Chapter 33 Verse 41
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Chapter 33 Verse 41

Muhammad ﷺ, The Seal of All the Prophets

Allah States in the Qur’an:

مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا {41}

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah has full knowledge of all things.(Chapter 33 Verse 41)

This is a beautiful verse of the Qur’an which has sadly been misinterpreted by the non Ahmadi Muslims to an extent where they have started to believe that the greatest blessing of Allah has come to an end. It has also caused them to reject the latter day Imam of the age whom the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw told us to accept. The non Ahmadi Muslims on one hand believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw is the last and final prophet, but at the same time await a prophet of the end times, which causes a great contradiction in their beliefs which they have not been able to comprehend. In no way has this ayah even hinted to the end of prophethood rather it illustrates the great status of our Master, Muhammadsaw.

In this verse Allah Sates that the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. Why would Allah say he is not the father of any of your men referring to his status, quickly change the subject and state that he is the last of the prophets. Initially when this verse is read, it may cause a misconception that if the Holy Prophetsaw cannot be the physical father of anyone, hesaw has a disadvantage over other people. Allah uses the word “Lakin” and removes this misconception and shows us that The Holy Prophetsaw is not the physical father of any of your men, rather he is the spiritual father of all of the believers.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas beautifully explains this. Heas states:

To further explain, where God Almighty has revealed that the Holy Prophetsaw is Khatamul-Anbiya’, [the Seal of the Prophets] He has also indicated that he is the spiritual father of those who are righteous and only by following him can they achieve self-fulfilment and be blessed with divine discourse and revelation. For, in the Holy Quran God Almighty says:

مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا {41}

That is, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatamul-Anbiya’. Quite clearly the Arabic word lakin is applied here as an adversative particle or to compensate for what has been expressed in the previous clause. In the first part of this verse the fact of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, physically fathering any male offspring is negated and the word lakin compensates this negative clause with the declaration that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is Khatamul-Anbiya’. This means that after him the blessings of independent Prophethood would be terminated, and henceforth the excellence of Prophethood would only be bestowed on such a person whose deeds were testified to by the seal of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and this person would thus become his spiritual son and heir. Hence, where the fact of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, being the physical father of [male] progeny has been denied, the truth of his [spiritual] fatherhood has been affirmed in order to counter the objection that is implied in the following verse:

إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ

In short, the meaning of this verse is that independent Prophethood, even of a non law-bearing kind, has come to an end. But, this does not prohibit the possibility of Prophethood that is illuminated by the lamp of Muhammad. The person who would possess this excellence was to be a follower of the Holy Prophet and would derive the qualities of Prophethood from the light of Muhammad. If this form of perfection [Prophethood] is denied to the devoted followers of this ummah, then the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would remain without male issue in both a physical and spiritual sense, God forbid. And those who accused him of being without issue would have to be considered validated.” (Review Batalvi and Chakralvi, Pages 13-15)

He(as) also states:

“They believe that he was not only deprived of male issue – who would serve as his physical heir, as mentioned in the verse:

مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ
but that he was also deprived of spiritual offsprings who wound inherit his spiritual excellences. Thus they consider God’s words

وَلَٰكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ

to be meaningless. Here the Arabic word “lakin” (or but) has obviously been used as a word of rectification, which speaks of the fulfillment in a different form of something that has hitherto remained unfulfilled. In this context, the verse means that though the Holy Prophetsaw did not have any male offspring, he will have countless spiritual progeny, and that he is “the Seal of the Prophets”, which means that no one will attain the excellence of Prophethood unless he possesses the certificate of obedience to him. This is the true connotation of this verse, but these people have completely reversed its meaning and have rejected the bounty of Prophethood in the future, even though this implies a criticism of the Holy Prophetsaw himself” (Fountain of Christianity Pages 67-68)

The word khatam itself is used to show the rank of someone and their superiority. This word does not mean last or someone who brings something to an end, rather this word is known as “Ism Ala”. Ism Alah of the word khatam would basically mean the tool with which a mark is stamped or a seal. Now let us see how the word khatam has been used for other people and what it means when referring to a rank of someone. Here are some examples:

