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Books Section > The Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Saying of Hazrat Aishah

The Saying of Hazrat Aishah:

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Apart from the above references, Mian Sahib has quoted a saying attributed to Hazrat Aishah:

"Say that he verily is Khatam an-Nabiyyin, (the Seal of the Prophets), but say not, there is no prophet after him." [As quoted in the commentary of the Holy Quran, Durr-i Mansur, vol. v and Takmilah Majma’ al-Bihar, p. 85]

This saying of Hazrat Aishah, having no authority at all, (never reported in any book of hadith), cannot have any value against the forty authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet, except that it should be interpreted in such a way as to conform with the other Traditions. But Mian Sahib's logic always moves in a reverse direction. He starts interpreting all the other Traditions in the light of this saying. He begins thus:

"Certainly, Hazrat Aishah, may God be pleased with her, understood these words to mean other than last prophet."

What those meanings were have not been explained, as though, according to Mian Sahib, Hazrat Aishah also understood by Khatam an-Nabiyyin that prophets will be made by bearing the seal of the Holy Prophet. But as it seems, Mian Sahib probably likes riddles; therefore, he has not pointed out what those other meanings were which Hazrat Aishah understood. Why did he not lift the veil from this mystery? Because those meanings will be nothing else except, the Last of the Prophets. It is better for him to leave his disciples in the dark, so that they keep on guessing whatever meanings have been rendered by Mian Sahib as the meaning given to this expression by Hazrat Aishah. What he has written after this is indeed amazing:

"Another conclusion derived from this saying of Hazrat Aishah, ‘that do not say there will be no prophet after him,’ is, that this sentence also had two meanings, in as much as this statement was definitely reported from the Holy Prophet ... Hazrat Aishah's prohibiting the use of these words and people not raising any objection at her prohibition shows that Hazrat Aishah had two meanings of this sentence in her mind; one in conformity with the term Khatam an-Nabiyyan and another one opposed to it. Because the people were being misled by this sentence, therefore, for the sake of expediency she stopped them from using it."

The Meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin and la nabiyya ba'duhu:

What a great mystery, that Khatam an-Nabiyyin has only one meaning and la nabiyya ba'duhu (there is no prophet after him) had two! According to Mian Sahib, Hazrat Aishah did not grasp the meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin as the Last of the Prophets. The only meaning she grasped was the same which Mian Sahib had advanced - that in future prophets will be made by following the Holy Prophet. In other words, previously, prophets were appointed by God directly and now they will be made after bearing the seal of the discipleship of the Holy Prophet -- one who will follow him in a perfect manner will become a prophet! But the most surprising point is that from among thousands of sayings of Hazrat Aishah, these meanings are not found anywhere at all. Neither were they known to the author of Majma al-Bihar, who transmitted this utterance, without any testimony, to us, nor to any of the Companions of the Holy Prophet nor to the Holy Prophet himself. The Holy Prophet has explained the words Khatam an-Nabiyyin so many times and in so may different ways in his Traditions that he could easily have pointed out somewhere the ‘real significance’ of these words. But it is strange that he kept on emphasising the meanings which were not meant by these words, and the real meanings of these words were not mentioned by him even once! And then, according to Mian Sahib, Hazrat Aishah understood that there were two meanings of ‘there is no prophet after him’, one meaning was that there will be no prophets after him and the second meaning was that there will be prophets after him. And Mian Sahib has adjudged the first meaning to be wrong. Is there any truth behind these assertions or is it all the result of his oscillating temperament? In the saying of Hazrat Aishah there is not a trace of any of these points. But, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that Khatam an-Nabiyyin has only one meaning and la nabiyya ba`duhu (there is no prophet after him) two. [To interpret a sentence which has only one meaning with a sentence which has two meanings is the invention of Maulvi Abdullah Chakralwi who interpreted the verse obey Allah and the Messenger (3:131), like this that the word rasul means messenger as well as message which is the interpretation of Allah. Mian Sahib has also found this way of escape.] The simple conclusion then would be that the meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin is the same as has been explained by the Holy Prophet over and over again, and that is:

‘There is no prophet after me.’

