Monday, January 26, 2009



..................continued from part 42


The Legacy

Vested in Muhammad s.a.w. were a number of maqams (offices). He was the bearer of the nubuwwah (prophethood) and the risalah (messengership) and at the same time he was also the bearer of the wilayah (governance). In Islam, the nubuwwah ended when Muhammad s.a.w. deceased. The Al Qur'an uses the word Khatam to denote that Muhammad s.a.w. was the last of the prophets after whom no body was to be raised to that exalted office (An Nadwi, 1976; pp. 156).

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍ۬ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمۡ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَۗ

Muhammad is not
The father of any
of your men but (he is)
The Apostle of Allah
And the Seal of the Prophets
Al Ahzab 33:40

While a nabi receives devine teachings from Allah, a rasul or messenger has the duty to propagate them. A rasul is always a nabi. Even though the offices of nubuwwah and risalah had ended, the messages or the teachings have to continue to reach the people and their propagation is a continuous process.

When Muhammad s.a.w. controlled a territory called Yathrib, (what is Madina now), he actualized the teachings of Islam, and thus the office of wilayah was convened. There was a bit of confusion among Muslim scholars regarding this issue, due to the fact that the office was not explicitly expressed in the Al-Qur'an or the sunnah (Thaib, 1990, pp.28-37).

But contemporary ulama of Shia had brought the concept to the limelight, such as Khomeini's wilayah e faqih and Tabataba'e 's treatise of Al wilayah. Islam's ulama of old seemed to have mixed the concept of khilafah and imamah; for example, Al Mawardi talked about imamah when he referred to governance while Ibn Khaldun talked about khilafah when referring to the same concept. be continued