بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على خاتم الانبياء والمرسلين
A clue to solving the controversy over the meaning of خاتم النبيين ‘Seal of the Prophets’ which has been largely neglected is the reality of the distinct mark that was between the shoulders of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم known as the خاتم النبوة ‘Seal of Prophesy’. This was a well known physical feature on the Prophet’s body that has been described in detail in various Ahadith by some of the Sahabah رضى الله عنهم.
It is erroneously argued that the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم being named ‘Seal’ signifies he is the last of the chain of Prophets because a seal is used to close a document. While it is certainly true that in the ancient world certain scrolls and documents were closed with a seal, and the only way to open and read it was to break the seal, the primary purpose of a seal stamped on a document is not to close or secure its content but to confirm and attest to its authenticity. This is certainly why the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring made for himself, called the خاتم النبي ‘Seal of the Prophet’, so that he could use it as a means of stamping the letters he dispatched to the various kings and chiefs of the world, for the purpose of affirmation and attestation, and not to bind or close the document.
Likewise, the خاتم النبوة, or the well known physical mark that was between the Prophet’s shoulders, was placed there by his Lord and Maker to confirm him as His Prophet and Apostle. Hence it is narrated that Amir al-Mu’minin Ali bin Abi Talib كرم الله وجهه الكريم said:
بَيْنَ كَتِفَيْهِ خَاتَمُ النُّبُوَّةِ، وَهُوَ خَاتَمُ النَّبِيِّينَ
“Between his shoulders was the Seal of Prophesy, and he was the Seal of the Prophets” (ash-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyyah)
So it is made plain that like the mark of the Seal of Prophesy between his shoulders was for the purpose of attesting to his Prophesy, him being the Seal of the Prophets logically means he is the Prophet through whom the prophesy of all other prophets is confirmed and attested to, and Allah knows best.