‘The claimant of prophethood after me will be a liar.’

‘I am the last brick of the house of prophethood.’

‘There is nothing left of prophethood after me except mubashshirat (good news).’

‘Had there been a prophet after me he would have been Umar.’

‘The Prophets used to appear after Moses, but there will be no prophet after me.’

‘I am al-Aqib, after whom there will be no prophet.’

Hazrat Aishah must have also understood the same and the only meaning of the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin as explained above. However, according to Mian Sahib, la nabiyya ba`duhu (there will be no prophet after him) would be used in two senses: first, that there will also be prophets after him - but they would not be the possessors of Law - and Hazrat Aishah prevented people from saying la nabiyya ba`duhu, so that they may not take the second meaning to be the correct meaning: that a prophet could also appear after the Holy Prophet with Law.

It rests with Mian Sahib now to prove that the particular meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin -- prophethood is continued -- was known to the Holy Prophet and his Companions. Otherwise, whatever meanings were reported by the Holy Prophet and his many Companions were the meanings which were also accepted by Hazrat Aishah -- and an intelligent person like Mian Sahib who might have rendered la nabiyya ba`duhu to mean that prophets will be raised after the Holy Prophet, was prevented by her from using these words; as if Hazrat Aishah would say: you should not say these words which cause confusion in your mind (about the true significance of this saying). One point, however, that is settled by this statement of Mian Sahib is that the Companions of the Holy Prophet understood only one meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin. Now, it is his duty to prove that the Companions did believe in the same meanings which he advocates, otherwise the same utterance of Hazrat Aishah is conclusive proof against him according to his own reasoning -- that Hazrat Aishah prohibited the use of la nabiyya ba`duhu because it could also mean that prophethood was still in the process of continuation. However, in support of the view of the Finality of Prophethood there is another hadith, the reporter of which is Hazrat Aishah herself:

"It has been reported from Aishah that the Holy Prophet said: nothing has been left of prophethood after me except mubashshirat (good news)."

Now, if we say, as Mian Sahib has done, that mubashshirat are true prophethood (`ain-i nubuwwat), then it would be as though the Holy Prophet had said: ‘There has been left nothing of prophethood after me except true prophethood.’ If this is how the meanings of words can be twisted, then, not to mention a prophet, there is no obstacle left in our way to making a person God. But if we have some respect for the Holy Prophet, the matter is plain and simple. Hazrat Aishah did not believe that prophethood remained, (after the Holy Prophet), although she accepted the view that a part of prophethood remained. Another version of this hadith: lam yabqa minan nubuwwati (nothing is left of prophethood) is: zahabtun nubuwwata wa baqitul mubashshirat, that is, "prophethood has gone but good news has remained." But according to Mian Sahib this would mean "Prophethood has gone but prophethood has remained." The souls of the lexicologists must have gone into a trance on hearing these meanings.

Thus this provides conclusive evidence that Hazrat Aishah held in her mind the same meaning of the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin as has been accepted by the whole Muslim world until now, that is, that prophethood has come to an end with the Holy Prophet.

A person who, like Mian Sahib, might have rendered la nabiyya ba‘duhu (there is no prophet after him) to mean that no prophet greater than the Holy Prophet will be raised, though prophets of a lesser calibre will appear -- who, according to Mian Sahib may also be equal to the Holy Prophet in respect of excellences, or even greater than him, God forbid us from such blasphemies! -- might have been prevented by Hazrat Aishah from saying la nabiyya ba‘duhu and only one meaning of Khatam an-Nabiyyin survived, that there was no prophethood after the Holy Prophet. Or, it is also possible that, like Mian Sahib, someone said that la nabiyya ba‘duhu meant that there would be no prophet immediately after the Holy Prophet although prophets would appear after some time had passed, and Hazrat Aishah forbade the use of these words.

