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Islam and Middle East – from Historical Perspective

Posted on: Jun 28, 2008

This article was taken from one of Harun Yahya’s website. I would like to share with all of you, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, about how Islam view relations with non-Muslims throughout the history, particularly in this case, in the Middle East. Even though history are not eligible to become the source of rulings, but there are lots of lessons and guidelines that we can learn from it.

But then again, I would like to stress that Muslims are human, thus they are not free from making mistakes. Thus I hope that no one will ever judge Islam simply based on what the Muslims did, unless their actions were derived in accordance to the Syariah.




Palestine, and particularly Jerusalem at its heart, has been holy for Muslims since the beginning of the history of Islam. Muslims’ seeing Palestine as holy has enabled them to bring peace and harmony to the region. We shall be considering some historical instances of this in this article.

There are two fundamental reasons why Jerusalem is holy for Muslims: It is the first direction to which Muslims used to turn to pray. Furthermore, what can be seen as one of Prophet Mohammed’s greatest miracles, his ascent to heaven, was from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa, in other words from Makkah to Jerusalem. This fact is revealed in the Koran in these terms:

Glory be to Him who took His slave on a journey by night from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. Surat al-Isra: 1

In stories about the Prophets in the Koran, those holy verses that discuss Palestinian lands refer to them as ‘blessed lands’ and ‘holy lands.’ In the above verse about the ascent to heaven, Masjid al-Aqsa is described as a land ‘whose surroundings We have blessed.’ In Surat al-Anbiya, in which the migration of the prophets Abraham and Lot is recounted, the same territory is described as ‘a land We have blessed.’ All Palestinian soil, where many prophets from the tribe of Israel have lived, fought in the path of God, and been martyred or died and buried, is holy for Muslims.

Consequently, Muslims have brought “blessings”, i.e. peace and security to Jerusalem and Palestine over the last 1,400 years.

The Peace and Justice brought to Palestine by Khalif Omar

Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews until A.D. 71. In that year, the Roman Army made a major assault on the Jews, and exiled them from the area after great savagery. As the time of the Jewish diaspora began, Jerusalem and its surrounding area was becoming an abandoned land.

However, Jerusalem once again became a center of interest with the acceptance of Christianity during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Roman Christians built churches in Jerusalem. The prohibitions on Jews settling in the region were lifted. Palestine remained Roman (Byzantine) territory up until the 7th century. The Persians conquered the region for a short time, but the Byzantines later reconquered it.

An important turning point in the history of Palestine came in the year 637, when it was conquered by the armies of Islam. This meant the genesis of a period of peace and harmony in Palestine, which had for centuries been the scene of wars, exiles, looting and massacre, and which saw new brutality every time it changed hands, a frequent occurrence. The coming of Islam was the beginning of an age when people of different beliefs in Palestine could live in peace and harmony.

Palestine was captured by Omar, the second caliph after the Prophet himself. The entry of Omar into Jerusalem, the incredible tolerance, maturity and kindness he showed towards people of different beliefs, introduced the beautiful age that was beginning. The British historian and Middle East expert Karen Armstrong describes the capture of Jerusalem by Omar in these terms in her book Holy War:

The Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem mounted on a white camel, escorted by the magistrate of the city, the Greek Patriarch Sophronius. The Caliph asked to be taken immediately to the Temple Mount and there he knelt in prayer on the spot where his friend Mohammed had made his Night Journey. The Patriarch watched in horror: this, he thought, must be the Abomination of Desolation that the Prophet Daniel had foretold would enter the Temple; this must be Antichrist who would herald the Last Days. Next Omar asked to see the Christian shrines and, while he was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the time for Muslim prayer came round. Courteously the Patriarch invited him to pray where he was, but Omar as courteously refused. If he knelt to pray in the church, he explained, the Muslims would want to commemorate the event by erecting a mosque there, and that would mean that they would have to demolish the Holy Sepulchre. Instead Omar went to pray at a little distance from the church, and, sure enough, directly opposite the Holy Sepulchre there is still a small mosque dedicated to the Caliph Omar.

