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Islamic Ideology ( 4 Aug 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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On the Meaning of Khatm e Nabuwwat

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

04 August 2018

This article is based on a request to explain the meaning of Wakhātama L-Nabiyīna in verse 33:40 of the Quran, the different understanding of which is tearing the Muslims apart, especially in Pakistan. The triliteral root Khā Tā Mīm (خ ت م) occurs eight times in the Quran, in four derived forms:

Five times as the form I verb Khatama (خَتَمَ)

Once as the noun Khatam (خَاتَم)

Once as the noun Khitām (خِتَٰم)

Once as the passive participle Makhtūm (مَّخْتُوم)

Let us look at all the eight occurrences:

Verb - To Seal

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ   

(2:7) Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ سَمْعَكُمْ وَأَبْصَارَكُمْ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُم مَّنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِهِ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ هُمْ يَصْدِفُونَ

(6:46) Say: "Think ye, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up your hearts, who - a god other than Allah - could restore them to you?" See how We explain the signs by various (symbols); yet they turn aside.

الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَىٰ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ  

(36:65) That Day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did.

أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا ۖ فَإِن يَشَإِ اللَّهُ يَخْتِمْ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ ۗ وَيَمْحُ اللَّهُ الْبَاطِلَ وَيُحِقُّ الْحَقَّ بِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

(42:24) What! Do they say, "He has forged a falsehood against Allah"? But if Allah willed, He could seal up thy heart. And Allah blots out Vanity, and proves the Truth by His Words. For He knows well the secrets of all hearts.

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ      

(45; 23) Then seest thou such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight. Who, then, will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will ye not then receive admonition?

The seal in the verses above, refers to complete closure/blocking.


مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا   

(33:40) Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.

يُسْقَوْنَ مِن رَّحِيقٍ مَّخْتُومٍ    

(83:25) Their thirst will be slaked with Pure Wine sealed:

خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ ۚ وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ 

(83:26) The seal thereof will be Musk: And for this let those aspire, who have aspirations:

The purpose of the seal in the verses 83:25, 26 is to preserve the contents from contamination, and provide proof of purity.

Muhammad Is The Seal Of The Prophets In Several Ways:

1.       He affirms and authenticates the prophethood of the previous prophets and their true teachings

2.       He affirms and authenticates the previous Books

3.       He points out to the parts that are contaminated

4.       He clarifies on the points on which the people differ

5.       Allah perfects and completes His religion and Message to mankind through him

The meaning of Wakhātama L-Nabiyīna in verse 33:40, in my opinion, is the prophet through whom the Deen of Allah is perfected and completed and who provides the final seal of authenticity to all the previous prophets and revelations as well signalling an end to the coming of prophets in the future.  What can come after the seal? The seal also signals closure.

Let us approach the question in a different way. What if Allah had planned to send more prophets in the future? What should we then expect the Quran to say?

Allah does not change His ways

 (17:77)   وَلَا تَجِدُ لِسُنَّتِنَا تَحْوِيلًا

(33:62, 48:23)   وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا

(35:43) وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا

If Allah had intended sending more prophets for the guidance of the people, He would have, as per His Sunnat, taken a covenant from the Ummat of Muhammad, as he did from the previous people, to aid and help the prophets.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُم مِّن كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُ ۚ قَالَ أَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُمْ إِصْرِي ۖ قَالُوا أَقْرَرْنَا ۚ قَالَ فَاشْهَدُوا وَأَنَا مَعَكُم مِّنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ   

(3:81) Behold! Allah took the covenant of the prophets, saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do ye believe in him and render him help." Allah said: "Do ye agree, and take this my Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses."

(5:12) Allah did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed twelve captains among them. And Allah said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity, believe in my messengers, honour and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude."

لَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ رُسُلًا ۖ كُلَّمَا جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَىٰ أَنفُسُهُمْ فَرِيقًا كَذَّبُوا وَفَرِيقًا يَقْتُلُونَ

(5:70) We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them messengers, every time, there came to them a messenger with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay.

The Ummat of Muhammad are not under any such covenant. Our covenant with Allah is as follows:

(48:8) We have truly sent thee  (Muhammad) as a witness, as a bringer of Glad Tidings, and as a Warner:(9) In order that ye (O men) may believe in Allah and His Messenger, that ye may assist and honour Him, and celebrate His praise morning and evening.(10) Verily those who plight their fealty to thee do no less than plight their fealty to Allah: the Hand of Allah is over their hands: then anyone who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and anyone who fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah,- Allah will soon grant him a great Reward.

The Only Covenant Is To Believe, Obey And Help Muhammad.

The Ummat of Muhammad has been freed from the stranglehold of the priestly class as well, and each Muslim, may read and study the Quran and follow it according to his understanding. The Quran is a Book that makes everything clear, beyond a shadow of doubt, for every seeker of the truth and there is no protection for following any falsehood under any pretext. Very clearly, Allah has given each of us the complete independence to follow His Book to the best of our knowledge and understanding. We may choose to follow an imam or a teacher, but we alone are responsible for what we do and what we believe in.

 Having said the above, I would also like to say, that the reaction to the Ahmediya’s beliefs, is beyond reason, and their claims are not very different from:

1.       The Mahdavis who believe in a Mahdi who has already come

2.       The Sunnis who believe in a Mahdi to come

3.       The Shia’s who believe in hereditary Imamat and a Mahdi in hiding who will come one day.

4.       The Sufis who believe their Pirs receive direct knowledge from Allah and/or the Prophet and in the power of the Pir to intercede with Allah.

The over reaction to the Ahmediya, is based on envy and jealousy, because they are among the best educated and prosperous communities, and little to do with their beliefs.

I consider it unfortunate that the Ahmediya’s call their imam a prophet, but then I equally consider every belief different from my beliefs as unfortunate. Beyond the problem with nomenclature, there is little that you can find fault with in their beliefs. If they had called their leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian an Imam rather than Nabi, there would have been no problem at all. In my opinion, the Ahmediya websites provide the best Tafseer on the Quran, and the Ahmediya are good Muslims, who honour the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Allah. Their beliefs do not dishonour Islam, and they are a people we can be proud of and be friends with. In any case, Allah has not taken a covenant from us to force others to believe as we do.

(6:159) As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.

While Allah asks us not to meddle in sectarian politics and leave the matter for Allah to decide, Pakistan has placed itself under a self-inflicted curse doing the opposite by it’s:

1.       Discriminatory Blasphemy Laws

2.       Discriminatory Law Declaring the Ahmediya Non-Muslim

and has given the sectarian bigots, the encouragement they needed to wreak havoc. The results are plain to everyone. Pakistan is weakened and is being torn apart by narrow sectarianism and will ultimately implode proving the following Ayat of Allah true:

قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَىٰ أَن يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِّن فَوْقِكُمْ أَوْ مِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُم بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَفْقَهُونَ 

(6:65) Say: "He has power to send calamities on you, from above and below, or to cover you with confusion in sectarian strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance - each from the other." See how We explain the signs by various (symbols); that they may understand.

Pakistan can get rid itself of the curse of sectarian strife that is ripping it apart, by repealing those laws for:

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ

(13:11) Allah does not change a people´s lot unless they change themselves. But when (once) Allah decides on a people´s punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect.

Hopefully, the people will come to their senses and change themselves by becoming tolerant of other people and their beliefs, before Allah completes His exemplary punishment.

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to


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