufassireen, Fuqaha and Mutakallimeen have declared that Muhammad is the last prophet.

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Conclusion

In the preceding pages, the finality of prophethood in the person of Prophet Muhammad has been proven from the Qur'an, the Ahadeeth, the opinions of Sahabah, Muhadditheen, Mufassireen and eminent scholars of Islam, briefly but conclusively. It leaves the reader in no doubt that for over 1400 years there has been complete unanimity of views among the Muslims that the word Khatamun Nabiyyeen means the last and final prophet and that the door of further prophethood is absolutely closed and no prophet of any category will be born after the noble Prophet Muhammad .

A Muslim must believe that the real object of sending prophets to mankind was achieved with the advent of the noble Prophet Muhammad . This was his greatest distinction and excellence that the religion of Islam was perfected and completed, and prophethood was finalised upon him. The finality of prophethood was the biggest honour bestowed on him and his Ummah by Allah Ta’ala.

Allamah Hafiz Ibne Katheer says in his Tafseer , vol 1 pp 482: "This is the greatest Favour of Allah Ta’ala upon this Ummah that he has perfected for them their religion. Therefore, they will not be needful of a religion other than Islam, nor of another prophet odier than their Prophet (i.e. the noble Prophet Muhammad). May Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him. This is why Allah has made him the last and final prophet and sent him to both the humans and the Jinns."

We have not been deprived of the blessings of prophethood, but as the sun abolishes the need for a lamp, so has Prophet Muhammad terminated the chain of prophethood.

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Page created: 02/04/2008
Page last updated: 17/07/2008
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