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Finality of Prophethood

by
S. Abul A'la Maududi



"O people ! Muhammad has no sons among ye men, but verily, he is the Apostle of God and the last in the line of Prophets. And God is Aware of everything." (Surah Al Ahzab: 40)

 This verse has been revealed in the fifth Ruku' (para or passage) of Surah al-Ahzab. In this Ruku' Allah has provided answers to all those objections raised by the hypocrites, which had given rise to a storm of calumnies, slander and mischief in respect of the marriage of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with Hadrat Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her).

 These hypocrites argued that Zainab was the wife of an adopted son of the Holy Prophet and by this connection she stood in the position of the Prophet's daughter in-law. Hence, after her divorce from Zaid, the Prophet had taken his own daughter-in-law as wife.

 In order to refute this allegation Allah told clearly in verse 37 that this marriage had Divine sanction behind it and was made to serve as a lawful precedent for Muslim men to marry the wives of their adopted sons after they had been divorced by their husbands. Later in verses 38 and 39, Allah affirmed that no power could hinder the Prophet from discharging a Divine obligation. The Prophets are ordained to fear God, not the people. It has been an invariable practice of the Apostles to transmit the Divine message without any extraneous care and to perform the duties enjoined upon them by Allah without fear or hesitation. Afterwards a verse was revealed which extinguished the basis of all objections. In the first place, they had charged "You have taken your daughter-in-law as wife, in contravention of your own law that the wife of a son is forbidden to his father."

 In refutation of this charge it was affirmed by the Almighty:

"Muhammad had no sons among ye men..."

 thereby making absolutely clear that the man whose divorced wife was taken into wedlock by the Prophet being not his real son; the act, therefore did not imply violation of it.

 The argument of their second charge ran thus: "Admitted that the adopted son is not the real one, and on that basis a father might lawfully marry the divorced spouse of his adopted son, but where was the compulsion for the Prophet to do so?"

 Allah affirmed in answer to this charge:

"But, verily, he is the Apostle of Allah".

 The implication is that it was Allah's mandate to the Holy Prophet to wipe out all prejudices and declare all taboos that pagan custom had unnecessarily imposed upon the people, as lawful. In this respect the Prophet's action was unequivocal and left no room for doubt. (see footnote 1, below.)

 In order to lay particular emphasis upon this point Allah observes: (Khatim Al-Nabbiyeen)

"And he is the last in the line of Prophets,"

which means that no messenger nor even a Prophet charged with the mission of carrying out reforms in the sphere of Law or society which might have been omitted (God forbid) during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH) will ever succeed him. Since Allah ordained the ministry of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to be final, it was, therefore, imperative that he should accomplish the task of uprooting this pagan custom.

Later the point has been further emphasized in the revelation (Wa Kan ul-Allahi Be-kulle Shai-in 'Aleema):

"God is Aware of everything."

The true import of this revelation is that Allah deemed it best to remove this pagan custom through the agency of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that Allah only could take cognisance of the harm that the perpetuation of this infidel custom would have entailed. Allah was well aware that the line of Prophethood ended in Muhammad (PBUH) whose precedent the whole ummah would follow, and had he not done away with this custom, there would arise no man comparable in status to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who could accomplish the task. And suppose a reformer had arisen in later times who would break this custom, his act would not have constituted a universal or permanent precedent for Muslims of all ages and all countries to follow. No other person that follows will embody the Divine sanctity which attaches to the person of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Hence the precedent of no man but Muhammad has the potential of wiping out the idea of all pagan customs from the souls of men for all times to come.

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footnote 1.

At this point those who deny the finality of Muhammad's Prophethood (PBUH) demand to know the tradition in which this allegation has been reported. This query in fact lays bare their ignorance. The Holy Qur'an furnishes answers to the charges of the mischief-mongers at several points without actually mentioning the charge. In each case, however, the relevant text bears unmistakable evidence as to which allegation is being answered. In the present case also the answer contains the substance of the question. The use of the conjunctive word "but" at the end of the first sentence presupposes that part of the question had yet to be dealt with. The second sentence, therefore, furnishes answer to the remaining part of the question. The first sentence had revealed to the objectors the answer to their charge that 'Muhammad had married his daughter- in-law.' However, the second point of the question "where was the compulsion for the Prophet to do so" still called for an answer. This answer was provided by the next sentence in the text.

"But verily, Muhammad is the Apostle of God and last in the line of Prophets of God."

 The point may be further explained by taking an illustration from ordinary conversation. Someone says "Zaid had not risen, but that Bakr has stood up." Now this conveys the sense that Zaid has not risen, but the matter does not end there, as it gives rise to the query, "If Zaid has not risen, who has stood up then?" The subordinate clause of the above sentence "but Bakr has stood up" supplies an answer to this query. It is the same in the above case.


The Verdict of the Text of the Qur'an

A group who has raised the heresy of a new prophethood in modern times explains the meaning of the idea of the "Finality of Prophethood" as the 'Stamp of Prophethood' thereby implying that all prophets who would succeed Muhammad (PBUH) will bear his stamp and will attain to prophethood by his seal alone. No one, in other words, who does not bear the seal of Muhammad (PBUH) will attain the status of Prophethood. But the context in which the term

"the last in the line of Prophets"

has been revealed in the Holy Qur'an leaves no scope for such speculation. If indeed the term

"last in the line of Prophets"

 does bear the meaning intended by this group, then this term is surely out of place in the context in which it has been revealed. Furthermore, when the term is charged with this meaning it distorts the whole purpose of the revealed verse.

