Muhammad seal of the prophets

Muhammad: The Seal of Prophets

As a verse of the Quran reveals, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets (Al-Ahzab 33:40), the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to mankind as the last prophet.

He was a living example of the sublime morality of Allahs last revelation. He was a friend of Allah and inspired humanity by his nearness to Him. He was His representative, noble in His sight, and a friend to all believers.

As Allah has revealed in another verse, We will impose a weighty Word upon you (Al-Muzzammil 33:5), he charged His last Prophet, Muhammad, with a heavy responsibility. Due to the Prophets strong faith in Allah, he fulfilled that responsibility in the best possible way, called mankind to the path of Allah and Islam, and illuminated the way for all believers.

Although we have never seen the Prophet, we can still do our very best to come to know his exemplary behavior, his sayings and the pleasing morality he displayed, by means of the verses of the Quran and the Hadith (the sayings and teachings of the Prophet).

We can try to be like him, in order to be close to him in the hereafter. People today, and the young in particular, take many individuals as role models, imitate the way they behave, speak and dress, and try to be like them. Yet, since the great majority of thesepeople are not on the right road themselves, they lack proper morality and attitudes.

It is therefore a serious responsibility to lead people to the truth and the best morality and behavior. A Muslim needs to try to emulate the behavior and the morality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Allah confirms that:

You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much. (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Like the Prophet Muhammad, the other prophets were also role models for believers, and enjoyed Allahs good pleasure. Allah says:

There is instruction in their stories for people of intelligence. This (the Quran) is not a narration which has been invented but confirmation of all that came before, a clarification of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for people who believe. (Yusuf 12:111)

The aim in writing this book is to introduce various characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad, by showing the superior features and qualities a society may enjoy when it adopts such a morality, thus encouraging others to adopt that same morality. As the Prophet has revealed in a hadith:

Verily, I have left amongst you the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Apostle which if you hold fast, you shall never go astray. (Al-Hakim)

Thus, a Muslims two truest guides are the Quran and Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet Muhammad). The Prophet Muhammad was an example to all humanity with his morality, to which he called on mankind to live by. It was the Prophet who said I was sent to perfect good character (Al-Bukhari) and By One in whose hand there is my life: None shall enter Paradise except one who has got good conduct. (AL-Bayhaqi)

Those Muslims who follow the way of the Prophet need to be foremost in their morality and behavior, and to invite others to adopt that same morality:

We only send the Messengers to bring good news and to give warning. Those who disbelieve use fallacious arguments to deny the truth. They make a mockery of My signs and also of the warning they were given. (Al-Kahf 18:56)

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muhammad seal of the prophets
Khatam an-Nabiyyin
Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the title of Muhammad. For the related name of the mole on his shoulderblade, see Shama'il Muhammadiyah. For his signet-ring, see Seal of Muhammad.

Khatam an-Nabiyyin (Arabic: ???? ????????, khatam an-nabiyin; or Khatim an-Nabiyin), usually translated as Seal of the Prophets, is a title used in the Qur'an to designate the prophet Muhammad. It is synonymous with the term Khatam al-Anbiya (Arabic: ???? ?????????; or Khatim al-Anbiya). Among Muslims, it is generally regarded to mean that Muhammad was the last of the prophets sent by God.

Occurrence in the Quran

The title khatam an-nabiyyin or khatim an-nabiyyin, usually translated as "Seal of the Prophets", is applied to Muhammad in verse 33:40 of the Qur'an. The popular Yusuf Ali translation reads,

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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.

