This essay was posted here: http://exahmadi.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-usage-of-khaatam-in-arabic_3.html
Ahmadis (Qadianis), in desperate attempt to reinterpret the Quran verse 33:40, have invented their own definition of the Arabic word Khaatam in order to prove that Khaatam-when referring to a group of people-does not mean the last of them, rather they say, it means the “Best, chief, or most perfect”. Any professor or expert in the Arabic language will agree that the Ahmadis are intellectually and academically dishonest in this regard.
This paper will explore the usage of the Arabic word khaatam and refute the Ahmadiyya/Qadiani invention of the meaning, it will be divided as follows:
PART 1: A deeper look into the examples provided by Ahmadis and translations from third-party sources
PART 2: Examples from the founder of Ahmadiyya and his contrasting belief to Ahmadis
PART 3: A look into 10 classical and modern Arabic lexicons/dictionaries and other works
PART 4: Usage in the Quran/Koran
PART 5: Usage in the Hadith/Hadeeth
PART 1: Examples provided by Ahmadiyya –a deeper look
This minority movement gives many examples, but the full contexts are never provided, and since majority of Ahmadis do not know Arabic, they cannot double check, but the contexts speak for themselves.
Note: The reason Ahmadis say that it should mean “best, or chief etc.” say so because of a misunderstanding of the language, they say “Well more poets/saint/imam came after so and so, therefore he wasn’t the last and it must mean best!!!”, this is absolutely absurd, this is logical fallacy of a mix of Hasty Generalization and Argument from the Negative.
Note: Those authors were not divinely inspired, they just said so in praise of the poet or Muhadith or Wali, that so and so is the last in this field, or he ended this topic, or he was so good no one else is needed after him etc” of course they knew more will come, that wasn’t the point though, it was for praise, and neither did they know the future or claimed to.
a) Ali (May Allah be please with him) named khaatam al-awsiya خاتم الأوصياء :
Ali (r.a) himself says right after what it means which Ahmadis will never quote:
عن النبيّ صلّى اللَّه عليه و آله قال انا خاتم الأنبياء و انت يا عليّ خاتم الأوصياء و قال امير المؤمنين عليه السـلام ختم محمد صلّى اللَّه عليه و آله فلا نبيّ و انّي ختمت فلا وصيّ و انّيكلّفت ما لم يكلّفوا وَكانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيماً فيعلم من يليق ان يختم به النبوّة وكيف ينبغي شأنه
“The Prophet upon whom be blessings and upon his family, said “I am the seal of the Prophets, and you Ali are the seal of the awsiya”. And the leader of the believers (Ali) said: Muhammad blessings of Allah be upon him and his family has sealed so no more prophet, and I have sealed so no more wasiya, and I have entrusted like nobody has been entrusted, and Allah knows everything, Allah knows who should seal the prophethood and how befitting is his domain”
-[Tafsir as-Saafi under 33:40]
b) Al-Abbas (May Allah be please with him) named khaatam al-Muhajireen خاتم المهاجرين
Books of Seerah, biography and history like أسد الغابة and سير أعلام النبلاء and many others mention how Al-Abbas was indeed the last of the Migrants in the context of the Migration:
|“Al Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib sought permission from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in the Hijra, so the Prophet said to him: “Oh uncle! Stay in your place, Allah has sealed the Hijra by you as He has sealed the Prophethood by me!” Then he (Al-Abbas) migrated with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and witnessed the conquest of Makkah, and ended the Hijra, and witnessed Hunayn…”
Furthermore, Huston and Cyril mention in The New Encyclopedia of Islam pg.11:
Therefore, it is clear that khaatam al-Muhajireen means “Last of the Migrants” and not “Best, chief”.
