One often hears Qadiani missionaries asserting that the phrase " Khatam un-Nabiyyin "m has not been interpreted as "the Last Prophet" by the Holy Prophet himself. The fact is that the Holy Prophet himself has explained this phrase in these words.
And I am Khatam un-Nabiyyin, there is no prophet after myself. The Tradition (Hadith) is this:
"Thauban said that the Holy Prophet said: (in a long tradition part of which is that) "there will appear in my Ummah thirty imposters each of them will claim to be a prophet while I am Khatam un-Nabiyyin, there is no prophet after me.
This tradition is found in Abu Dawood Kitabul-Fitan; and another tradition of the same meaning from Abu Huraira in Kitab-ul-Malahim. Both traditions are narrated by Tirmizi also.
The Holy Prophet said: "The simile of myself and the other prophets is the simile of a well-built palace in which the place of a brick was left vacant; the sight-seers were roaming around that palace expressing their wonder on its fine construction except the place of that missing brick. Thus, I am that brick and I closed the gap of that place. The construction was completed by me and the messengers of God: were completed by me. So, I am that brick and I am 'Khatam un-Nabiyyin' (the last Prophet)."
This tradition has been recorded in Saheeh Bukhari (Kitab-ul’Manaqib; Bab Khatamun-Nabiyyin) with minor variations in wordings.
It means that after the advent of the Holy Prophet of Islam, the building of Prophethood was complete; there is no vacant place left, so that another Nabi be expected to come and fill that place.
There are four traditions like this one in Saheeh Muslim (Kitabul-Fadhail, Bab Khatamun Nabiyyin) and the last of those traditions has these extra words: "Then I came and I closed the prophets".
The same tradition in the same words is found in Saheeh Tirmizi (Kitab-ul-Manaqib, Bab Fazlin Nabi; and Kitab-ul-Adab, Bab-ul-Amthal).
In Musnad of Abu Dawood Tayalisi this tradition has been narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, and its last words are: "The Prophets have been closed by me".
And these traditions with minor differences in the wordings are found in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal narrated by Ubai bin Ka'ab, Abu Said Khudri and Abu Huraira.
The Holy Prophet said: "Qiyamah will not come till many groups from my Ummah follow the idol-worshippers (commit capital sins like the idol worshippers) and till they worship idols; and surely there will be in my Ummah 30 impostors, every one of them will suppose himself to be a prophet; while I am 'Khatam un-Nabiyyin' (last prophet), there is no prophet after me."
Tirmizi has narrated these traditions from Thauban and Abu Huraira, and the second tradition says:
"Till there will be about thirty imposters each of them would claim to be a messenger of Allah".
A. Qadiani missionary wrote to me about this tradition but this prophecy was already fulfilled before Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. The book 'Al-Bakara' p. 15. says that "If we count all those who claimed Prophethood after the Holy Prophet up to our time, this number has been completed. And it is known to all those who know the history." The writer of this book died in 828 Hijri. Up to this year (i.e., 1390) 562 years have passed since that writing. Do you think that writer was wrong'?"
I wrote to him: "Well, what book is this 'Al Bakara''? Who was its author? This clutching to straws shows how poor your arguments are. Of course, he was wrong, because centuries after him, Nawwab Siddiq Hassan Khan of Bhopal (who died in 1889 A. D.), wrote in his book 'Hujajul-Karamah'.
The prophecy of the Holy Prophet - that there would come 30 Dajjals in this Ummah - is proving correct; and 27 of those Dajjals have already appeared." (page 540).
Remember that this count of 27 was before the claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani.
Sometimes, some writers have committed the mistake of counting everyone who claimed prophethood after the Holy Prophet as one of those 30 promised Dajjals. But it is wrong, because in this way we will find hundreds of Dajjal and the number 30 would be exceeded by far.
That is why Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani has written in 'Fat'h-ul·Bari Sharh Saheeh Bukhari (Vol. VI, p455): "It is not the meaning of this tradition to count every person who claimed to be prophet after Muhammad (S); because there were so many of them that they cannot be counted; as mostly such claimants suffer from insanity and·'Sawda.".1 But this tradition means only those who get some strength i.e., whose religion becomes accepted and who gets sufficient followers".
Therefore, if we add one more after 1889, the total comes to 28. There are still two more to come.
Then we come to the public declaration of Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), which is given in Al-Iqd-ul-Farid, Vol. IV, p. 75. In this lecture, Imam Ali (a.s.) said about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S):
Until Allah honored him (Muhammad) by Ruh-ul-Amin (i.e., Angel Gabriel) and the Bright Light (i.e., Qur'an or Islam) and completed with him the prophets and completed with him the number of the Messengers."
See how the word "completed with him the prophets" has been explained by "completed with him the number of the Messengers".
It should be noted that in the whole Qur'an, the word 'Khatam' has been used only once and that is in this phrase. Also, this phrase; "Khatam un-Nabiyyin" was never used in Arabic language before this verse. It was a new phrase which was used for the first time in the Qur'an in this verse.
And, therefore the only correct way of knowing its real significance is to see how this phrase was interpreted by the Holy Prophet of Islam, because it was revealed to him, and as such no other person can know its meaning better than he. And he himself interpreted in these words:
"And I am Khatam un-Nabiyyin there is no prophet after me".
The saying of the Holy Prophet (S) is a proof in itself. But when that saying is the interpretation of the wording of the Holy Qur'an, then it becomes double proof. The question is: Who has more right to understand Qur'an and to interpret the Qur’an than Muhammad Al-Mustafa (S)? Who can explain the meaning of Khatam un-Nabiyyin better than Muhammad (S)?
And who has any right that we should listen to his claims leaving the wording of the Holy Prophet of Islam aside, the Holy Prophet on whom the Qur'an 'was revealed? Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani himself has said: "Nobody can explain the meaning of Ilham (Revelation) better than the person on whom that Ilham was, sent".2