Monday, 22 August 2016

Clarification about Khatam an-Nubuwwah (Part 1)

Clarification about Khatam an-Nubuwwah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الصلوة والسلام على اشرف الانبياء والمرسلين
نبينا محمد وعلى آله واهل بيته اجمعين

This is a clarification about my personal belief regarding Khatam an-Nubuwwah (Finality of Prophethood) which I have felt the necessity of writing due to repeated questions on the subject which I have been on the receiving end of.

Let the respected reader take note of the following fundamental points of my Aqeedah:
·        By Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) I am referring to the same beloved Muhammad son of Abdullaah and Bibi Aaminah who was born in 6th century Arabia in the city of Mecca and who lies buried in the pure and noble tomb in the City of Light (Medina)
·        The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is Insaan al-Kaamil (the most perfect human being), he possesses the greatest excellence among all of the Prophets and is the most superior creation of Allaah.
·        The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is Ma’soom ‘anil-Khataa’ (Innocent and protected from error) with regard to conveying to us through his person, words, actions and behavior the Deen of Allah. He never committed any sin or disobedience to Allah. He was perfect and excellent in every respect and is the pinnacle and climax of human perfection and the supreme example of one who worships Allah. In other words, there can be no possibility of someone worshiping Allah in a more excellent and superior way than the person of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
·        The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the greatest Imaam in the Deen. It is binding upon all human beings to follow him and obey him until Judgment Day. Obedience to the Prophet is synonymous with obedience to Allah Himself. To obey anyone’s command over and above the command of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is Kufr (infidelity). In other words, to take anyone as an Imam or object of emulation and obedience over and above Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) makes a person outside the circle of Islam.
·        The Shari’ah (code of laws) that was brought by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) which are derived from the Holy Qur’an and his Sunnah is the final, complete and perfect Law which is binding upon all humanity to accept and adhere to until Judgment Day (end of the world). No other Shari’ah or canon of law can abrogate even a single letter from the Shari’ah of Muhammad. Anyone who claims to bring a new Shari’ah or follows a Shari’ah other than the Shari’ah of Muhammad is a Kaafir (unbeliever) and is outside the circle of Islam.

So these are five very important fundamentals of my Aqeedah which there can be no question about. All Muslims of Ahlus Sunnati wal Jama’ah are also agreed upon these fundamentals which are related to the issue of Khatam an-Nubuwwah.

Now let us move on the heart of the matter, which is the Prophet Muhammad being the last and final Prophet.

My belief is that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is indeed the last and final Prophet of Allah both chronologically (in relation to passage of linear time) as well as with respect to excellence and virtue. The latter clause (“with respect to excellence and virtue”) requires a little bit of elaboration for an average layman.

What it means is that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is that Prophet in whose Dhaat (Personality/Essence) all excellences, beauties, and virtues find their ultimate manifestation and maximum expression.

This latter belief is in fact one of the meanings of him being Khaatam an-Nabiyyeen (Seal of the Prophets). So he is the last Prophet from the perspective of time and he is the last meaning after him there never was and never will be anyone who reaches his level of perfection and status.

Aside from being described as the Last of the Prophets in the Holy Qur’an (Surah 33:40), the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said repeatedly that there is no Prophet after him. This is from absolutely authentic and perhaps Mutawaatir Hadith. To reject this is also included as being Kufr.

Anyone who claimed to be a Prophet or Messenger of God after Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is a Kaafir, and among such false claimants there was Musaylimah the Liar, Aswat al-Ansi, so called “Baha Ullah” of Iran, Rashad Khalifa, and others. All of these individuals who claimed to be a Nabi (Prophet) or Rasul (Messenger of God) were liars and unbelievers – may the curse of Allah be upon them.

Now I would also like to clarify that it is my belief that if a Muslim, who follows the Shari’ah of Muhammad and who belongs to the Ummah of Muhammad, and follows it very strictly and becomes so drowned in the love and obedience of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) than Allah raises the status of such a Wali (saint) and Saalih (pious person) that although he does not reach the status of being a Prophet, but he comes to a station which is the highest station after Nubuwwah.

Such a person, as he becomes more pious and drowned in the love and obedience of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) begins to reflect some of the Light and excellences of Nubuwwah. He becomes infused with some of the light of Nubuwwah and begins to manifest some (partial) aspects, qualities and characteristics of Nubuwwah and even (partially) some aspects, qualities and characteristics of individual Prophets of the past, including Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

In Sufi terminology this is known as Fanaa’ fil-Rasul (Annhialation of oneself into the person of the Messenger of Allah). What it means is that a Muslim, a true Believer from the Ummah of Muhammad, acquires such a strong connection with the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) due to such a high intensity and level of obedience and worship of Allah and piety, that his own unique personality begins to fade away. His own identity and personality is no longer discernable because he he is manifesting so strongly and with such radiance and power the personality of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Thus, such a person is reflecting the Nubuwwah of a true and real Prophet. Such a person is not a Prophet in reality or independently of his own virtue and person. Rather, he is an Ummati (a follower of the Prophet) but having a much higher station than an ordinary Ummati in the realm of excellence, virtue and piety. He is at the highest station of Wilayah (sainthood) above which the only higher station is that of actual real Nubuwwah.