Or, if such a topsy-turvy interpretation were not given, but another absurd claim was made, as Mian Sahib and his disciples generally say, that as the Holy Prophet's time extended to the Day of Judgement, therefore la nabiyya ba‘duhu meant that after the Day of Judgement no prophet would appear after the Holy Prophet although prophets would appear before that -- then again, Hazrat Aishah forbade the use of these words and accordingly the term Khatam an-Nabiyyin meant that no prophet could appear after him at all.

In short, all the false and unbefitting meanings which Mian Sahib has advanced by his intellectual and imaginative skill have been rejected by the utterance of Hazrat Aishah: ‘Do not say there is no prophet after him.'

Then, I say that if la nabiyya ba‘duhu has two meanings, the reports relating to the interpretation of Khatam an-Nabiyyan can also have two meanings -- or can they bear only one interpretation? For instance, the hadith about the house of prophethood where there was only one place left for a stone and the Holy Prophet said:

"I am the self-same stone and I am Khatam an-Nabiyyin (the last of the prophets)."

What other meaning will Mian Sahib give to this Tradition? Will this house of prophethood be demolished and a new house raised in which, instead of the Holy Prophet being the last stone, he would be the first? Then, how will he interpret the hadith where the Holy Prophet is again reported to have said that there would be thirty liars after him and everyone of them would assert that he was a prophet?

What would be the other meaning of this authentic hadith -- that the prophets used to administer among the Israelites after Moses but there will be khalifahs after him? According to Mian Sahib, non-Law-bearing prophets also appeared after Moses. No other meanings of this hadith are possible at all, (except that generally explained and understood).

And in what other different way will this hadith be interpreted: "I am al-Aqib (the one who comes last)?" Did aqib in the Arabic dictionary mean the one who comes last or did it mean, in the original Arabic usage, the one who comes first? And did the lexicologists give preference to the first meaning because they had earlier accepted a belief in a wrong doctrine that no prophet would be raised after the Holy Prophet?

In short, all these reports clearly indicate that only this meaning of the expression Khatam an-Nabiyyin was known to the Holy Prophet and his Companions, that there would be no prophet after him. And Mian Sahib's contention is that this meaning is wrong -- and the true meaning is such, the trace of which, strangely enough, is not found during the last thirteen hundred years -- either in any Tradition of the Holy Prophet, or in any saying of Hazrat Aishah, or in any utterance of any other Companion of the Holy Prophet, or any Imam.

Saying of Hazrat 'Ali:

Against the consensus of opinion of the Ummah, Mian Sahib has put forth a piece of ‘evidence’ from Hazrat Ali on the basis of what was reported by Abu Abdur Rahman who said:

"I was coaching Hassan and Hussain (Allah be pleased with them) and Ali Talib (Allah be pleased with him) passed by while I was teaching. He said to me, Teach them to read Khatam an-Nabiyyan with fatha on the ta." [Durr-i Mansur by Imam Suyuti under verse 33:40]

What an astounding piece of evidence is this that Hazrat Ali did not believe that khatam meant last! What a unique and extraordinary proof Mian Sahib has produced! Thus he writes:

"It is apparent from several readings (of the Holy Quran) that the reading of ta (in khatam) with kasra was also taught by the Holy Prophet. If according to Hazrat Ali ta with fatha (in khatam) also meant the last prophet then why did he prevent (the reporter) from teaching ta with kasra because with kasra the meaning would have become clearer? Does this not prove that he (Ali) understood the difference between the two readings and was afraid of teaching ta with kasra, so that a belief, opposed to reality, might not take root in the minds of these children?"

