This entry is based on my engagements with Ahmadis on social media, they claim that since Waffa only means death in the Lexicons, then, this must be its only translation.  However, this argument quickly collapses when we test this hypothesis.  Since, as we know, Khataam only means last in the lexicons.

The data

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”. For example,

  1. Taj -al-`arus,
  2. Lisan al-`arab,
  3. Raghib’s famous Mufradat of the Quran,
  4. Majma bihar al-anwar (a dictionary of Hadith),

all say that Khatam an-nabiyyin means the Last of the Prophets.

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.

Taj al-`arus

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:

  1. Lisan al-`arab
  2. the Qamus
  3. Mukhtar as-sihah
  4. Muntaha al-`arab
  5. Sihah al-Jauhari

Lisan al-`arab

In the Lisan al-`arab, it says:

Wa bil-kasri khatimu-hum, wa bil-fathi khatamu-hum akhiru-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 says:

“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.”