The other great mosque of Omar was erected on the Temple Mount to mark the Muslim conquest, together with the mosque al-Aqsa which commemorates Mohammed’s Night Journey. For years, the Christians had used to the site of the ruined Jewish Temple as the city rubbish dump. The Caliph helped his Muslims to clear the garbage with his own hands and there Muslims raised their two shrines to establish Islam in the third most holy city in the Islamic world. [1]

In short, Muslims brought ‘civilization’ to Jerusalem and all of Palestine. Instead of barbaric beliefs that showed no respect for other peoples’ sacred values, and which killed them simply out of differences of belief, there reigned the just, tolerant and moderate culture of Islam. After its capture by Omar, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in peace and harmony in Palestine. Muslims never tried to use force to make people convert, although some non-Muslims did so of their own free will.

The peace and harmony in Palestine lasted as long as Muslim rule in the region. However, at the end of the 11th century, an invader entered the region from abroad, and the civilized land of Jerusalem was barbarically and savagely plundered, in a way never before seen. These barbarians were the Crusaders.

A historical testimony of Muslim tolerance to the Christians: Muslim Dome of the Rock next to the Christian Church.

The Savagery of the Crusaders

Crusaders plundered Jerusalem and killed all its non-Christian inhabitants.
While members of all three religions were living in peace and harmony in Palestine, the Christians in Europe decided to organize the ‘Crusades.’ Following a call by Pope Urban II on 25 November 1095 at the Council of Clermont, more than 100,000 people from all over Europe set out for Palestine to ‘Free the Holy land from the Muslims’ and find the fabled wealth of the East. After a long and wearying journey, and much plundering and slaughter of Muslims, they reached Jerusalem in 1099. The city fell after a siege of nearly five weeks, and the Crusaders moved in. And they carried out a savagery the like of which the world has seldom seen. All Muslims and Jews in the city were put to the sword. In the words of one historian, ‘They killed all the Saracens and the Turks they found… whether male of female.” [2] One of the Crusaders, Raymond of Aguiles, boasted of this violence:

Wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shoot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted … in the temple and the porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. [3]

In two days, the Crusader army killed some 40,000 Muslims in the barbaric ways just described. [4] The peace and harmony in Palestine, which had lasted since Omar, ended in terrible slaughter. The Crusaders violated all the ethical laws of Christianity, a religion of love and compassion, and spread terror, allegedly in the name of Christianity (As it was, so it is. Even in the 21st century, there was a leader, you-know-who, who declared ‘crusade’ against terrorism allegedly in the name of Christianity, which is actually aimed at Islam and Muslims- ghazi).

The Justice of Saladin

The barbaric Crusader army made Jerusalem their capital, and established a Latin Kingdom whose borders stretched from Palestine to Antioch. However, the Crusaders who brought savagery to Palestine did not last long. Saladin gathered all the Muslim kingdoms under his banner in a holy war, and defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin in 1187. After the battle, the two leaders of the crusader army, Reynauld of Chatillon and King Guy, were brought in Saladin’s presence. Saladin executed Reynauld of Chatillon, who had won fame with the terrible savagery he had committed against Muslims, but he let King Guy go, as he had not committed the same crimes. Palestine once again saw the true meaning of justice.

Immediately after Hattin, and on the very same day that Prophet Mohammed had been taken from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night, the day of the ascent, Saladin entered Jerusalem and freed it from 88 years of Crusader occupation. When the Crusaders had taken the city 88 years earlier, they had killed all the Muslims inside it, and for that reason they were afraid that Saladin would do the same thing to them. Whereas he did not touch even one Christian in the city. Furthermore, he merely ordered the Latin (Catholic) Christians to leave it. The Orthodox Christians, who were not Crusaders, were allowed to live in the city and live and worship as they chose. The British historian Karen Armstrong describes the second Islamic capture of Jerusalem in these words:

On 2 October 1187 Saladin and his army entered Jerusalem as conquerors and for the next 800 years Jerusalem would remain a Muslim city… Saladin kept his word, and conquered the city according to the highest Islamic ideals. He did not take revenge for the 1099 massacre, as the Koran advised (16:127), and now that hostilities had ceased he ended the killing (2:193-194). Not a single Christian was killed and there was no plunder. The ransoms were deliberately very low…

Saladin was moved to tears by the plight of families who were rent asunder and he released many of them freely, as the Koran urged, though to the despair of his long-suffering treasurers. His brother al-Adil was so distressed by the plight of the prisoners that he asked Saladin for a thousand of them for his own use and then released them on the spot…

When Imad ad-Din saw the Patriarch Heraclius leaving the city with chariots crammed with treasure, he urged Saladin to confiscate it. But Saladin refused. The Koran said that oaths and treaties must be kept to the letter and it was essential that the Muslims should observe the legalities… Heraclius paid his ten-dinar ransom like everybody else and was even provided with a special escort to keep his treasure safe during the journey to Tyre. [5]

In short, Saladin and the Muslims in his command treated the Christians with great mercy and justice, and even showed them more compassion than their own leaders had.

