مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and seal of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing. [Al Ahzab: 40]
The past few weeks have contained happiness and sadness for Muslims in Pakistan.
In this blessed month of Rabi’ ul-Awwal they remember Allah’s Beloved Messenger ﷺ with happiness – grateful to Allah سبحانه وتعالى for his ﷺ birth. This was the month he ﷺ completed his Hijrah (migration from Makkah) – the point at which we start dating the Islamic Calendar – and assumed leadership in Al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, by the permission of Allah, supported by the noble Ansar (may Allah be pleased with them), thereby establishing Islam as the basis of society and carrying it to the world from there. This was the month that he ﷺ returned to Al-Rafiq Al-A‘la (the Highest Companion) – to ascend as a merciful intercessor for his ﷺ Ummah on Yawm al Qiyamah.
Thus, this month marked the end of Prophethood forever. Bukhari narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
كَانَتْ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ تَسُوسُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ، كُلَّمَا هَلَكَ نَبِيٌّ خَلَفَهُ نَبِيٌّ، وَإِنَّهُ لاَ نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي، وَسَيَكُونُ خُلَفَاءُ فَيَكْثُرُونَ
“The Children of Israel used to be governed 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.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3455)
In the last few weeks Pakistan has seen a disgraceful episode surrounding the changing of the oath for electoral candidates that was feared to have ended the belief in Khatm-e-Nubuwwat (the finality of Prophethood), which has led to great injury and some loss of life.
This is no small matter. Whilst there may be many issues that are open to difference of opinion, the issue of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat is a matter that is absolutely agreed upon by every Muslim as an integral part of the Islamic aqeedah, a line between Iman and Kufr.
It was in Rabi’ ul-Awwal in the tenth year after Hijrah, when Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) was given bay’ah (pledge of allegiance as a leader) as the Khalifah (successor in ruling) of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and was immediately tested, when some imposters rebelled against the Islamic authority after declaring themselves as false prophets – the most famous amongst them being Musaylimah the Liar. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq sent the armies of Islam to crush the rebellion by Musaylimah – a war in which thousands of noble Companions and Huffaz (those who had memorised Quran) were martyred, illustrating the priority that was given to ending a rebellion that had been declared under the banner of breaking the Islamic unity, while attempting to challenge the finality of Prophethood.
Hundreds of years later in the colonial occupation of India, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, exposed himself as an imposter by claiming that he had received revelation – and compounded his deceit with betrayal by issuing fatwas effectively trying to safeguard British colonial interests in India. He did not succeed in breaking the Muslims on the matter of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, but he did lead many who were fooled by his deceit away from Islam. It was for this reason, knowing the deceit, betrayal and misguidance of this man, that the issue of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat became a major issue within Pakistan.
So how did such problems arise in Rabi’ ul-Awwal 1439, despite knowing these matters from Islam – and knowing this colonial history?
The answer is because Pakistan does not have a political system that protects the tenets of Islam. Instead, Pakistan has a political system where the politicians represent themselves and the interests of the United States.
On 13 November 2017, the US delegation to the UN in Geneva said “The United States welcomes the Pakistani delegation to the UPR Working Group and recommends that Pakistan: 1-Repeal blasphemy laws and restrictions and end their use against Ahmadi Muslims and others and grant the visit request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.” A clear illustration that the government of Pakistan tried to push through these measures in response to US demands.
The US wants to change Islam in Pakistan so that the red line between Iman and Kufr such as Khatm-e-Nubuwwat is erased. This idea of ‘reforming’ Islam – i.e. changing it so that it conforms to the dominant secular capitalist system in the world – is a worldwide phenomenon. Only a few months ago, after Trump’s visit to Riyadh, the US Secretary of State was saying how they plan to change things in the Saudi ‘kingdom’ – and sure enough, we have seen huge changes there – but towards secularism, not towards Islam.
In Britain and Europe the efforts to change Islam are no different. Just look at the way some in the media portray the sincere Muslims who engaged in peaceful protest in Pakistan over this issue as ‘extremists’. Similarly, the Prevent programme is NOT about ‘extremism’ and preventing violence, but preventing Islam. Look at how Ofsted plans to start interrogating young Muslim girls who wear hijab.
Our challenge is not to be shaken by these attacks on Islam, but to have tawakkul (trust) in Allah instead, fearing none but Him.
Our challenge is not to give in to pressure but to remain steadfast.
Our response should be to respond in an intellectual manner when they try to demonise authentic Islamic opinions like Khatm-e-Nubuwwat or upholding the honour of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ; like Jihad and Khilafah; relations between men and women; opposition to the occupation of Palestine; opposition to Western foreign policy -and more besides.
So how can we uphold this in the best way? Take the example of the honour of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ – we believe in giving the Messenger of Allah ﷺ priority over ourselves because Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ
“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves.” [Al-Ahzab: 6]
…meaning that the Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than they do on their own selves. So if we would have responded if we were insulted ourselves – or seek redress if slandered – then his ﷺ honour is more deserving for us to defend with the strongest words and best of arguments.
Remaining steadfast includes enjoining ma’roof and forbidding munkar. So we should actually show people in Western society where they have gone wrong, pointing out that when you debase the highest and best things, as has happened in the West such that Allah, His messengers and other good people and things are insulted and mocked, then we shouldn’t be surprised when society ends up with no-one respecting each other; whether a child with their parent, a student with their teacher, a young person with an elder, or a citizen with those who enforce the law. If you remove the greatest sanctities, you will destroy anything lesser than that. This is the sad situation in secular liberal societies today.
The system in Pakistan also does not uphold these sanctities – which is why we end up seeing the people forcing action from the state, sometimes exceeding limits.
A system which keeps governments subservient to US interests and allows politicians to legislate in opposition to the law of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ can never uphold the sanctities of Islam and interests of the people. Therefore instability and protests continue – with the state becoming heavy handed in response.
When RasulAllah ﷺ established his state in Al-Madinah, he established rulers over the regions; he appointed judges and established the foundations of a vigilant judiciary; he formed a state treasury, raising revenues and spending upon the citizenry; and he raised a powerful and professional army. He ﷺ invited other tribes and nations, dispatching messages to the kings and emperors. His mission was to carry Islam as a Mercy to all of Humankind, such that people entered Islam in droves. His was a civilization that offered humanity and way out of the darkness they lived in.
If Muslims in Britain today remain steadfast facing these tests, then Allah promises a great reward. To do this we must not succumb to the provocations of those disbelievers and hypocrites who want us to change Islam and compromise our deen, but we must trust in Allah سبحانه وتعالى . He سبحانه وتعالى addressed His messenger ﷺ in the highest of terms when He سبحانه وتعالى told him ﷺ these things saying:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا
وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ فَضْلًا كَبِيرًا
وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَاهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا
O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.
And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty.
And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites but do not harm them, and rely upon Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. [Al-Ahzab: 45-48]
Dr Abdul Wahid is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain. He has appeared on Geo TV, ARY Digital, PTV Prime, Al Jazeera and the BBC. He has been published on the websites of Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy, the Times Higher Educational Supplement and Prospect Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @AbdulWahidHT