Meaning of Word Khatam

Clear Statements of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that Khatam-un-Nabiyyin means ‘Last of the Prophets’

by Dr. Zahid Aziz

The Light (UK), April 2010 Issue (pp. 4–5)

Some people claim that according to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the term Khātam-un-nabiyyīn for the Holy Prophet Muhammad does not mean ‘Last of the Prophets’ but the best or the greatest of the prophets, and thus lesser prophets than him can arise after the Holy Prophet. In reply, we often quote several statements from Hazrat Mirza sahib [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian], such as the one in which he has translated Khātam-un-nabiyyīn into Urdu as meaning:

khatam karnai wala hai nabiyon ka” (Izala Auham, p. 614)

which means in English:

“The one to end the prophets”.

He has written immediately afterwards:

“This verse also clearly argues that, after our Holy Prophet, no messenger shall come into the world.”

Other statements of his that we present include the following:

“The Holy Quran does not permit the coming of any messenger after the Khātam-un-nabiyyīn, whether a new one or an old one.” (Izala Auham, p. 761)

“And the Holy Quran, every word of which is binding, in its verse ‘he is the Messenger of Allah and the Khātam-un-nabiyyīn’, confirmed that prophethood has in fact ended with our Holy Prophet.” (Kitab-ul-Bariyya, p. 184, footnote)

“I firmly believe that our Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khātam-ul-anbiyā, and after him no prophet shall come for this Ummah [Muslim nation], neither new nor old.” (Nishan Asmani, p. 28)

“As our Leader and Messenger, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the Khātam-ul-anbiyā, and no prophet can come after him, for this reason saints have been substituted for prophets in this Shariah.” (Shahadat-ul-Quran, pages 23–24)

“The actual fact, to which I testify with the highest testimony, is that our Holy Prophet is the Khātam-ul-anbiyā, and after him no prophet will come, neither any old one nor any new one. … how can there be a prophet after the Khātam-ul-anbiyā?” (Anjam Atham, p. 27, footnote)

In reply to these quotations, we are told that Hazrat Mirza sahib only held this belief until the year 1901, and that in November 1901 he amended his belief by taking khātam to mean best but not last. So we quote below some statements after this date which make clear even to a common reader without much religious knowledge that Khātam-un-nabiyyīn means ‘Last of the Prophets’.

1. In his book Tazkirat-ush-Shahadatain (‘The Story of Two Martyrs’), published in 1903, Hazrat Mirza sahib goes through the answers that he gave to various questions while talking to one of those martyrs, the famous Sahibzada Abdul Latif. At one point he writes:

“I gave him the reply that as the Holy Prophet Muhammad was the Khātam-ul-anbiya and no prophet was to come after him…” (Tazkirat-ush-Shahadatain, p. 43; Ruhani Khazain, v. 20, p. 45)

2. In his Lecture delivered at Ludhiana on 4th November 1905 he stated:

“The Holy Prophet is Khātam-un-nabiyyīn and the Holy Quran is Khātam-ul-kutub.” (Lecture Ludhiana, p. 37; Ruhani Khazain, v. 20, p. 285)

Now the term Khātam-ul-kutub for the Holy Quran does not mean it is “the best but not last” of the revealed books. All Muslims believe that it brought revealed books to an end. So Khātam-un-nabiyyīn in the same sentence also means the one who brought prophets to an end.

3. Then in his book Barahin Ahmadiyya Part 5, which he began writing in 1905, he criticises his opponents for holding the mistaken belief that the prophet Jesus will return to this world again in the last days and he writes that according to this belief Jesus would be the khātam-ul-anbiyā (see Ruhani Khazain, v. 21, p. 58). It is clear here that khātam-ul-anbiyā means only the last of the prophets, and certainly not the best of prophets. No Muslim believes that Jesus, by returning, can become the “best” of the prophets, but he would certainly become the last if he returned.

4. Again, in the same book he writes that in the books of the Jews it was prophesied that their coming Messiah, i.e., Jesus, “would be their khātam-ul-anbiyā” (p. 286). Here too khātam-ul-anbiyā can only mean the last of their prophets. The “best” of their prophets would be their great lawgiver Moses.

5. In a footnote on the same page as above (Ruhani Khazain, v. 21, p. 286), Hazrat Mirza sahib likens himself to Hazrat Abu Bakr, and writes that they both arose at a time of terrible anxiety for Islam when Muslims were deserting Islam, and they brought Muslims back to its fold. By likening himself to Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Mirza sahib shows that he is not a prophet but a khalifa of the Holy Prophet.

6. Again, in the same book he writes:

“… Isa (Jesus) is the name of the khātam-ul-anbiyā of the Israelites who came at the end, and Ahmad and Muhammad are the names of the khātam-ul-anbiyā of Islam…” (Ruhani Khazain, v. 21, p. 412)

Jesus being the khātam-ul-anbiyā of the Israelite prophets means only that he was the last prophet to arise among them. Therefore, the same term used here about the Holy Prophet means the last of the prophets that was to arise according to Islam.

It must also be noted that the Holy Prophet Muhammad being the last prophet means that his authority as prophet, and the blessings received through following him, will continue forever, and that none can come after him to take his place.