Addendum by T. Ijaz, 2nd February 2004
I have added this quotation, which summarizes many of the points already made by me.
In June 1907, in the lifetime of the Promised Messiah, Maulvi Nurrudin was asked these questions:
-Have those who do not believe in the Promised Messiah the same status as that of those who do not believe in the Holy Prophet?
-How should the hadith: ‘no prophet after me’ be construed?
-If a prophet can arise in Islam why were Abu Bakr and others not prophets?
His response was: (emphasis mine)
- “The Holy Qur’an says: Of the Messengers some We have exalted above others (2:254). If there were not equality of status between Messengers, there would not be such equality of status as you have in mind between those who do not believe in them. You may reflect that he who disbelieves in the Messiah of the Khatamal Anbiya is guilty of greater wrong that one who disbelieves in the Messiah of Moses.
The Holy Qur’an affirms that the believers make no distinction between Messengers of Allah in respect to believing in them (2:286). You are seeking to make a distinction between those who do not believe in a law bearing prophet and those who do not believe in a non-law bearing one. I do not appreciate the reason for the distinction.
We have been persuaded to believe in the Promised Messiah by the same process of reasoning as the one whereby we are persuaded to believe in the Holy Quran. To reject the reasoning would be tantamount to rejecting Islam. Do reflect on: When it is said to them: Believe ye in that which Allah has sent down; they retort: We do not believe in that which has been sent down to us; and saying that they reject that which has been sent down after that; yet it has been proved to be the truth by fulfilling that which is with them (2:92). Why does not parity of reasoning entail the same result in both cases?
-The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has described the Messiah who was to come as a prophet of Allah. The Promised Messiah has been so addressed in the revelations vouchsafed to him by Allah.
The Ahadith make a distinction between general and particular. Consider the following which are examples of the general, which do not exclude the particular: He who lacks integrity lacks faith, and he who fails in his promise lacks religion; salat is not performed without recitation of the Fatihah; there can be no marriage without the consent of the guardian; there is no room for envy in respect of two persons.
Then in the Holy Quran the Holy Prophet is called Khatam Nabiyyeen (Seal of Prophets) and not Khatim Nabiyyeen (Last of Prophets). The Holy Quran affirms that the Jews were after the slaying the prophets. Does this mean all prophets, or some of them?
-Abu Bakr was not called a Prophet of God, and the Promised Messiah has been so called”.
(Quoted from the book, Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddeen Khalifatul Masih I, pages 94-96, by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, published by London Mosque, London, U.K)
Thus, according to Maulvi Nurrudin, the Promised Messiah was in the league of prophets, though non-law bearing. We should make no distinction between the messengers, and it is incumbent we accept them all. The hadith of ‘no prophet after me’ does not categorically exclude a prophet arising in the future. Khatam means ‘seal’ and signifies ‘attestor’ or ‘confirmer’, not last. Also there is no denial of Abu Bakr and Promised Messiah attaining spiritual state of nabuwwat, in fact he confirms it. The only difference is the Promised Messiah was openly called ‘Nabi’ while other righteous people in the Ummah were not openly called such. I have already given the reason for this in Section I of my response.