I will now present to you a few excerpts from the writings of the Promised Messiah(as) and other pious people and thinkers from the ummah to illustrate the profound and extensive meaning of Khatamun-Nabiyyin. You will realize that the authors of the White Paper have taken a very narrow interpretation of this vast subject. Moreover, the premise that Khatamiyyat has always been understood to mean that the Holy Prophet(sa) is the last Prophet with reference to time is plain wrong, and the Muslim ummah has rejected that claim. These people only think superficially and have thus totally ignored other profound meanings which are very deep and magnificent. The Promised Messiah(as) writes:
It is undoubtedly true that not even a Prophet can truly equal the Holy Prophet(sa) in his holy excellences. Even the angels cannot dream of attaining those heights, let alone that anyone else should achieve an excellence comparable to him. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part III, Sub-footnote Number One, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 1, p. 268)
This is the true concept of Khatamiyyat, which is that the station of the Holy Prophet(sa) is so exalted that even the angels cannot approach it. In other words, the mi‘raj [spiritual ascension of the Holy Prophet(sa)] is synonymous with Khatamiyyat. The Promised Messiah(as) further writes:
The insight and sagacity of our Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, far excelled the combined insight and sagacity of the whole ummah. Rather—I hope that brethren will not feel offended by it—it is my conviction, which I can prove, that the insight and sagacity of all the other Prophets cannot match the insight and sagacity of the Holy Prophet(sa). (Izala-e-Auham, Part 1, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3, p. 307)
This means Khatamiyyat encompasses all qualities of prophethood, and that insight is one part of it. We have gained this lofty understanding from the Promised Messiah(as). Some past thinkers had also expressed similar views, but the Promised Messiah’s(as) writings on Khatamiyyat are far more profound. The Promised Messiah(as) writes:
In this reference, Khatamiyyat has been expressed in terms of spiritual perfection. The Holy Prophet(sa) excelled in not only his insight, but also in spiritual perfection. He encompassed the collective spiritual qualities of all the previous Prophets and angels. Therefore, he was called ‘Khatam’. I have quoted this reference earlier, but it was necessary to repeat it in order to highlight this particular point. The Promised Messiah(as) also says:
All prophethoods, having arrived at their climax in the person of our lord and master, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, have been fulfilled. (Islami Usul ki Filasafi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 10, p. 367)
This means that not only did he possess all the qualities of prior Prophets, but that all of these qualities reached their apex in him. This is the profound insight into Khatamiyyat that was granted to the Promised Messiah(as) by Allah. The Promised Messiah(as) further writes:
…Our Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, embodies in himself all the excellences. God says in the Holy Qur’an:1
‘Follow all the teachings that were given to all the Prophets.’ The person who embodies all these teachings will, of course, become a compendium of all excellences and be greater than all the Prophets… (Chashma-e-Masihi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, p. 381)
Here the concept of Khatamiyyat has been addressed with reference to divine guidance. Out of every past teaching that appeared in the world, every good teaching is incorporated in the teachings of the Holy Prophet(sa).
The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
All prophethoods and all Books of the past are no longer required to be followed independently, because the prophethood of Muhammad(sa) comprises and encompasses them all. And except for it [the prophethood of Muhammad(sa)] all routes to God are closed. Each and every truth which leads to God is in it [the Holy Qur’an] alone. Neither will any truth come after this, nor is there any earlier truth which is not present in it. It is for this reason that all prophethoods have ended with [the coming of] this prophethood. And so it should have been…(al-Wasiyyat, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, p. 311)
It is no longer necessary to follow previous Prophets and Books. This is also a consequence of Khatamiyyat. The need to follow other Prophets or Books would only exist if any part of the truth or enlightenment granted to them were missing. However, every truth and enlightenment is completely encompassed by Khatamiyyat—and it has appeared with a new luster and has reached a new height. The Holy Prophet(sa) was thus called khatam because he freed us from the need to reach God through the door of any other Prophet.
In an Arabic qasidah [ode], the Promised Messiah(as) writes:
No doubt, Muhammad is the best of creation; He is the elect of the elect and chief of chiefs.
