19 SEAL OF THE PROPHETS (Kenneth Moakan, Canada) One of the very many excellences which has been conferred by Allah on the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, is that of Khatame Nabuwwat, loosely translated as the Seal of the Prophets, This title of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, is mentioned in the Holy Quran as follows: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatamun Nabiyyin and Allah has -full knowledge of all things.” (33:41) The rank of our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, is here stated as a very high one, but unfortunately, the Muslims of today, have put a very limited interpretation to this very high and exalted title which was bestowed by Allah Himself on our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. To understand the dignified status which our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, occupies in relation to all humanity, including the Prophets, we have to study it in great detail and in order to do so we have to understand the circumstances under which this reality becomes a phenomenon. The Arabs, like present day humanity, had believed that an adopted son holds a similar rank and position as that of a real son. From the verses which precede this, we have been told of this misconceived belief and practice. To remove this false belief, Allah revealed that the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, was not the father of any man, but he is Khataman Nabiyyin which is by far higher and greater an honour than ordinarily being the father of a man. Unfortunately, it has been argued from this verse by the opponents of the Promised Messiah that after the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, there can never appear in the House of Islam anyone who could be bestowed with the rank of prophethood in one form or the other. They further claim that with the advent of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, as Khatamun Nabiyyin, not only has the rank of prophethood in any form been cut off, but that Divine revelation .has also ceased to descend. 20 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Basing our interpretation on the Holy Quran, Hadith, and the accepted usage of the Arabic term and its dictionary meaning, we find that our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, occupies a unique position by his being Khatamun Nabiyyin and that he has not appeared as being the one who was sent to put an end to Prophethood of all forms. On the contrary, we believe that with his advent, a new system was opened up, a new world was given birth, a new humanity was created, a new Adam was born and a new heaven and earth began to unfold, oepening up unlimited avenues of spiritual advancement for humanity. This uniqueness is very significant, in that no other Prophet has been designated as such. The Arabic term Khatam carries the significance of embellishment, ornament, best and most perfect. It also signifies a seal or a stamp or a mark. It follows, therefore, that the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, being Khatamun Nabiyyin is the most perfect prophet in all respects. When we take into consideration the different meanings and applications of the term, we find that it fits perfectly to the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. The perfection which the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, has attained is attested by the Holy Quran when it says: “And he revealed His word when he was in the/uppermost horizon, then the Prophet drew near to Allah; then Allah leaned down towards him. So that he became, as it were one chord to two bows, or closer still.” (53:8-10) The significance of this, is that the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, on the one hand, while being a mortal, was drawn towards Allah, yet maintaining his humanity, on the other hand, he attained such perfection that he is the connecting link between man and God. The two bows when meeting at one chord form a circle and the central point in this circle stands the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. The affinity that the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, has progressed to, is of such a degree that he has attained such nearness that the fine line of one chord to two bows, or closer still depicts, the Arabic term ^->i ji ^~>^ v1* indicates, nearness to the point of merging, where distance becomes, as it were, extinct, thus the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, became the epitome of Allah’s creation, this is a stage to which no other Prophet has ever reached. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21 . The Miraj or Spiritual Ascension of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, which is referred to in the verses under discussion, has been graphically depicted in the books of Hadith. It is recorded that the angel Gabriel accompanied the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, to a certain distance, beyond which even angels cannot tread. He (the angel Gabriel) advised the Holy Prophet; on whom be peace, to proceed alone since he cannot go any further. The Holy Prophet, on whom “be peace, proceeded and exhausted all the stages of spiritual glory, while reaching the highest pinnacle of spiritual eminence to this point of (^Ji ji ca-ji C_,i5 or total immersion. Hence he became the central point between the two bows -Divinity and Humanity. Since the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, has attained suclra high degree of excellence, it follows, that in order to attain any degree of spirituality one must recieve it through him. The Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, was commanded to proclaim: “Say, if you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you and forgive you