`Allama Shahrastani (died A.H. 548), in his renowned book, Almilal wan Nahal, writes: “And similarly who says that a prophet shall come after Mohammed (pbuh), there are no two opinions that such a man is an infidel.” (Vol. 3, p. 249)
Imam Razi (543 A.H.-606 A.H.), in his work Tafsir Kabir while explaining the meaning of the verse Khatam-un-Nabiyyin states: “In this context the term Khatam-un Nabiyyin has been used in the sense that a Prophet whose ministry is not final may leave some injunctions or commandments incomplete or unexplained thus providing scope for a succeeding prophet to complete the task. But the Prophet who will have no successor is more considerate and provides clear guidlines for his followers, for he is like a father who knows that after him there will be no guardian or patron to look after his son.”(Vol. 6, p. 581)
Imam Ghazali (450 A.H-505 A.H.) says `If the right of denying the authority of consensus be admitted, it will give rise to many absurdities. For example, if someone says that it is possible for a person to attain the office of Prophethood after our Apostle Mohammed (pbuh), we shall not hestitate to pronounce him as an infidel, but in the course of a controversy the man who wishes to prove that any reluctance in pronoucing such a person as an apostate is a sin shall have to seek the aid of consensus in support of his arguments, because reason is no arbiter against the possibilty of the existance of a `new prophet.’ As regards the followers of the `new prophets’ they will not be utterly incapable of making various interpretations of La Nabiya Ba`di, “There will be no Prophet after me” and Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin, `Last of the Prophets.’ A follower of the `new prophets’ might say that Khatam-ul-Naibiyyin, `Last of the Prophets’ bears the meaning “last of the prominent Messengers.” If you argue that “prophets” is a common word, he would very easily give this term a particular significance with regard to his own `prophethood.’ In respect of `No Prophet will come after him’, such a man would contend that this expression does not say that `No Messengers will follow him.’ There is a difference betwen a Prophet and a Messenger. The status of a Prophet is higher than that of the Messenger. The fact is that such absurdities can be indulged in ad infinitum. It is not difficult, in our view, to make different interpretations of a word. Besides, there is no ample scope for people to commit blunders ever and beyond these points in the exposition of these clear words. We cannot even say that those who make such interpretations are guilty of the denial of clear injunctions. But to refute those who have but their faith in the false expositions we shall say that the entire Ummah by a consensus of opinion recognizes that the words `No Prophet shall come after him’ and the context of the traditions suggests that the Holy Prophet meant that `No Prophet, nor Messenger shall follow him.’ Furthermore, the Ummah is agreed on the point that above words of the Holy Prophet leave no scope for a different interpretation than given to it by the consensus of the Ummah and he who would not join the consensus is no more than a dissident. (Al-Iqtisad Fil Aiteqad, p.114, Egypt)
Allama Ibn Hazm Andulasi (384 A.H.-456 A.H.) writes: “It is certain that the chain of Divine revelations has come to an end after the death of the Holy Prophet(pbuh). The proof of this lies in the fact that none but a prophet can be the recipient of Divine revelations and God has affirmed that Mohammed has no sons among ye men and he is the Messenger of God and that He has sealed the office of Prophethood.” (Al-Mohallah, Vol. 1, p.26)
In his book `Aqida-i-Salfia, while explaining the beliefs of the pious forbearers and particularly those of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Mohammed, Imam Tahavi (239 A.H.-321 A.H.) writes that Mohammed (pbuh) is a highly venerable servant of God. He is the chosen Prophet and the favorite Messenger of Allah. He is the last of the Prophets, Leader of the pious, chief of the Messengers of Allah and the beloved one of the Lord. After him every claim to Prophethood is an error manifest and worship of one’s evil-self.” (Sharah al-Tahawiya Fil-‘Aqidat-ul-Salfia, Dar-ul-Ma’arif, Egypt, pp. 15, 87, 96, 97, 100, 102)
Allama Ibn Jarir Tabari (224 A.H.-310 A.H.) in his renowned commentary of the holy Qur’an gives the following interpretation of the verse, ‘walakin Rasul Allahi wa Khatam-ul Nabiyyin’: “He has closed and sealed the prophethood and the door (of prophethood) shall not open for anyone till the end of the world.” (Vide Commentary of Ibn-i-Jarir, Vol. 22, p.12)
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 Mohammed (pbuh). They all agree in the belief that anyone who lays a claim to Prophethood after Mohammed (pbuh) and anyone who puts faith in such a claim is an apostate and an outcast from the community of Islam. A man in the time of Imam Abu Hanifa (80 A.H.-150 A.H.) laid claim to Prophethood and said “Let me show you the proofs of my prophethood.” The great Imam thereupon warned the people: “Anyone who asks of this man the credentials of prophethood, shall become an apostate, for the Prophet of God (pbuh) has explicitly declared: “No prophet will come after me.” (Manaqib al-Imam-i-Azam Abi Hanifa, Ibn Ahmad al-Makki, Vol. I, p.161, published in Hyderabad, India, 1321 A.H.)
