Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Debate: Cessation of Prophesy (19/10/19)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله العلي العظيم
Debate on the Cessation of Prophesy

Saturday night after Isha prayers, October 19, 2019, at the Allah Wali Mosque in Tench Bhatta, Mughal Abad, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, I arrived upon invitation to debate with the Barelawi mufti, Usman Rizawi, on the subject of the cessation of prophesy. A few days prior, his team arrived at my residence to draw up some conditions and stipulations regarding the debate. In my dawa (claim) I declared that Nubuwwa (prophesy) has not ceased absolutely, rather it continues partially. For the record, the type of prophesy that continues may be described with different terms that refer to different aspects from which prophesy remains even after the departure of the holy prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him & his family). They are:
  1. Ghair Tashri'i (non-legislative)
  2. Ummati (restricted to the Muslim community)
  3. Juzwi (partial)
  4. Lughawi (linguistic)
  5. Majazi (figurative)
  6. Tamthili (resembling)
  7. Buruzi (manifesting)
  8. Zilli (shadow)
  9. Ardi (dependent)
  10. Kasabi (acquired)
  11. Fana fil-Rasul (annihilation of oneself into the persona of the Apostle of Allah)
Once again, these are not actually distinct types of prophesy, but different terms which describe a specific type of prophesy that remains after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him & his family), through whom the chain of prophesy terminated, meaning the technical and literal prophesy.
Regrettably, the Barelawi mufti due to his insecurities misbehaved throughout the debate, using abusive language and being generally disrespectful of his guest (my humble self). But with great patience and fortitude I presented my proofs for my claim on the partial continuity of prophesy, first from verses of the holy Quran, then authentic statements of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) from the Hadith corpus, and finally from the quotations of various esteemed Muslim saints, particularly Shaikh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah have mercy on his soul). In his counterclaim, the Barelawi Mufti declared that prophesy has ceased absolutely after Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) without the slightest qualification, and that there shall never appear after him any kind of prophet whatsoever. Now on the day we drew up the conditions for the debate, it was agreed that we should discuss a second topic, time permitting or perhaps at a later date, namely, the question of the life or death of the Nazarene Messiah (peace be upon him). In his claim, the Barelawi Mufti wrote that the Messiah was raised alive to Heaven and that he shall return as an ummati of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam). So during our debate on the cessation of prophesy, I pointed out that the Barelawi Mufti's counterclaim that no prophet whatsoever will appear after Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) manifestly contradicted his second claim regarding the Messiah that the latter shall return as an ummati. Hence, the Barelawi Mufti proved on my behalf the critical exception to the general cessation of prophesy, i.e., ummati nubuwwa. The debate lasted approximately four hours, but my opponent expended most of that time creating a racket and repeating himself. He offered no substantial refutation of my evidence, let alone any evidence to back up his counterclaim. The essential argument of the Mufti was that I, the plaintiff or claimant, had made a specific claim but was presenting general evidence whereas specific evidence was required. In truth, I presented both general proofs for the continuation of prophesy from the holy Quran, and proof for the specific continuation of the particular type of prophesy which I had described with these numerous terms from the holy Quran, the Ahadith and the statements of various Muslim saints and scholars. Nevertheless, since we were at an impasse, I proposed that we allow the audience to judge whether I had presented any evidence for my claim. This was quite generous of me considering the fact that the audience that was present were all Barelawis. As expected, they raised slogans indicating that they agreed with the Mufti that I had failed to prove my case. I then surrendered by declaring that I had failed to convince anyone of my claim, and therefore requested that the Mufti should use the remaining time to present his own case that prophesy has ceased absolutely. However, the opposing party were not satisfied with this. They insisted that I declare in writing that I had no evidence for my claim. Now whether or not I had presented specific evidence to substantiate my claim that a specific type of prophesy remains after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him & his family), it should at the very least be confessed that I had presented proof for the general continuation of prophesy, especially from the holy Quran. Keep in mind that according to the Mufti's counterclaim, prophesy has ceased absolutely, therefore, any evidence of a general continuation of prophesy is sufficient to disprove him. In other words, he clearly lost the debate by failing to address the evidence I presented for a general continuation of prophesy. That is why I repeatedly invited him after presenting my case that he should present whatever evidence he had for his counterclaim. But the Mufti missed the opportunity availed to him to present his case and convince, at the very least, his own followers.

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