In this verse God refutes the charge and dispels doubts created by the mischievous people about the marriage of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her), the divorced wife of the Prophet's adopted son, Zaid. Does it stand to reason to make a sudden interpolation in this context of the point that Muhammad (PBUH) was the 'seal of Prophets' and that Allah had delegated to him the authority of attesting the bonafides of succeeding prophets ?

This interpretation bears no connection with the context-not the least even and is contrary to the purpose of Divine argument against the heretics. If this interpretation were true the non- believers might well have argued: "There is no hurry in doing away with this custom now. You might safely leave this task for your successor prophets who will bear your stamp."

According to a second interpretation of the idea of the finality of Prophethood advanced by this group it is said that the term

"Last in the line of Prophets"

 means the "exalted Prophet." They further explain that the line of Apostles will continue, though the excellence of Prophethood has been culminated in the person of Muhammad (PBUH). This interpretation is no less defective and harmful than the other one. It hardly bears any relation to the context and, in fact, conveys a contradictory sense of the verse. Taking this thread of argument the infidels and hypocrites would have plausibly pointed out, "Sir, there will be other prophets after you, howsoever inferior in status compared to you, to fulfil the Divine mission, why must you take it upon yourself to remove this custom also?"

The Dictionary Meaning of the Word 'Khatam-al-Nabiyyin'

It is evident that the text can bear one meaning and it is that Khatam-al-Nabiyyin stands for the Finality of Prophethood with a clear implication that the prophethood has been culminated and finalized in Muhammad (PBUH). It is not only the context that supports this interpretation but also the lexicography.

 According to Arabic lexicon and the linguistic usage Khatam means to affix seal; to close, to come to an end; and to carry something to its ultimate end.

 Khatama al-'Amala is equivalent to 'Faragha min al-'Almali' which means 'to get over with the task.' 'Khatama al-Ina' bears the meaning 'The vessel has been closed and sealed so that nothing can go into it, nor can its contents spill out.'

 'Khatam-al-kitab' conveys the meaning 'The letter has been enclosed and sealed so that it is finally secured.'

 'Khatama-'Ala-al-Qalb' means 'The heart has been sealed so that it cannot perceive anything new nor can it forswear what it has already imbibed.'

 'Khitamu-Kulli-Mashrubin' implies 'the final taste that is left in the mouth when the drink is over.'

 Katimatu Kulli Shaiinn 'Aqibatuhu wa Akhiratuhu means "The end in the case of everything denotes its doom and ultimate finish." Khatm-ul-Shaii Balagha Akhirahu conveys the sense, "To end a thing means to carry it to its ultimate limit."

 The term Khatam-i-Qur'an is used in the similar sense and the closing verses of Qur'anic Surahs are referred to as Khawatim. Khatim-ul-Qaum Akhirhuum means "The last man in the tribe." (Refer to Lisan-ul-'Arab; Qamus and Aqrab-ul- Muwarid). (see footnote 2, below.)

 For this reason all linguists and commentators agree that Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin means 'The Last in the line of Prophets.' The word Khatam in its dictionary meaning and linguistic usage does not refer to the post office stamp which is affixed on the outgoing mail. Its literal meaning is the 'seal' which is but on the envelope to secure its contents.

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footnote 2.

We have referred to three lexicons here, yet the elucidation of this point is not confined to these works alone. All authoritative dictionaries of the Arabic language interpret the word Khatam in the sense that we have given to it. But the deniers of the Finality of Prophethood in their endeavor to make a sneaky assault on the religion of God argue that if we refer to someone as 'Last of the Poets' or 'Last of the Legists' or 'Last of the Commentators', we do not necessarily mean that no poet, legist or commentator will come after them; rather we only mean to say that all excellence of their act has been concentrated in such men. The actual position, however, is that when we do use these exaggerated epithets for someone we do not thereby replace or remove the original meaning of the word 'Last'. It is preposterous to assume that by its metaphorical use to refer to the excellence or perfection of a man, the word 'Last' loses its original or real significance which is 'Final'. Such an assumption can only be accepted by a person who lacks elementary knowledge of the rules of grammar. There is no grammatical principle in any language by which the metaphorical meaning of a word may be taken as its real or original meaning. Besides, the metaphorical meaning in no case replaces or obliterates the real and basic meaning of the word.

When you tell an Arab 'Ja Khatam ul-Qaum', he will certainly not take it to mean that 'the perfect or the most excellent man of the tribe has come.' He will, on the other hand, take it to mean that 'the whole tribe, even to the last man, has come.'

There is another point to be considered. Such terms as the 'Last Poet', the Last Legist' or the 'Last Narrator of hadith' are eulogies used by men for other human beings whom they deem to be perfect and excellent. Those who use these hyperboles for other men certainly can not say, nor do they know, that people of such excellence will come in later times or not. So in human language these appellations are hyperboles, but when God uses for a person that such and such quality has been culminated in him, there is no reason to take it in the metaphorical sense in the strain of human expression. If Allah had pronounced someone as 'Last Poet', he would have been last poet in the literal sense of the word. If Allah appoints someone as His 'Last Prophet', there is absolutely no possibility of any other person attaining to that dignity after that.

God is Omniscient. Man has but limited knowledge. This being so, how can one construe the human praise of a person as 'Last Poet' or the last of the jurists in the same sense as God's pronouncement of a person as the 'Last Prophet'?


