*Words of a Saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) literally meaning: There is no Prophet after me.
The above event took place about four years after the verse Khataman-Nabiyyin was revealed. Holy men and scholars in the past must have read this hadith and the hadith containing La Nabiyya ba‘di that has been previously mentioned. If we look for the interpretation of these ahadith, we note Hazrat Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (died 1014 A.H.) writing:
If Ibrahim had lived and become a Prophet and if ‘Umar had become one too, both of them would have been followers of the Holy Prophet(sa) and subordinate Prophets like ‘Isa, Khidr and Ilyas. Their prophethood would not have run counter to the Holy Prophet’s title Khatamun-Nabiyyin. This is because Khatamun-Nabiyyin simply implies that after the Holy Prophet(sa) there cannot be any Prophet who brings a new Shari‘ah and is not from his ummah and his follower. (Al-Asrarul-Marfu’atu fil Akhbaril-Maudu‘ah, by Mulla ‘Ali Qari, p. 192)
What a clear and unambiguous interpretation it is, and how he repudiates the argument being put forward by today’s so called scholars. Bear in mind that he is a top scholar among the Ahle-Sunnat. The ‘White Paper’ of the Pakistani Government contends, that the ulema from the past, without exception, held the same erroneous belief that the present day ulema hold, namely, that Khatamun-Nabiyyin does not have any meaning other that complete cessation of prophethood. It is obvious that this assertion is a blatant lie. The top scholars have given La Nabiyya ba‘di the same interpretation as we give.
Although I have presented extensive evidence to repudiate the claim of our opponents that Khatamun-Nabiyyin means the end of prophethood, some may suggest that these holy men and eminent scholars (God forbid) were not familiar with the hadith in the words La Nabiyya ba‘di, hence, they did not talk about it. The fact of the matter is that they were learned people, and were familiar with all aspects of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat and La Nabiyya ba‘di. Let us now see what they wrote.
Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa’s Interpretation of La Nabiyya Ba‘di
In this context, I would first present to you a saying of Hazat Aisha Siddiqa(ra), which is well-known to the scholars. Keep in mind that the White Paper asserts that never in the history of Islam has anyone interpreted La Nabiyya ba‘di in another manner. However, Hazrat Aisha(ra) said:
Say, he (the Holy Prophet) is Khatamun-Nabiyyin, but do not say that there is no Prophet after him. (Ad-Durrul-Manthur, vol. 6, p. 618)
Hazrat Aisha(ra) knew that the Holy Prophet(sa) has used that phrase. But she also understood that his words could be misunderstood. Therefore she made a point to clarify that by saying La Nabiyya ba‘di the Holy Prophet(sa) did not mean that there would be no Prophet after him.
Interpretation of Hazrat Aisha’s(ra) Hadith by Learned Scholars
Similarly, Sheikhul-Imam Hazrat Ibn-e-Qutaibah (died 267 A.H.) referring to the above words of Hazrat Aisha(ra) writes:
The interpretation, put forth by her (Hazrat Aishah(ra)), does not contradict the words of the Holy Prophet(sa). The Holy Prophet(sa) meant that there would be no Prophet after him who would abrogate his law. (Ta’wilu Mukhtalifil-Ahadith, p. 127)
This is exactly the belief of all Ahmadis. We have inherited it not only from the Promised Messiah(as) but also from the earlier righteous ones of the Muslim ummah.
An eminent divine, Hazrat Imam Muhammad Tahir (died 986 A.H), writes on page 502 of his book Takmelah Majma‘ Biharul-Anwar:
Hazrat Aisha’s(ra) statement, ‘Call him Khatamul-Anbiya’, but do not say that there would be no Prophet after him’ was made keeping in view the advent of Hazrat ‘Isa (Jesus Christ).
The Imam adds that Hazrat Aisha’s(ra) advice was in no way in conflict with the hadith, La Nabiyya ba‘di, because by those words, the Holy Prophet(sa) only meant that there can be no law-bearing Prophet in the future who will abrogate his Shari‘ah and Law.
According to Imam Tahir, there were two reasons why Hazrat Aisha(ra) forbade the use of the phrase “No Prophet after him.” First, it blocks the coming the Messiah. See how the verdict of a righteous scholar differs from the clerics of today! When the clerics of today say that the Messiah can come, but no one else, they misinterpret the phrase. If the Holy Prophet(sa) meant a total termination of prophethood after him, he would have said la yakuna ba‘di Nabbiyyun—no Prophet would be raised after me. What he said was: La Nabiyya ba‘di—there is no Prophet after me. If these people insist that La Nabiyya ba‘di means total termination of prophethood, then they close the door to the second coming of the Messiah(as).
The second reason that Imam Muhammad Tahir gives is that the Holy Prophet(sa) was not closing the door of prophethood, but only of the law-bearing prophethood that would abrogate his law.