Richard the Lionheart, was not very “noble” at all. After Jerusalem, the Crusaders continued their barbarity and the Muslims their justice in other cities in Palestine. In 1194, Richard the Lionheart, who is portrayed as a great hero in British history, had 3,000 Muslims, among whom were many women and children, basely executed in Acre Castle. Although the Muslims witnessed this savagery, they never resorted to the same methods. They abided by God’s command “Do not let hatred for a people… incite you into going beyond the limits” (Surat al-Ma’ida) and never used violence against innocent civilians. They never employed unnecessary violence, not even against the Crusader armies they defeated.

The savagery of the crusaders and the justice of the Muslims once more revealed a historic truth: Only an administration built on the principles of Islam could allow people of different faiths to live together in Palestine. This fact continued to be demonstrated for 700 years after Saladin, particularly during the Ottoman period.

The Ottoman Empire’s Just and Tolerant Rule

In 1514, Sultan Selim captured Jerusalem and the surrounding area, and some 400 years of Ottoman rule in Palestine began. As in other Ottoman states, this period would enable Palestine to enjoy peace, stability, and the living together of different faiths.

The tolerance of Islam continued in the Ottoman Empire. Church, synagogue and the mosque coexisted peacefully. The Ottoman Empire was administered under what is known as the ‘nation (millet) system,‘ the fundamental feature of which was that people of different faiths were allowed to live according to their own beliefs and even legal systems. Christians and Jews, described as the ‘People of the Book’ in the Koran, found toleration, security and freedom in Ottoman lands.

The most important reason for this was that although the Ottoman Empire was an Islamic state administered by Muslims, it had no desire to force its citizens to adopt Islam. On the contrary, the Ottoman state aimed at providing peace and security for non-Muslims, and to govern them in such a way that they would be pleased with Islamic rule and justice.

Other major states at the same time had a much cruder, oppressive and intolerant view of government. The Kingdom of Spain could not tolerate the existence of Muslims and Jews on the Spanish peninsula and inflicted great violence on both communities. In many other European countries, Jews were oppressed just for being Jews (for instance they were imprisoned in ghettoes), and were sometimes the victims of mass slaughter (pogroms). Christians could not even get on with one another: the fighting between Protestants and Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries turned Europe into a lake of blood. The Thirty Years War between 1618 and 1648 was one result of this Catholic-Protestant conflict. As a result of that war, central Europe turned into a battleground, and in Germany alone, one-third of the population of 15 million perished.

In such an environment, it is an indisputably important truth that Ottoman rule was exceedingly humane.

Many historians and political scientists have drawn attention to this fact. One of these is Columbia University’s world-famous Middle East expert Professor Edward Said. Himself from a Jerusalem Christian family, he continues his research in American universities. In an interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz he recommended the ‘Ottoman nation system’ if a permanent peace is to be built in the Middle East. What he said was:

A Jewish minority can survive the way other minorities in the Arab world survived. …it worked rather well under the Ottoman Empire, with its millet system. What they had then seems a lot more humane than what we have now. [6]

  1. Karen Armstrong, Holy War, MacMillan, London, 1988, p. 30-31
  2. Geste Francorum, or the Deeds of the Franks and the Other Pilgrims to Jerusalem, trans. Rosalind Hill, London, 1962, p. 91
  3. August C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye-Witnesses and Participants, Pinceton & London, 1921, p. 261
  4. August C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye-Witnesses and Participants, Pinceton & London, 1921, p. 262
  5. Karen Armstrong, Holy War, p. 185
  6. 18.8.2000, Ha’aretz Newspaper; MiddleEast.Org, August 2000

current middle east map

2 Respons to "Islam and Middle East – from Historical Perspective"

Harun Yahya and the last messenger

By KK Alikoya

Muhammad (PBUH) is the last prophet and the last messenger. Hence neither any type of prophet nor messenger would come after him. This is the Muslim world’s belief. Even though, in the different phases of the history, someone appeared claiming themselves that each of them is a prophet or messenger (or both.) It is the fate of these kinds of people, to try to find proofs for their messenger-ship/ prophet-hood in the Quran and fail to prove it.

