Regarding Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) (2)
I am very thankful to you for responding to my letter so promptly despite your heavy engagements.
The reason I tried to lay emphasis on the definition and concept of a Nabi is that the real disagreement between the Ahmadis and other Muslims is on the terminology only. ‘Ummati Nabuwwat’ is a new term, which means abundant and sure converse with God, which contains knowledge of the unseen, and is granted as a consequence of perfect obedience to the Holy Prophet. Ahmadis are extremely hurt when they are called ‘Munkireen-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat’, as they truly believe in the Holy Prophet being ‘Khatamun-Nabiyyin’. The disagreement is only in the interpretation.
No doubt, the ‘Deen’ has been perfected and no new commandment will ever be received from Allah, which needs to be believed. But man is liable to forget, is apt to fall into error and is prone to rebel. Therefore, Mujaddids and reformers were still needed to reflect the light of the Spiritual Sun, Muhammad, Sal-lalla-ho-alaihi-wa-sallam. They are the spiritual Khalifas of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and will always continue to exist in the Muslim Ummah, as prophesied in Verse 55 of Surah Al-Noor. In this verse, Muslims were promised that Allah would make them Khalifas as He made from among those who were before them, i.e. the People of Moses, Alai-his-salam. Just as Jesus appeared 1300 years after Moses, a Messiah was also promised to appear in Muslim Ummah, 1300 years after the Holy prophet (SAW). The Holy Prophet called the Promised Messiah as a Nabi and an Imam from among Muslims (i.e. an Ummati). Being an Ummati himself, perfectly following the Holy Prophet as his complete reflection, he was not separate from his master (SAW). Being not holding an independent position in his own right, obedience to him was included in the obedience of the Holy prophet. Nevertheless, he being a Khalifa like Hazrat Abu Bakr and others, those who deny him deliberately after being convinced of his truth are as answerable to God as those who rebelled against the Khulafaa-e-Rashidah. In the verse quoted above Allah calls those who reject the Khulafaa as ‘Faasiqeen’. (Qur’an; 24:55)
I think I couldn’t clarify myself in my earlier message. Let me do it again.
If a man claimed that he was a Nabi, irrespective of whatever expression is attached to the word, denying him was Kufr, which made the denying person eligible for hell. Of course, if an individual didn’t come to learn about the truthfulness of a Nabi’s claim in a convincing way, he might find an excuse with God. Most certainly, if there were truths other than the fact that a certain person was God’s messenger, denying such truths too was a crime. However, the religious crime called Kufr was tied with the understanding that a religious reality was presented through a God-designed arrangement and an individual after having learnt it to be from God went on to deny it.
Belief in Anbia was one such belief, deliberate denial of which is Kufr. Belief in Khulafae Rashidun cannot be confused with it. The Khulafa were chosen through a human process which was done through the Almighty’s decree that Muslims should decide their affairs through mutual consultation (Qur’an; 42:38). Despite the lofty status of Khulafae Rashidun, someone can raise concerns in the manner it happened, without legitimately earning the accusation of being a Kafir. The reason is that we can’t show any claim that these Khulafa received wahy from God directly which guided them to do what they did. We strongly disagree with the Shi’as who claim that the process followed by the Khulafa was a conspiracy to forestall the possibility of Ali from becoming the first caliph. If they make that accusation, we will call it a misguided opinion, and a serious misguidance at that, but not Kufr. The majority of non-Shi’a Muslims have held Shi’as as Muslims despite their incorrect understanding of the early Muslim history. The mention of Kufr in verse 55 of surah al-Nur (24) was not referring to the denial of the caliphate of the first three caliphs. It was referring to the fact that after witnessing God’s prophecy about Islam’s predominance getting actualized, if someone was going to deny the message of Islam or commit some form of other Kufr, he indeed would be transgressing all limits.
When Mirza Sahib claimed that he was a Nabi, ummati or otherwise, what proofs did he present from Qur’an? In the recent programs in Safre Hidayat, I tried to explore all the proofs presented by Mirza Sahib and his followers. None of them seemed to be presenting anything that could lead one to believe that another prophet of God was in the offing. On the other hand, Qur’an informs us that at the time when prophet Muhammad, alaihissalaam, presented his claim, all good, kitab-reciting individuals knew that Qur’an and the prophet were from God: “Those whom we have given the book, they recite it the way it should be recited; such are the people who believe in it (Qur’an) as well. As for those who deny it, such are the ones who will be the losers.” (Qur’an; 2:121)
I have read Qur’an umpteen times. I can assure you that I try to read it, as best as I can, to be able to understand it with an open mind. I have never had any indication in any of my recitations that Qur’an is inviting me to have faith in any messenger after the book was revealed.