Hazrat Imam ‘Abdul-Wahhab Sha‘rani (died 976 A.H.) wrote:
The Holy Prophet’s(sa) statements that there will be no Prophet or no Messenger after him only meant that there will be no law-bearing Prophet after him. (al-Yawaqit wal-Jawahir, vol. 2, p. 35)
This is exactly the same meaning as emphasized by the Promised Messiah(as). Yet, this meaning is so repugnant to our opponents.
Hazrat As-Sayyidush-Sharif Muhammad bin Rasulil-Husaini, a prominent scholar of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent who is known for his commentary of Mishkat, a book of hadith, has been quoted before. He further writes:
According to the ulema, the words La Nabiyya ba‘di, occurring in the hadith, simply mean that there would be no Prophet after the Holy Prophet(sa) who would abrogate his law. (al-Isha‘ah li Ishratis-Sa‘ah, p. 149)
In short, the most prominent holy men in the ummah have held the same view of La Nabiyya ba‘di as expressed by the Promised Messiah(as). Yet, the Promised Messiah(as) is called a ‘kafir’ [disbeliever] while these holy men are highly regarded and extolled. Even the White Paper of the Government of Pakistan accepts them as top scholars and great thinkers in Islam. Amongst them is Hazrat Shah Waliyyullah Muhaddith Dehlavi, who is universally acknowledged as the Mujaddid (reformer) of the 12th century and whom I have quoted earlier as well. He writes:
From the words La Nabiyya ba‘di used by the Holy Prophet(sa), we learn with certainty that there would be no Prophet after him who would bring a new Law or Shari‘ah. (Qurratul-‘Ainain fi Tafdilish-Shaikhain, by Waliyyullah Dehlavi, p. 319)
Hazrat Hafiz Barkhurdar (died 1093 A.H.), son of Hazrat Imam Sheikh Naushah Ganj, the leader of the Naushah Qadiriyyah order, who is held in high esteem throughout the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, writes:
The words La Nabiyya ba‘di simply mean that there will be no law-bearing Prophet after the Holy Prophet(sa). However, Allah may appoint a Prophet and a saint as He wills. (Sharah li Sharhil-‘Aqa’id, known as Nibras, p. 445)
Let us review the beliefs of the Ahle-Hadith till the advent of the Promised Messiah(as). Hazrat Nawwab Nurul-Hasan Khan, son of Nawwab Siddiq Hasan Khan, explaining his view of the hadith ‘La Nabiyya ba‘di’ says:
The so called hadith ‘la wahya ba‘da mauti’ – [divine revelation will be stopped after my death] is unfounded. We have a hadith ‘La Nabiyya ba‘di’ which according to the learned means that after the Holy Prophet(sa) there would be no Prophet who would abrogate his law. (Iqtirabus-Sa‘ah, p. 162)
It is worth noting that, in explaining the meaning of La Nabiyya ba‘di, the phrase “According to the learned…” is used. Similar words, as quoted earlier, have been used by Shah Waliyyullah and Mulla ‘Ali Qari. It would therefore appear that an inclination to distort the meaning of this hadith had set in by that time. Two distinct groups had emerged: One comprising these God-fearing holy men and the other consisting of the common people led by their ulema who have been called by a prominent scholar as ignorant and deprived of common sense. That is why these wise people used references to other learned and scholarly people to drive home the real meaning of La Nabiyya ba‘di as explained in the passages above.
A Prophet of the Grandeur of the Holy Prophet(sa) Cannot Appear
There is a hadith which sheds more light on the word ba‘d. The book Al-Futuhatul-Makkiyyah also contains a commentary on this hadith. The hadith reads:
Hazrat Jabir bin Samrah reports: ‘The Holy Prophet(sa) said when this Caesar will die, there will be no Caesar after him. When this Chosroes will die, there will be no Chosroes after him.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari Kitabul-Iman Wan-Nudhur)
That is to say, their pomp and glory will be destroyed by the Muslims.
In this hadith the Holy Prophet(sa), in his unique wisdom, has clearly explained the meaning of expression word ‘Fala ba‘adahu’ by saying ‘Fala Qaisara ba‘adahu’ and ‘Fala Kisra ba‘adahu’ [That is, there would be no Caesar after him (after this Caesar) and there would be no Chosroes after him (after this Chosroes)]. He makes it clear that ‘la’ used in this context does not signify the exclusion of an entire genus. Rather, it is used to emphasize that there would be no one who would attain their power and grandeur.
Accordingly, we had Caesar succeeding a Caesar and Chosroes succeeding a Chosroes for a thousand years after the Holy Prophet(sa). Obviously, the words of the Holy Prophet(sa) cannot be false. Hazrat Muhy-ud-Din Ibn-e-Arabi(rh), elaborating on this hadith, says:
Prophethood has not been totally abolished. That is why I had said that only prophethood bringing a new Shari‘ah. has come to an end. This is the meaning of words La Nabiyya ba‘di… The study of the hadith about Caesar and Chosroes has led me to understand that, by saying La Nabiyya ba‘di, the Holy Prophet(sa) is employing the same kind of expression as there would be no Caesar after this Caesar and there would be no Chosroes after this Chosroes. (Al-Futuhatul- Makkiyyah, vol. 3, p. 103)