The Observations of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) About the Finality of Prophethood

The meaning of the word Khatam that emerges out of the context of the Holy Qur'an and which is the same as given in all lexicons of the Arabic language is also affirmed by the observations of the Holy Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him). We quote some authentic traditions to illustrate the case in point: ________________

footnote 3:

Referring to this tradition disbelievers in the Finality of Prophethood argue that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) called his mosque (Masjid) `the last mosque' despite the fact that it is not the last mosque, as countless other mosques have been built after it all over the world. Similarly when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) observed: `I am the last Prophet,' it did not mean that the line of prophets had ended, but that Muhammad (PBUH) was the last as regards his excellence amongst the Prophets of God and Mosque was the last one in the same sense. Such foolish reasoning is an irrefutable proof of the fact that these people have lost the faculty of perceiving the true meaning of the words of God and those of His Prophet(PBUH). Even a cursory glance through the whole chain of traditions in the context of which this particular tradition has been recorded makes true import of the words of the Holy prophet clear to any man. In this context the various traditions which Imam Muslim has recorded on the authority of Hadrat Abu Huraira, Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar and the mother of the Faithful Hadrat Maimuna narrate that there are only three mosques in the world to which the greatest sanctity is attached, and these are sacred above all other mosques. Worship in these mosques is rewarded with thousandfold blessings in comparisons to offering prayers in other mosques. It is because of this reason that it has been declared lawful to undertake a journey to these mosques to offer prayers therein. No other mosque, save these three, can claim such sanctity that a person should make a journey to offer worship there leaving all other mosques. Among the three mosques which bear the greatest sanctity in Islam, the first one is `Masjid Al-Haram' which was built by Hadrat Abraham(peace be upon him); the second one is the`Masjid al-Aqsa' which was erected by Hadrat Sulaiman (peace be upon him); and the third mosque is `Masjid-i-Nabawi' in the Holy city of Medina which was founded by the Holy Prophet(PBUH). The observation of the Holy Prophet in regard to `the last mosque' should be viewed in this context. The words of the Prophet(PBUH) meant that no Prophet would come after him, hence there would be no fourth mosque after the last Masjid-i-Nabawi(a mosque of the last Prophet). It follows, therefore, that no other mosque should bear such sanctity, that worship in it should be rewarded with more blessings in comparison with worship in other mosques and further there shall be no fourth mosque towards which it is lawful or even desirable for people to make a journey in order to offer prayers.

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footnote 4

In contrast to the observations of the Holy Prophet the deniers of the Finality of Prophethood quote the following words scribed to Hadrat `Aisha: "Say, indeed, that the Holy Prophet is the Final Apostle of God; but say not that no prophet will come after him." In the first place it is an audacity to quote the words of Hadrat `Aisha for contradicting the explicit command of the Holy Prophet(PBUH). Moreover the very words attributed to Hadrat `Aisha are not authentic. No authoritative work on Hadith contains this observation of Hadrat `Aisha nor any notable compiler of traditions has recorded or referred to it. This tradition is derived from a commentary entitled Durr-i- Manthur and a compilation of Hadith Known as Takmilah Majma-ul- Bihar, but its source and credentials are unknown. It is the height of audacity to put forward a statement of a lady companion in order to contradict the explicit observations of the Holy Prophet which the eminent traditionists have transmitted on the most authentic chains of transmission.


The Consensus of the Companions

After the Holy Qur'an and sunnah, the consensus of the companions of the holy Prophet (PBUH) holds the third position. All authentic historical traditions reveal that the companions of the prophet (PBUH) had unanimously waged a war on the claimants to the prophethood and their adherents after the demise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

In this connection the case of Musailama is particularly significant. This man did not deny that Muhammad (PBUH) was the Prophet of God; he claimed that God had appointed him as a co- prophet with Muhammad to share his task. The letter which had addressed to the Holy Prophet just before the Mussailama's death reads:

"From Musailma the prophet of God to Muhammad the Prophet of God(PBUH). I wish to inform you that I have been appointed as your partner to share in the burden of prophethood." The historian Tabari has recorded a tradition which says that the `call to prayers'(Adhan) which Musailama had devised for his followers included the words, "I testify that Muhammad is the Prophet of God."

Despite Musailama's clear affirmation of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), he was declared an apostate and ostracised from the society of Islam. Not only this but a war was waged on Musailama. History also bears witness to the fact that the tribe of Hunaifa (Banu Hunaif) had accepted Musailama's claim to prophethood in good faith. They had been genuinely led to believe that Muhammad (PBUH) had of his own accord declared Musailama as his partner in prophethood. A man who had learnt Qur'an in the Holy City of Medina went to the tribe of Banu Hunaifa and falsely represented the verses of the Qur'an as having been revealed to Musailama.

Though Banu Hunaifa had been deliberately misinformed, nevertheless the companions of the Holy Prophet did not recognize them as muslims and sent an army against them. There is no scope here for taking the view that the companions had fought against them as rebels and not as apostates. Islamic Law lays down that in the event of a war against the rebel Muslims, the prisoners taken in battle shall not be taken into slavery. The law further requires that even the rebellious Dhimmis, when taken as prisoners in battle, shall not go into slavery. But when military action was taken against Musailama and his followers, Hadrat Abu Bakr declared that the women and children of the enemy would be taken as slaves; and when they were taken prisoner in battle, they were enslaved. From among these a girl was given as a slave to Hadrat `Ali. She bore him a son named Muhammad bin Hanfiya, who is a renowned figure in the history of Islam. (Al- Badaya wan-Nihaya, Vol. VI, pp. 316 & 325)

This event is a clear proof of the fact that when companions fought against Musailama, they did not charge him with rebellion. The charge against him was that he had preferred a claim to prophethood after the line of Prophets had ended in Muhammad (PBUH) and he had thus misled other people to affirm faith in his claim of prophethood. The action against Musailama was taken immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) under the leadership of Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (may God be pleased with him), and it had the unanimous support of the entire body of the companions. There can be found no better and explicit example of the consensus of the companions than this.

