In August 1899, Hazrat Mirza wrote a letter to someone, explaining
the use of the words nabi and rasul about him. This letter,
which was also published at that time in the Ahmadiyya newspaper Al-Hakam,
is translated below.
The situation is that, although for twenty years
I have been constantly receiving Divine revelation, often the word
rasul or nabi has occurred in it. For example, there
is the revelation: 'He it is Who sent His messenger (rasul)
with guidance and the true religion', and the revelation: 'the champion
of God in the mantle of the prophets', and the revelation: 'A prophet
came into the world but the world accepted him not'. (Author's
Note: Another reading of this revelation is: 'A warner (nazir)
came into the world', and this is the reading which was given in
Barahin Ahmadiyya. To avoid causing trouble, the other reading
[which says 'prophet'] was not given.)
However, that person is mistaken who thinks that by this prophethood
and messengership is meant real prophethood and messengership,
by which the man concerned possesses authority over the Shariah.
In fact, by the word rasul is only meant 'one sent by God,'
and by the word nabi is only meant 'one who makes prophecies,'
having received intimation from God, or one who discloses hidden
As these words, which are only in a metaphorical
sense, cause trouble in Islam, leading to very bad consequences,
these terms should not be used in our community's common talk
and everyday language. It should be believed from the bottom
of the heart that prophethood has terminated with the Holy Prophet
Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, as God
Almighty says: 'He is the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin.'
To deny this verse, or to belittle it, is in fact to separate
oneself from Islam. The person who exceeds the limit in rejection
is in the same dangerous condition as the one who, like the Shiahs,
exceeds the limit in acceptance. It should
be known that God has ended all His prophethoods and messengerships
with the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet. I have come into
the world, and have been sent into it, merely as a servant of
the religion of Islam, and not to discard Islam and create some
other religion. One must always protect oneself from being waylaid
by the devil, and have true love for Islam, and must never forget
the greatness of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
"I am a servant of Islam, and this is the real reason for my
coming. The words nabi and rasul are figurative and
metaphorical. Risalat in the Arabic language is applied to
'being sent', and nubuwwat is to expound hidden truths and
matters upon receiving knowledge from God. So, bearing in mind a significance
of this extent, it is not blame-worthy to believe in the heart in
accordance with this meaning.
However, in the terminology of Islam, nabi and rasul
mean those who bring an entirely new Law (shariah), or
those who abrogate some aspects of the previous law, or those
who are not called followers of a previous prophet, having a direct
connection with God without benefit from a prophet. Therefore,
one should be vigilant to see that the same meaning is not taken
here, because we have no Book but the Holy Quran, and no religion
but Islam. We believe that our Prophet,
may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the last of
the Prophets, and the Holy Quran is the last of the Books.
Religion should not be made into a children's game, and it should
be remembered that I make no claim contrary to that of being a
servant of Islam. The person who ascribes to me the contrary is
making a fabrication against me. We receive grace and blessings
through our Holy Prophet, and receive the benefit of knowledge
from the Quran.
It is, therefore, pertinent that no person should entertain
anything in his heart contrary to this direction; or else he shall
be answerable for it before God. If we are not servants of Islam,
then all our work is in vain and rejected, and shall be called
(Letter dated 7 August 1899, published in Al-Hakam, vol.
iii, no. 29, 17 August 1899)