Alleged change in definition of
The following question was received at this website (www.muslim.org).
Our esteemed enquirer informed us that he had copied these quotations
from an anti-Ahmadiyya website.
In one place Mirza sahib defines the word nabi in Islamic
terminology as follows:
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.
In another place he gives the following definition:
Receiving word from God, such as contains knowledge
of things unknown, and embraces prophecies remarkable in grandeur,
the man who communicates this word to mankind, in Islamic terminology,
is called a Nabi. (Lecture entitled Hujjatullah, Alhakm,
May 6, 1905)
Regarding your first quotation (from a writing dated August 1899),
immediately prior to the words that you quote, he writes as follows
regarding the use of the words nabi and rasul about
saints in Islam (like himself):
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 he first explains that these words nabi and rasul
apply to recipients of revelation arising among Muslims only in
their linguistic sense in Arabic, which is also a metaphorical and
figurative use. Then follows the passage you have quoted, in which
he deals with the definition of these words in the real sense of
Regarding your second quotation, the date should be 1908, not 1905.
The words you quote can be read in Ruhani Khazain,
No. 2 (Malfuzat), v. 10, p. 267. Again, the words immediately
preceding this quotation are as follows:
If in this audience anyone is familiar with Hebrew
or Arabic he will know that the word nabi is derived from
nabaa, and that is applied to giving news. And one
who gives news is called nabi.
Therefore, in your second quote he is only talking about the linguistic
meaning of nabi, and saying exactly the same as what he had
written in 1899 about the meaning of nabi in the Arabic language.
Let me now quote from a speech he made two weeks after the date
of your second quotation above:
My claim is only that God has sent me because of
the evils prevailing at this time, and I cannot hide the fact I
have been granted the privilege of communication from God. He speaks
to me and speaks frequently. This is called prophethood but it
is not real prophethood. Nabaa is an Arabic word
meaning news. Now the man who, having received news from God, announces
it to people will be called nabi in Arabic.
of Sirhind writes that those auliya who receive frequent
communication from God are called muhaddas and nabi.
I ask: if a man, having received news from God, announces it to
the world, do you call him anything other than nabi in Arabic?
The strange thing is that if the meaning of this word is expressed
in Urdu or Punjabi, they [i.e. his opponents] accept it, but if
it is presented in Arabic they deny it with hatred. (Ruhani
Khazain, No. 2, v. 10, p. 421)
It is plainly stated here that being granted the privilege
of communication from God does not constitute real prophethood
but it is only the linguistic use of the word nabi. Moreover,
he refers to the opinion of the famous Hazrat Mujaddid of Sirhind
(Mujaddid Alif Sani) to show that the persons who are called nabi
because of receiving frequent Divine communications are the auliya
in Islam who are also called muhaddas.
I may add that in one of his last books, Haqiqat-ul-Wahy,
published 1907, he has clearly given a definition of a real prophet
which shows that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
If all the books of God the Most High are looked
into closely, it will be found that all prophets have been teaching:
believe God the Most High to be One without partner and along
with it also believe in our risalat. It was for this
reason that the summary of the teachings of Islam was taught to
the entire Umma in these two sentences: La ilaha ill-Allah,
Muhammad-ur Rasul-ullah. (Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, p. 111)
Thus a real prophet in Islam is one who requires people to acknowledge
belief in God and belief in his own prophethood as the basis of
his teaching. But no such person can arise after the Holy Prophet
Muhammad because, as he writes, the entire Muslim Umma, for all
time to come, has already been taught There is no god but
Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah as the summary of
He even writes in the same book that the definition of the name
Allah means that the Holy Prophet Muhammad was the Last
and Final Prophet:
God the Most High has defined the name Allah in the Holy
Quran as follows. Allah is the Being Who is Rabb-ul-alamin,
Rahman and Rahim, Who created the earth and the heaven
in six days, and made Adam, and sent messengers, and sent scriptures,
and at the end of all of them sent Muhammad, may peace
and the blessings of Allah be upon him, who is the Khatam-ul-anbiya
and the best of messengers. (Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, p.
Therefore, the belief of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, till the end
of his life, was that according to the definition given by Islam
of a real prophet, and even according to the definition
of the name Allah in the Quran, the Holy Prophet Muhammad
was sent by Allah at the end of all the prophets.