?The Qur'an Chapter 33 Verse 40

There is a difference among the schools of Qur'anic recitation regarding the reading of the word ???? in verse 33:40 it can be read as either khatim or khatam. Of the ten qiraat (readings, methods of recitation) regarded as authentic seven mutawatir and three mashhur all read ???? in this verse with a kasrah on the ta? (?????, khatim) with the exception of 'Asim, who reads with a fat?ah on the ta? (?????, khatam).[1][2][3][4] The reading of al-Hasan, a shadhdh (aberrant) recitation, is also khatam.[1][2]

The recitation that has become prevalent in most of the world today is Hafs 'an 'Asim that is, the qiraah of 'Asim in the riwayah (transmission) of his student Hafs. The reading of 33:40 according to Hafs 'an 'Asim is as follows:

(Arabic:) ???? ????? ????????? ????? ?????? ???? ???????????? ????????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ?????????????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ???????? [note 1]

(Transliteration): ma kana mu?ammadun aba a?adin min rijalikum wa lakin rasula llahi wa khatama n-nabiyina wa kana llahu bikulli shayin alima

?The Qur'an Chapter 33 Verse 40

Quranic use of the root kh-t-m

The nouns khatam and khatim are derived from the root kh-t-m (? ? ?). Words based on this root occur in the Quran eight times:[5]

  • five times as the Form I verb khatama (??????)[6]
  • once as the noun khatim (??????), or khatam (???????) according to the qiraah of A?im
  • once as the noun khitam (???????), or khatam (??????) according to the qiraah of al-Kisai[7][8]
  • once as the passive participle makhtum (???????)[9]


"Keystone" ("brick") metaphor

In a well-known hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah, Jabir ibn Abd Allah, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, and recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and others, Muhammad compared the relationship between himself and the previous prophets to a building missing a single brick.[1][10][11] In Sahih al-Bukhari it is reported by Abu Hurayrah that Muhammad said, "My similitude in comparison with the prophets before me is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: 'Would that this brick be put in its place!' So I am that brick, and I am the seal of the prophets" (faana l-labinah, wa ana khatamu n-nabiyin). This hadith is narrated with similar wording in Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan al-Kubra of an-Nasa'i, and Sahih Ibn Hibban.[12][13][14] In Mu'jam al-Awsat, at-Tabarani narrated a variant wording of the hadith with the last statement being, "So I am that [brick], I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me" (faana dhalika, ana khatamu n-nabiyin, la nabiya badi).[15] Ibn Hibban also has a variant ending with "I was the place of that brick, with me concluded the [line of] messengers" (fakuntu ana maw?iu tilka l-labinah, khutima biya r-rusul).[16] In Sahih Muslim and Musnad Ahmad the hadith is also reported by Jabir ibn Abd Allah, with the last statement being "So I am the place of that brick, I have come and concluded the [line of] prophets" (faana maw?iu l-labinah, jitu fakhatamtu l-anbiya).[17][18] Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi in his Musnad has from Jabir, "So I am the place of that brick, with me concluded the [line of] prophets" (faana maw?iu l-labinah, khutima biya l-anbiya).[19]

Other hadith

In another hadith, Muhammad prophesied the appearance of a number of false prophets before the day of judgement, while asserting his status as the seal of the prophets.[1] It is reported by Thawban ibn Bajdad that Muhammad said, "The Hour will not be established until tribes of my ummah (community) unite with the idolaters, and until they worship idols. And in my ummah there will be thirty liars, each of whom will claim to be a prophet, (but) I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me." (kulluhum yazumu annahu nabi, wa ana khatamu n-nabiyin, la nabiya badi).[10][20][21][22] Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman reports that Muhammad said, "In my ummah there will twenty-seven liars and dajjals, among whom are four women, (but) I am the seal of the prophets, there is no prophet after me".[10][23]

Classical lexicons

According to the authoritative dictionary Lisan al-Arab of Ibn Manzur,

The khitam of a group of people, the khatim of them, or the khatam of them, is the last of them, according to al-Lihyani. And Muhammad is khatim of the prophets. At-Tahdhib (of al-Azhari): Khatim and khatam are among the names of the Prophet. And in the Qur'an: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and khatim of the prophets," that is, the last of them. And: It was also recited as khatam. And the saying of al-'Ajjaj, "Blessed to the prophets is this khatim," is based on the well-known recitation, with a kasrah (khatim). And also among his names is al-aqib, and its meaning is "last of the prophets."[24]