c) Abu Tammam Habib at-Tai named khaatam as-Shuaraa خاتم الشعراء
Here we provide an oriental, unbiased, third-party translation, as well as the context (just the context itself proves it means last i.e. poetry was dead at the death of the last poet):
|Page 353 vol 1 (English-Mac De Slane by Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain)
- d) The Mahdi named khaatam al-Aaimmah خاتم الأئمة
This is an example where the Mahdi is referred to as khaatam al a’imma, in many other books he is referred to as khaatam al awliya. Both these titles given to the Mahdi who will come in the latter days mean the last of the Imams, and last of the saints. In fact if you see their contexts it can only mean last, as the authors clearly state and believe that the Mahdi will be the last imam to come in the end of times and final saint, here is just one example:
- e) Diwaan al Jaami (Nurudeen Abdurrahman) is known as khaatam as-shuaraa خاتم الشعراء of Persia in multiple Arabic literature:
Three different sources in the English language define this title as “Last” and not “Best”:
|(Catalogue of the Arabic and Persian Manuscripts pg.88-Kamal ud Deen M.A)
|(Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia pg.622 – Josef W. Meri)
|(The Cambridge History of Islam pg.630 – P. M. Holt, Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K.)
- f) Khaatam at-Tasbeeh خاتم التسبيح – A misconception
Khaatam at-tasbeeh doesn’t mean the best tasbeeh as many Ahmadis promote. It means Ring Tasbeeh, meaning you put it on like a ring. The ones without the ring are usually called idaad at-tasbeeh, just a regular counter you click for each zikr, and the original ones are called tasbeeh (old style ones everyone has). See the websites where they are sold and they put it under the ring section and describe its use etc. And when you see the picture of the product, it fits on like a ring. No sane Arab would ever think it to mean “The Best Tasbeeh”.
g) A side note:
The authors do not specify which خاتم they use (in Arabic, it can be khaatam or khaatim, but when referring to a group of people, both ways mean the last of the group), while other words that might cause confusion they specify the vowel signs, because they know that kasra or fatha for خاتم when referring to a group of people mean the last of them. Here is an example of some words having vowel signs (tashkeel) but majority do not, most Arabic literature do not have the vowel signs unless they must indicate what they mean so the reader doesn’t get confused:
Notice ghimda has the vowel signs, this is to tell the reader that the author means the noun version and not the verb “ghamada“. For خاتم they don’t need to add the vowel signs since both ways mean the same in that context.
PART 2: Examples from the founder of Ahmadiyya and his contrasting belief to Ahmadis
Ex-Ahmadi, Imam Hani Tahir, proves that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (founder of Ahmadiyya) uses Khaatam to mean last in Arabic, and that his son Mirza Bashir had changed this later on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H86YfzNw5lI
Here are some examples from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s Arabic writings and from Ahmadiyya Arabic literature:
|“We believe that that Prophet PBUH is last of the Prophets, and that the Quran is the last of the divine books” (Arbaeen p.113)
|“And he is the last of the Prophets, and I am the last of the Saints, there is no saint after me…”(Tadhkira p.367)
|“And Muhammad PBUH is His Prophet and he is the last of the Prophets and the best of them, now there is no Prophet after him…” (Safina Nooh pg.23)
Note: One might say well Mirza put an exception after etc.. but that isn’t the point, the point here is that khaatam is to be translated as seal in the sense of last, not “best, chief, authority” otherwise it would make no sense, we know that Mirza claimed buroozi etc..but the point is that this is Arabic literature and we are finding instances where khaatam is used to mean last.) There is much more from Mirza’s writings, these should suffice.
|c) “There are many names of Promised Messiah in books of Allah, including those names one of his name is Khatam ul khulfa, meaning that Khalifa who will come at last.” (Chashma marfaat, Ruhani khazain vol 23 page 333) (whether this means a different meaning of khalifa as Quran mentions, or the Lahores were right in that Mirza didn’t want a khilafa after him, but either case what we are focusing here is the word khataam and how it was used)
Note: We have also not seen Mirza say that Khaatam means “best”. Mirza uses khaatam to mean last in Arabic and in Urdu, see Mirza’s explanation on verse 33:40: https://www.alislam.org/quran/view/?page=345®ion=P6&CR=
Furthermore, Mirza Tahir Ahmad tries to fool Ahmadis about the other version “khaatim” trying to suggest that it does not mean “last”. However, Mirza Bashir admits it means last: “But many seem to forget that in the divine text the word khatam is used by God with a fatha, that is, a stroke above t, not with a kasra, a stroke below t. Khatam means ‘seal’. Khatim would mean ‘the last person’ or ‘the last one’.”
