- Sūrah An-Nisā’, 4:70
And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these. [Sūrah An-Nisā’, 4:70]
In order to properly understand the actual Ahmadī Muslim argument regarding Sūrah An-Nisā’, verse 70, one must first understand the following prayer of the Holy Qur’ān:
Guide us in the right path —The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings.
[Sūrah Al-Fātihah, 1:6-7]
A question from this prayer arises: Who are these recipients of the blessings of Allāh?
Hazrat Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad Qādiānī(as), the Promised Messiah and Imām Mahdī answers this question beautifully when he writes:
“It should never be forgotten that some parts of the Holy Qur’ān explain its other parts. A subject finds a summary mention in one place and is explained at length in another—the latter thus constituting an exposition of the former. Thus: Guide us along the straight path, the path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed favors; is a supplication in the abstract. In another place (4:70) the favored ones have been described as the prophets, the righteous, the witnesses and the virtuous.” [Commentary of The Holy Qur’ān – Sūrah Al-Fātihah, Pages 238-239]
The Promised Messiah(as) further elaborates as follows:
“We supplicate in our prayers: Guide us along the straight path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy favors. This means for the purpose of advancement in faith and for the benefit of mankind we seek four types of signs in the shape of four excellences – the excellence of the prophets, the excellence of the righteous, the excellence of the witnesses, and the excellence of the virtuous. The special excellence of a prophet is to receive from God knowledge of things hidden which should be a sign. The excellence of the righteous is that one should so completely possess the treasure of truth, the verities comprised in the Book of Allāh, that because of their outstanding character they should be a sign, confirming the integrity of the righteous person. The excellence of the witness is that he should possess such firmness of faith and such strength of character and such steadfastness in times of trial and troubles and hardships that they should be a sign for him. The excellence of the man of virtue is that he should so completely discard every type of mischief and become such an embodiment of goodness that his virtue should become a sign, because of its extraordinary character. These are then the four kinds of excellence that we beg of Allāh, the Exalted, five times in our daily prayers. In other words, we seek from God, the Supreme, heavenly signs and whoso does not aspire to them lacks faith. The very purpose of our prayer is this aspiration which we seek from God, the Great, five times in our daily prayers, in four shapes as four signs, seeking thus the magnification of God, the Most High, in the earth, so that our lives may not defile the earth as lives of denial and doubt and indifference. A person glorifies God, the Sublime, only when he begs of Him these four signs.” [Commentary of The Holy Qur’ān- Sūrah Al-Fātihah, Pages 241-242]
About the word shahīd, he writes the following and this is the official stance of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamā‘at on the word shahīd:
“Common people have understood the word shahīd to only mean “one who is killed by an arrow or a gun, or dies from an accident.” However, next to Allāh, the Exalted, this is not the only status of shahādat…. In my opinion, the actual meaning of a shahīd is something other than destruction of the body and it is a state of being in relation to the heart. [Al-Hakam, Page 18, Volume 9: May 24, 1905]
Explaining this further, he writes:
“The status of shahādat refers to a status at which man, with the strength of his faith, has gained such a conviction in God and the Day of Judgment, that it is as if he is seeing Allāh, the Exalted, with his eyes. Then, with the blessing of this faith, the bitterness and difficulty in doing good deeds is removed. Also, the decree of Allāh, the Exalted, descends upon the heart like honey due to harmony. It fills up the chest with sweetness and every trial seems to be a reward. Hence, a shahīd is one who experiences the mushāhidah of God [that is, sees the light of God] with the strength of his faith and gets pleasure from the bitterness of the decree [of God] as if it was sweet honey. In this sense, he is called shahīd and this status is a sign for the perfect believer.” [Teryāq-ul-Qulūb, Page 124]
This is the official understanding of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamā‘at of the word shahīd and what has been translated by Mr. Ghulām Farīd at certain places in the Qur’an is an implied meaning of shahīd.
Furthermore, even if the meaning of the word shahīd is taken to mean martyr, it does not mean that verse 70 of Sūrah An-Nisā’ only applies for the hereafter, because Allāh knows whether or not a person will be a martyr even before the birth of a person. Hence, in the knowledge of Allāh, the Exalted, a person is a martyr long before he or she actually gets the status.
In summary, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamā‘at’s understanding of verse 70 of Sūrah An-Nisā’ is that Allāh, the Exalted, will continue to send the prophets, the truthful, the witnesses, and the righteous, from among those who truly obey the commandments of Allāh, the Exalted, and follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) in letter and spirit. The prayer for the achievement of these stages has been taught in Sūrah Al-Fātihah and a glad tiding has been given in Sūrah An-Nisā’ that Allāh will continue to bless these people with such spiritual ranks in this life.
