OPINIONS OF ISLAMIC SCHOLARS
Here I present the verdicts and views on the issue of over a dozen celebrities of Islam, who represent all time periods starting from contemporaries of Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to the time of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. None of these people belonged to the said movement, since the latter did not even exist then. Yet, the opinions they held, are contrary to present non-Ahmadiyya views. Take a look at the following names, and see if any bells ring in your minds -- regarding their status in the Muslim world in their being great scholars of authority and also, note their respective time periods:
- Ummul Mo'mineen, Hazrat Ayesha Siddeeqa R.A., (death year 58 A.H.) (the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) blessed consort)
- Imam Raaghib Al Isfahani (RA) (died 502 A.H.)
- Hazrat Syyed Abdul Qaadir Jilaani, AR (died 562 A.H.)
(This scholar was also Mujaddid of the 6th century)
- Hazrat Mohiyyuddin Ibni 'Arabi, AR (died 638 A.H.)
- Hazrat Maulana Jalaaluddin Roomi (died 672 A.H.)
- Hazrat Syed Abdul Karim Jilaani, AR (died 767 A.H.)
- Imam Abdul Wahhab She'raani AR (died 976 A.H.)
- Imam Muhammad Tahir, AR (died 986 A.H.)
- Al Imam Ali Qaari AR (died 1014 A.H.)
- Hazrat Shah Waliyullah Muhaddith of Delhi, AR (died 1176 A.H.)
- Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Haye of Lakhnow, AR (died 1304 A.H.)
- Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Qaasim of Nanauta, AR (died 1307 A.H.)
(founder of the Deoband school)
- Nawab Siddeeq Hasan of Bhopal, AR (died 1307 A.H.)
These towering figures in Islam have given their verdict about how Muslims should interpret "Khatam-an-Nabiyyeen" (Seal of the Prophets). All of them believed in the continuation of prophethood.
Hazrat Ayesha Al Siddeeqah (ra)
First of all, Hazrat Ayesha Al Siddeeqah's verdict:
"QOOLOO INNAHU KHATAMUL ANBIYAA'I WA LAA TAQOOLOO LAA NABIYYA BA'DAHU"
"Say he is 'seal of prophets' but do NOT say 'there is no prophet after him' "
(Takmilah Majma'ul Bihaar, p. 85)
It appears that she knew that the statement could easily be misconstrued, and to the effect, presented her valued clarification.
Imam Raaghib Al Isfahaani
Our second hero, the saint Imam Raaghib Al Isfahaani, Rehmatullah Alaih wrote:
"Prophethood is of two kinds, general and special. The special prophethood, viz: the law-bearing prophethood is now unattainable; but the general prophethood continues to be attainable." (Bahr al Muheet, vol. 3, p. 28)
The "general" kind of prophethood is also the one that Ahmadi Muslims believe continues, and not the law-bearing one.
Hazrat Sayyed Abdul Qaadir Jilaani
The founder of the "Qadiriyya" school, Hazrat Sayyed Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (R.A.) wrote:
"These attributes are found in the Holy Prophet in the highest abundance, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. That is the reason why he is called Khataman Nabiyyeen." (Tuhfa Mursala Shareef: p. 5)
This, indeed is the exact same view that Ahmadi Muslims hold, about the expression of Khataman Nabiyyeen, yet, they are singled out by a lot of modern day Muslims as non-Muslims. Why not expel Hazrat Jilaani from Islam first, since he held this view first?
Hazrat Mohiyyuddin Ibni Arabi
Hazrat Mohiyyuddin Ibni Arabi (Rehmatullah Alaihi) wrote:
"'ISAA ALIHIS SALAAMU YANZILU FEENA HAKAMAN MIN GHAIRI TASHREE'IN WA HUWA NABIYYUN BILAA SHAKKIN"
"Jesus, may peace be upon him, will descend upon us as a Hakam, without a law and will be a prophet without any doubt."
(Fatoohati Makkiyyah, vol. 1, p. 570)
Then he writes:
"That prophethood which ended with the advent of the Prophet (pbuh), is only law-bearing prophethood and not the status of prophethood. Thus now there will be no law that cancels the law of the Prophet (pbuh) or that adds to its commandments"
(Fatoohaati Makkiyyah, vol. 2, p. 3)
Then he writes:
"FAMARTAFA'ATIL NUBUWWATU BIL KULLIYYATI LIHAAZA QULNAA INNA MA-ARTAFA'TU NUBUWWATAT TASHREE'I FA HAAZA MA'ANI 'LAA NABIYYA BA'DAHU"
"Thus prophethood has not been totally abolished. This is why we have said that only law-bearing prophethood has been abolished and this is what is the meaning of (the Hadith) 'there is no prophet after him' "
Hazrat Maulana Room
The great saint, Hazrat Maulana Room (Rehmatullah Alaihi) writes:
"Make such plans to perform righteousness in the way of God that you attain prophethood within the Ummat (religious community)"
Hazrat Sayyed Abdul Kareem Jilani
Hazrat Sayyed Abdul Kareem Jilani, the renowned mystic of the 8th century of Hijra wrote:
"Hazrat Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is the Khataman Nabiyyeen because he attained the highest perfection which no prophet ever did" (Al Insaanul Kaamil: vol. 1, Ch 36. Pg 69)
Clearly, the controversial expression "khataman nabiyyeen" according to him, was not based on the Prophet's (pbuh) being last.