One of their proofs is the combination of Quran 3/81 and Quran 33/7. The Qadianis, Rashad Khalifa and Harun Yahya use this combination as the proof of their arguments, which we will discuss later.

These three sects are different in their stands on the finality of prophet-hood and messenger-ship. At first we examine the belief of the Qadianis : 1. Messenger and Prophet are two equal terms. 2. Muhammad is neither the last prophet nor the last messenger, in its general meaning. 3. But he is the last law-bringing prophet and messenger. 4. There is a chance to come prophet/s and messenger/s after Muhammad. 5. No new Scripture would be given after Quarn. 6. No new Law would be given after the law brought by Prophet Muhammad. 7. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian is a prophet and a messenger who came after Prophet Muhammad. 8. He is the Mahdi foretold by Prophet Muhammad. 9. He is also the Messiah foretold by the prophet Muhammad. 10. And they do not expect any prophet or messenger after Mirza. (Ref: Many books by Qadianis)
Secondly, RK’s belief: 1. prophet and messenger are two different terms. 2. Prophet is a term for the Book-given. 3. All messengers do not bring books. 4. All prophets are messengers. 5. But all messengers are not prophets. 6. Muhammad is the last prophet. 7. No new Book would be given after Quarn. 8. Muhammad is not the last messenger. 9. There is a chance to come a messenger after Muhammad. 10. This messenger is foretold in the covenant in the Quran 3/81. 11. RK is that messenger of covenant. (www.submission.org)
Thirdly, HY’s belief: 1. prophet and messenger are two different terms. 2. Prophet is a term for the Book-given. 3. All messengers do not bring books. 4. All prophets are messengers. 5. But all messengers are not prophets. 6. Muhammad is the last prophet. 7. No new Book would be given after Quarn. 8. Muhammad is not the last messenger. 9. There is a chance to come a messenger after Muhammad. 10. This messenger is foretold in the covenant in the Quran 3/81. 11. The messenger foretold by Jesus (Quran 61/6) is also the same messenger. 12. The name of this messenger would be Ahmad (As it is in Quran 61/6). 13. The Mahdi predicted by Prophet Muhammad is also the same messenger. 14. The Mahdi would not claim that he is Mahdi and a messenger.
HY writes: “One of the verses in the Qur’an pointing to the coming of Mahdi refers to “a messenger who will appear after Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

“Through this verse, Allah tells us that He has made a covenant with the prophets that they would believe in and help a messenger who will come after them:

“Remember when Allah made a covenant with the prophets: “Now that We have given you a share of the Book and Wisdom, and then a messenger comes to you confirming what is with you, you must believe in him and help him.” He asked, “Do you agree and undertake my commission on that condition?” They replied, “We agree.” He said, “Bear witness, then. I am with you as one of the witnesses.” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 81)

“The names of the prophets referred to in this verse, those reported to have made that covenant, are revealed in another verse:

“When We made a covenant with all the prophets—with you and with Nuh and Ibrahim and Musa and ‘Isa son of Maryam—We made a binding covenant with them. (Surat al-Ahzab, 7)

“It is revealed in the verse that a covenant has been made with Prophets “Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus” and with “Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace),” as the term “with you” implies.
“This revelation in the verse shows that “this messenger whose coming is described is not Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), but is a messenger who will come after the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).” And Allah knows best. This messenger, whom Allah reveals will come after Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), may well be “Mahdi,” the glad tidings of whose coming are related also in the sayings of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). And Allah knows best.
“The way that the messenger whose coming has been promised has also received a promise of assistance from Jesus (pbuh), as reported in verse 7 of Surat al-Ahzab, further reinforces this view. That is because as we know, Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is reported in the hadith of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as returning to Earth in the End Times and following and supporting Mahdi:

“And when Jesus son of Maryam said, “Tribe of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allah to you, confirming the Torah which came before me and giving you the good news of a messenger after me whose name is Ahmad.” When he brought them the clear signs, they said, “This is downright magic.” (Surat as-Saff, 6)

