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The "Seal Of The Prophets": Towards An Understanding Of Muhammad'S Prophethood

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Chapter Summary

As is well known, Q 33:40 describes Muhammad as "the messenger of God and the seal of the prophets," a statement which today is generally understood in the sense of finality - in other words, as claiming that there will be no prophet after Muhammad. Yet the mere fact that "prophetic" movements within Islam have arisen again and again shows that the word "seal" has also been understood differently, not just as indicating the finality of Muhammad's prophethood, but also in the sense of confirmation, i.e., as a form of continuity with earlier prophets. This chapter focuses on the second part of the "Seal Verse," which has hitherto been largely ignored by scholars, and in particular on the concept of "prophet". It examines more closely the two words "messenger" and "prophet". Today, both are used to refer to Muhammad, often without any discernible difference in meaning.

Keywords: Islam; messenger; Muhammad's prophethood; prophets; Seal Verse



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