2. Sūrah Al-‘Arāf, 7:36
O children of Adam! if Messengers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve. [Sūrah Al-‘Arāf, 7:36]
In verse 36 of Sūrah Al-A‘rāf, the words “اِمَّا یَاۡتِیَنَّکُمۡ” (If there come to you) are used by Allāh, the Exalted, and “یَاۡتِیَنَّکُمۡ” is
(f‘ail mudhāri‘ mu’akkad binūn thaqīlah) – a grammatical structure used for present and future tenses with extra emphasis placed to point out the importance of the commandment. In other words, it means that prophets will surely come. Therefore, Allāh, the Exalted, gives the glad tidings in this verse that prophets will continue to come from among you and you should accept them. In our age, Hazrat Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad(as) has come as a prophet, reciting many signs of Allāh unto us, and it is required from us to accept him.
A similar glad tiding is given in another verse of the Holy Qur’ān in a chapter where Allāh, the Exalted, has proclaimed many prophecies about the Latter Days. Allāh says:
And when the messengers are made to appear at the appointed time. [Sūrah Al-Mursalāt, 77:12]
Ahmadī Muslims do not accept meaning that no prophet can come whereas Allāh says prophets can come with the condition of complete obedience to Allāh and His Prophet Muhammad(sa) as foretold in the Holy Qur’ān (4:70).
Finally, it must be noted that Hazrat Imām Jalāl-ud-Dīn Suyūtīrh(rh) has written the following about these verses in Sūrah Al-A‘rāf:
It is addressed to the people of that age and all the ages to come. [Tafsīr Itqān, Volume 2, Page 36]
3. Sūrah Al-Mu’min, 40:35-36
And Joseph did come to you before with clear proofs, but you ceased not to be in doubt concerning that with which he came to you till, when he died, you said: ‘Allāh will never raise up a messenger after him.’ Thus does Allāh adjudge as lost those who transgress, and are doubters, those who dispute concerning the Signs of Allāh without any authority having come to them. Grievously hateful is this in the sight of Allāh and in the sight of those who believe. Thus does Allāh seal up the heart of every arrogant, haughty person. [Sūrah Al-Mu’min, 40:35-36]
The concept (of the end of prophethood after the passing away of a prophet) – which, according to the Qur’ān, dates back to the time of Hazrat Yusuf(as) – is not new. It is not an innovation in the Muslim ummah. People may say this [principle] may apply till the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). After him, it is as if a new law was passed. The Holy Qur’ān, however, leaves no room for [such] doubt or misgivings. Hence, there is no question of one trying to defeat the Qur’ān with tricks of his mind. As a result, the same subject is discussed in another verse and it is a verse of Sūrah Al-Jinn, in which Allāh, the Exalted, says:
And it is true that the foolish amongst us used to utter extravagant lies concerning Allāh. [Sūrah Al-Jinn, 72:5]
When the Jinn had made the pledge of allegiance to the Holy Prophet(sa) and were going back [home], they were saying to each other, “How foolish were our ancestors? They used to forge such big statements against Allāh, the Exalted, without any knowledge”. What were these statements? One such statement is as follows:
And indeed they thought, even as you think, that Allāh would never raise any Messenger. [Sūrah Al-Jinn, 72:8]
That Allāh will never send anyone as a prophet. In reality, earlier peoples used to indulge in such foolish talk just as you indulge in today. You also say that God shall not send anyone now [as a prophet]. If, according to the ’ulemā of today, this decree had changed in the time of the Holy Prophet(sa) and the practise of sending no more prophets has been initiated [by Allāh, the Exalted], then what was the reason for God to say this in the Qur’ān? Instead, the reality is that Allāh, the Exalted, is saying this to the Holy Prophet(sa) as a foolishness of the earlier peoples. [Irfāne Khatme Nubuwwat, Page 347 (Translated from Urdu)]
Allāh, the Exalted, says in verses 35 and 36 of Sūrah Al-Mu’min that those people who think that prophethood has come to an end are “transgressors and doubters” and such a one is an “arrogant and haughty”.