According to Taj al-Arus of al-Zabidi,

Khatam: The last of a people, like khatim. And with this definition is the saying in the Qur'an, "khatam of the prophets," that is, the last of them.[25]


And among the names of the Prophet are khatam and khatim, and he is the one who sealed prophethood by his coming.[25]

Traditional interpretation

The title is generally regarded by Muslims as meaning that Muhammad is the last in the series of prophets beginning with Adam.[26][27][28] The belief that a new prophet cannot arise after Muhammad is shared by both Sunni and Shi'i Muslims.[29][30] Some of the most prominent historical Sunni texts on creed (aqidah) explicitly mention the doctrine of finality of prophethood.[31] For example, in al-Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah it is asserted that "Every claim to the prophetic office after his is a delusion and a wandering desire."[32][33] In another popular work, al-Aqidah an-Nasafiyyah, it is stated, "The first of the prophets is Adam and the last is Muhammad."[34]

Academic views

Hartwig Hirschfeld doubted the authenticity of the verse 33:40 and claimed it to be of late origin.[35] Yohanan Friedmann states that Hirschfeld's arguments "that the title khatam an-nabiyyin is unusual, that it only appears once in the Qur'an, that the word khatam is not Arabicdo not seem valid arguments against the authenticity of the verse."[1]

Frants Buhl accepted the traditional meaning of last prophet.[36]

Josef Horovitz suggested two possible interpretations of khatam an-nabiyyin: the last prophet or the one who confirms the authenticity of the previous prophets.[37] Heinrich Speyer agreed with Horovitz.[38]

According to Alford T. Welch, the traditional Muslim belief that Muhammad is "last and greatest of the prophets" is most likely based on a later interpretation of 33:40.[39]

The first modern academic to have studied in detail the history of the doctrine of finality of prophethood is Yohanan Friedmann.[40] In his seminal article, Finality of Prophethood in Sunni Islam (1986), he concluded that although the notion of finality of prophethood "eventually acquired an undisputed and central place in the religious thought of Islam," it was contested during the first century AH.[1] He states, "While it is true that the phrase khatam an-nabiyyin is generally interpreted as meaning 'the last prophet', the exegetical tradition and other branches of classical Arabic literature preserved material which indicates that this now generally received understanding of the Qur'anic phrase is not the only possible one and had not necessarily been the earliest."[1][40] Due to this Friedmann states that the meaning of khatam an-nabiyyin in its original Qur'anic context is still in doubt.[1]

Wilferd Madelung takes Friedmann's findings into consideration in observing that the original Qur'anic meaning of the term is not entirely certain.[40][41] However, in a more recent paper he states, "Most Muslims at the time no doubt understood it to mean that he was to be the last prophet and Islam was the final religion, as Muslims have commonly understood it ever since."[42]

Carl W. Ernst considers the phrase to mean that Muhammad's "imprint on history is as final as a wax seal on a letter."[43]

David Powers, also making use of Friedmann's research, believes that the early Muslim community was divided over the meaning of the expression, with some understanding it to mean he fulfilled or confirmed the earlier Christian and Jewish revelations, while others understood it as signifying that Muhammad brought the office of prophethood to a close. He suggests that the Qur'anic text underwent a series of secondary omissions and additions which were designed to adapt the text to the dogma of finality of prophethood, and that the idea of finality only became the prevailing interpretation (alongside the notion of confirmation or fulfillment) by the end of the 1st century AH / 7th century.[40][44] In a review of Powers' book, Gerald Hawting goes further, suggesting that the development of the doctrine was not complete before the 3rd century AH / 9th century.[40][45] Madelung comments that Power's argument, that verses 36-40 are a later addition dating from the generation after Muhammad's death, is "hardly sustainable."[42]