At this strange piece of evidence, if Mian Sahib's disciples keep on shouting ‘Well done’ from morning till evening, even then it would not do justice to this argument of exceptional novelty! How amazing, that on one hand there are forty Traditions of the Holy Prophet clearly indicating that there will be no prophet after him and all these are upset by a saying of Hazrat Ali's ‘subtle proof’ that ta with kasra in khatam should not be taught to the students. This, according to Mian Sahib, showed that Hazrat Ali did not accept the meaning of khatam as the last. If this is the sum and substance of the whole argument, then it is not Hazrat Ali's evidence alone, but that of the whole Ummah (ijma'), because all the people read the ta in khatam with fatha. I wonder if there was any need for Mian Sahib to write such a long article -- this argument alone was enough. The reading of the ta with fatha is even current among Muslims today. Does it mean that they do not accept khatam to mean ‘last’? If Mian Sahib had such strong evidence in his favour, I wonder why he took all the trouble in making this long statement for nothing. No Muslim will ever consider such a statement to be untrue. Even I cannot do so! Because if someone reads the ta with kasra in the Holy Quran in my presence, I will certainly prevent him from doing so. Does it mean that I, also, do not accept ‘last’ as the meaning of khatam? And if I say anything contrary to it, it will be my utter lack of understanding of the subject! Apparently a ‘strong argument’ has been offered and the proof of its strength is that it has come out of the mouth of Mian Sahib.

If someone harbours any doubt that in spite of Hazrat Ali's extreme caution, "that a belief opposed to reality might not take root in the minds of these children," how could this belief, opposed to reality, become implanted in the minds of these children, viz., Hassan and Hussain, so much so, that even the Shi'ahs do not record any authentic Tradition which supports the views of Mian Sahib on this subject? Neither did Hazrat 'Ali himself abandon this "belief opposed to reality" nor did any other Companion. Furthermore, even during the period of his khilafat, Hazrat Ali never tried to uproot this doctrine from the minds of the people.

This world is so full of curiosities that in spite of the efforts of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Aishah and Hazrat Ali and all the Companions of the Holy Prophet became staunch followers of this "belief opposed to reality" and not a single voice was raised in the whole Ummah against it! If Hazrat Aishah was not involved, we could have understood the sad plight of the doctrine of Khatm-i Nubuwwah like that of the doctrine of khilafat without interception (khilafat bila fasl). I hope that after further consideration, Mian Sahib would delete the name of Hazrat Aishah from among the supporters of the doctrine of continuity of prophethood and would solve the puzzle that, when the Holy Prophet said to Hazrat Ali: "You stand to me in the same relation as Aaron stood to Moses, except that there is no prophet after me," Hazrat 'Ali, at that time, must have addressed the Holy Prophet thus:

Neither do I like the rank granted to Aaron, nor do I accept prophethood without a Code; if I have to accept anything it should be Law-bearing prophethood!

Such are the arguments on which Mian Sahib is trying to lay the foundation of his new religion. These interpretations are so trifling and trivial that it is an insult to the intelligence of any person to place them even, under the category of shoddy interpretations.

Mughira Ibn Sha'bah:

From among the Companions of the Holy Prophet, Mian Sahib has also produced the testimony of Hazrat Mughira ibn Sha'bah in his favour. "Someone in his presence said: The Seal of the Prophets, there will be no prophet after him." So ibn Sha'bah said: "That is enough for you if you say Khatam an-Nabiyyin because we used to say that Isa (may peace be on him) was going to come. Thus, if he comes he will be before him (i.e., the Holy Prophet) and after him also.

"And this saying is exactly in accordance with the saying of Hazrat Aishah." [Is it not possible that this saying might have been wrongfully attributed to Hazrat Aishah because no authority has been quoted to establish its authenticity?]

How strange is the fact that the reports of the Holy Prophet quoted in al-Bukhari and al-Muslim are over-ruled by these two sayings of inauthentic origin. This practice was adopted against Islam by Christians in that they would condemn all the principles of Islamic faith on the basis of the weakest reports. It seems Mian Sahib is also following their footsteps. No authority has been quoted at all for the saying of Hazrat Aishah, and Ibn Mughira's saying has been communicated by Ibn Ali Sha'bah whose reporting may be regarded, perhaps, by Mian Sahib like the reporting of al-Bukhari and al-Muslim. Over and above all this, when Mian Sahib would find abundance of reports on the other side, that is, against his views, he himself would not hesitate to reject the Traditions mentioned in al-Bukhari and al-Muslim. Does he not know what he has often been saying about Hazrat Abu Hurairah's saying: "Read whatever you like?"

