As far as the belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat is concerned, we Ahmadis have firm faith in it. As I have stated earlier, we do not agree with the interpretation of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, these people put forward, because it is an innovation that is in vogue today. The fact of the matter is that belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat has never been part of the ‘fundamentals’ of Islamic faith. Who would be more competent than the Holy Prophet(sa) to tell us what our fundamental beliefs are? It was he(sa) to whom the Holy Qur’an was revealed. Was he not granted the knowledge that a time will come when Islam will be defined in a novel way? The Holy Prophet(sa) says:
Islam is based on five fundamentals: one, bearing witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger; two, observing Salat [Prayers]; three, paying Zakat; four, pilgrimage to the House of Allah; five, fasting in the month of Ramadan. (Tirmidhi Kitabul-Iman)
That is all the Holy Prophet(sa) said with regards to the fundamentals of Islam. Five of them, no more, no less. Now these people have added a sixth one, as if, God forbid, the Holy Prophet(sa) was not aware of it.
We can look further to see if ever in history the doctrine of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat was part of faith. There is another hadith in Tirmidhi Kitabul-Iman which talks about Iman: ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates.
We were in the company of the Holy Prophet(sa) when a stranger joined us. He was clad in white, had jet black hair, and had a fresh appearance. None of us had seen him before. He came and reverently seated himself before the Holy Prophet(sa) with his knees touching the knees of the Holy Prophet(sa). He asked: ‘What is Iman, O Muhammad?’ The Holy Prophet(sa) replied: Iman means that you should believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, on the Day of Resurrection and on Taqdir [divine determination of good and evil]. (Tirmidhi Kitabul-Iman)
This hadith is very significant in that the narrator reports that after hearing the Holy Prophet(sa) the stranger confirmed the statement of the Holy Prophet(sa) by saying ‘you said it right’ and left. The companions wondered if he had come to learn or test the knowledge of the Holy Prophet(sa). Realizing their astonishment, the Holy Prophet(sa) said:
He was none other than Gabriel and had come to teach you your religion.
You will note that no mention of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat is made in this hadith as being part of Iman. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however, staunchly believes in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat. The Promised Messiah(as) has repeatedly asserted his firm belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat and that whoever rejected this doctrine was not a Muslim. We believe in this doctrine not because it is a fundamental of Islamic faith but because the Holy Qur’an says so. We believe that anyone who rejects a jot of the Holy Qur’an is a renegade and outside the pale of Islam.
Belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat and its Impact on Civilization and Culture
The verse with the phrase ‘Khataman-Nabiyyin’ was revealed in the year 5 A.H. The major portion of the ministry of the Holy Prophet(sa) had elapsed by that time. The natural question that arises is what did the Muslims base their unity, culture and civilization on? What special factors came to play in the 5th year of Hijra to give the Muslims a distinct entity and a special culture and civilization? The statement that belief in ‘Khatm-e-Nubuwwat’ had a significant impact on Muslim culture and civilization is preposterous. What has happened to them now? Why are they so split and facing one crisis after another? This belief is of no help to them now. On the other hand, look at the Ahmadis. ‘Allama Iqbal, the ‘Thinker of Islam,’ says:
In the Punjab, the essentially Muslim type of character has found a powerful expression in the so-called Qadiani sect [He means, Ahmadiyyat]. (The Muslim Community—A Sociological Study by Dr. ‘Allama Iqbal, published by Maktaba-e-‘Aliyah, Urdu Bazar, Lahore, p. 23)
Look at what has happened to those who believe in their version of ‘Khatm-e-Nubuwwat.’ They are all at odds with each other. But those who, according to your assertion do not believe in it, are declared as a model of Islamic culture by your ‘Thinker of Islam.’
This theory, that belief in ‘Khatm-e-Nubuwwat’ provides the foundation of Islamic culture and civilization, is altogether fictitious and fabricated. Culture and lifestyle vary from place to place across Muslim countries. Marriage ceremonies are different. The way the veil is observed or not observed, is different. In short, in all their habits, their dress, their customs, they all differ. Muslims in Indonesia, Africa, Czechoslovakia, Finland and Hungary all differ. When Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan, they proclaimed that though they are Muslims—believing in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat—their culture is different.