Uri Rubin holds that the finality of prophethood is a Qur'anic idea, not a post-Qur'anic one, and that the expression khatam an-nabiyyin implies both finality of prophethood and confirmation. In response to Powers and other modern scholars skeptical of the early origin of the doctrine, Rubin concludes from his study "that, at least as far as Sura 33 is concerned, the consonantal structure of the Qur'anic text has not been tampered with, and that the idea of finality of prophethood is well-represented in the text, as well as in the earliest available extra-Quranic materials." Rubin reexamines the early extra-Qur'anic texts cited by Friedmann and other modern scholars, and concludes that rather than indicating that the notion of finality of prophethood is late, the texts confirm the early origin of the belief. He concludes that "there is no compelling reason to assume that the Muslims of the first Islamic century originally understood the Qur'anic khatam an-nabiyyin in the sense of confirmation alone, without that of finality."[40]

Ahmadiyya Interpretation

Main article: Prophethood (Ahmadiyya)


The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Ahmadi Muslims) while accepting Muhammad as the 'Seal of the Prophets' (Khatamun Nabiyyin) and the last prophet to have brought a complete and comprehensive universal law for humanity (last law-bearing Prophet), believe that prophethood subordinate to Muhammad is still open. Muhammad is believed to have brought prophethood to perfection and was the last law-bearing prophet, the apex of man's spiritual evolution. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence nor alter his teaching or bring any new law or religion.[46]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

The Ahmadiyya community believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded the movement in Qadian, India in 1889, to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi, who claimed a certain kind of prophethood but never claimed to have brought any new divine laws or change the law of Muhammad, but to have been Divinely appointed to revive and universally establish the law/religion of Muhammad.[47]


The Ahmadiyya movement understands the term 'Seal of the Prophets' to indicate the culmination and authentication of prophethood in Muhammad, rather than its absolute cessation.[48][49] Something that has caused controversy in recent times between Ahmadis and the mainstream who accuse them of denying the finality of prophethood.[50][51][52]

Sunni scholars vehemently opposed him and in subsequent years a movement opposed to Ahmadiyya beliefs was founded.[53] This movement is subject to violence and abuse in many Muslim countries,[54] is still very active in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries where Ahmadiyya adherents are present.[55]

Baha'i view

The Baha'i Faith regards Muhammad as a Manifestation of God and as the Seal of the Prophets,[56] but does not believe Revelation or Scripture from God has ended. In particular, Baha'is regard the end-times prophecies of Islam (and other faiths) as being both metaphorical and literal,[57] and see the Bab and Baha'u'llah as fulfilling these prophetic expectations. The latter of these is the founder of the Baha'i religion, which considers Islamic law as secondary or tertiary to its own. Muhammad is seen as ending the Adamic cycle, also known as the Prophetic cycle, which is stated to have begun approximately 6,000 years ago,[58][59] and the Bab and Baha'u'llah as starting the Baha'i cycle, or Cycle of Fulfillment, which will last at least five hundred thousand years with numerous Manifestations of God appearing throughout this time.[60][61] Moreover, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri Baha'u'llah gave the Title "King of the Messengers" (sultan al-rusul) to the Bab, and the "Sender of the Messengers" (mursil al-rusul) to himself. Additionally, the Kitab-i-Iqan shows the Islamic concept of the oneness of the prophets and the Hadith, "knowledge is a single point, which the foolish have multipied,"[62] to reveal that the term "Seal of the Prophets", like Alpha and Omega, apply to all the prophets: "Whilst established upon the seat of the first, they occupy the throne of the last."[63] In summary, these interpretive and legal differences have caused the Baha'is to be seen as heretics and apostates by some Muslims, which has led to their persecution in different countries.


^ In the Uthmanic rasm, the traditional Qur'anic orthography, the second ya (?) in an-nabiyin (???????) is omitted. Thus in the Qur'an the word is written as ?????? and diacritics are added to indicate its pronunciation.


