The Concept of Khatemiyat

In The Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful

khatam2The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is the last messenger of Allah, Quran is the divine book and Islam the last of Allah’s religions. But during the course of history one can witness corrupt and crooked minded people who have misused this belief to their advantage. Therefore, let us first analyse the literal
meaning of the word Khatemiyat.
Allama Ibn Manzoor (630-711 a.h.) in his famous lexicon, “Lesaanul Arab” (vol. 4, p 25) has
explained under the word “Khatama” as follows:
“The end of something, i.e. to reach to its end. May Allah end it with goodness. The end of anything means its fate and ultimate…. Even the Quran has used it in this meaning when it says,
‘Muhammad is not the father of anyone among you. But he is the messenger of Allah and the last
of the Prophets.”
You observed that all the meanings of the words “Khaatam” and “Khatm” imply end. It is not
used in the meaning of ornament or its like. If a ring is called as Khatam it is because letters and
messages were sealed with it thereby implying that the letter has come to an end and nothing
more remains to be written.

Moreover, in the verse under deliberation, the word ‘Khatam’ is added to ‘Nabiyyeen’ which proves that the Holy Prophet (s.a.) is the last of the prophets (a.s.). Another important point is that in the Arabic language, the word ‘Nabi’ means the one who gives the news and ‘Rasool’ implies the one who brings a message from Allah. Both these words are not the opposites of each other. Rather, they can be used to supplement each other. In other words, it is quite possible that one person is both a Nabi as well as a Rasool, although the former encompasses the latter. So, when it is said that the Holy Prophet (s.a.) is the last Prophet and that there is no Prophet after him, then it is obvious that there is no messenger after him. Also, in authentic traditions, both the terms Nabi as well as Rasool have been used e.g. There are no Rasool after me. There are no nabi after me.

III) Clearing the doubts

They say that with the passage of time, numerous changes occur in human life. Hence, old and
antiquated laws cannot provide solutions for newer difficulties. So, for modern times and modern
societies, a new law and a modern shariah is called for.
Answer: The basis and foundation of any legal framework are the basic necessities of man. And there is no change in the basic human nature. Therefore, modifications in the basic human laws are not necessary at all. Of course, with the passage of time, man’s apparent and superficial needs undergo transformation and keep changing resulting in minor amendments in these superficial aspects. These changes are brought about in the light of the basic and fundamental constitution and in harmony with them. Therefore, the need for change in the constitution has not been felt nor will it ever be done.
After this brief premise, we would like to make it clear that we do not make any claim that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has explained all the minor details of every law and made mankind needless of divine proofs (a.s.). The religion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is complete and final. He has only related the general principles of the Islamic constitution and left its details to the Imams (a.s.). Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Sadeq (a.s.) have spelt out the finer points of these basic principles. (These two Imams have been mentioned in particular since they got the opportunity to do maximum propagation due to the political turmoil prevalent in their times).
So, the basic laws and principles like Tauheed, Adl, Prophethood, Maad, the laws of worship,
moral and ethical values, etc. do not change with the passage of time. And if at all any change occurred in the trivia or a new matter arose, the jurists have provided the solution for them under the heading “new problems or occurrences ” in the light of the traditions of the infallibles (a.s.). Incidentally, it should be paid attention to that if some individuals have misused or misinterpreted divine laws to achieve their personal goals and ambitions, then it does not affect the basic principles. Rather it only establishes the credibility of the interpreter and exposes his intentions.
At the end of this discussion, it is essential to indicate that when the skeptics talk about the changes, they cite the instance of the change in fashion and expect that like fashion, the divine shariah should change by the day. This mode of thought itself is in direct contradiction with the legal principles. As these skeptics believe in the necessity of Prophethood, it necessarily implies that they also render man helpless in formulating laws for himself and hence the need for divine Prophets becomes obvious. Thus, it is the duty of the people to refer to the Prophets and it is nobody’s case that the Prophets keep dishing out laws that are to the liking of the people.

Prophets are not the cooks of the commonality that they keep preparing newer dishes for them. Rather, they are the doctors, sages and rulers of the masses. A doctor does not prescribe medicines according to the taste of the patient but thinks only about the real need (eternal bliss in this case). Finally, we pray to the Almighty that He grants us the recognition of the Prophets (a.s.), especially the last Prophet (s.a.) and also grants us the grace and fortune to subscribe heartily to the message he has brought.

“The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.” (Baqarah: 285)

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