PART 3: A look into 10 classical and modern Arabic lexicons/dictionaries
No classical and modern Arabic dictionary and lexicon support the Ahmadiyya invention, except an extremely bias dictionary written by an Ahmadi leader, Malik Ghulam Farid. For more detail, and a glimpse into 10 lexicons, please see this: http://thecult.info/blog/2011/07/21/the-meaning-of-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%85-khaatam-in-lexiconsdictionaries-2/
Since many Ahmadis do not accept the lexicons simply because it goes against their religion, we provide an 1100 year old Arabic work which mentions how khaatam when referred to a people, mean the last of them:
|“And ‘ختمت الکتاب وطبعته‘ means its piece is in the last phase of work. From it ‘الاعمال بخواتیمہا‘ means their (work) is in last (phase) of it by which the work will be discontinued. And so and so is ‘خاتم القوم وخاتمتہم‘means he is last one of them.”(Adab al-Kuttab vol. 1 pg. 140)
PART 4: Usage in the Quran/Koran
مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ الله وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ الله بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
“Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and seal (i.e. last) of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.” (Holy Quran 33:40)
An interesting observation:
The beauty of the Quran is that every word is in its place for a reason, many interesting patterns have been discovered by scholars like Nouman Ali Khan and continue to be discovered. Why does Allah name Prophet Muhammad the seal of the prophets in the same verse where it mentions that he is not the father of any man? Zamakhshari (a scholar of Arabic who has been praised even my Mirza) says regarding this:
خاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ يعنى أنه لو كان له ولد بالغ مبلغ الرجال لكان نبيا ولم يكن هو خاتم الأنبياء، كما يروى أنه قال في إبراهيم حين توفى. لو عاش لكان نبيا
“Seal of the Prophets, meaning: if he had had a son that reached the age of manhood, that son would have been a prophet, and he (Muhammad PBUH) would not be the seal of the prophets. As it has been narrated that the Prophet PBUH said about Ibrahim when he died: If he had lived he would have been a prophet.”(al-Kashaf, under 33:40)
In total, the Quran mentions the word khatam and its related forms 7 other times. Please check each one, and not a single one of them can mean “best”, rather they all mean seal, otherwise it would make no sense: 2:7, 6:46, 36:65, 42:24, 45:23, 83:25, and 83:26. The seal means closure, as verse 2:6 mentions (that a group of the polytheists will never believe no matter what).
- b) We cannot ignore the other qiraat of that word in the Quran, which 9 out of 10 uses khaatim, it’s just that Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, and some Arab countries use the Asim qirat and that most Qurans are printed in these countries and spread out so we are used to the khaatam But in many African, Arab, and other countries they have the khaatimrecitation. Allah protected this word so He revealed to Prophet two qiraats for this word, to show that it indeed does mean last. Prophet PBUH said and recited the different qiraats as well, and whenever a haafiz is done memorizing, he gets his ijaaza, an authentic chain which must go back to Prophet himself. Ahmadis don’t deny this, Malik Farid uses various qiraats in his commentary many times. But saying Allah used khaatam and not Khaatim simply because it goes against Ahmadiyya doctrine is biased and not fair, most qiraats going back to Prophet use Khaatim.