The Consensus of all the Ulema of the Ummah

Next in line of authority after the consensus of the Companions stands the consensus, in matters of religion, of those ulema of the Muslims who came after the time of Companions (may God be pleased with them). A glance through the history of Islam from the first century up to the modern times reveals to us the fact that the ulema of all periods in every Islamic country of the world are unanimous in their conviction that no new prophet can be raised after Muhammad (PBUH). They all agree in the belief that anyone who lays a claim to Prophethood after Muhammad (PBUH) and anyone who puts faith in such a claim is an apostate and an outcast from the community of Islam.

 The following facts are appended as an illustration of this:

These are the expositions of the leading savants, jurists, scholars of Hadith and commentators of every realm of Islam, from the sub-continent of India to Morocco and Spain (Andulus) and from Turkey to Yemen. We have indicated their years of birth and death in each case so that the reader may realise at first glance that this list includes eminent authorities of every century of the Islamic History falling between the first and thirteenth century. We might even have added expositions by the learned doctors of Islam belonging to the fourteenth century; but we omitted the Ulema of the 14th century purposely because someone might state that these scholars had explained the meanings of Khatam-i-Nabuwat as 'the Seal of all Prophets' to refute the claim of the 'new prophets' of the modern age.

It cannot, however, be said that the ulema of the past centuries entertained feelings of animosity against a later day personality claiming to be a prophet. These writings also make it clear beyond doubt that from the first century up to the present-day the entire Muslim world has unanimously taken the expression Khatam-un-Nabiyyin to mean `the Last of all Prophets.' Muslims of all periods have been unanimous in the belief that the office of prophethood has been sealed after the advent of the holy Prophet(PBUH). There has never been any difference of opinion among muslims that any person who prefers a claim to prophethood and those who believe in such a claim to prophethood are outside the pale of Islam. It is now up to all reasonable persons to judge that in the face of all this massive evidence- the plain dictionary meaning of the phrase 'Khatam-un-Nabiyyin' the interpretation of the Quranic verse in its true perspective, the exposition of the Holy Prophet himself and the consensus on the finality of prophethood of Muhammad(PBUH) of the entire body of muslims all over the world from the time of the companions of the Holy prophet to the present day followers of Islam-what scope is left for an alternative interpretation and what justification can they give for opening the door of prophethood for a new claimant. Furthermore, how can those people be recognized as Muslims who have not only expressed their opinion in favour of opening the door to prophethood, but they have, in fact, catapulted a man into the mansion of the Prophets of God and have become the followers of this trespasser? In this connection three more points are noteworthy.

Is GOD the Enemy of our Faith?

In the first place, Prophethood is a delicate matter. According to the Holy Qur'an the idea of Prophethood is such a fundamental article of faith that one who believes in this idea is a believer and he who disbelieves is an infidel. If a man does not put his faith in a prophet, he is an apostate; similarly if he believes in the claim of an imposter to be a prophet, he becomes an infidel. In such a delicate and important matter Omniscient God certainly cannot be expected to have made a slip. If there were to be a Prophet after the time of Muhammad (PBUH), God would have made this possibility clear in the Holy Qur'an or He would have commanded His Apostle Muhammad to make a clear declaration of it. The Apostle of God would never have passed away without having forewarned his people that other Apostles would succeed him and that his followers must put their faith in the succeeding prophets.

Had God and His Messenger (PBUH) any intention of undermining our faith by hiding from us the possibility of opening the door of Prophethood after the advent of Muhammad (PBUH) and the coming of a new prophet, thus leaving us in a quandary that if we did not believe in the ministry of a new prophet we would apostate from Islam? Further than this, not only were we kept in the dark by God and His Messenger (PBUH) about all this, but, on the contrary, they made observations and affirmations which the Ummah for the last thirteen [now fourteen] hundred years has taken to mean and even today holds the view that no prophet will come after Muhammad (PBUH). Could God and His Messenger really temper with our faith? Supposing for a moment that admittance to the office of Prophethood is open and a new Prophet does appear, we shall refuse him without fear. For this refutation, God might call us to account on the Day of Judgement; but we shall place the whole record of His own affirmations and injunctions before Him and this evidence will prove that (God-forbid) Allah's Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger had led us to disbelieve the new prophet and had thus condemned us to be infidels. We have no fear that after considering this record God Almighty will consider it fit to punish us for blasphemy against the new Prophet. But if the door of Prophethood is in fact closed and no Prophet will arise after Muhammad (PBUH), and despite this fact a person puts his faith in the claim of a new prophet, that person should think well indeed as to what record can be presented before God in his defense to avoid the punishment for blasphemy and to achieve salvation? Such a man should look through the material of his defense before he is produced in the August Court of the Almighty. He should compare this material with the record that we have presented and then judge for himself if the material upon which he is relying for his defense is worth the trust of a reasonable man and can he court the risk of facing the charge of blasphemy and be punished for it with the kind of defense that he has at his disposal?