^ a b c d e f g h Friedmann, Yohanan (1986). "Finality of Prophethood in Sunni Islam". Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 7: cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em} ^ a b at-Tabari. Jami' al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an (in Arabic). 33:40. ^ al-Qurtubi. al-Jami' al-Ahkam al-Qur'an (in Arabic). 33:40. ^ "Comparison of Ayat by Riwayat Surah al-Ahzab v.30". (in Arabic). ^ "Quran Dictionary ? ? ?". The Quranic Arabic Corpus. ^ The Qur'an. 2:7 Archived 2015-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, 6:46, 36:65, 42:24, 45:23 ^ The Qur'an. 83:26. ^ "Comparison of Ayat by Riwayat Surah al-Mutaffifin v.26". (in Arabic). ^ The Qur'an. 83:25. ^ a b c as-Suyuti. Durr al-Manthur. 33:40. ^ ??????? (Corroborating narrations for this hadith). ^ Sahih al-Bukhari. Kitab al-Manaqib. Hadith 44. ^ Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fada'il, Hadith 24, ^ al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, #3293; Muslim, Sahih Muslim, #4246; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, #8959; an-Nasa'i, Sunan al-Kubra, #10907; Ibn Hibban, Sahih Ibn Hibban, #6541, ^ at-Tabarani, Mu'jam al-Awsat, #3382, ^ Ibn Hibban, Sahih Ibn Hibban, #6543, ^ Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fada'il, Hadith 26, ^ Muslim, Sahih Muslim, #4247; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, #14593, ^ Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi, Musnad Abi Dawud at-Tayalisi, #1884, ^ at-Tirmidhi. Jami' at-Tirmidhi. Kitab al-Fitan. Hadith 62. ^ Abu Dawud as-Sijistani. Sunan Abi Dawud. Kitab al-Fitan wal-Malahim. Hadith 13. ^ at-Tirmidhi, Jami' at-Tirmidhi, #2149; Abu Dawud as-Sijistani, Sunan Abi Dawud, #3712; Ibn Hibban, Sahih Ibn Hibban, #7395, ^ Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, #22747; at-Tabarani, Mu'jam al-Awsat, #5596, Mu'jam al-Kabir, #2957; at-Tahawi, Mushkil al-Athar, #2493, ^ Ibn Man?ur (1883) [Written 1290]. ???? ????? / Lisan al-Arab (in Arabic). 15. Bulaq, Mi?r [Bulaq, Egypt]: al-Ma?baah al-Miriyah. p.55. ??????? ??????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ?? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???????? ???? ?????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ??????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ???????? ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??? ???????? ^ a b al-Zabidi (2000) [Written 1774]. ??? ?????? / Taj al-Arus (in Arabic). 32 (1st ed.). Kuwayt [Kuwait]: al-Majlis al-Wa?ani lith-Thaqafah wal-Funun wal-Adab.
  • p.45: ???????? ??? ????? ???????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ?????
  • p.48: ??? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??????? ???????? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ????????
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Surah xxxiii. 40: "He is the Apostle of God and the seal of the Prophets." By which is meant, that he is the last of the Prophets. ^ Goldziher, Ignac (1981). "Sects". Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. Translated by Andras and Ruth Hamori from the German Vorlesungen uber den Islam (1910). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp.220221. Sunni and Shii theology alike understood it to mean that Muhammad ended the series of Prophets, that he had accomplished for all eternity what his predecessors had prepared, that he was God's last messenger delivering God's last message to mankind. ^ Martin, Richard C., ed. (2004). "'Ali". Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. 