4. Sūrah Āle ‘Imrān, 3:82
And remember the time when Allāh took a covenant from the people through the prophets, saying: “Whatever I give you of the Book and Wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger, fulfilling that which is with you, you shall believe in him and help him.” And He said: “Do you agree, and do you accept the responsibility which I lay upon you in this matter?” They said, “We agree;” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” [Sūrah Āle ‘Imrān, 3:82]
This verse is known as the verse of
(The Covenant of the Prophets) and Hazrat Mirzā Tāhir Ahmad(rh), the 4th successor of the Promised Messiah(as), explains it as follows:
The verse speaks of a covenant Allāh had taken from the People of the Book through their prophets. The covenant bound them to believe in all the messengers coming to fulfil all that had been given to them of His Word and Wisdom and to help them in their mission. The verse also lays down that the people had solemnly agreed to abide by the covenant. Then He said to the people to bear witness to this covenant and that He too would bear witness along with them. [The True Meaning of Khatme Nubuwwat, Pages 58-59]
5. Sūrah Al-Ahzāb, 33:8-9
And remember when We took from the prophets their covenant, and from thee, and from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus, son of Mary, and We indeed took from them a solemn covenant; That He may question the truthful about their truthfulness. And for the disbelievers He has prepared a painful punishment. [Sūrah Al-Ahzāb, 33:8-9]
Hazrat Mirzā Tāhir Ahmad(rh) explains the above verse as follows:
Here is another verse dealing with the covenant Allāh had taken from the prophets and, through them, from their peoples. The gist of the covenant was that if a future prophet came supporting what is contained in the Book and the Wisdom bestowed on them then the people should not oppose him but support him and assist him and believe in him. The prophets are being placed under obligation to enjoin their people not to reject a claimant to prophethood in the future who meets these criteria. What a remarkable covenant! Having said this, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) is addressed directly in this verse: “And remember when we took from the prophets their covenant, and from thee…” [Sūrah Al-Ahzāb, 33:8-9]
That is to say the Holy Prophet(sa) was pointedly charged with the responsibility to place his ummah under obligation to believe in the prophet appearing after him with the condition that this prophet would support the Book and Wisdom previously bestowed on the people and would devote himself to the service of the Faith. This covenant was taken from the Holy Prophet(sa) even when the teaching and prophethood had achieved perfection.
Commenting on this verse, Allāma Fakhr-ud-Dīn Rāzī says in At-Tafsīr-ul-Kabīr, Volume 8, Page 114 (published in Tehran): “The only meaning of this verse is to clearly state that Allāh had made it incumbent on all prophets (and their followers) to believe in every prophet who comes ‘fulfilling that which is with them’.” Allāma Rāzī has made a very subtle point. It means that as long as a Divine Dispensation remains operative and it is not abrogated by God, a false prophet would not come and work towards the fulfilment and completion of the Divine Dispensation. A false prophet would come to work against the truth. [However] A claimant to prophethood who works in the service of the Faith must be fully supported by the people. The covenant is addressed to the prophets since they are the leaders of the people. The prophets themselves would never oppose the truth. [The True Meaning of Khatme Nubuwwat, Page 59]
As a result, it is clear that this covenant of prophethood was taken from the Holy Prophet(sa) just as it was taken from all the other prophets and all those who believe in the Holy Prophet(sa) are obliged to accept the prophethood of one who comes in support of the religion of Islām.
6.Sūrah Al-Hajj, 22:76
Allāh chooses His messengers from among angels, and from among men. Surely, Allāh is All- Hearing, All-Seeing. [Sūrah Al-Hajj, 22:76]
God, the Almighty has used the word “
”, which is
(f‘ail mudhāri‘) and, as explained earlier, this is used for present as well as future tenses. In other words, the verse means that Allāh, the Exalted, chooses and will continue to choose prophets from among the angels and the people. Hazrat Mirzā Tāhir Ahmad(rh) comments on this verse in the following words:
According to our opponents, this verse was revealed after it had been pronounced that the Holy Prophet(sa) was ‘Khātam-an-Nabiyyīn’ and no prophets were to come. However, the verse says “Allāh chooses His Messengers from among angels and from among men” instead of saying “Allāh used to choose His messengers…” This clearly means that prophethood has not been terminated. A proof to support our argument is seen in the Holy Qur’an where Allāh says with regards to Jesus and his mother “
” (they both used to eat food). [Sūrah Al-Mā’idah, 5:76]. It is a fundamental rule of grammar that present continuous cannot be used for an action that has come to an end. The Qur’an proves this here. So, in case Allāh Ta‘ālā had totally stopped sending messengers from among men, He would have said so in the words,
“ ” (Allāh used to choose His messengers from among angels, and from among men).
A prominent Shia commentator, Tibrisy, comments on this verse in his book, Majma‘ul-Bayān (Part 7, Page 96): “Allāh chooses His messengers from angels, that is, Gabriel and Michael, and from among men, that is, the prophets”. Here a mere messenger is not implied; instead, it refers to a Nabī. [The True Meaning of Khatme Nubuwwat, Page 57]
Therefore, this verse only strengthens the Ahmadiyya Muslim understanding that Allāh, the Exalted, can continue to choose prophets after the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa).
Source: With Love to Muhammadsa The Khātam-un-Nabiyyīn (https://www.alislam.org/library/books/With-Love-to-Muhammad.pdf )