Do We Need a Prophet Now?

The second point which requires consideration is that Prophethood is not a quality to be acquired by any person who proves himself worthy of it by devoting himself to prayers and righteous deeds. Nor is it anything like a reward given in recognition of good service. Prophethood is an office and Allah appoints some person to this office to fulfill a special need. When such a need arises, God appoints a Prophet to fulfill it. Allah does not send prophets in rapid succession when there is no need or when the need has been fulfilled. When we refer to the Quran in order to find out conditions when the Prophets were appointed by Allah, we come to know that there are only four conditions under which the Prophets have been sent unto the world.

Firstly there was need for a prophet to be sent unto a certain nation to which no prophet had been sent before and the message brought by the Prophet of another nation could not have reached these people.

Secondly, there was need for appointing a prophet because the message of an earlier Prophet had been forgotten by the people, or the teachings of the former prophets had been adulterated and hence it had become impossible to follow the message brought by that Prophet.

Thirdly, the people had not received complete mandate of Allah through a former prophet. Hence succeeding prophets were sent to fulfill the task of completing the religion of Allah.

Fourthly, there was need for a second prophet to share the responsibility of office with the first prophet.

It is obvious that none of the above needs remains to be fulfilled after the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Holy Quran says that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been sent as a bearer of instructions for the whole mankind. The cultural history of the world bears testimony to the fact that since the advent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) up to the present time such conditions have always prevailed in the world which were conducive to transmitting his message to all nations at all times. It follows, therefore, that different nations no longer need different prophets after the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Holy Quran and the records of Hadith and the biographical details of the life of Muhammad (PBUH) stand witness to the fact that the Divine message brought into this world by the Holy Prophet is extant in its original and pure form. The Prophet's message has suffered no process of distortion or falsification. Not a single word has been added to or expunged from the Holy Book which the Prophet (PBUH) brought unto the world from Almighty Allah, nor can anyone make additions to or delete anything from it till the Day of Resurrection.

The message which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) conveyed by word and action has been transmitted to us in such comprehensive, pure and original form that we feel as if we were living in the environment and period of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

In this way the second condition under which prophets are sent unto the world has also been fulfilled.

Thirdly the Holy Qur'an clearly affirms that God has finally completed His Divine Mission through the agency of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Hence there is no room for a new prophet to carry the divine mission to completion.

As regards the fourth condition, if a partner were really needed he would have been appointed in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to share the burden of his ministry. Since no co- prophet was appointed, this condition also stands fulfilled.

We should, therefore, look around for a fifth condition under which a new prophet might be needed after Muhammad (PBUH). If a man argues that people have fallen into depravity, hence there is need for a new prophet to reform the degenerate people, we shall ask him: when did a prophet ever come to introduce reforms only that we should need one now to carry out the work of reformation? A prophet is appointed so that he may be the recipient of Divine revelation and Divine revelations are made with express purpose of transmitting a new message or to correct the wrongs that have crept into an earlier religion.

When the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) have been preserved in their original and comprehensive form and when the Divine mission has been completed by Muhammad (PBUH), all possible need for the transmission of Divine revelations have now been fulfilled and there is further need only of reformers to cleanse the evils of mankind, but there is no room for the prophets.

A New Prophethood is a Curse Rather than a Blessing for the Ummah

The third point which needs consideration is that whenever a prophet is sent unto a certain people the question of faith and infidelity invariably arises among these people. The faithful form one Ummah and the disbelievers automatically form different community. The difference that keeps these two communities apart is not peripheral or superficial but a basic and fundamental difference of belief or disbelief in a prophet; and those two communities can never merge with each other unless people of one side decide to surrender their faith.

In addition, these two Ummahs obtain guidance and derive their law from two different sources. One sect follows the law emanating from the Divine message and Sunnah of the Prophet they believe in; the other community is fundamentally opposed to the idea of this Prophet being the law-giver. On this basis, it becomes an impossibility for these two sections to join in a unified and cohesive society. It will be perfectly clear to a man who keeps the above facts in view that the Finality of Prophethood is a great blessing from Allah for the people of Islam. It is due to this that the Ummah has been able to form a permanent universal brotherhood.

The belief in the finality of Prophethood has secured Muslim society from the danger of any fundamental dissension which might result in permanent division in its ranks. Now every man who accepts Muhammad (PBUH) as a divinely appointed Guide and Leader and also is not inclined to seek instruction from any other source except the Divine message of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a member of the brotherhood of Islam and on this basis, can join this brotherhood at any time.

If the office of Prophethood had not been sealed once and for all after Muhammad (PBUH), the people of Islam could never have forged a cohesive society; for every new prophet would have shattered the unity of the Ummah.

A reasonable man after a little deliberation will come to the conclusion that when a prophet has been sent to the whole mankind (not just to a certain group or nation), and when the Divine message has been completely transmitted through this Prophet and further when the teachings of the Prophet have been fully preserved, the office of prophethood should be sealed after him in order that the whole world may unite in allegiance to this Prophet and form one brotherhood of the faithful. Only in this way can universal brotherhood of Islam be secured against needless dissensions which might have repeatedly erupted on the appearance of every successive prophet.

