5/21/2012 0 comments

The 'Last Mosque' argument still intact - Updated!

In his blog letmeturnthetables Mr. Waqar Akbar Cheema alleges that Ahmadis would quote the following Ḥadīth to confuse the idea of Khātam an-Nabiyyīn (Seal of the Prophets). The Ḥadīth is from the as-Ṣaī al-Muslim and is as follows:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: فإني آخر الأنبياء وإن مسجدي آخر المساجد

Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I am the last of the Apostles and my mosque is the last of the mosques. (as-Ṣaī al-Muslim, by Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjāj (d. 875), Book 7: The Pigrimage, Chapter 90: The Merit of Praying in the two mosques at Mecca and Medina, No. 1394)

After mentioning this Ḥadīth, he quotes the inference of unsurpassed logic, which the Ahmadis generally deduce of this Ḥadīth, namely that by the fact that the Holy Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم mosque was not the last one on earth, it is clearly proven that the word ākhir is used here in a figurative sense.

Without any doubt the al-Masjid al-Nabawī is the Ākhir al-Masājid and the Khātam al-Masājid. But it is the last of all the mosques regarding new ways and methods of worship. Thereafter it would be unlawful to build a mosque in terms of a new way or kind of worship. Not even in the least does that mean that it would be irregular to build a mosque wherein the way of worship of the Prophet's Mosque is being practiced. In view of that, all the mosques that were built after the al-Masjid al-Nabawī are its ill, viz. shadow. In the exact same manner an-Nubuwwa, i.e. prophethood, was not cut off absolutely and ultimately after the advent of Khātam an-Nabiyyīn صلى الله عليه وسلم, but only the legislative (tashrī‘iyya) and indepepent (mustaqilla) prophethood were finalized through the person of his Holiness صلى الله عليه وسلم. The non-legislative (ghair tashrī‘iyya), the non-independent (ghair mustaqilla), a.k.a. the shadowy (illiyya) prophethood is still unspoilt.

Thus ash-Shaikh al-Akbar Muḥyī ad-Dīn ibn ʿArabī  (d. 1240), one of the most prolific Ṣūfīs write:

فما إرتفعت النبوة بالكلية ولهذا قلنا إنما إرتفعت نبوة التشريع فهذا معنى لا نبي بعده

Prophethood was not lifted off entirely. Therefore, we rather say that the legislative prophethood was put to an end. This is the meaning of “there is no prophet after him”. (Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Vol. 2, Chap. 73)

And the well-known Shāfiʿī scholar Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha‘rani (d. 1565) confirms him by saying:

إعلم أن النبوة لم ترتفع مطلقا بعد محمد، وإنما إرتفع نبوة التشريع فقط

Be aware that prophethood has not been abolished absolutely after Muhammad, but only the legislative prophecy has been put to an end. (Kitāb al-Yawāqīt wa-l-Jawāhir fī bayān ‘Aqā‘id al-Akābir, Vol. 2, p. 3)
Through sordid rhetoric he then tries to ascertain the reader that anyone who has acquired even a fundamental knowledge about the Aādīth, could not have overlooked the following Ḥadīth:

أنا خاتم الانبياء و مسجدي خاتم مساجد الانبيا و أحق المساجد أن يزار و يشد إليه الرواحل مسجد الحرام و مسجدي، و صلاة في مسجدي أفضل من ألف صلاة فيما سواه إلا المسجد الحرام

I am the seal of the prophets and my mosque is the seal of the mosques of the prophets. And the mosques which deserve mostly to be visited and towards which the mounts should be driven are the mosque of Mecca and my mosque. The prayer in my mosque is better than a thousand prayers in any other mosque except that of Mecca. (Kanz al-‘Ummāl, by al-Muttaqī al-Hindī (d. 1567), Chapter Faḍl al-Ḥaramain wa-l-Masjid al-Aqsā min al-Akmāl, Vol. 12, p. 270, No. 34999)

The first step to examine the reliability of this Ḥadīth is to have a look at the book itself where this tradition has been narrated, i.e. the Kanz al-‘Ummāl. Regarding this book, Sheikh Muhammad al-Turkī, professor at the King Sa‘ūd University in Riyā, says that definately not all Aādīth in it are authentic and that it is full of weak and false Aādīth. It is, in fact, a rearrangement of the al-Jāmi‘ al-Kabīr of Jalāl al‐Dīn al‐Suyūṭī. When he wrote his book, his intention was to gather together all the Aādīth that he knew, whether they were authentic or not and he openly admitted that there were some false Aādīth in it. Therefore, when al-Muttaqī al-Hindī rearranged al‐Suyūṭī's book, it was obvious that his book would also contain a number of weak and false Aādīth, since the original work on which it was based contained the same. (http://en.islamtoday.net/node/1169)

