The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, prophesied the coming of Hadhrat Isa ibn Mariam - Jesus son of Mary and the Imam Mahdi. Both of these people will have to have the authority of Allah before claiming these stations/titles. Both these people will come to reform mankind. Both these people will come to guide mankind to the right path. Therefore both these people MUST be prophets!
Will this not contravene the statement in the Holy Quran of the Holy Prophet being Khataman Nabiyyeen - the last of Prophets?
There is only one verse in the Holy Qur'an containing the title of Khataman Nabiyyeen which is:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets and Allah has full knowledge of all things.
Why was this verse revealed? If we look at the verses before this verse, then they relate about Hadhrat Zaid,may Allah be pleased with him, the freed slave and adopted son of the Holy Prophet and his marriage to Hadhrat Zainab, may Allah be pleased with her, the cousin of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet arranged this marriage with the desire to try to show that it should not matter about the status of the person; instead one should look towards piety. So by arranging this marriage the Holy Prophet was showing that a member of the high society (Hadhrat Zainab may Allah be pleased with her was from the nobility of the Quraish) can marry a freed slave, as in Islam everyone was equal in the sight of Allah. Sadly, although they both carried out this wish of the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Zaid may Allah be pleased with him still felt that he was not worthy of marrying such a lady and Hadhrat Zainab may Allah be pleased with her also found difficulties with the marriage due to the incompatibility of their dispositions and temperaments and so it ended in divorce.
The failure of the marriage naturally grieved the Holy Prophet even though the purpose of removing the stigma of such marriages was removed. Allah then gave a Divine command, that the Holy Prophet himself should marry Hadhrat Zainab,may Allah be pleased with her. This caused a hue and cry among the Quraish as it was their custom that you cannot marry the wife of an adopted son, but Allah wanted to remove such a custom. Thus the verse under comment was revealed that “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men” thus showing that Hadhrat Zaid,may Allah be pleased with him, was not his real son, but an adopted son. All of the Holy Prophet’s male children passed away at very young ages, whereas, all his daughters lived to a good age.
But this also brought another problem as the Meccans teased the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he claimed that he had the support of a mighty, powerful God who could do anything, yet this powerful God could not give the Holy Prophet any male sons! All the male children of the Holy Prophet died soon after their birth. He only had four daughters. It meant that there would be no one to carry on his name. A big disgrace in the eyes of the Meccans!
Allah answered this taunt in the Holy Quran by stating that yes, it is true that Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is not the father of any male children, BUT he is a Messenger of God. The word ‘but’ is stressing that what is mentioned after it is an answer to the taunt - that being, that he might not be the physical father of any children, but being a Prophet he is a spiritual father of many men! The verse then carries on stating that he is also Khataman Nabiyyeen which would indicate that this is an even more powerful argument.
Now if Khataman Nabiyyeen is translated to mean ‘last of prophets’ as the majority of Muslims claim - what is the point being made? That before the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, so many prophets came following the Jewish law etc. but now following the Islamic law, no one can attain to the high status of a prophet? Is that a powerful argument, or one in which the Meccans would mock more? Would they not tease the Holy Prophet further that his teachings are now incapable of producing people to the high rank of Prophethood? Since when has being ‘last’ ever been honourable? Jesus Christ, may peace be upon him, was the ‘last’ Jewish prophet, do Muslims say he was the ‘best’ or was Moses, being a law-bearing prophet and one to which Jesus himself followed, better than he?
Now if we translate Khataman Nabiyyeen as being the ‘last of prophets’ we can only mean that he was the last law-bearing prophet, that Allah had completed His Law with the Holy Quran, that now all followers of Allah, in whatever religion they follow, must now follow this last law-bearing prophet. Now this would bring honour to the Holy Prophet and silence the Meccans, that everyone in the world must now follow him because he is the last and best law-bearing prophet. This would then make the verse to read that ‘Muhammad is not the father of any male amongst you, but he is a Messenger of God and the best of all prophets’.