The Holy Qur’an is the everlasting miracle of the last Prophet. The miracles of the former Prophets like Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Musa and Prophet ‘Isa, each of whom had a revealed Book and also wrought miracles, were distinct from their revealed Books. They wrought such miracles as the transformation of a blazing fire into ‘coolness and peace’, the conversion of a dry piece of wood into a serpent and bringing the dead to life. Obviously each of these miracles, was temporary and passing. But in the case of the last Prophet his Book itself was his miracle. It is the proof of his Prophethood. As such, the miracle of finality, unlike any other miracle, is everlasting, not passing nor meant only for the time being.
The fact that a Divine Book is the miracle of the last Prophet is absolutely in comformity with his time, the age of the advancement of science, knowledge, culture and education. The eternity of this Holy Book is also in consonance with the eternity of its message which is never to be abrogated.
The Holy Qur’an in several verses of it has expressly proclaimed this extraordinary and superhuman aspect of itself. One of these verses says:
“If you are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our bondman, then bring a chapter like it.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:23)
It has also expressly mentioned several other miracles wrought by the last Prophet.
The Holy Qur’an has dwelt on a number of questions related to the miracles. It declares that a Divine message must be accompanied by some miracles, that a miracle is a decisive evidence and definite proof, that the Prophets work the miracles by the will of Allah and that they work them to prove the veracity of their claim, and that they are not bound to accede to every request of everybody in this respect. In other words, the Prophets are not expected to hold an exhibition of miracles or to set up a factory of them.
As the Holy Qur’an has dealt with these questions, it has also expressly recounted the stories of the miracles of many of the former Prophets like Nuh, Ibrahim, Lut, Salih, Hud, Musa and ‘Isa, and has categorically confirmed them.
The following verse clearly explains the superiority of Islam over all religions past and present. Allah declares,
وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).”
(The Holy Quran, Chapter of Ale’ Imran, verse 85)
This verse decrees the establishment of Islam as the final religion of Allah. This verse invalidates all new religions that appeared after Islam like, Sikhism, Qadianism and Bahaism. Thus the doors of prophethood were closed on all future claimants, thereby establishing the finality of Islam as well as that of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h).
The comprehensiveness of the rules and precepts of Islam and the end of prophecy with the Holy Prophet of Islam have been clearly expressed in the Qur’an:
`And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly. and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing’ (6:115).
‘Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the Last of all Prophets, and God is cognizant of all things’ (33:40).
In the Arabic language, wherever the word `khatam’ is attached to a word, it conveys the meaning of `the last’ and in this verse it refers to `the last of the prophets’. Nabi means any type of divine messenger. 1
Obviously, the word messenger can be applied to all prophets so by saying that Muhammad is the last of all prophets, God means that he is the last of all messengers and that after him there will come no prophet, nor any messenger from God, nor any person with a new holy book.
`Surely this Qur’an guides to that which is most upright and gives the good news to the believers who do good that they shall have a great reward (17:9).
Therefore, human beings have no need for any other prophet, any other rules and regulations, or any other school of thought because all they need is to be found in the Qur’an.
There are so many documents and testimonies to the fact that the Prophet was the last of all prophets that in Islam this reality is considered one of the clearest points.
Now your attention is drawn to some narrations:
The Prophet has himself said, `You must know that there will come no Prophet after me and no faith after my faith of Islam…’.2
Imam Baqir (peace be upon him) has said, `God has ended Holy Books with your Book, the Qur’an, and prophets with your Prophet…’.3
Hazrat ‘Ali (peace be upon him) has said, `God assigned Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants, to be a prophet after all other prophets and has ended revelation with him’. 4
The Prophet said to Hazrat ‘Ali, `Your relation to me is like that of Aaron to Moses, peace be upon him, with the difference that there will come no prophet after me’.” 5
Imam Riza (peace be upon him) has said, `The faith of Muhammad (peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants) will not be abolished until the Day of Resurrection, and no prophet will come after him until that day’. 6
These and many other traditions and narrations are perpetual proclamations of the Prophet as the last of all prophets and Islam as the only comprehensive faith.
The splendour of the purport of this faith as well as its profound precepts and comprehensive rules ensure its perpetuity till the Day of Judgment.
Now that God has endowed us with such a matchless magnificent faith, surely it is our duty to communicate it to all other people so all will benefit from this holy faith.
- Jami’ ul-Javami’, p.275; Tafsir al-Mizan, Vol. 2, p.144; Tafsir ul-Kashif, Vol. 3, p.164; Tafsir ul-Biyadwi, p.477; al-Bayan, Vol. 7, p.91; Ruh ul-Ma’ani, Vol. 22, p.32.