1. New York: Macmillan. p.37. ^ Yasin, R. Cecep Lukan (18 February 2010). "The Twelver Shi'i Understanding on the Finality of Prophethood". Al-Jami'ah: Journal of Islamic Studies. 48 (1). doi:10.14421/ajis.2010.481.129-164. ^ Elder, E.E. (1933). "Al-?a?awi's 'Bayan al-Sunna wa'l-Jama'a'". The Macdonald Presentation Volume. Princeton University Press: 129144. ^ A?mad ibn Mu?ammad a?-?a?awi. ??? ??????? ???????? / Matn al-Aqidah a?-?a?awiyah (in Arabic) via Wikisource. ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ???? ^ Elder, E.E. (1950). A Commentary on the Creed of Islam: Sad al-Din al-Taftazani on the Creed of Najm al-Din al-Nasafi. New York: Columbia University Press. p.130. ^ Hirschfeld, Hartwig (1886). Beitrage zur Erklarung des ?oran (in German). Leipzig. p.71. Cited by Friedmann. ^ Buhl, F. "Muhammad". Encyclopedia of Islam. p.650a. Cited by Friedmann. ^ Horovitz, Josef (1926). Koranische Untersuchungen (in German). Berlin. p.53. Cited by Friedmann. ^ Speyer, Heinrich (1931). Die Biblischen Erzahlungen im Qoran (in German). Berlin. pp.422423. Cited by Friedmann. ^ Buhl, F.; Welch, A.T. "Muhammad". Encyclopedia of Islam (new ed.). ^ a b c d e f Rubin, Uri (2014). "The Seal of the Prophets and the Finality of Prophecy". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft. 164 (1): 6596. ^ Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The succession to Muhammad: a study of the early Caliphate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.17. ^ a b Madelung, Wilferd (2014). "Social Legislation in Surat al-Ahzab". The Institute of Ismaili Studies. Archived from the original on 2014-10-12. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) An edited version of an article that originally appeared in the Proceedings of the 25th Congress of LUnion Europeenne des Arabisants et Islamisants in 2013. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (2003). Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p.80. ^ Powers, David S. (2009). Mu?ammad is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN9780812241785. ^ Hawting, G.R. (1 February 2011). "Muhammad Is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet". 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Violent Dhaka Rally against Sect, BBC News
Eight die in Pakistan Sect Attack, BBC News
Sect offices closed in Pakistan, BBC News ^ Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah". Retrieved 17 April 2017. ^ Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Commentary of the Surah of the Sun". Retrieved 30 March 2017. ^ Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, March 13, 1986. Published in Effendi, Shoghi; The Universal House of Justice (1983). Hornby, Helen (ed.). Lights of Guidance: A Baha'i Reference File. Baha'i Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India. p.500. ISBN81-85091-46-3. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1977). The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Volume 2: Adrianople 186368. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p.352. ISBN0-85398-071-3. ^ Seena Fazel and Khazeh Fananapazir (1993). "A Baha'i Approach to the Claim of Finality in Islam". Journal of Baha'i Studies. 5 (3): 1740. ^ "Personal Interpretation of the term 'Seal of the Prophets'". ^ Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Kitab-i-Iqan". Retrieved 30 March 2017. ^ Baha'u'llah, Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri. "Kitab-i-Iqan". Retrieved 30 March 2017. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Khatam an-Nabiyyin Retrieved from ""

Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets | Islam Ahmadiyya

by Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, (ra)

Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness is measured, we may ask, is there any man greater than he?
Lamartine, History of Turkey

It is only lately that Western scholars have embarked on serious objective study of the life of the Prophet of Islam. In studying his life, certain factors must be kept in mind: Was the world in need of a universal divine personal message? Was the life of Muhammad, before he laid claim to prophethood, of such perfect purity as would indicate that he had been chosen? Was the message that he brought illustrated in his life and conduct? The purpose of this study is to institute an appraisal of the life of Muhammad which should be fully descriptive of its diverse facets and should enable the reader to carry out his own assessment of the man as an exemplary human being and as a divine prophet.

About the Author

Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, (1893-1985), a distinguished scholar in world religions, was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a missionary branch of Islam. He became Foreign Minister of Pakistan in 1947 and for many years led the Pakistan Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. He was President of the Seventeenth Session of the General Assembly. He also served as president of the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

First published in English by Routledge & Kegan Paul, London in 1980.

Read the book in these formats

Online Text

Table of Contents

Is Muhammad the Seal of the Prophets?
Religion PART 1 IN SERIES: Unsealing the ProphetsThe views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

All sects of Islam maintain that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet, the last divine messenger for all time.

That means most Muslims acknowledge the founders of several previous religions, such as Moses, Jesus and even Zoroaster as inspired, but deny there will ever be any new messenger or new, divinely-revealed religion after Muhammad. Since the Bahai Faith claims to be the next major Faith after Islam, this single point often prompts some Muslims to regard the Bahai Faith as illegitimate. It has even caused deadly persecution of the Bahais in predominately Islamic countries like Iran and Egypt.

So lets start at the beginningthe Bahai Faith emerged from the background of Islam, much as Christianity emerged from Judaism. Bahais, along with Muslims, revere the Quran as the Word of God. This includes Quran 33:40, the verse on which the doctrine of Muhammads finality is based:

Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the Messenger of God, and the Seal of the Prophets; God has knowledge of everything. (Arberry).

Clearly, Bahais actually do accept Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophetsbut reject the interpretation that Islamic orthodoxy reads into this verse. One reason: the Quran itself raises the possibility of future divine messengers after Muhammad.

Quran 7:35 (Surat al-Araf) contains this solemn warning addressed to all humanity:

Children of Adam! If there should come to you Messengers from among you, relating to you My signs, then whosoever is godfearing and makes amendsno fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow. And those that cry lies to Our signs, and wax proud against themthose shall be the inhabitants of the Fire, therein dwelling forever. Verses 35-36.

This verse first opened my heart, as a convert to Islam earlier in my life, to the possibility of new revelations from God. It calls to mind another verse from the Quran, which tells how on Judgment Day, God will say to the world:

Company of jinn and mankind, did not Messengers come to you from among you, relating to you My signs and warning you of the encounter of this your day? They shall say, We bear witness against ourselves. Quran 6:130ff.

MeccaI did not want to be in that groupbearing witness that I had turned away from Gods verses. So as a Muslim I resolved to investigate the Bahai claims on their own merits, and not simply dismiss them.

Some people object that Quran 7:35 is a conditional statement, and thus does not categorically state that new Messengers will comeonly that if they do, we must heed them. But this objection misses the mark, since, if the mainstream Islamic understanding of the Seal of the Prophets is correct, a new Messenger after Muhammad is flatly impossible. Why would God warn us that something is possible in one verse, and then say it is impossible in another? For new divine Messengers to even be possible, Muhammads title of the Seal of the Prophets must mean something other than last divine Messenger, period.

Others argue that this verse does not address all humanity, but just Adams immediate offspring, referring only to the Messengers from Noah to Muhammad. While the beginning of Quran chapter seven does tell the story of Adam, it is separated from this verse by a number of others, some of which are clearly addressed to Muhammads own audience in 7th century Arabia (for example, 7:27-28). There is no basis to conclude that verse 35, warning of Messengers to come, belongs to the story of Adam and not to the series of exhortations that intervene.

The exclamation O children of Adam, like the Qurans oft-recurring O children of Israel, covers the entire people descended from the ancestral figure, not just their immediate offspring. We can see this clearly in Quran 36:60 or 17:70:

We have honoured the Children of Adam and carried them on land and sea, and provided them with good things, and preferred them greatly over many of those We created.

If we take it at face value, Quran 7:35 warns humanity during Muhammads time, and us today, to be on the watch for Gods messengers from among us, and to obey them when they appear. The Bahai writings have a similar warning, specifically about the term Seal of the Prophets:

thou dost witness how the people of the Quran, like unto the people of old, have allowed the words Seal of the Prophets to veil their eyes. Bahaullah, The Book of Certitude, p. 213.

So if new messengers are possible according to the Quran, how do we understand Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets? Please follow along as we turn to this subject in the next article in this series.

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