your faults. And Allah is most Forgiving, Merciful. Say, ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger’: but if they turn away, then Allah loves not the disbelievers.” (3:32-33) Again the Holy Quran says: “O ye who belieVe obey Allah and His Messenger and let-not your works go vain.” (47:34) This shows that only by following and obeying the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, can one win Allah’s pleasure, forgiveness . and’ mercy. Here it might -be argued by the Christians, that Jesus is the way and the light and only through him can one reach the Father. Yes, this was true and it was limited in its connotation by virtue of the fact that Jesus’was not sent to the entire humanity, but only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt. 15:24). In his time, the Children of Israel could not have attained any blessing without accepting Jesus; in this way he was the way through whom the Children of Israel could have attained any degree of spirituality, but with the advent of the Khataman Nabiyyin the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, that became extinct ant obsolete. Another aspect that the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, being 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Khatamun Nabiyyin, is the fact, that unlike all the other Prophets who preceded him, he was sent to all the nations and peoples of the world. The Holy Quran testifies to this when it says: “And We have sent thee not but as a Mercy for all the peoples.” (21:108) Having been sent as a mercy for all, he was informed: “There is no people to whom a warner has not been sent.” (35:25) In this way the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, has put the seal of attestation to the truth of all the Prophets who preceded him. He it was to whom was revealed the necessity and importance of belief in all Prophets: Believe in … His Messengers, saying, ‘We make no distinction between any of His Messengers’. (2:286) No other prophet conveyed to his people that prophets were raised in nations and peoples other than theirs except the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. Hence, every religion prior to Islam believed that guidance was only sent among their people to the exclusion of all others. They even believed that God only spoke to their people and that they were thus the chosen ones of God. This is believed in even up to this day. The Jews believe that they are God’s chosen people, the Hindus believe that light and guidance only descended in India many ages ago and of late, the Germans were advocating that the Aryan race was the superior people. With the advent of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, a deathblow was struck to all these false notions and beliefs and all humanity was declared as being equal. As Khatamun Nabiyyin, the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, not only shed light on this very important aspect, but taught that all the prophets were sinless and cleared them of all the false charges which were levelled against them by followers and enemies alike. This is the greatest service which the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, performed towards all the prophets. The advent of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, was foretold by all the prophets who preceded him and the nations of the world were looking forward with great expectations for his advent. His advent was to have dawned when the world was at its climax to be able to recieve the most perfect and complete law and religion, KEVIEW-OF RELIGIONS 23 All the prophets who appeard before the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, were only national prophets, who came within a certain geographical and climatic limitation and only for a certain period of time were their teachings meant. Some of these prophets were sent within a limited tribal population and for specific purposes. The world before the advent of the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, was not in a state to accept and follow a universal and perfect religion. The people had not the capacity to bear the weight of the perfect religion. It was still in the growing process, but at the advent of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, the world was ripe enough to receive the universal law. This fact is attested by no other book than the New Testament of the Bible and by no other a person than the Prophet Jesus, who as the history of religions tells us, was the prophet who was nearest to the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, Jesus said: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: And will show you things to come.” (John 16:12 & 13). This prophecy goes to show and prove what we were saying all along. The important elements of this prophecy are ‘Ye cannot bear them now’ and ‘he will guide you into all truth’. This spirit of truth was destined to guide all humanity, including the Children of Israel into all truth, because up to the time of Jesus they could not have been able to conceive the whole truth, or in other words, they were not in the mental framework to understand, accept and apply in their lives all truth. The prophecy, in all its entirety, clearly points to ‘the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. About him it is declared in the Holy Quran: “Truth has come.” (17:82) All Truth was revealed to him in the form of the most perfect religion. The Holy Quran states: “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as Religion.” (4:4) 24 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Religion having been perfected and completed upon him, the necessity of any other religion does not arise. The religion vouchsafed through him is of such a perfect nature that Allah states in the Holy Quran: “And whoso seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from Him, and in the life to come he shall be among the losers.” (3:86) We know from the Bible, that the guidance it contains, or for that matter, what was necessary for man to know was not of a complete and perfect nature, since its teachings were limited in their application. It was not therefore meant to withstand the test of time, but to help in a way to prepare the Children of Israel for the eventual deliverance of the perfect teaching, so that when this teaching was to have been vouchsafed to the world they would be in an enviable position to be able to understand and thereby be prepared to recieve and accept it, yet being able to follow it and apply it in their lives. Projecting its imperfection and eventual demise with the appearance of that which is perfect, we read in the Bible: “For We know in part, and We prophesy in part. But, when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (1 Cor. 13:9-10) This signified that the prophetic period of the prophets of Israel will come to an end when the whole and perfect teaching comes into being and that the teachings which were granted to the prophets of the Children of Israel will lose its efficacy, in the sense, that it will no longer be necessary to revert to them in order to achieve the purpose of the creation of man. It has been argued by our Christian friends, that what is prophesied in 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, is in reference to and was fulfilled at Pentecost, when it is believed that the Holy Ghost descended on the disciples of Christ. It may be pointed out, that Pentecost is derived from the Greek word Pentecoste, meaning fiftieth. Pentecost finds mention in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and is believed to have occurred on the seventh Sunday after the supposed ascension of Jesus, hence the term Pentecost. In fact, oh that day, the disciples of Jesus had gathered, as was the tradition of Jews, whom REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 25 they were, to celebrate the ancient Jewish feast of Shabuoth. Further to be remembered, is that the supposed event of Pentecost is believed to have occurred long before the writing of 1 Corinthians. This Epistle was addressed by Paul, who, it must be noted, did not see Jesus, to the people of Corinth. From this it follows, that up to the time of the writing of that Epistle, which was probably in 54 A.D., a Master-Prophet was being awaited, as distinctly being mentioned in the New Testament when John the Baptist was questioned whether he was Elias, Christ or that Prophet (John 1:19/21) To further prove that the Holy Ghost is not the point of reference to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies about a great appearance, it may be noted that the Holy Ghost was in existence before Jesus, hence it could not be the object of the prophecies, but that a pre-eminent Prophet was’being awaited as prophesied by Moses in Deut. 18:18. We read the following in the Acts of the Apostles which is an account about the events after the supposed crucifixion and ascension of Jesus. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said Unto the fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the People. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (3:19-24) The prophecy of Moses in Deut. 18:18 is again mentioned in the said Acts of the Apostles 7:37. It follows that the second advent of Jesus cannot take place until and after the prophecy about the great Law-Bearing Prophet has been fulfilled. As Khatamun Nabiyyin the most perfect Book The Holy Quran was revealed to him, the contents of which cover every conceivalbe aspect of human endeavour. It is the only Book which claims Divine origin and that it is perfect. It says: 26 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “This is perfect Book there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous,” (2:3) “A revelation from Him who created the earth and the High Heavens.” (20:5) The scientific knowledge which it expounds leaves one dumb-foun- ded and breathless. The beauty and accuracy with which it foretells events is a marvel to behold. All revealed books which preceded the Holy Quran suffered interpolation, which is a fact of history; but on the other hand, the Holy Quran is in every word and form as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace. Allah not only revealed the Holy Quran to the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, but has also promised to protect it. “Most surely We will be its Guardian.” (15:10) All in all, the Holy Quran stands as a unique tribute to the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, as being the Khatamun Nabiyyin. The perfection which our Holy Prophet, on whom be peace, achieved is the totality of all that was posessed by all the prophets who preceded him. He was the epitome of perfection, hence, by virtue of his many sided perfection, he is the model in every walk of life. His examples and precepts, if followed implicitly could lead to spiritual glory. He was the personification of the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, the power and charm of David, the strength of Moses, the eloquence of Aaron, the foresight of Isaiah, the meekness of Jesus, the humility of Luqman, the patriarchate of Abraham, the handsome features, high morals and administrative qualities of Joseph, the bravery of Krishna, the contemplative character of Buddha, the fiery zeal of Zoaraster, the philosophic mind of Confucious, in short, he was the personified exemplification of the combined lofty ideals of all those who preceded him and his station is so high that he has exhausted all the possible stages of spiritual and moral perfection and excellences that can ever be attained by man. Allah shower His blessings on him.