Is the Holy Prophet's hadith not binding on us - that he interpreted Khatam an-Nabiyyin as ‘the Last of the Prophets’ and said: ‘There will be no prophet after me’ - but a weak saying of Ibn Mughirah has been considered as an authority? If this is actually what Ibn Mughira thought, as attributed to him in his statement, is it obligatory for us to accept it? Let us look at the issue from another point of view. There is a consensus of opinion (ijma) about the guarding and preservation of the text of the Holy Quran, but I can quote a solitary saying by a Companion of the Holy Prophet recorded even in al-Muslim that a particular part of the Holy Quran was not preserved. Will Mian Sahib (on the basis of a solitary report) then change his view, or bow his head before the accusations of the Christians, or will he disregard one person's testimony against the testimony of the majority of the Companions? And why did Mian Sahib not stop to think that if Ibn Mughirah made such a statement, he was himself expecting the coming of Hazrat Isa (peace be on him) and consequently he misunderstood and misjudged the whole issue, especially when he said that it was enough to say Khatam al-Anbiya as Jesus had appeared before him, but not la nabiyya ba‘duhu [There is no prophet after him], because Jesus was also going to appear after him. Without giving it due consideration, Mian Sahib has put forth this saying in his support. The words: "It is enough for you if you say Khatam al-Anbiya," clearly indicate that according to Ibn Mughirah, Khatam al-Anbiya meant the Last of the Prophets while Mian Sahib's contention is that the Companions of the Holy Prophet did not interpret Khatam al-Anbiya as the Last of the Prophets -- consequently they should have advocated the other meaning of this expression of which Mian Sahib is a claimant -- that by following the Holy Prophet other prophets will be made. How and from where these meanings are extracted from the above saying, are beyond my comprehension. Did Ibn Mughirah say: "It is enough for you that you say that the Holy Prophet is he by following whom other prophets will be made -- because when Jesus appears he will appear before him as well as after him?" If these meanings can be assigned to the above saying, it is worthwhile quoting it, otherwise it looks as if a drowning man is trying to catch at a straw to save himself.

What Ibn Mughirah actually thought was that although the Holy Prophet was the Last Prophet -- but because Jesus had appeared before him and was also going to appear after him -- therefore it was better not to say la nabiyya ba‘duhu. But obviously, as compared with the clear saying of the Holy Prophet, this was Ibn Mughira's mistake. He understood that the prophecy (of the second advent) meant the actual coming of Jesus himself in person, but at that time he did not give any thought to the point that if Jesus himself was coming, why did the Holy Prophet say: ‘There is no prophet after me’? And in scores of other sayings the Holy Prophet kept on repeating the same point in so many different ways, that there would be no prophet after him.

The Second Appearance of Jesus:

It is not Ibn Mughirah alone who is faced with this difficulty, but also all those people who have similar views about the coming of Jesus in person. They never think seriously that to believe in the coming of the same Jesus Christ amounts to the breaking of the Seal of Prophethood, nor do they ask themselves why, after all, did the Holy Prophet explain in so many different ways that no prophet could come after him. Even if a prophet appears after the Holy Prophet, all the reports, so clear and consistent, which mention the Holy Prophet being the last prophet, have to be cast aside -- the entire conception of the Khatm-i Nubuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) has to be abandoned in this case. Thus the prophecy of the descent of Jesus has, perforce, to be interpreted in such a way that it does not go against the conception of the Finality of Prophethood. [For a detailed discussion of this point see Maulana Muhammad Ali’s book Masih Mau’ud (The Promised Messiah). Tr] To overcome this problem, those people who have discussed the subject of Jesus’ descent, have stated at times that his second coming would be in the form of a mujaddid (renovator). But in this case, he will have to be deposed from his office of prophethood which is an impossibility, because a prophet can under no circumstances be deposed from his office.


Books Section > The Last Prophet (Akhri Nabi) by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Saying of Hazrat Aishah


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