Abu Tammam was a poet and was called Khatamush Shu’ara, meaning the chief of the poets. He is from the years 188-231 A.H, yet no Muslim believes he was the last of poets (Wafiyat-ul-Ayan, Volume 1)

Abu Al-Tayyib was also called khatamush shu’ara (Muqaddimah Diwan al-Mutanabbi, Page 10)

Hazrat Alira is called khatam-ul-Auliya, the chief of the friends of Allah, meaning the chief of the saints (Tafsir saifi, Surah Al Ahzab)

Imam Suyuti was called Khatam-ul-Muhaddithin, the cheif of the specialists in Ahadith (Title page of Tafsi Itqan)

Hazrat Shah Waliyyullah Dehlavi is also called Khatam-ul-Muhaddithin (Ujalah Nafiah By Shah Abdul Aziz)

Every human is called khatam-ul-Mukhulqat al-Jismaniyyah meaning the chief of all creatures (Tafsir Kabir, Volume 6, Page 22)

Ibn Hajar-al-Asqalani was called Khatam-ul-Huffaz, the chief of the memorizers (Title page of Tabaqat-ul-Mudallisin)

Hazrat Isaas was called Khatam-ul-Asfiya-ul-A’immah, the chief of the chosen leaders (Baqiyyatul-Mutaqaddimin, Page 184)

Even according to the most famous lexicons, the view of Ahmadi Muslims is supported. Tajul-Urus states “The word khatam refers to a seal which is stamped on clay or paper”. The explanation of Imam Raghib further supports Ahmadi Muslims. Imam Raghib states

“The lingustic usage of the word Al-Khatmu and At-Tab’u is two fold. Firstly the words Khatamtu and Taba’tu are used in the infinitive form of the verb, i.e., to produce the affect of something, for example to imprint the image of a seal or ring. Secondly, the emblem which is left behind by the impression of a seal. If we are to presume a meaning of “hindrance” which is produced in the context of placing a seal upon doors or letters, sometimes it is used to firmly bind or prevent something (as a secondary meaning); as Allah states, Khatamallahu ala Qalubihim and khatama ‘ala sam’ihi wa qalbihi. Then, as an impression the word is used in the context of producing the affect of something. And sometimes the meaning of “reaching the end” is also inferred by this word, as it is said Khatamul Qur’an i.e I have reached the end of it” (Mufridatul Qur’an, By Imam Raghib, under the root of Khatama)

Imam Raghib also states in regards to this ayah “Because he brought an end to law-bearing prophethood, i.e with his coming he completed it” The proof which shows Imam Raghib meant law bearing prophethood is because he used the words al-nubuwwah with the definite article which signifies a specific type.  Imam Raghib further states “He completed prophethood with his advent”.

It is true that other Qirat have used the word Khatim but these are all subordinate to the Qirat of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw. If we take the literal meaning of the other Qirat it would suggest that the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw brought all the prophets to an end and no prophets can appear after him. This itself would not make sense as the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw did not bring any prophet to an end. The true meaning would be that the Holy Prophetsaw brought an end to the influence of all religions and his law will be the one which is everlasting till the Day of Judgment, meaning he brought an end to the religions laws of the past. The term Khataman Nabiyyin simply infers the finality of law bearing prophethood and no sincere Muslim would have a different interpretation, as they all await a latter day prophet themselves. In fact, all the other qirat were burned in the lifetime of Hazrat Umarra and we should not use them and misinterpret them in a way that makes them go against the primary qirat of Hafs. As Ahmadis we accept all Qirat but do not believe that one qirat can contradict another, so the best interpretation should be accepted. The hafs qir’at of the Quraish which was the tribe of our beloved master will always take precedence over all others. Once again, the Holy Prophetsaw did not bring the prophets to an end, and this is what the literal translation would mean if we follow what the non Ahmadi Muslims are claiming. The true meaning to Khatimun Nabiyyeen would of course mean that the prophet brouht an end to the other religions of the past and brought the final religion. This is the true meaning of the word khatim, the one to end rather than last. It would obviously not make sese to take this literally to mean the Prophet who ended all prophets.

Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh stated:

We learnt this from the Promised Messiah (peace be on him). Although others had written about it before but the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) uncovered its deep meaning the best. As I stated earlier, the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) said, “Without doubt, no man or angel can match the divine attributes vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).” I have repeated this passage to emphasize that in his person, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) possessed the combined diving attributes of all the other prophets and angels and was therefore called a ‘Khatim’.(True Meaning of Khatme Nabuwat)

The Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw stated:

“I was the Seal of the Prophets even when Adam was in the elementary stages of his development.” (Mishkat al Masabih, Kitabul Fitan, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Kanzul Ummal)

Furthermore, Hazrat Ayeshara also stated:

قولوا خاتم النبيين، ولا تقولوا لا نبي بعده

“Say he is the Seal of the Prophets, But do not say that there is no no prophet after him”(Durr-e-Manthoor, Under 33:40)

Hazrat Ayeshara did not go against the hadith of the Holy Prophetsaw. In reality, she showed the people the true meaning of the ayah of the Qur’an. She showed us that we should not misinterpret “There are no prophets after me” and knew that if this hadith is taken out of context it can ruin the ummah. She showed us that we should not interpret this hadith in a way where it goes against the Holy Qur’an. This shows us that there is no prophet after me only refers to a law bearing prophet coming against the teachings of the Holy Prophetsaw as well. There is another incident of Hazrat Ali which is as follows:

وأخرج ابن الأنباري في المصاحف عن أبي عبد الرحمن السلمي قال: كنت اقرىء الحسن والحسين، فمر بي علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه وأنا اقرئهما فقال لي: اقرئهما وخاتم النبيين بفتح التاء

Abu Abdur Rahman narrates that he used to teach Hazrat Hasan and Hussain. Once Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib passed nearby him while he was teaching them, so he said to him “Teach them Khataman Nabiyeen with a fatha on the ta” (Durr-e-Manthoor, Under 33:40)

Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmoodra Ahmadra explains beautifully. He states:

“This was the fatwā of Hazrat ‘Alīra that the qirā’āt of Khātim-an-Nabiyyīn with the kasra under the tā’ is subordinate to the qirā’āt with the fatah over the tā’. However, the scholars say that the qirā’ah of Khātaman-Nabiyyīn with the fatah on tā’ is subordinate to the qirā’ah with the kasra under the tā’. If khātam had meant that which the scholars say, then Hazrat ‘Alī ra should have been happy that ‘Abd-ur-Rahmān Aslamī is teaching his sons to recite with the kasra under the tā’. Instead, he gives instructions that his children should not be taught to recite with the kasra under the tā’. This proves that according to Hazrat ‘Alīra, the phrase Khātam-an-Nabiyyīn with the fatah on tā’ was more secure. In general, the kasra under the tā’ is also permissible. However, since there was a danger that Hazrat Hassanra or Hazrat Hussainra may take it to understand that there is no prophet after the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa even if he is a student of his, he told the teacher to teach his children to recite with the fatah on tā’ and not with the kasra under the tā’. This also helps us understand that according to Hazrat ‘Alīra, Khātam-an-Nabiyyīn does not mean that which can [possibly] be understood with the kasra under the tā’, that is, “the one who ends the prophets.” Otherwise, he would not have stopped the teacher from teaching with the kasra under the tā’. (Tafsir e Kabeer)

All true prophets are a reflection of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw and this hadith itself answers those who ask whether the prophets before the Holy Prophetsaw had these qualities. Another interesting point to note is that the Qur’an states:

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ ۗ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْعَلُوا إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِكُمْ مَعْرُوفًا ۚ كَانَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا {7}