“Prophet Jesus (pbuh) imparts the tidings that this messenger who will come after him will be called “Ahmad.” Examination of the Qur’an as a whole shows that those verses referring to Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) either use the name “Muhammad” or else just the term “prophet.” Nowhere in the Qur’an is the name “Ahmad” used for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The name appears only once in the Qur’an, in a verse revealing the glad tidings of a messenger. This supports the idea that the name “Ahmad” refers to Mahdi who will come in the End Times, as well as our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). And Allah knows best. In addition, as in the previous verse, the fact that it is Prophet Jesus (pbuh) who imparts the name of the messenger is another piece of evidence reinforcing this interpretation.” (Pages 76, 77 The Mahdi a Discendant porphet Abraham [PBUH] can be downloaded from: http://api.fmanager.net/api_v1/xmlapi.php?dev-t=EDCRFV&with=mod=file,id=30805)

Now we can examine the arguments of these three in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah.
The topic of the Quran 3/81 is a covenant of Allah with his prophets concerning the forthcoming of a messenger after them and the belief in him. Allah took this covenant from the prophets before Muhammad and enjoined all of them to believe in him. In this matter, all the Islamic scholars, ancient and modern are wonderfully unanimous. All prophets except Muhammad were sent to a particular nation, locality and time. The last coming prophet Muhammad has been sent to all nations, whole world and up to the end-time. So each and every nation has to believe in him. This wants to be understood by all of them and agreed up. The prophecy concerning Prophet Muhammad which found in the previous scriptures are reminders of this covenant. This is a Quranic verse which indicates the universality and uppermost position of Prophet Muhammad among all prophets. This verse was found by the three above mentioned fractions to misuse as a proof of their defective Risalah (messenger-ship) arguments.

If it was the message of this verse to indicate a messenger comes after Muhammad, this matter should have clearly stated by Islamic scholars including classical Mufassirs (Quran commentators.) and the Muslim world should have taught in the childhood lessons of their belief in the messenger-ship. They might have been expecting a messenger after Muhammad. But nothing happened like this in the history of Islam.

In this context, we have to examine their using of Quranic verse 33/7 to interpret the verse 3/81. And remember We took from the prophets their covenant as (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus the son of Mary: we took from them a solemn covenant. (Quran 33/7)

Quran did not clarify that the covenant taken from the five prophets including Muhammad is the same covenant told in the verse 3/81. Prophet Muhammad did not explain thus. And none of the renowned Mufassirs has this opinion. If Allah had taken only one covenant form his prophets which stated in verse 3/81 we would have to believe that the covenant told in the verse 33/7 is the same as in the verse 3/81. On the contrary, The Quran states that Allah took different covenants and pledges from prophets. It is the only chance, which one among these covenants is apposite to the context of this verse, it is the covenant meant here. When Allah enjoined Muhammad to marry the divorcee of his adopted son, he hesitated to do it by fearing the censure of the public. See the verses 37, 38 and 39 of the same Chapter (33). And some indications concerning this matter and as the reminders to the responsibility of the prophet can be seen in verses one to six of this chapter. And in the eighth verse, it was indicated that this covenant is in order to question the prophets about their responsibilities. If Allah reminds him a covenant in this context what would be it? Nothing other than which indicates the responsibility of the prophet to obey each and every orders of Allah without fear and hesitation. And it is unsuitable to the context to indicate a covenant which would be obeyed by his future followers concerning a messenger or prophet would come after him. What a weak support found by the false messengers and prophets and their spokesmen!

If it was supposed that the covenant in the verse 3/81 was taken from Muhammad too, it is sure that at least one messenger has to come after him, and the Muslims have to believe in him. At the same time, there is a chance of emerging false prophets / false messengers behind this covenant, so, there must be a clause to help us to be cautious against it. In the absence of this clause this covenant would be incomplete and causing trouble.

An attribute to the messenger in the verse is the only indication in this way. The indication helps to identify the one who would be sent is that مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ ‘confirming/fulfilling that which is with you’. What does it mean?

We have to search in the Quran for the answer: The Quran says that Prophet Muhammad is one who confirms and fulfills the former books. Concerning Jews and Christians the Quran says that Muhammad is the prophet and messenger written (predicted) in the Torah and the Gospel with them (See Quran 7/157) and they identified him as they identify their own children (See Quran 3/146). A messenger or prophet comes and fulfils prophesies in the Quran is to be believed by Muslims, and only he is the confirming the Book with us.

