The Absolute Finality of Prophethood
The Light (UK), July 1996 Issue (pp. 1–2)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad greatly stressed that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was absolutely the Last and the only Living Prophet, after whom no prophet, new or old may come. All Muslims believe in the Finality of Prophethood in the sense that the Holy Prophet was the last prophet to appear. However, there are several weaknesses in the way they believe in it. Hazrat Mirza sahib rectified these and perfected the belief in the Finality of Prophethood.
The first weakness in the way the non-Ahmadi Muslims believe in the Finality of Prophethood is that they also believe in the descent of Jesus from on high. The Holy Quran calls Jesus a prophet and a messenger. Thus, they believe that after the Holy Prophet Muhammad an old prophet will return. The conclusion drawn from it, is, that the blessings of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad cannot continue to the last day. God has to send Jesus again because the blessings of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) will be terminated. Thus, Jesus is the last prophet and not the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Mirza sahib proved that the Holy Prophet is The Last Prophet in that his prophethood extends to the last day. After him there is no room for another because his prophethood still lives and its blessings shall continue till the last day. The prophet Jesus is dead and buried in Srinagar and the dead do not return to this Earth.
The second defect was that although Muslims believed the Holy Prophet to be the Last Prophet, they did not support this claim with convincing arguments. Hazrat Mirza sahib advanced such convincing arguments that they conclusively proved that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is The Last Prophet. He advanced arguments from several viewpoints; some of which are given below:
First, the Book that the Holy Prophet brought, the Holy Quran, perfected the guidance and the law that man was to receive. After this no new Law or Guidance is required. Thus, there is no need for another prophet because a prophet always brings a new law or modifies an existing one.
Second, the example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad brought forth in his person all the attainments of humanity, which had been partially exemplified by different prophets at different times, to the pinnacle of perfection. This terminated the need for any further prophets because it now had The Perfect Example of how to live.
Third, Allah guarded the Holy Quran and the example set by the Holy Prophet in such a perfect way that there was no need for a new law or a new prophet to appear. New prophets only appear when the original Divine Word or the example of the prophet bringing that law has become corrupted.
Fourth, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is The Living Prophet. That is, the blessings of his prophethood shall continue to the last day. Its proof is that his followers establish a link with Allah even now, and enjoy His nearness, His love and His converse through the blessings of his prophethood. This is the real objective of prophethood. Thus, a new prophet is not required now nor the blessing of a new prophethood.
The third weakness was that, if it is accepted that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) is the last prophet and the blessings of his prophethood continue to the last day for the Muslims; what proof is there that the blessings of the prophethood of the prophets who came to other nations have terminated. If their blessing to continue, then each prophet is the Last Prophet for his nation. That is why Hazrat Mirza sahib insisted that now the Holy Prophet is the sole living prophet for the whole world for only the blessings of his prophethood continue and those of all other prophets have terminated. Thus, people who establish a link with God shall appear in Islam only.
Thus, it was at the hands of the Promised Messiah that the belief in the Finality of Prophethood was most beautifully perfected. He announced with great force that the blessings of all other prophets have come to an end and the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Last Prophet and the Living Prophet. After the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, it is only amongst the Muslims that people who attain nearness to God and Divine Converse have appeared and shall continue to appear, through perfect obedience of the Holy Prophet.
Hazrat Mirza announced that, in this age, he was living proof that he attained nearness to and converse of God through following the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He challenged other religions; if there was any spiritual life or blessings of prophethood left in them, to produce people who attained nearness to God through following their religions. He declared that no other religion can do so for now Islam is the only living religion, there is no living prophet except the Holy Prophet whose blessing continue to this day.
He thus challenged all religions. However, no one dared to accept it. Those who saw it, cannot forget the humiliating defeat of the Bishop Lefroy of Lahore. He had challenged the Muslims to debate “The Living Messenger”. The Muslims of Lahore approached Maulana Sana-ullah of Amritsar, an inveterate opponent of the Promised Messiah. As Maulana made excuses, Muslims realised that you cannot debate this issue with the Christians while you believe that Jesus is alive in the heavens. They, including our opponents, turned to Hazrat Mirza sahib for help. In reply to the Bishop, Hazrat Mirza sahib said that the prophethood of Jesus was a national prophethood limited in time. Otherwise produce a man who, through following Jesus, has attained nearness to God in this age. He also said that Jesus is dead and the blessing of his prophethood have been terminated. The Holy Prophet Muhammad lives, for people still attain to God by following his example. He went on to say that in this age he was such a person and challenged the Bishop to put him to test. He also challenged the Bishop to a debate on “The Sinless and Living Prophet”. The Bishop did not rise to the challenges. As Hazrat Mirza sahib said in his book, Kishti Nuh:
“For man, now there is no book on this Earth except the Quran. For the son of man, there is no prophet except Muhammad, the Promised One, (peace be on him) … Under the heavens no other prophet can equal that Messenger nor can a book equal the Holy Quran. God did not wish anyone else to live forever. However, this Prophet is ever-living.”
In his fatwahs [religious edicts], Hazrat Mirza said this about the Finality of Prophethood:
“Remember, no one can be a true and real Muslim and a follower of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) until, by word and in deed, he believes him to the Last Prophet. … The purpose for which God has created fervour in my heart is to establish the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him), which God created to be eternal, and to destroy all false prophethoods. It is mischievous to believe that the only purpose of Finality of Prophethood is to believe it in words and then do whatever deeds you like and invent a new Shariah [Religious Law]. New forms of prayers have been invented, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani is called upon to help. Are these practices mentioned in the Holy Quran or found in the Hadith? Is this what is called following the Shariah? … after believing such things and acting in this manner, can you accuse me of breaking the seal of the Finality of Prophethood. If you had not introduced innovations in to your mosques, if you had truly believed in the Prophethood of the Last Prophet (peace be on him) and followed in his footsteps and made his actions your guide, then what need was there for me to appear. It was your evil innovations and your new prophethoods which moved God to appoint someone to destroy these false prophethoods. God has appointed me … and established this Jamaat [Movement] to restore the glory and dignity of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet.”
We believe that the Holy Prophet is the last prophet because no other prophets shall appear after him. He is the last prophet because he was the Perfect Exemplar with Perfect Divine guidance. He is the last prophet because he still lives and guides his followers to God.