Seal of the Prophets

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but He is the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets.
- Qur'an 33:40

Disclaimer (on Interpretation): Beseech God, and let your prayerful attitude and a clean heart guide you to see the meanings in God's words.

The word "Seal" (kha'tam in Arabic), in the verse above, has been interpreted over the centuries to mean the: "Last", "Final", "Seal" (as in a stamp sealing closed a document), "Seal" (as in seal of authority, officiating a document), and a few other meanings along similar lines of interpretation. Baha'is don't object to these possible meanings, and readily believe in the more common interpretation of : (Seal meaning Last), as Muhammad (PBUH) is repeatedly referred to in the Baha'i Writings. This may at first appear contrary to believing that there is a new religion, but the visitor is invited to read further.

Followers of all past religions have believed, based on certain verses in their holy books, that their religion would not be followed by any other.

Verses such as this have prevented the Jews from accepting newer revelations:

"Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
- Daniel 12:9

Another verse in the Old Testament says that the law of the Sabbath shall not be broken.

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For our Christian brothers and sisters, it was verses such as these below, which lead them to believe that there would not be any revelation after that of Christ:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
- John 14:6

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
- Luke 21:33

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. "
- Hebrews 1:1

These and many other verses that talk about, how only through Jesus (PBUH) we can know the Father, and how His words will never be replaced, were the reason that Christians would not accept any Messenger after Christ.

Going back to the meaning of the "Seal of the Prophets", this verse, and other verses about the completion of religion in Islam, have been interpreted by the majority of Muslims as indication of the finality, not only of Prophethood, but of all revelation. Other opinions and interpretations, including some by Muslim scholars, have argued that since there are many other verses in the Qur'an which explain the endless nature of the Words of God, in addition to other verses and Hadiths (traditions and sayings of the Prophet), which talk about the return of Jesus and the coming of the Mahdi, these opinions, have argued that there may be other interpretations for these verses. Some of these interpretations are mentioned here:

  1. Oneness of the Prophets
  2. Difference in Station between a Messenger (Rasool), and Prophet (Nabi)
  3. Renewal of Creation necessitates Continuance of Revelation
  4. Prophethood is not Inherited in Islam as was the case in Judaism
  5. Passages from Baha'i Writings on the Subject

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Islam and the Baha'i Faith