PART 5: Usage in the Hadith/Hadeeth
- a) Prophet Muhammad himself defines what khaatam an-Nabiyeen means:
لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَلْحَقَ قَبَائِلُ مِنْ أُمَّتِي بِالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَحَتَّى يَعْبُدُوا الأَوْثَانَ وَإِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ فِي أُمَّتِي ثَلاَثُونَ كَذَّابُونَ كُلُّهُمْ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ وَأَنَا خَاتَمُ النَّبِيِّينَ لاَ نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي
“The Hour shall not be established until tribes of my Ummah unite with the idolaters, and until they worship idols. And indeed there shall be thirty imposters in my Ummah, each of them claiming that he is a Prophet. And I am the seal of the Prophets, there is no Prophet after me.”
-[Tirmidhi Hadith # 2219, Abu Dawud and others – this is an authentic Sahih Hadith]
- b) Ahmadis quote some Hadith to prove that khaatam does not mean last, here we analyze each one:
- i) The hadith about Prophet being khaatam while Adam was being created:
إنِّي عند اللهِ في أمِّ الكتابِ لَخاتم النَّبيِّين، وإن آدمَ لمُنجدلٌ في طينتِه
“I was in the mother of the Books the Seal (last) of the Prophets when Adam was still being created” -[Mustadrak al Haakim and others]
This doesn’t mean that Prophet Muhammad was the authority or best Prophet while Prophet Adam was being created, in fact it means that he was the last prophet decreed in the Book even while Adam was being created, other Hadith shed more light on this topic. It shows how everything was already ordained before its actual creation, from the first prophet (Adam PBUH) to even the last Prophet (Muhammad PBUH).
Many Ahadith speak about how thousands of years before creation, Allah already wrote in a Divine supreme Book what will happen etc. Here is an example:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ كِتَابًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْلُقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ بِأَلْفَىْ عَامٍ أَنْزَلَ مِنْهُ آيَتَيْنِ خَتَمَ بِهِمَا سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ وَلاَ يُقْرَآنِ فِي دَارٍ ثَلاَثَ لَيَالٍ فَيَقْرَبُهَا شَيْطَانٌ
“Indeed Allah wrote (i.e. ordained) in a book two thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, and He sent down two Ayat from it to end Surat Al-Baqarah with. If they are recited for three nights in a home, no Shaitan shall come near it.”(Tirmidhi-authentic)
- ii) Last Mosque argument:
“My mosque is the last mosque” argument killed
c) The alleged saying of Aisha RA:
“Call him the Khaatam al-Nabiyyin; but do not say that there shall not come a Prophet after him.”
-[Durr-i-Manthur, Vol. V, page 204].
Firstly, this alleged narration does not have any authentic chain (isnaad), it is upon the Ahmadis to provide the chain. Lots of false prophets made up hadith to prove continuation of prophethood during the caliphs times, and many of them admitted it on their death bed. So we cannot accept any narration that comes our way blindly. When it suits the Ahmadiyya community, they quote and spread false narrations, but when a weak and false narration is against their belief and is quoted by another group, they start criticizing, this is nothing but hypocrisy. However, even if it were authentic, it still does not support the Ahmadis, lets take a deeper look:
The same statement of Aisha has been quoted in the Ta’wil al-ahadith of Ibn Qutaiba. In the Durr-i-Manthur a similar statement of Mughira ibn Shu’ba has been quoted through a reference to the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaiba: (It is related) from al-Sha’bi who said that a man sitting near Mughira ibn Shu’ba proclaimed: Blessings be upon Muhammad the Last of the Prophets, and there shall not come after him any Prophet! Mughira told him: When you say Khatim al-Nabiyyin, you need not further say, there shall not come a Prophet after him. For we have been told a hadith (from the Prophet) that ‘Isa is also to be (again) commissioned: and he was sent before him and (will be sent) after him. (Durr-i-Manthur, Vol.V, p.264).
So from above hadith it is quite clear what Aisha RA meant and how the early generations understood this, that it is enough to say that Muhammad PBUH is the last prophet (in the sense of new prophets coming), but do not say no prophet will come after him, since Jesus will come back.