However, Mr. Cheema provides us with another source, which probably is meant to serve as a substantiation of the Ḥadīth he presented. The source is the Ḥadīth No. 1175 of the book al-Targhīb wa-l-Tarhīb by Muḥammad Nāṣir ad-Dīn al-Albānī. What Mr. Cheema does not seem to know is, is that Al-Albānī is considered to be the chief innovator of our time and that most of the contemporary Sunni scholars warned of his heresy and many of them wrote articles or full-length works against him. (http://www.sunnah.org/history/Innovators/al_albani.htm)

Nevertheless, there is also another source to a hadith that is similar to the one that Mr. Cheema has put forth:

 حدنا حسين بن حسن, قال: حدثنا عبد العزيز بن أبي عثمان، عن موسى بن عبيدة، عن داود بن مدرك، عن عروة بن الزبير، عن عائشة رضي الله عنها, قالت: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أنا خاتم الأنبياء، ومسجدي خاتم المساجد، وأحق المساجد أن يزار وتركب إليه الرواحل المسجد الحرام، ومسجدي هذا، وصلاة في مسجدي أفضل من ألف صلاة فيما سواه من المساجد إلا المسجد الحرام

ussain ibn assan told us, he said: ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Abī ‘Uthmān told us from Mūsā ibn Ubaida, from Dāwūd ibn Mudrik, from Urwa ibn az-Zubair, from Āisha (may Allah be pleased with her), she said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I am the seal of the prophets and my mosque ist the seal of the mosques. And the mosques which deserve mostly to be visited and towards which the steeds should be ridden are the mosque of Mecca and this my mosque. The prayer in my mosque is better than a thousand prayers in any other mosque except that of Mecca. (Akhbār Makka, by Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq al-Fākihī (d. 892), Chapter of the mentioning of the virtue of praying in the Holy Mosque, No. 1140)

This Ḥadīth is charaterized as marfū‘. In fact all the Aādīth of this book have been regarded as being at least ḥasan.

But even if the Ḥadīth stated in the Kanz al-‘Ummāl is regarded as authentic, it does not conflict with the Aḥmadiyya point of view at all. In fact it totally clarifies our perspective. In this Ḥadīth the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم declares that after the mosques of all the prophets who passed before him the al-Masjid al-Nabawī is the last mosque. And declaring the al-Masjid al-Nabawī as being the last of the mosques implicates that henceforth by no prophet may a mosque be erected for any new ways of worship until the day of resurrection, but rather all of the mosques that may be built after the al-Masjid al-Nabawī shall be built to adopt the way of worship exemplified by the al-Masjid al-Nabawī, only then their construction would be acceptable, because all those mosques would then be ẓilāl, that is to say shadows, of the al-Masjid al-Nabawī. Similarly, the concept of the declaration of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as Khātam al-Anbiyā in juxtaposition to Khātam al-Masājid is this, that the Holy Prophet is the last prophet to bring new laws and that after him there can be no prophet who brings a new law. Whosoever may appear, will have to be from his Umma and appear as his shadow (ẓill) and will have to be subject to his very law. Hence, as it is permitted to build ẓillī mosques of the al-Masjid al-Nabawī after it, in exactly the same way the coming of a ẓillī prophet after the Khātam al-Anbiyā صلى الله عليه وسلم is unaffected by it. The mosque which will be permissible to build in future will be that which will be according to the way of worship of the al-Masjid al-Nabawī, notwithstanding whether the builders of it are Anbiā Ummatī (prophet of the Umma) or ordinary people.

At a glance we may notice the following:
  1. The first Ḥadīth brought forth by the Ahmadis is from al-Muslim, which is the second one of the so called Ṣaḥīḥān. All followers of the Ahl al-Sunna wa-l-Jamāa are muttafiq ‘alai thereon that this is the second most authentic book of Aādīth. Here, the word al-Anbiyā’ is not mentioned after al-Masājid.
  2. Ibn Arabī and al-Sharani both support the Ahmadiyya standpoint.
  3. The second Ḥadīth, which is presented by Mr. Cheema, is from Kanz al-‘Ummāl. The authenticity of this tradition is more than questionable, because there is not even given an isnād and al‐Suyūṭī, who is the original compiler of the book, himself admits that even non-authentic Aādīth were also collected in his work.
  4. The so called scholar who verifies this Ḥadīth, i.e. al-Albānī, is viewed by most of the Sunni scholars as a falsifier and heretic.
  5. The next Ḥadīth which my humble self presents is from al-Fākihī and has almost the exact same wording as the Ḥadīth of al-Muttaqī al-Hindī, except for the non-existent word of al-Anbiyā’. Furthermore al-Fākihī's work was praised by Ibn Ḥajar and Taqī ad-Dīn al-Fāsī.
  6. Even if the Ḥadīth brought forth by al-Muttaqī al-Hindī is genuine, it does not oppose our idea of Khātam an-Nabiyyīn.
Finally, one can say with some certainty that the narration of the Kanz al-‘Ummāl is faulty and even if not there is nothing to dispute on.

And Allah knows best!