Now this station I am describing has been named with various names. It can be called the station of Siddeeq as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an (Surah 4:69). All Muslims of Ahlus Sunnati wal Jama’ah are agreed that Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was blessed with attaining this particular high status and was a Siddeeq.

However, unlike actual real Nubuwwah, the station of Siddeeq has not been terminated, sealed or ended until Judgment Day. The station of Siddeeq is attainable even though it is quite rare that any Ummati has attained it.

This station is also described as being that of the Muhaddath. In Islamic terminology, based on the Hadith of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) a Muhaddath is that person who receives, quite frequently, divine inspiration from Allah, and is conversant with Allah. He is blessed frequently with receiving Wahi but that kind of Wahi which is particular to saintly people, not the Wahi that is particular to Prophets. This type of Wahi may also be described as being Ilhaam.

The Muhaddath therefore receives inspirations and visions from Allah, quite frequently, but he is not an actual Prophet, nor does he receive any Shari’ah or new laws which abrogate the laws brought by the Prophet. Rather, the Muhaddath is an Ummati of the Prophet and is under his absolute obedience like any other Ummati.

The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) confimed that his beloved companion ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was a Muhaddath, and there is the possibility that other Muhaddaths can come from within the Ummah.

Now in Sufi terminology these people who are blessed with this particular status may also be described as being a Nabi (Prophet) not literally but figuratively, metaphorically, and by way of reflection. And please remember that the Sufi terminology should not be confused with the Shari’ (Shari’a-based) terminology. In the Shari’ terminology, as I have explained, this status is named Siddeeq, Muhaddath, and possibily Mujaddid (promised reformer), Mahdi (guided by Allah), Wali (saint), and perhaps other names, but never as Nabi (Prophet).

But in Sufi terminology, which is highly figurative, expressive and metaphorical, a person attaining this status through Fana fil-Rasul can in a very limited sense, and only occassionally not frequently, be named as a Prophet. Now if the Sufi terminology causes confusion and leads to a wrong idea and conclusion it should definitely be avoided, or explained in a proper way if that is possible.

The best analogy I can think of is that of the sun and moon.

The sun is a glorious sphere that generates light from its own essence. It is an independent source of light.

The moon, by contrast, is a much smaller sphere of rock that does not generate any light from its own essence.

However, the barren surface of the moon reflects the light of the sun like a mirror, and at times that light becomes visible to us on Earth during the night when the Sun itself is absent from our field of vision. The moon is reflecting the light of the Sun. It is the Sun’s own light and not the moon. The moon itself cannot generate any light. But the moon, so to speak, loses its own personality and identity and reflects so beautifully the Sun’s own light that one can describe the moon as being the Sun for us while it is night.

Thus metaphorically the moon has been described as being the Sun, even though in reality the moon is a distinct essence from the sun, but due to it reflecting the sun’s light it is metaphorically described as being a second sun.

So to summarize, my belief is that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last in final Prophet and there will be no Prophet after him. However, from among his Ummah there is the possibility that some individuals, due to being drowned in his love and obedience begin to reflect his personality and their own personalities begin to fade so that they themselves are no longer visible but only the light of Nubuwwah which they are manifesting and reflecting. They are acting as mirrors to reflect the light of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in eras and lands that are far removed from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spatially and temporally. They are not prophets in an independent or real sense, but they are only described as being prophets (according to a Sufi terminology) in a purely metaphorical and figurative expression.

Rather than detracting from the Finality and Perfection of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), the existence of such individuals from his Ummah who attain this status through obedience and love of him is in fact a manifestation and proof of his grandeur and excellence. Rather than detracting from his light, it is magnifying it (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)!

The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said:

لَا نُبُوَّةَ بَعْدِي إِلَّا الْمُبَشِّرَاتِ " قَالَ : قِيلَ : وَمَا الْمُبَشِّرَاتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : " الرُّؤْيَا الْحَسَنَةُ " ، أَوْ قَالَ : " الرُّؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةُ

Translation: There is no Nubuwwah (Prophethood) after me except al-Mubashshiraat.

Someone asked “What is al-Mubashshiraat, O Messenger of Allah?”

He said: Good visions. Or he said: Pious visions.

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahmad

According to this Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said that all of Nubuwwah has ceased except for a specific type of Nubuwwah, which is called al-Mubashshiraat.

This al-Mubashshiraat is a partial manifestation of Nubuwwah, which consists of forty-some parts.

Therefore, an individual Muslim of the Ummah who is blessed with receiving this al-Mubashshiraat and who is frequently receiving such true Visions from Allah is manifesting a type of Nubuwwah and – in accordance to Sufi terminology – can be called a Nabi (Prophet) in a metaphorical, figurative sense but in reality is not a real Nabi only reflecting the Nubuwwah of Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and infused with a partial Nubuwwah (a single aspect of Nubuwwah) and not the complete characteristics and blessings of Nubuwwah which is impossible to attain after Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

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