None can argue that the Quran contains prophesy concerning me or someone else, which helps Muslims to identify him as their own children. So, HY compelled to point out some portents of the last-day in the Quran, and even something other than this too as the portents of a messenger Mahdi. According to RK he is the messenger of the covenant in Quran 3/81. (See the foot note to 3/81 in his Quran translation and commentary and Appendix 2 to the same.) And his own finding on the so-called interlocking of the magical number 19 in the Quran is to prove this claim, and he claims that he was appointed by the God to reveal the magic of 19. If Allah proposed to do so He might have revealed it through the Quran itself or through Prophet Muhammad, especially the miracle of the Quran, which leads people to belief, is very important at all times.

According to RK the matter of miracle is different. By the experiment using his own formula of 19, he reached at the stage of questioning the reliability of the existing Quran. In his Quran translation he removed two verses (128 and 129) from the chapter 9, charging these two are inserted false verses. (See appendix 29 to his Quran translation. http://www.submission.org/Q-T.html ) There might be a chance of his being of an instrument in the hands of someone who wish to ruin the reliability of the Quran.

The name of Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran, so there is no chance to search for his portents in it as do HY in his some works. Prophet Muhammad told that he is Muhammad and Ahmad.(Bukhari, Muslim) so, the Messenger Ahmad predicted by Jesus is none other than the Prophet Muhammad himself. This is the view of all classical Quran commentators. And name of Mahdi also would Ahmad or Muhammad, according to traditions.

Nabi and Rasul

Rasul (Messenger) and Nabi, (Prophet) are two words in the terminology of Islam. Muslim scholars discussed much on whether any difference in between these two or not. Some of them give Messengers a position above the Prophets. ‘All messengers are prophets, but all prophets are not messengers’ this is their formula. While some others give the prophets a position above the messengers, ‘All prophets are messengers, but all messengers are not prophets’, and this is their formula. But none of them could establish their arguments with clear-cut evidence.

RK and HY agree that Muhammad is the last prophet, but they agree him not as the last messenger. According to RK and HY only the new-book-given is a prophet, we have to examine this in the light of the Quran. It says: It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in ALLAH, the Last Day, the angels, the Book and the Prophets, …… (2/177) while we read at 2/285: This Messenger of OURS (Muhammad) believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers; all of them believe in ALLAH, in HIS angels, in HIS Books, and in HIS Messengers, …..
In both verses Quran teach the main elements of belief in Islam, four elements are stated in the both quoted portions. 2/177 enjoins us to believe in the prophets as the fourth element, while 2/285 enjoins to believe in the messengers as the fourth. This clearly explains that these two terms bear the same meaning, one who sent by the Allah, with or without a new Book or Law.

All those who sent by Allah is not equal, some of them are more important. Quran says: These messengers have WE exalted some of them above others; among them there are those to whom ALLAH spoke and some of them HE exalted in degrees of rank and WE gave Jesus son of Mary clear proofs and strengthened him with the spirit of holiness. (2/253)
See one more verse: And thy Lord knows best those that are in the heavens and the earth. And WE exalted some of the Prophets over others and to David WE gave a Book. (17/55)

In these two verses Quran reveals the same thing. All of Allah’s prophets and messengers are not equal, but Allah exalted some of them above than others. This is not the matter I like to focus here. But in the first verse Quaran used the term messengers while in the second the term prophets, and states the same thing. In the first verse: Moses (to whom Allah spoke), and Jesus mentioned, both are book-given. While in the second verse David is mentioned, he also a book-given. In both verses Allah has shown examples for prophets as well as messengers only the book-givens. If the argument of RK and HY was correct, Allah should have not shown Moses and Jesus as the example for messengers.

The argument of RK and HY that is only the book-given can be called a prophet and others are only messengers cannot be proved by the Quran. Quran introducing messengers and says they are given books: It says: Verily, WE sent Our Messengers with manifest Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that nation may act with justice; and WE sent down iron, wherein is material for violent warfare and diverse uses for mankind, and that ALLAH may know those who help HIM and HIS Messengers without having seen Him. Surely, ALLAH is Powerful, Mighty. (57/25)
One more verse: And if they accuse thee of lying, even so were accused of lying Messengers before thee who came with clear Signs and Books of wisdom and the illuminating Book. (3/184)
Here, messengers are introduced, as bringers of the Books.