Hazrat Imam Abdul Wahhab She'raani
Hazrat Imam Abdul Wahhab She'raani (Alaihir Rehmah) wrote:
"FA INNA MUTLAQAN NUBUWWATI LAM TARTAFI' WA INNAMARTAFA'AT NUBUWWATUL TASHREE'I"
"Thus, without doubt, ...... prophethood has not been abolished and it is only law-bearing prophethood that is abolished" (Al Yawaaqeetu Wal Jawaahir: pg 27, argument # 3)
Hazrat Imam Muhammad Tahir
Hazrat Imam Muhammad Tahir, commenting on Hadhrat Ayesha's (ra) statement: say he is Khataman Nabiyyeen but do not say there is not prophet after him:
"HAZA NAAZIRUN ILAA NUZOOLI 'ISAA WA HAZA AIZAN LAA YUNAA FEE HADEETH LA NABIYYA BA'DEE LI ANNAHU ARAADA LAA NABIYYA YANSAKHU SHAR'AHU"
(This saying is based on the fact that Jesus is going to descend (as prophet) and it is not against the Hadith 'there is no prophet after me' because the Prophet (pbuh) meant 'there will not be any prophet who would cancel his law.) (Takmilah Majma'ul Bihaar, pg 85)
Hazrat Imam Ali Qaari
Hazrat Imam Ali Qaari (Alaihir Rahmah), an Imam of the Hanafi school and a renowned interpreter of Hadeeth, wrote:
"That there is no revelation after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is false; there is no truth in it. Yes! in the Hadith are the words 'La Nabiyya Ba'di' which, according to scholars, means that there will not be such a prophet in the future who brings such a law that abrogates that of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)." (Al Ishaa'at Fil Sharaatis Saa'ah, pg 226)
Hazrat Shah Waliullah
Hazrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddith of Delhi (Alaihir Rahmah), the Mujaddid of the 12th century and given the title of "Khatamal Muhadditheen" by some writers was of the following view:
"KHUTIMA BIHIN NABIYYOONA AI LAA YURJADU MAN YA'MURUHULLAHU SUBHAANAHU BITTASHREE'I 'ALANNAASI"
("The ending of prophets at the advent of the Holy Prophet means that after him, there can be no such person as would be given a law by the Almighty Allah and sent to the people.") (Tafheemati Ilaahiyyah, Tafheem # 53)
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Haye
Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Haye of Lacknow writes:
"After the Holy Prophet (pbuh) or during his time, for a prophet to appear is not improbable" (Daafi'ul Wasaawis Fee Athar Ibn Abbaas, New Edition, pg 16)
Maulvi Muhammad Qaasim
Maulvi Muhammad Qaasim of Nanauta (Rehmatullah Alaih) who was the founder of the Deoband Seminary, an organization now viewed with respect by anti-Ahmadiyya organizations, also believed in the views such as the ones I am presenting here. He stated:
"According to the layman, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings on him, being Khatam is supposed to have appeared after all the other prophets. But men of understanding and the wise know it very well that being the first or the last, chronologically, does not carry any weight. How could, therefore, the words of the Holy Quran 'But he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of Prophets (33.41)' mean to glorify him? But I know very well that none from among the Muslims would be prepared to agree with the common men" (Tahzeer-ul-Naas: pg 3)
Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan
Also, among recent scholars, Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bhopal, who was the leader of the Ahle Hadith in India wrote:
"The Hadith 'La Wahya Ba'da Mautee' is baseless, although 'La Nabiyya Ba'adee' is quite correct, which, according to people with knowledge, means that 'there shall be no prophet after me who shall be raised with a new code of Law which shall abrogate my law'." (Iqtarabus Saa'at: pg 162)
This list is by no means exhaustive but representative and even so, partially. I shall leave you with a joint statement agreed upon by two scholars, Hazrat Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Baqee and Ibni 'Asakar, which has impressed me so much with the beauty of their words that I present it to you as a closing statment, and I think what they said could not have been said better. As background knowledge, let me mention that one meaning of "Khatam" is finger-ring:
"The meanings of KHATAMAN NABIYYEEN are that the Holy Prophet, in his physical and spiritual build, is the most charming and lovable personality, peace be upon him. This is because the glory and the spiritual magnitude of all the prophets is manifested through him and he can be likened to the beautiful ring worn for adornment." (Zarqani Sharah Mwahabul Luddunia: vol. 3, pg 163 and Sehlul Huda wal Irshad: pg 55)
I have seen a lot of the actual books of these scholars with my own eyes -- where? -- in the office of a friend of my father, Dost Muhammad Shahid, who is the official historian of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. I wonder if I shall ever see him again because I heard that he is imprisoned in Pakistan, in offense of having written verses of the Holy Quran. If an Ahmadi Muslim does this in Pakistan, or just "poses as a Muslim", he/she is liable to imprisonment.
I think I have made my case pretty fairly. I have written this series of articles not with the intention to "show off" that my understanding of the subject is better than any one else's; it could be worse. I have tried to restrict myself to brief comments, giving most of the length to quotations. The treasure of knowledge given to us by these great scholars is our common heritage. At the time they made their invaluable contributions to knowledge, there was no Ahmadi or non-Ahmadi Muslim. I expect that readers will try to keep all hatred, malices, dislikes, prejudices and veils on hearts aside while doing the reading. Clearly, there is a wealth of information on the subject of finality or continuity of prophethood, which ever is the case. The purposes of this series has been to advance scholarship, uncover some less talked-about issues, reduce distance between people opposed to each others' views and begin a new round of discussion which, I hope, would be free of flames, like these articles of mine have been.
Peace be upon one who follows guidance.
Regards To Readers,