A prophet may be a shadow or a buruzi prophet; or "a prophet who is law-giver and the bearer of a Divine book." The appearance of anyone of the above God-appointed prophets will invariably have the social consequence of his followers forming one Ummah and his detractors being condemned as infidels and hence outside the pale of Islam. This division of mankind is unavoidable when the need for a prophet is inevitable. But in the absence of such a need, it is utterly impossible to expect that Allah in His Wisdom and Beneficence will needlessly cause strife among His creatures on the question of faith and disbelief, thus for ever preventing His creatures to form one Ummah. Hence what is confirmed by the Qur'an and what is clearly affirmed to be true by the Sunnah and the consensus of the Ummah, is also corroborated by reason. Reason demands that the office of prophethood should remain sealed hereafter for all time to come.

The Reality of `Masih' i.e. "The Incarnation of Jesus Christ"

The propagandists of the new prophethood usually tell the Muslim laity that the traditions have foretold the arrival of a `Christ incarnate'. They argue that Christ was a prophet, hence his re-emergence is not contrary to the concept of the finality of prophethood. The concept of the finality of prophethood is valid, but, nevertheless the idea of the arrival of `Christ incarnate' is also tenable.

Further on, they explain that `Christ incarnate' does not refer to the Christ, son of Mary(PBUH). Christ(PBUH) is dead. The person whose arrival has been foretold in the tradition is a `man like Christ',`An incarnation of Jesus. And he is such and such a person who has already arrived. To follow him is not contrariwise to belief in the Finality of prophethood.'

To expose the fallacy of this case we record here authentic traditions on this subject with full references to the authoritative works on Hadith. After going through this collection of Ahadith, the reader can judge for himself as to how the observations of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) are being presented today in a form which bears no relation to their original shape and content.

Traditions Relating to the Descent of Christ, Son of Mary

The above are twenty-one traditions which have been transmitted on the authority of fourteen companions of the Holy Prophet and have been recorded with correct references in the most authoritative books on Hadith. In addition to these, there are numerous other traditions relating to the same subject, but we have not reproduced them here for the sake of brevity. We have taken as example only those traditions which are sound and authentic as regards chain of transmission.

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footnote 10

Afiq known as Fiq in modern times is a city in Syria, situated on the borderline between Syria and Israel. There is a lake called Tibriya a few miles toward the west of the city. This lake is the source of river Jordan. Towards the southwest of this lake, there is a path between the mountains which descends two thousand feet to the point in the lake of Tibriya where the river rises. This mountainous path is called the slope of Afiq.

The Verdict of these Traditions

Anyone who reads the above traditions will come to the conclusion that they do not mention the advent of a promised Masih or a like Masih or projection of Masih. The texts referred to above leave no scope for any man who is born of human sperm from the womb of a woman to declare "I am that Masih whose advent was foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)." All the above traditions clearly and definitively proclaim the descent of that Holy Christ who was born to Mary without the instrumentality of father two thousand years ago. It is certainly of no avail at this juncture to open the debate as to whether the Holy Christ is dead or exists alive somewhere in the world. Supposing he is dead, God has the power to raise him alive[see footnote 11], otherwise also it is not beyond the Divine power of God to keep a man alive somewhere in the cosmos for as long as thousands of years; and to bring the man back to the world at His Will. At any rate, a believer in the veracity and sanctity of the traditions will have no doubt that the traditions foretell the advent of 'Christ son of Mary' and no one else. On the contrary, if a person has no faith in the traditions, he would not be a believer in the descent of anyone, for traditions are the only bases of the doctrine of Descent. In view of all this, it is a strange kind of funny logic to take the doctrine of Descent derived from the traditions and having torn out the clear reference to Christ son of Mary, establish a modern day 'Christ incarnate' in place of Mary's son.

Yet another point which is made equally clear by the traditions is that Christ son of Mary will not descend in the capacity of a newly appointed Apostle of God. He will not receive any Divine revelations. He will not be the bearer of any new message or repository of a fresh mandate from God, nor will he amend, enlarge or, abridge the Shariah of Muhammad (PBUH), nor indeed will Christ son of Mary be brought into the world to accomplish the renewal of faith. Christ son of Mary (PBUH) will not call upon the people to put their faith in his own prophethood, nor will he found a separate community of followers[see footnote 12]. He will be appointed to accomplish a particular task and this will be to root out the mischief of Dajjal. To serve this purpose, Jesus(PBUH) will descend in such manner that those Muslims among whom he appears, will have no doubt at all about his identity as Jesus son of Mary whose advent at a most opportune time was foretold by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Jesus(PBUH) will join the community of Muslims and will offer prayers behind the incumbent Imam of the Muslims[see footnote 13]. He will allow the incumbent Imam of the Muslims to supersede him so as to make it clear beyond any shadow of doubt that he has not descended to assert his position as a Prophet or to carry out the office of Prophethood. There is no doubt that in the presence of a Prophet among a community of people no other person can assume the office of an Imam or a leader. Hence when Jesus(PBUH) will become an individual member of the Fraternity of Islam, this fact will in itself proclaim to the world that he has not descended to assume the office of a Prophet. On this basis, therefore, the question of opening the seal of Prophethood at the second coming of Christ is completely irrelevant.