Harun the brother of Prophet Moses also called a prophet, while he was not given any book by Allah. The Book Torah was given to Moses, not to Harun. In an article in his website RK questioned this view, by indicating Quran 37/117. And WE gave them (Moses and Harun) the Book that made everything clear; RK says that both Moses and Harun was given the book. But, those-who-given-book-to-them is a common term in the Quran, which points out the people of the Books. If we consider all the book-givens are prophets the number of prophets would be many billions. Really they have been not given books, but they are the followers of a book-given prophet and messenger. So the Quran can say ‘And WE gave them (Moses and Harun) the Book’, if it was not personally given to Harun too.

Quran says about the leaders of the Jews: Surely, WE sent down the Torah wherein guidance and light was. By it did the Prophets, who were obedient to US, judge for the Jews, as did the godly people and those learned in the Law, because they were required to preserve the Book of ALLAH, and because they were guardians over it. (5/47) Allah sent down the Torah, and then all prophets judged with it, and the Godly people and the learned also did so, and that is agreed by this verse here. So according to the argument of RK and HY a question arises that what did do all messengers came to that community? By what did they judge the people? According the view of RK and HY, messengers are more in number than prophets. Our answer is this: It is clear that the messengers and prophets are the same, so, Allah used only the word prophet here and meant all sent by Him.

Muhammad is the last as the prophet and the messenger

The Quran 33/40 states that Muhammad is the last prophet. See 17 different translation of the 33rd chapter of the Quran to the English at http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/33/, seven of the translators clearly state that the meaning of the Arabic term ‘Khaatham annabiyyin’ is ‘the last or final of all prophets’, while the others translate it as the ‘seal of the prophets. The most famous of them, Abdullah Yusuf Ali translated it into ‘the seal of the prophets’, then he commented it, the term means ‘the last of the prophets’. Rashad Kalifa is one among who translated ‘the last prophet, in his Quran translation. And HY also translated it in the same manner in one of his works. “… Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets.” (Surat al-Ahzab: 40), the Prophet Muhammad (saas) was sent to mankind as the last prophet. (See introduction to ‘THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAAS))

The Qadianis agree neither this meaning nor this interpretation. They have their own interpretation that Muhammad is the seal of prophets, and prophets and messengers will come after him ‘bearing the seal of Muhammad’, but, without new books or new laws. If you ask them the proof thereof they do not answer you clearly from Quarn or Sunnah, but you may get explanations by their own logics. While all the classical commentators, such as Imams Ibn Katheer, Razi, Thabri, Qurtubi, Shaukani, and Zamakhshari etc. explained this term as equivalent to ‘the last and final of all prophets, and there would be no prophet or messenger after him till the destruction of this world’.

We came to know from the above mentioned facts that Muhammad is believed by all Muslims as the last prophet and the last messenger. And the prophet Muhammad himself clearly stated it as follows: My similitude in relation to the prophets who came before me like a man erected a building, adorned it and completed it, but he left the place of a brick vacant, in the corner. People looked around the building and marveled at its beauty, but wondered why a brick was missing? I am the brick and I am Khatham annabiyyin (the last of the Prophets.) (Bukhari, Ahmad) Please note that the term ‘Khatham annabiyyin’ in this tradition cannot be translated other than to ‘last of the prophets’.
RK removed ‘Wa Ash-hadu anna Muhammada-rrasulu-llah’ the second part of the Kalimathu –sshahadah, and he does not believe in hadiths. But HY is a member of Ahlu ssunnah wal-jama’ah, a follower of Quarn and Hadiths. We can read about the finality of messenger-ship in Hadith: The Messenger-ship and Prophet-hood has come to an end. There shall be neither Messenger nor Prophet after me. (Tirmidhi, Ahmad)
Sallallahu ‘ala Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alaihi va sallam

Thank you for your information. I never knew about this issue previously (i.e. HY’s opinion regarding the last prophet). But I have heard some other controversies regarding his writings and his thoughts.

However, even though I used his article as the reference, it doesn’t mean that I totally agree with all of his opinion. As long as it doesn’t go against the Islamic creed and syara’, I don’t think that it is wrong to quote him.

Thank you again for your kind concern.

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