EVIDENCE IN THE QURAN
This is the first in a series of articles dealing with the question of the finality of prophethood. In this article, I give evidence based on verses of the Holy Quran, the divine book of Muslims. Many non-Ahmadi Muslims strongly believe that no prophet can come to the world now, since the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has appeared. Ahmadi Muslims believe, based on several points of evidence, that prophets can still appear after Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, among his followers, the restriction of no more prophets being for one who abrogates the existing Islamic Shariah or code of law, and brings a new one.
The verse non-Ahmadi Muslims most often present, is the following:
"MAA KAANA MUHAMMADUN ABAA AHADIN MIRRIJAALIKUM WALAAKIN RASOOLALLAHI WA KHATAMAN NABIYYEEN..." (The Holy Quran, Chapter 33; verse 41 including Bismillah .. as a verse)
MUHAMMAD IS NOT THE FATHER OF ANY OF YOUR MALES BUT IS A MESSENGER OF ALLAH AND IS THE SEAL OF THE PROPHETS...
This verse was revealed to Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when his adversaries jeered at him for his being issueless, when God comforted him with this verse among others, indicating his greatness and superiority. The word "walaakin" ("but") in the verse indicates that his being issueless is of little or no significance when one looks at his great qualities mentioned in the next part of the verse. Nowhere in the verse is there mention of his being the "last" prophet. If "seal" is taken to mean "last" in the context, it does not make any logical sense, as that would have further aggravated the mockery -- what good is there in coming last of all anyway? It does not signify greatness. The "seal" should be taken to mean the seal of authority, under attestation of which one can attain prophethood and in no other way. This seems to make more sense as shown by subsequent verses in the article:
In the very first chapter of the Holy Quran (Al Fatehah), God says:
"IHDINASSIRAATAL MUSTAQEEM. SIRAAT ALLAZEENA AN'AMTA ALAIHIM..."
GUIDE US IN THE RIGHT PATH, THE PATH OF THOSE ON WHOM THOU HAST BESTOWED THY BLESSINGS (Al Quran 1:6-7)
The chapter containing the above verse is supposed to be recited by every Muslim 30 or so, times in 24 hours, in which they ask for these blessings. As to who the recipients of these blessings are is defined in another verse of the Holy Quran:
"WA MAN YUTI'ILLAAHA WARRASOOLA FA ULAAIKA MA'ALLAZEENA AN'AMALLAAHU 'ALAIHIM MINAL NABIYYEENA WASSIDDEEQEENA WASHSHUHADAAI WASSAALIHEENA, WAHASUNA ULAAIKA RAFEEQAA".
AND WHOSO OBEYS ALLAH AND THIS MESSENGER SHALL BE AMONG THOSE ON WHOM ALLAH HAS BESTOWED HIS BLESSINGS, VIZ: THE PROPHETS, THE TRUTHFUL, THE MARTYRS AND THE RIGHTEOUS, AND EXCELLENT COMPANIONS ARE THESE. (Al Quran 4:70)
So it is clear that by obeying Allah and Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, one can be included in the above categories, prophethood being the highest, of course. An objection is made to the (4:70) verse's translation that I presented above, that the word "Ma'a" in the verse does not mean "among", but "with", so one who fulfils obedience to Allah and this messenger would not himself/herself attain these ranks, but will simply be "with" those who have done so in the past. True; it does mean "with" in the literal sense, but this is very weak reasoning. We do not always have to take the literal meaning of words, for else, we would have to accept, for one pertinent instance, that Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was just a "seal" and not a human being -- quite gross! Taking a look at another verse of the Holy Quran, we pray to God:
"...WATAWAFFANA MA'AL ABRAAR"
AND CAUSE US TO DIE WITH THE RIGHTEOUS (Al Quran, 3:194)
If we take literal meaning of "with" in this verse, it should follow from the verse, based on non-Ahmadi insistence in favor of literal vs. figurative meaning, that:
It is like praying to God: O God, please, please, whenever some righteous person is about to die, cause us to somehow stop breathing, put some embolus into our coronary arteries, or do something to somehow cause us to die EXACTLY AT THE SAME TIME when some righteous person in our neighborhood is about to die, for we want to "die with the righteous". I am sure even non-Ahmadi Muslims do not have this in mind when they say this prayer. What good would it do to a person to "die with" a righteous person. Several thieves, murderers, rapists, drug smugglers, "Jeffrey Dahmers", etc., may die synchronously with righteous people, but this does not make them good or do any good to them. The fact is, we pray to God to "MAKE US RIGHTEOUS" on the same pattern as other righteous people before us.
