The following information has been compiled from the book Akhari
Nabi, written by Maulana Muhammad Ali in 1922 and published
by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore. Its English translation
has also been published under the title "The Last Prophet".
Meaning of Khatam an-nabiyyin
All the classical lexicons of Arabic and the Quran give the meaning of
Khatam an-nabiyyin as "Last of the Prophets".
all say that Khatam an-nabiyyin means the Last of the
- Taj -al-`arus,
- Lisan al-`arab,
- Raghib's famous Mufradat of the Quran,
- Majma bihar al-anwar (a dictionary of Hadith),
Edward William Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, based on
the classical Arabic lexicons such as those above, says:
"Khatam an-nabiyyin and khatim an-nabiyyin
both in the Quran mean the last of the prophets (33:40)."
The above lexicons also record that the usage khatam al-qaum
existed among the pre-Islamic Arabs and meant akhiru-hum
or the "last of the people".
Meanings of khatim, khatam, etc.
While "seal" is a meaning of khatam, it is
also mentioned in every major lexicon that "last" is also its
meaning. The lexicons record that khatam is similar
in meaning to several of its variants (such as khatim)
and that it means the "last part" of something.
The Taj al-`arus says:
"wal-khatamu min kulli shai-in `aqibatu-hu wa
akhiratu-hu ka-khatimati-hi wal-khatamu akhir-il qaum."
The khatam of anything is its end (`aqib)
and its last part (akhir), as its khatim is, and the last
of a people is its khatam.
Taj al-`arus also says:
"khatama ash-shai means 'he reached the
end of a thing'. From this is derived khatamtu-l-Qurana which
means 'I reached the end of the Quran'. The khatam of a people
(qaum) is the last (akhir) of them, just as the khatim
is. And it is in the word of Allah: khatam an-nabiyyin, that
is, the Last (akhir) of them."
Similar meanings are given in:
- Lisan al-`arab
- the Qamus
- Mukhtar as-sihah
- Muntaha al-`arab
- Sihah al-Jauhari
In the Lisan al-`arab, it says:
"Wa bil-kasri khatimu-hum, wa bil-fathi khatamu-hum
"With kasra (vowel stroke under a letter)
it is khatimu-hum, and with fath (vowel stroke above a
letter) it is khatamu-hum, and it means the last of them."
It goes on to say:
"Khatim and khatam are among the
names of the Prophet Muhammad, and in the Quran it says: Muhammad is
not the father of any man from among you but he is the messenger of
Allah and the khatam of the prophets, that is to say, the Last
of them (akhiru-hum)."
Further on it says:
"Among his (Prophet Muhammad's) names is al-`aqib
also, and its meaning is the Last of the prophets (akhirul-anbiya)."
Mufradat of Raghib
This famous dictionary of the Holy Quran, under the root kh-t-m,discusses
the various occurrences of words based on this root in the Quran. It then
"Khatam an-nabiyyin li-anna-hu khatama an-nubuwwata
ayi tammama-ha bi-maji'i-hi."
"He is the Khatam an-nabiyyin because he
ended prophethood, that is, he made it complete by his appearance."
Classical commentaries (tafasir) of the Quran.
The classical commentators also explain khatam an-nabiyyin
as meaning the Last of the prophets.
- Abu Hayyan says:
||("they" - the prophets)
||("with him", i.e. Prophet Muhammad)
||("have come to an end")
Here the passive voice khutimu is used, meaning "have
come to an end".
- In Fath al-Bayan, it is recorded:
"Khatam is that by which something is
terminated. Thus the meaning is that God has terminated prophethood
with him, and so there is no prophet after him."
- Ibn Jarir (the famous at-Tabari) writes:
"The meaning of khatam an-nabiyyin,
'ta' with 'fath', is that he is the Last of the prophets."
- In the commentary of al-Baidawi it is written:
"Akhiru-hum al-ladhi khutima bi-him au khatamu
"The last (akhir) of them with whom
they (the prophets) came to an end, or they came to an end with
Hadith reports on Prophet Muhammad being the last prophet.
We propose to deal with these in a subsequent article. Here we just note
that there are at least forty different hadith reports
in which the Prophet Muhammad has explained that he is the Last Prophet.
If the different channels of reporting are counted, these amount to 89
(eighty-nine) reports. These are all quoted in the book Khatam
an-Nabiyyin by Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan of Amroha (India), published
in 1922 by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore. (Incidentally, the
author S. M. Ahsan was recognised in the Ahmadiyya movement as the second
most learned follower of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the first being Maulana
As regards the high standard of reliability of those reports,
the classical commentator Ibn Kathir writes:
"This verse of Khatam an-nabiyyin is a clear
proof that no prophet would come after him ... and there have been continuous
(mutawattir) reports on the subject, recorded by an entire group
(jama`at) of the Companions of the Prophet."
These hadith reports are to be found in the most reliable of the Hadith
collections, i.e. Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Nisa'i, Ibn Maja etc.
It may be noted that in these hadith reports the Prophet Muhammad
has used several different ways to explain that he is the Last Prophet.
As against this, nowhere and absolutely nowhere
is the Holy Prophet Muhammad reported as saying that prophets would come
after him, nor is there any statement from any of the Companions that
"prophets will appear after the Prophet Muhammad".
- In many reports he uses the words: La nabiyya ba`di,
meaning "There is no prophet after me".
- In some reports he uses the passive voice of khatam
(kutima, "have come to an end"), rather than the
active participle, to say that "prophets have come to an end
- In some reports he has used the first person as follows: I
have (khatamtu) brought the prophets to an end.
- In some, he refers to himself by the title al-`aqib
(the one who follows at the end), adding that he bears this title
because no prophet will come after him.