Prophethood is not to Continue in the Same Fashion as was During the
Some hadith (tradition of the Prophet) may indicate, that the sealing
of the office of prophethood, is to be understood in the light of the
manner of, how guidance was continued in previous dispensations, and how
that method was changed in Islam.
Through Muhammad's revelation the office of prophethood was ended. That
is to say, no other prophet like those of Judaism (like Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc... ) were to appear. Instead Khalifs (according
to Sunni terminology), and Imams (according to Shi'ite usage) appeared.
The following Sahih Hadith hints at this issue:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The Israelis used to be
ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take
over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs
who will increase in number."
The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What do you order us (to do)?"
He said, "Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance
first. Fulfill their (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them
about (any shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship."
- Sahih Bukhari 4:661 (see Arabic)
This issue may be best understood when we study the historical context and
the circumstances of the revelation of verse 33:40. Most importantly, the
verse itself should not be taken out of the context of the Sura (chapter)
which it is a part of.
The Prophet (PBUH), had adopted Zaid ibn Al-Haritha and treated him as
His own son and made him part of His household. The people started calling
him Zaid ibn Muhammad. Verses 4 and 5 of the same sura, clearly discourage
such practice :
YUSUFALI: Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body:
nor has He made your wives whom ye divorce by Zihar your mothers: nor
has He made your adopted sons your sons. Such is (only) your
(manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and
He shows the (right) Way.
PICKTHAL: Allah hath not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body,
nor hath He made your wives whom ye declare (to be your mothers) your
mothers, nor hath He made those whom ye claim (to be your sons) your sons.
This is but a saying of your mouths. But Allah saith the truth and He
showeth the way.
SHAKIR: Allah has not made for any man two hearts within him; nor has
He made your wives whose backs you liken to the backs of your mothers
as your mothers, nor has He made those whom you assert to be your sons
your real sons; these are the words of your mouths; and Allah speaks the
truth and He guides to the way.
YUSUFALI: Call them by (the names of) their fathers:
that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if ye know not their father's
(names, call them) your Brothers in faith, or your maulas. But there is
no blame on you if ye make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention
of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.
PICKTHAL: Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in
the sight of Allah. And if ye know not their fathers, then (they are)
your brethren in the faith, and your clients. And there is no sin for
you in the mistakes that ye make unintentionally, but what your hearts
purpose (that will be a sin for you). Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
SHAKIR: Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable
with Allah; but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren
in faith and your friends; and there is no blame on you concerning that
in which you made a mistake, but (concerning) that which your hearts do
purposely (blame may rest on you), and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
As people were using the name Zaid ibn Muhammad, the expectation of some
was also that he would become His successor, as had been the case the
prophets of the children of Israel.
When Zaid divorced his wife, who later was married to the Prophet (PBUH),
many people objected to this and expressed their displeasure that He would
marry His "son's" divorced wife, verse 33:40 made it clear that
Zaid was neither the Prophet's son nor was he or anyone else to be a prophet
When chapter 33 is read in its entirety, this issue becomes much clearer.