Meaning that he is the moving spirit of those who are the most exalted.
All excellences attained perfection in his person; The bounties of every age reached their climax in him.
In other words, Khatamiyyat encompasses the limits of time—it does not distinguish between the past and the future. This is the true concept of Khatamiyyat.
He is superior to all those who attained nearness to Allah in earlier times;
For the criterion of excellence is virtue, not time.
O my Lord, shower Your blessings upon Your Holy Prophet,
Ever and always, here and in the Hereafter.
(A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, p. 592– 593)
The Promised Messiah(as) says [in one of his poems in Persian]:
The Prophet whose name is Muhammad,
His pure and faultless guidance alone I hold firmly in my hands.
He is the best of all Prophets and the best of all mankind.
All attributes and blessings of prophethood reached their perfection in his person.
All the water that we drink is from him. From him alone has anyone been satiated.
We derive all light and perfection from him.
Meeting the Beloved Lord is impossible without him.
My love for the Prophet is deep and abiding.
O how I wish to fly like a bird towards him with all my heart and longings!
(Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 12, p. 95–96)
The basic meaning of Khatamiyyat that has been expounded here is that Khatamiyyat does not limit itself to just excelling all others in spiritual rank, instead it passes these excellences on to others. Khatamiyyat does not denote acquiring the highest spiritual rank and withholding it from everyone else; rather, it spreads its grace with such grandeur that every follower excels in spiritual rank. The Promised Messiah(as) mentions this subject further in a couplet, saying:
We became the Best of Nations by following you, O the Best among the Prophets.
We marched forward by treading in your footsteps.
(A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, p. 226)
These are some examples that I have cited from the writings of the Promised Messiah(as). But the writings of the Promised Messiah(as) on Khatamiyyat are such a vast treasure that our opposing clerics do not possess an iota of it. Any honest and pure-hearted person who studies the writings of the Promised Messiah(as) would agree with these insights. Past Muslim scholars have separately mentioned some of the meanings of Khatamiyyat which the Promised Messiah(as) has written about comprehensively. Just as the Holy Prophet(sa) is the Khatam of all the Prophets, the Promised Messiah(as) is the Khatam of all of the people in love for the Holy Prophet(sa). There is nothing that others have described about the Holy Prophet(sa) that the Promised Messiah(as) has not encompassed in his writings; and there is nothing that others have described in which the Promised Messiah(as) has not surpassed them in grandeur.
Hazrat Sheikh Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-Hasan al- Hakim at-Tirmidhi (d. circa 255AH), in his book Khatmul-Auliya’ on page 241, writes:
We hold that the title of Khatamun-Nabiyyin signifies that prophethood with all its noble qualities and grandeur has come to perfection in Muhammad(sa). That is why Allah the Almighty likened his heart to a container which assimilated all the noble qualities of prophethood and then it was sealed. (Khatmul-Auliya’, p. 341, published by Catholic Press, Beirut)
Just ponder over the difference. Since the word ‘seal’ had been used, Imam Tirmidhi says that after all the excellences had been combined, a seal was put upon them. This implies an end to those excellences. In contrast, the Promised Messiah(as) says that combining of all excellences is a valid concept. But the idea that the Holy Prophet(sa) limited those excellences to himself is not correct; he combined them but did not stop their further dissemination. In this respect, the commentary by the Promised Messiah(as) regarding the following verse is worth reading:2
Imam Razi writes in Tafsir-e-Kabir Razi, vol. 6, p. 31:
Intellect is the khatam (culmination) of everything. [Arabic proverb] Therefore, it is necessary for ‘khatam’ to mean the best. Don’t you realize that when our Prophet(sa) was declared Khatamun-Nabiyyin, he was declared the best of the Prophets. (Tafsir-e-Kabir Razi, vol. 6, p. 31, under the verse, Surah Taha, 20:26, by Imam Muhammad Fakhr-ud-Din Razi)
1 Surah al-An‘am, 6:91 [Publisher]
2 Then he drew nearer to God; then he came down to mankind. (Surah an-Najm, 53:9). [Publisher]