It might be said (without actually comparing the two situations) that Jesus's advent will be like the appointment of a former Head of State to render some State service under the regime of the present Head of State. It is not too difficult for a man of ordinary common sense to understand that the appointment of a former Head of State to render some State duty under the regime of present Head is not a violation of the constitution of the State. Two cases, however, do violate the State Law. In the first case, if a former Head of State makes a bid to assume that office once again. In the second case, if a person refutes the existence of the former regime of a defunct Head of State, for this would be tantamount to challenging the validity of the tasks carried out by the former regime. In the absence of any one of the above two eventualities, the mere appointment of a past Head of State to a State duty does not change the constitutional position. The same applies to the second advent of Christ, son of Mary. The seal of Prophethood is not violated by his second advent. However, if he assumes the office of Prophethood once more and starts performing the duties of a Prophet or conversely a man repudiates the sanctity of Christ (PBUH) as a former Prophet, both these cases constitute a violation of God's law in respect of the creation of Prophets. The traditions have clearly ruled out the existence of both these possibilities. On the one hand, the traditions affirm that no Prophet shall come after Muhammad (PBUH). At the same time, they foretell the second coming of Christ, son of Mary. This is sufficient to make it clear that during his second advent in the world, Christ will not discharge the duties of a Prophet.

In the same manner, his advent will not give rise to a new question of faith or apostasy among the followers of Islam. Any one who repudiates the sanctity of Christ as a former Prophet is an apostate. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself affirmed Christ's sanctity as a former Prophet. The followers of Muhammad (PBUH) therefore, have from the beginning, always believed in the sanctity of Christ as a former Prophet. This belief will hold good even at the time of the second advent of Christ. At that time Muslims will not put faith in the ministry of a new Prophet. They will retain their belief in the sanctity of Christ as a former Prophet. This position is neither contrary to faith in the Finality of Prophethood today nor will it be derogatory to this belief at the time of Christ's second advent in the world.

The last point which is made clear by these other traditions and numerous others pertains to the fact that Dajjal (for the suppression of whose grave misdeeds God will send Christ, son of Mary(peace be on him), will arise among the nation of Jews and that he will impose as 'Masih.'

No one can understand the reality of this fact without studying the history of the Jews and their religious beliefs. After the death of Hadrat Sulaiman (PBUH) [i.e. Solomon], the tribe of Israel suffered perpetual decline until it came to pass that they became slaves of the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires and their imperial masters dispersed them over the face of the earth. At that moment in their history the Prophet of the Jews began to deliver the glad tidings of the arrival of a 'Masih' from God who will redeem them from disgrace. On the basis of such prophecies the Jews had long awaited the advent of a 'masih' who would be a king. This king would fight and win territories. He would gather Jews from all over the world and assemble them in Palestine. He would create a mighty Jewish Empire. Contrary to all their eager expectations when the God-appointed 'Masih', Christ son of Mary (PBUH) came without an army to win countries, the Jews repudiated his Prophethood and determined to put an end to his life. Since then the Jews all over the world have awaited the rise of a 'Masih Mau'ud,' 'The Promised Messiah,' the glad tidings of whose arrival had been delivered to them by their Prophets of yore. Their literature abounds with the wishful dreams of this millennium. The Jews have for centuries been savoring the imaginary pleasure afforded by the description of this millennium in Talmud and the works of the Rabbis. The Jewish nation has cherished the hope that this 'Promised Messiah' would be a great military and political leader. He will restore to them the country between the rivers Nile and Euphrates (which the Jews have always coveted as their patrimony). He will gather Jews from all parts of the world and assemble them once again in this country.

Today when we look at the affairs of the Middle East in the perspective of the prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we perceive at once that the stage has been set for the emergence of the Dajjal who as was foretold by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would rise as a 'Promised Messiah' of the Jews. The Muslim people have been ejected from a large part of Palestine and in that part a Jewish State named 'Israel' has been set up. Jews from all over the world are converging at this place. America, Britain and France have helped to make this Jewish State a formidable military power.

The Jewish scientists and technocrats are developing this country fast with the massive aid of Jewish capital. The military and technical potential of Israel poses a grave threat to the neighboring Muslim countries. The leaders of Israel have never concealed their design of redeeming 'the land of their patrimony.' The map of the future Jewish State which they have been publishing for a long time is given on the following page. [Map omitted] It shows that they wish to include in the Jewish State the whole of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, nearly all the area of Iraq besides taking Askandron from Turkey, Sinai and Delta area from Egypt and Upper Hejaz and Najd areas from Saudi Arabia. This of course includes the Holy City of Madina also. In this context, it is quite clear that taking advantage of the critical conditions created by a World war, the Jews will certainly make a bid to grab these areas. And at this juncture will arise Dajjal whom the Jews will deem as their 'Promised Messiah.' The Holy Prophet (PBUH) not only prophesied the advent of this Dajjal but also had warned the Muslims that they would suffer colossal hardships and one day will seem like one year of suffering and calamity. It was for this reason that the Prophet of God (PBUH) used to pray for protection against the great evil of 'Dajjal Masih' and he used to enjoin his followers to implore Allah to save them the severity of these evil times.

It is certain that Allah will not send any 'Christ Incarnate' to combat with this 'Dajjal Masih.' He will appoint the real Christ, the Christ who was born of Mary, and whom the Jews had declined to acknowledge as a Prophet two thousand years ago. He will send the same Christ whom the Jews believed they had put out of their way by killing him. The place where the real Christ will descend is not in India, Africa or America. It is in Damascus that he will appear, because this place will be the actual battle ground at that time. Look at the map no. 1

[map has to be omitted]

and you will find that Damascus lies at a distance of hardly 50-60 miles from the orders of Israel. If you recall the text of the traditions we have cited above, you will find it not too difficult to understand that Dajjal will penetrate into Syria with 70,000 Jewish troops and will take position before Damascus. At this moment of crisis, Christ son of Mary (PBUH) will descend near a white minaret in the Eastern quarter of Damascus. After the morning prayers, Christ (PBUH) will advance with the Muslims for fighting against Dajjal. The enemy will retreat before the powerful assault of Christ son of Mary, and Dajjal will run away towards Israel by way of the slope of Afiq (Reference to Tradition No. 21). Christ (PBUH) will pursue Dajjal and destroy him on the airfield of Lydda (Traditions No. 10-14- 15).

