Imam Ghazali and Khatm-e-Nabuwwat

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)

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