The Prophet is nearer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are as mothers to them. And blood relations are nearer to one another, according to the Book of Allah, than the rest of the believers from among the Helpers as well as the Emigrants, except that you show kindness to your friends. That also is written down in the Book. (Chapter 33 Verse 7)

Allah makes it Clear that the wives of the prophets are the spiritual mothers of the believers, so it only makes sense that it would make the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw the spiritual father of the believers as Allah addresses him in Chapter 33 Verse 41.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas beautifully explains this concept. Heas states:

“Allah the Almighty made the Holy Prophetsaw the possessor of a seal, that is to say that He granted him a seal for the dissemination of excellence which was not given to any other prophet at all. It is for this reason that he was named Khataman Nabiyyin. In other words, obedience to the Holy Prophet(saw) endows a person the excellences of prophethood and his spiritual influence fashions prophets as it were (Haqiqatul Wahi Page 28)

Heas also states:

“I tell you truly that Islam is so patently true that if all the disbelievers of the world were to stand in prayer on one side, and I were to stand alone on the other, in supplication before God for a particular purpose, God will support me, not because I am better than all others, but because I believe sincerely in His Messenger and know that all Prophethood ended with him and that all law is comprised in his law. Yet one type of Prophethood has not ended, that is to say, the Prophethood which is granted in consequence of complete obedience to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and which is illumined by his lamp. This Prophethood has not ended inasmuch as it is a reflection of his Prophethood and is given through him and is his manifestation and receives grace from him. God is the enemy of whoever regards the Holy Qur’an as abrogated and follows a law opposed to the law of Muhammad and seeks to put his own law in practice and does not follow the Holy Prophetsaw and seeks to set up himself in his place. But God loves him who makes the Holy Qur’an his code and regards the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the Seal of the Prophets and knows that he is dependent upon his grace. Such a man becomes the beloved of God Almighty. God’s love pulls him towards Him and honours him with His converse and displays signs in his support. When such a person’s obedience to the Holy Prophetsaw arrives at its climax, God bestows a Prophethood upon him which is a reflection of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), so that Islam may continues to remain fresh and alive through such people and should remain supreme over its opponents.

A foolish one, who is in truth an enemy of the faith, does not desire that converse with God should continue as a characteristic of Islam. He rather wishes that Islam too should become a dead religion like all the others; but that is not what God desires. In the revelation vouchsafed to me, God Almighty has employed the expression Prophet and Messenger concerning me hundreds of times, but these expressions mean only frequent converse with God which comprises the unseen. Everyone is entitled to use an expression in a particular sense. God too designates frequent experience of converse with Him as Prophethood, meaning that such converse comprises a great deal of that which is unseen. Accursed is he who claims to be a Prophet, but whose Prophethood is divorced from the grace of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.) The Prophethood that has been bestowed on me belongs to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and is not a new Prophethood. Its only purpose is to make manifest to the world the truth of Islam and to display the righteousness of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).”(Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 23, Pages 339-341)


“If it is asked that the Holy Prophetsaw him being Khatamun Nabiyyeen, how can any other prophet arise after him? The answer is that without a doubt, no new or old prophet can come after the Holy Prophet as you believe that Jesus, being a prophet, would come in the latter days. Your doctrine is that for 40 years Jesus would continue to be a prophet and a recipient of divine revelation, a period that by far exceeds the period of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet. Such a doctrine is, no doubt, sinful and its falsity is borne witness to by the Hadith: ‘There will be no prophet after me’.

“I am utterly opposed to all such doctrines and I have firm belief in the verse:‘But he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatamun Nabiyyeen’ (33:41).”

“This verse contains a prophecy of which our opponents are not aware, and that prophecy is that after the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, all doors of prophecy have been closed and that it is not possible now that a Hindu or a Jew or a Christian or a merely formal Muslim, should be able to establish the applicability of the word prophet to himself”.

“Therefore the concept of Khatamun Nabiyyeen has not been contravened by my advent, but it would certainly be contravened by the advent of Jesus a second time.”( Ek Ghalti Ka Izalah ‘A Misconception Removed’)