Further, the religious beliefs are different. Even the modes of worship have diverged. Some offer their prayers with arms by their sides. Others say prayers with arms folded up on the chest; fingers have been chopped off for differences in practice and pronouncements of apostasy have been made for the difference of raising or lowering the hands in prayer.
There are many other differences. The Malikites in Africa and Khomeini’s followers differ widely in how they pray. In short, diversity, discord and disagreement is seen in every field of their cultural and religious activity. Their claim that belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat has given Muslims unity, consistency and harmony is incredible. The facts speak otherwise.
Islamic Civilization and Culture as Seen by Ulema
The next question is what is culture? Who would define it? Their own ‘Ulema’ say the following. Maulana Maududi writes
If you examine the so-called Muslim society today, you will see the Muslims to be of diverse denominations. It is a veritable zoo wherein kites, crows, vultures, quails, pheasants and a myriad of fowls have been gathered together. Each one of them is a different ‘chirhya’ [specie] (in Musalman Aur Siyasi Kashmakash, vol. 3, p. 26):
What a tragedy. The Maulana is so angry he has debased the whole Muslim society. He has called them ‘chirhya’—an abusive term in vogue in the UP [Uttar Pradesh] province of India at that time—and shows no compassion for the Muslims. This is the plight of the Muslims who have ‘united in their belief of Khatamun-Nabiyyin’.
Further documentation of the plight of this Muslim ummah is noted in the paper Ahle-Hadith of April 16, 1914. This is the paper that represents them and they cannot deny it. A correspondent of the paper writes about his visit to Burma:
I have been staying here for the last ten days. A big gathering was scheduled to be held at the Jami‘a Mosque at 2.00 p.m. I went to the mosque for prayers at the time fixed for the afternoon prayers. The mosque was filled to capacity. There were strange happenings. Cups full of sherbet and trays full of bananas and dates were placed before the Imam. He constantly raised his hands in prayer. Some audible words were—the beloved of God, ‘Abdul-Qadir Jilani…. Thereafter, the mosque resounded with the chanting of ‘Ya Muradi, Ya Muradi’ (O, object of my love…) Then the necks and foreheads of the gathering were besmeared with a mixture of sandalwood powder according to the custom in vogue among the Hindu Pandits. Thereafter, a harlot stood up, dancing in the mosque as though in ecstasy. She pretended to fall headlong into the burning censer and skillfully covered her face with her hands (to protect her face from burning). This was followed by a loud beat on the tambourine by the trustee of the mosque which brought a hush in the mosque. Then the Imam said the final prayers and sherbert and bananas and dates were served. The people were then garlanded with wreaths of flowers. At about 4:00 p.m., everyone stood up and kissed the banners (about fifty of them) in the central part of the mosque. These were then taken out and three horses were decorated with them. The spirit of Qadir Auliya’ (the Saint of the Madras Region, whose anniversary they were celebrating) was, so to say, mounted on one of them. (Such is the picture of the Muslim culture painted as a consequence of, God forbid, the belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat). Spirits of his disciples were mounted on the other two. The Imam accompanied by the congregation made a round of the city, begging for alms. Some chubby people, wearing thick, long beards, all naked except around the loins, body covered with cow-dung ashes, led the tumultuous crowd singing ‘Ya Muradi, Ya Muradi, ‘Abdul-Qadir.’ The scene was so ludicrous that it was not possible for me to suppress my laughter. The wanton crowd, beating their drums, returned to the mosque before evening prayer. Alas, the Muslims, once wedded to the doctrine of the Oneness of God, have now sunk so deep into the filth of polytheism and heresy, that they are not ashamed to indulge in such practices, even in a mosque.
Examples of ‘Muslim culture,’ with some variations, are found in different Muslim countries. In Pakistan, one would see a queer culture being displayed at the anniversaries of different saints. The Wahhabis and Shi‘as show their own distinct culture. In short, new aspects of culture are being born at various places. Novel notions and concepts have left no harmony and concord in the culture that could be called a Muslim culture. This is the sample of the ‘uniform culture’ that they claim to have inherited as a result of their concocted faith in ‘Khatm-e-Nubuwwat.’