IMPORTANCE OF BELIEF IN FINALITY OF
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (P.B.O.H)
By Maulana Kausar Niazi
(Extracts from Muslim Digest, Durban, South Africa, November 1976 Vol. 21, No. 4)
A study of the Holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad (p.b.o.h.) would be incomplete without appreciating that he was the last of God's Prophets and there will be no other prophet after him. This basic belief has welded into one fraternity, all who have faith in God and His Messenger by removing every racial and material distinction between them. The belief proclaims that whatever guidance and instructions were needed from God by mankind, have been received; creeds which led to heresy have been indicated and attributes by which men of faith can be recognised have been expounded.
It is no longer necessary to have faith in any other teaching, nor does Islam or heresy depend on individual acknowledgement. Anyone not acknowledging the finality of prophethood of the Holy Prophet of Islam wants to strike at the roots of Islam's solidarity, create disunity and dissensions in its ranks and is out to destroy the very basis on which the concept of Islam's universal brotherhood is founded.
The importance of the doctrine of finality of prophethood has a high place in our religion. If a man has faith in the Holy Prophet (p.b.o.h.) but does not believe that he was the last of the prophets such a man's place in Islamic society and before God and his faith in Islam is of little value.
More than fourteen centuries have passed since the Holy Prophet was commissioned, but in every age Muslims have regarded the doctrine of Finality of Prophethood as their faith's mainstay.
So strict were our predecessors in this matter that when during the time of Imam Abu Hanifa a person claimed prophethood, the Imam ordained as heretic not only a believer in the false one, but also the man who asked. If the last Prophet's teachings had not been perfect and were not able to cater to the requirements of a developing world society, there may have been need for another prophet.
But God Himself perfected the Holy Prophet and the religion.
"Today, I have perfected your religion." (Al-Qur'aan 5:3).
He (God) had thus spoken out un-equivocally. And that was the end of the matter. The Holy Prophet himself explained his Finality thus:
"My example and that of the preceding prophets is of a palace where a vacant place had been left for a brick. Those who see it would wonder why space for a brick had been left vacant. I am that brick."
The Holy Prophet (p.b.o.h.) was most kind to his community, kinder in fact, than a parent. Because of this he did not leave anything vague about prophethood, explaining everything in clear terms, identifying the impending dangers and indicating the signs leading to the Day of Resurrection. He threw light on every matter with which his community was to be concerned in the course of time. So concerned was he to fulfill the requirements of his high office that the Holy Prophet was not satisfied until, on the occasion of the farewell pilgrimage, he got an acknowledgement from his followers:
"Yes, you have communicated the message of God, and have discharged this responsibility."
If the Sacred Being Who had enlightened His people on all aspects of the present, past and future was to send down another prophet he would certainly have indicated his coming. Those, therefore, who consider the possibility of a continuing process of prophethood, in fact insinuate that the Holy Prophet had not performed his obligations, a charge no Muslim in his senses could accept.
The Qur'aan carries at least a hundred verses referring directly or indirectly to the finality of prophethood. The Traditions also provide more than a hundred sources in support. If these irrefutable proofs notwithstanding, some one with ridiculous and vague arguments denies the doctrine of Finality of Prophethood, he clearly wants to create division in the community in order to strengthen the hands of the enemies of Islam.
There are many implications of the doctrine of the Finality of Prophethood. Every Muslim should, however, absorb one or two matters about its philosophy and message. It is evident that the community owing allegiance to the last of the prophets (Muhammad, on whom be peace) and whose prophethood is eternal, must, because of it, enjoy a leadership position till the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet was the last of the prophets, his community must be the last of the religious communities, and will show the right path to all others.