Another verse of the Holy Quran clearly points to the fact that Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was not the last of Prophets and that the door to prophethood is still open:
"YAA BANEE AADAMA IMMAA YA'TIYANNAKUM RUSULUN MINKUM YAQUSSOONA ALAIKUM AAYAATEE FAMANITTAQAA WA ASLAHA FA LAA KHAUFUN ALAIHIM WA LAA HUM YAHZANOON"
O CHILDREN OF ADAM! IF MESSENGERS COME TO YOU FROM AMONG YOURSELVES, REHEARSING MY SIGNS UNTO YOU, FEAR GOD AND DO GOOD DEEDS AS THEN, NO FEAR OR GRIEF SHALL TOUCH YOU (Al Quran, 7:36)
This week, I spoke on the phone with an Ahmadi author, Mr. Muhammad Isa Jaan, who is from Iraq. He told me that he joined the Ahmadiyya Movement by reading this verse. The verse was revealed to Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and it makes no sense to give an instruction in the verse regarding how to behave when a prophet appears, if Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, were the last.
Again, in the Holy Quran is a verse that points not only to the door of prophethood being open, but to Hadhrat Muhammad's , peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, return to the world (in a figurative sense):
"HUWALLAZEE BA'ATHA FIL UMMIYYEENA RASOOLAN MINHUM YATLOO ALAIHIM AAYAATIHI WAYUZAKKEEHIM WAYU'ALLIMUHUMUL KITAABA WAL HIKMAH; WA INN KAANOO MIN QABLU LAFEE DALAALIN MUBEEN; WA AAKHAREENA MINHUM LAMMAA YALHAQOO BIHIM, WA HUWAL AZEEZUL HAKEEM" (Al Jum'ah)
HE IT IS WHO HAS RAISED AMONG THE UNLETTERED A MESSENGER FROM AMONG THEMSELVES WHO RECITES UNTO THEM HIS SIGNS, AND PURIFIES THEM, AND TEACHES THEM THE BOOK AND WISDOM, ALTHOUGH THEY HAD BEEN, BEFORE, IN MANIFEST MISGUIDANCE. AND AMONG OTHERS FROM AMONG THEM WHO HAVE NOT YET JOINED THEM. HE IS THE MIGHTY, THE WISE (The Holy Quran, 62:3-4)
This verse relates to the advent of the Messiah and Mehdi from amongst Hadhrat Muhammad's, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, followers. The mention of his advent "among others from among them who have not yet joined them" refers to a community which had not yet come into existence then, but was sure to appear in the future, to "join" the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. It is important to note that the companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who were listening to the verse were intrigued and one of them even asked him as to who those lucky ones of the future would be. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, placed his hand on a companion's shoulder who was sitting by his side, Hadhrat Salman of Persia (may God be pleased with him) and stated:
"LAU KAANAL IMAANU MU'ALLAQAN BITHTHURAYYA LANAALUHU RAJULUN MIN HAA'ULAAI"
EVEN IF FAITH DISAPPEARED FROM THE EARTH AND MOVED UP TO THE ZENITH, A MAN FROM THESE WILL BRING IT BACK TO THE EARTH
Is it a mere coincidence, then, that Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, was of Persian descent? He claimed to be the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Now let me give you another verse of the Holy Quran, portending the philosophy of these "last prophet" people in history. Declaring Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the last of prophets in time is not a new phenomenon in human behavior. God says in the Holy Quran:
"WA LAQAD JAA'AKUM YOOSUFU MIN QABLU BILBAYYINAATI FAMAA ZILTUM FEE SHAKKIM MIMMAA JAA'AKUM BEHEE, HATTAA IZAA HALAKA QULTUM LAN YAB'ATH ALLAHU MIN BA'DIHEE RASOOLAN. KAZAALIKA YUDILLULLAAHU MAN HUWA MUSRIFUM MARTAABU; NILLAZEENA YUJAADILOONA FEE AAYAATILLAHI BIGHAIRI SULTAANIN AATAAHUM. KABURA MAKTAN 'INDALLAAHI WA 'INDALLAZEENA AAMANOO KAZAALIKA YATBA'ULLAHU 'ALAA KULLI QALBI MUTAKABBIRIN JABBAAR".
And Joseph did come to you before with clear proofs, but you ceased not to be in doubt concerning that with which he came to you till, when he died, you said: 'Allah will never raise up a Messenger after him.' Thus does Allah adjudge as lost those who transgress, (and) are doubters. (Al Quran: 40:35)
These people are described by God in the verse that follows the one above, like this:
"Those who dispute concerning the Signs of Allah without any authority having come to them. Grievously hateful is this in the sight of Allah and in the sight of those who believe. Thus does Allah seal up the heart of everyone (who is) arrogant, haughty".
Now, these are not my words or the words of the Ahmadi Muslims, but the words of God from the Quran that Muslims believe.
It is interesting that in spite of no strong (or even weak) evidence from the Holy Quran in support of the present non-Ahmadi Muslim view that Hadhrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was the last of Prophets, they still stick to it, and go to the extent of declaring it of pivotal importance to belief -- that one who does not accept him as the last prophet is a non-Muslim.