A great slaughter of the Jews will ensue and every one of them will be annihilated. The nation of Jews will be exterminated (Traditions No. 9-15-21).

At the proclamation of truth by Christ, the Christian religion will become extinct (Traditions No. 1-2-4-6). And the followers of all religions, their former having renounced allegiances, will amalgamate to form the one and only brotherhood of Islam. The traditions reveal this fact clearly beyond any doubt.

In view of the above, the propaganda network that has been set up in our country in the name of Masih Mau'ud, 'the Promised Messiah', is unquestionably a false and bogus venture.

One of the funniest aspects of this base movement is that the person who deems himself the subject of the prophecies of Muhammad (PBUH) has given this interesting explanation of his identity as 'Christ son of Mary':

"He (God Almighty) named me Mary in the third part of Barahin-i-Ahmadia. Later, as is evident from Barahin-i--Ahmadia I was reared in the form of Mary for two years. Then, my body was filled with the soul of Christ just as the body of Mary was filled with Christ's soul and in a metaphorical sense I became pregnant with the soul of Christ. At last after a period of many months (lasting not more than ten months) I was metamorphosed from Mary into Christ by a Divine revelation which has been recorded at the end of part four of Barahin-i-Ahmadia. Hence in this way I became the son of Mary." (Kashti-e-Noah, pp. 87-89).

In other words he became Mary in the first place, then got pregnant, and lastly from his own abdomen he issued forth as Christ son of Mary. There was one snag left, however. According to the traditions, Christ son of Mary, would appear in Damascus, which has been a prominent and famous place in Syria for several thousand years and still exists by this name on the map of the world.

This difficulty was explained away by another fanciful statement: "Let it be known that in respect of the interpretation of the word 'Damascus', God Almighty has explained to me in a revelation that in this place the name Damascus has been given to a village whose inhabitants possess the characteristics of Yazid and are followers of the habits and ideas of the impure Yazid. This town of Qadian, because of the reason that most of its residents possess the traits of Yazid in their character, is akin to and bears certain resemblance to Damascus (marginal note of Izala-i-Auham, pp. 63-73).

But that was not all. Yet another problem demanded clearance, i.e., the traditions had prophesied that Christ would descend near a white pillar. This problem was finally solved when the new 'Christ' got a white pillar built for him. The traditions mentioned that the white pillar would be standing prior to the descent of Christ near it and in Qadian the pillar was built after the appearance of 'Masih Mau'ud.' But never mind the discrepancy. Anyone who reads the above interpretations of this 'Masih Mau'ud' with open eyes will arrive at the conclusion that a clear fraud has been openly perpetrated by an imposter.

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footnote 11

Those who deny this possibility should go through verse 259 of Surah al- Baqarah, in which God affirms in clear words that He let one of His creatures lie dead for a hundred years and at the end of this period He raised the man alive.

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footnote 12

The Ulema of Islam have explained this question in detail. 'Allama Taftazani (722 A.H. - 792 A.H.) in Shara 'Aqaid-i-Nasafi writes: "It is established that Muhammad (PBUH) is the Final Prophet......If it is said that according to the Hadith the descent of Christ (PBUH) will take place after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we shall say, "Yes, this fact has been mentioned in the traditions. But Christ (PBUH) will appear as a follower of Muhammad (PBUH). The Shariah of Christ stands abrogated. Hence he will neither receive any Divine revelations, nor will he establish any canon. In all his actions he will represent Muhammad(PBUH) only."

The same view point has been re-affirmed by 'Allama Alusi in Tafsir Ruh- al-Ma'ani: Later when Christ (PBUH) appears, he will retain his dignity as a former Prophet. After all, God will certainly not divest him of this dignity, but he will not follow his former mandate, because the Shariahs of all prophets, including that of Christ (PBUH), stand abrogated. Hence it will be a Divine obligation upon Christ (PBUH) to follow in letter and spirit the law of Muhammad (PBUH). He will receive no Divine revelation, nor will he be charged with the duty of giving new religious laws. In all his deeds, Christ will act as a representative of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and he will function as a deputy and one among the rulers of the followers of Muhammad (PBUH).

Imam Razi further elucidates this point like this: The period of the Prophets extended as far as the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). When Muhammad (PBUH) was raised as a Prophet, the era of the advent of new Prophets came to an end. It is not beyond comprehension that Christ (PBUH), after his descent, will act as a follower of Muhammad (PBUH).

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footnote 13

Although two traditions (No.5 and 21) bear ample evidence that Jesus (PBUH) will act as leader in the first prayer after his descent, the majority of the traditions which are comparatively more authentic (vide No. 3,7,9,15,16) speak of the fact that Jesus(PBUH) will decline to lead the prayers. He will call upon the incumbent Imam of the Muslims to step forward and lead the prayers. All scholars of traditions and commentators are agreed on this latter point.