The Seal of all the Prophets
Prophethood came to an end with Muhammad (pbuh ), whom Allah made the “seal of all the Prophets” (khoofcm an-nabiyyeen) and by whom the religion (deen) was completed and perfected. The words of Allah were finally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through Angel Jibreel over a period of twenty-three years, from the age of forty to sixty-three, when he passed away.
The Quran states, “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.”
This verse set, as it were, a seal on the message of the Quran. It was revealed at ‘Arafaat in the afternoon of Friday, the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, 1 0 AH, eighty-one or eighty- two days before the death of the Prophet No verse whatsoever was revealed after this verse. This clearly points to the fact that Almighty Allah has perfected the faith and bestowed the full measure of His blessings upon the believers. Our total submission to Allah (Islam) is accepted as the true basis, or the basic law, of the deen. This self-expression should find expression not only in belief in Allah, but also in obedience to His commands.
Indeed, this verse represents the greatest favour of Allah on the Ummah (the Muslim community) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for He has perfected their religion for them and so they do not need any way of life other than Islam. Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as His Last Messenger to all mankind. Muslims do not need any additions, deletions or changes in their religion; Allah has completed it for them.
One day a Jew came to Umar ibn al-Khattaab and said, “Commander of the believers! There is a verse in your Holy Book, which is recited by all of you Muslims. Had it been revealed to us, we would have taken the day on which it was revealed as a day of celebration.” Umar asked, “What verse is it?” The Jew replied, “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” Umar then said, “No doubt about it at all. We know where and when this verse was revealed. It was a Friday. The Prophet was standing at Arafaat (the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah).”
(al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, at-Tirmidhee and an-Nasaa’ee)
Muhammad (pbuh) was the last of the Prophets. He is the seal (khaatam) of all the Prophets. Just as a seal marks the end of a document or conclusion of a thing, the message revealed to Muhammad (pbuh), the Quran, was the culmination and the end of all divine revelations. Because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the seal of the prophets, the Quran represents the culminating point of all the revelations and offers the final and perfect straight path to success in this life and eternal bliss in the life to come.
The Quran has a universal applicability. This means that its teachings are suitable and useful everywhere in the world and at all times. Its text is incorruptible because Almighty Allah has taken it upon Himself to protect it. The Quran says,
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian.”
The Quran is the record of all the words and messages exactly as conveyed to the Prophet (pbuh) by Allah and arranged by the Prophet himself under the guidance of Allah. The finality of the Prophethood in Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) rests on the clear words of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) himself.
Hadeeth on the Finality of the Prophet (pbuh)
The hadeeth is also clear on this point. The meaning of khaatam an-nabiyyeen (seal of prophets) was thus explained by Allah’s Messenger (pbuh): “My example and the example of the prophets before me is like that of a man who has built a house and he made it very good and very beautiful with the exception of one stone in the corner; so people began to go round it and to wonder at it and say, “Why has the stone not been placed?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “I am this stone and I am the Last of the Prophets.”
This hadeeth in which the Prophet (pbuh) speaks of himself as the last of the messengers makes it very clear that no prophet would appear after him.
The appearance of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) made the institution of Prophethood universal, The day of a national prophet was over, and one last prophet was raised for all nations, for all ages, for all peoples of whatever tribe, color, language or place!
Islam, the Final Religion
Muhammad (pbuh) is the last of the messengers sent by Allah to mankind; therefore, Islam itself is the final religion, Islam draws together in itself all the essential aspects of truth about Allah and man’s life on earth and the life to come. It is thus a final synthesis of all revealed Truth. Similarly, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) draws together in himself all truth about man in the various aspects of his life. He is the whole true man in whom all human virtues and aspects are in perfect balance. The Prophet’s mission and Islam, being the final message, have in it not only the fragrance of the end, but also that of the beginning.
The Quran speaks of Aadam as the first man and first prophet and also states that it is with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that Prophethood comes to a close. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) is the seal of all the prophets. He is the universal and final messenger of Allah to all mankind whom he leads from darkness into light. Indeed, he is Allah’s favour on those who believe in him and in what he brought. He is Allah’s favour even to the People of the Book, who may yet come to believe in him.
He is the man whom Almighty Allah created with a character eminent as the standard for mankind. He is the perfect man and an excellent model for every Muslim, male or female, young or old. He brought to us the Quran exactly as it was revealed to him by Allah. His own life was the perfect interpretation of the Noble Quran. Through his fantastic teachings and marvellous example, he has shown us the right and true practice of Islam and Islamic virtues. He is a perfect model not merely for one generation but for all generations, not merely for a time but for all time. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on him.