why is muhammad called the seal of the prophets
All sects of Islam maintain that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet, the last divine messenger for all time. That means most Muslims acknowledge the founders of several previous religions, such as Moses, Jesus and even Zoroaster as inspired, but deny there will ever be any new messenger or new, divinely-revealed religion after Muhammad. Since the
claims to be the next major Faith after Islam, this single point often prompts some Muslims to regard the BahaÁi Faith as illegitimate. It has even caused deadly persecution of the BahaÁis in predominately Islamic countries like Iran and Egypt. So letÁs start at the beginning the BahaÁi Faith emerged from the background of Islam, much as Christianity emerged from Judaism. BahaÁis, along with Muslims, revere the QurÁan as the Word of God. This includes QurÁan 33:40, the verse on which the doctrine of MuhammadÁs finality is based: Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the Messenger of God, and the Seal of the Prophets; God has knowledge of everything. (Arberry). Clearly, BahaÁis actually do accept Muhammad as the Seal of the ProphetsÁbut reject the interpretation that Islamic orthodoxy reads into this verse. One reason: the QurÁan itself raises the possibility of future divine messengers after Muhammad. Children of Adam! If there should come to you Messengers from among you, relating to you My signs, then whosoever is godfearing and makes amendsÁno fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow. And those that cry lies to Our signs, and wax proud against themÁthose shall be the inhabitants of the Fire, therein dwelling forever. Verses 35-36. This verse first opened my heart, as a convert to Islam earlier in my life, to the possibility of new revelations from God.
It calls to mind another verse from the QurÁan, which tells how on Judgment Day, God will say to the world: Company of jinn and mankind, did not Messengers come to you from among you, relating to you My signs and warning you of the encounter of this your day? Á They shall say, ÁWe bear witness against ourselves. Á QurÁan 6:130ff. I did not want to be in that groupÁbearing witness that I had turned away from GodÁs verses. So as a Muslim I resolved to investigate the BahaÁi claims on their own merits, and not simply dismiss them. Some people object that QurÁan 7:35 is a conditional statement, and thus does not categorically state that new Messengers will comeÁonly that if they do, we must heed them. But this objection misses the mark, since, if the mainstream Islamic understanding of Áthe Seal of the ProphetsÁ is correct, a new Messenger after Muhammad is flatly impossible. Why would God warn us that something is possible in one verse, and then say it is impossible in another? For new divine Messengers to even be possible, MuhammadÁs title of Áthe Seal of the ProphetsÁ must mean something other than Álast divine Messenger, period. Á Others argue that this verse does not address all humanity, but just AdamÁs immediate offspring, referring only to the Messengers from Noah to Muhammad. While the beginning of QurÁan chapter seven does tell the story of Adam, it is separated from this verse by a number of others, some of which are clearly addressed to MuhammadÁs own audience in 7th century Arabia (for example, 7:27-28). There is no basis to conclude that verse 35, warning of Messengers to come, belongs to the story of Adam and not to the series of exhortations that intervene.
The exclamation ÁO children of Adam,Á like the QurÁanÁs oft-recurring ÁO children of Israel,Á covers the entire people descended from the ancestral figure, not just their immediate offspring. We can see this clearly in QurÁan 36:60 or 17:70: We have honoured the Children of Adam and carried them on land and sea, and provided them with good things, and preferred them greatly over many of those We created. If we take it at face value, QurÁan 7:35 warns humanity during MuhammadÁs time, and us today, to be on the watch for GodÁs messengers from among us, and to obey them when they appear. The writings have a similar warning, specifically about the term ÁSeal of the Prophets:Á Áthou dost witness how the people of the Qur ön, like unto the people of old, have allowed the words Seal of the Prophets to veil their eyes. , The Book of Certitude, p. 213. So if new messengers are possible according to the QurÁan, how do we understand Muhammad as Áthe Seal of the ProphetsÁ? Please follow along as we turn to this subject in the next article in this series. ÁMuhammad 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. Á (33:41) There are many manifestations of the Holy ProphetÁs (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) attribute of the ÁSeal of the ProphetsÁ. The most striking one is the Áseal of approvalÁ that the Holy Prophet was granted for the continuation of prophethood from within his followers. ÁAnd whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous.
And excellent companions are these. Á (4:70) The followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad have been given the glad tiding that they can even attain the status of Prophethood by obeying Allah and the Prophet Muhammad. This is a distinguishing characteristic of Prophet Muhammad as no other prophet before him has been given this seal of approval. Before Prophet Muhammad it was not necessary to follow the preceding prophet to attain the status of Prophetohood. ÁAnd those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and they are the Truthful and the Witnesses in the sight of their Lord, they will have their reward and their lightÁÁ (57:20) Of course the followers of other prophets will be rewarded by Allah in this world and the hereafter but there rewards fall short of attaining the status of Prophethood Á a blessing that only the followers of Muhammad, the seal of Prophets, are bestowed with. Apart from the most distinguishing status of the seal of approval there are many other manifestations of the attribute of seal of the prophets, including but not limited to: Prophet MuhammadÁs message was for all people and all times in contrast to the message of other prophets that was for a specific audience and for a limited time. Prophet Muhammad was granted the QurÁan Á GodÁs final book which is protected by God Himself till the end of the time. Prophet Muhammad, through the Holy QurÁan, made it obligatory to all Muslims to believe in all Prophets and not to distinguish between prophet in their belief. Prophet Muhammad declared all Prophets to be innocent servants of God thus absolving them of any and all false allegations.
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