Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Muhammad is not the father of any man among you) i.e. Zayd, (but he is the Messenger of Allah) but Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (and the Seal of the Prophets) with him Allah has sealed the advent of prophets, such that there is no prophet after him; (and Allah is Aware of all things) of your words and works.
MuḤammad is not the father of any of your men, but rather the messenger of God and the seal of the prophets.
This is a reminder bestowing the recognition, and an explanation declaring the eminence, of the paragon of the world and master of the children of Adam, the pearl of felicity and the foundation of mastery, the kiblah of prosperity and the kaabah of hopes, MuḤammad MuṣṬafā, the eminence of whose messengerhood is bound to the Beginningless and the exaltation of whose good fortune is joined with the Endless. The pulpit and mihrab are adorned with his name. The pillars of the religion and the foundations of belief were laid down by his explanation and clarification. That paragon was outwardly all ease and inwardly all comeliness. His expressions were eloquence, his secret core love. His spirit was from the light of exaltedness, his curtain the divine jealousy. His customs were the Shariah, his robe of honor intercession. Although God stripped the name of fatherhood from him, he was more tender and more lovingly kind than any father. He said, “For you I am like a father toward his children.”
It has been said that his tenderness toward his community is greater than that of fathers, but God did not call him the father of the community because of what preceded in the beginningless decree, the lordly judgment, and the divine predetermination. This is the fact that on the Day of Resurrection-in that greatest gathering place and most tremendous exposure, when the pavilion of all-subjugatingness is pitched, the carpet of tremendousness spread, the scales of justice hung, the prison of chastisement brought out from the veil, spirits come to the throat, eloquent tongues become dumb, all excuses nullified, and all relationships cut-it is then that all fathers will flee from their children, as the Exalted Lord said: “On the day a man will flee from his brother, his mother, his father” [80:34]. Adam, who is the father of all, will come forth and say, “Lord God, let Adam go, and as for his children, You know what You will do.” Noah will say the same, Abraham the same; Moses, Jesus, and the other prophets the same. All will tremble from the harshness of the rising and the terror of the resurrection. They will be helpless for themselves and will not attend to their children.
They will say, “'My soul, my soul!' O Lord, release me, and do what You want with the children.” In that gathering place of the resurrection, MuṣṬafā the Arab will put his face in the dust, his musky locks falling on his hands, and let loose the tongue of mercy and tenderness: “Lord God, my community is a handful of the weak and hapless. They do not have the capacity for Your chastisement and punishment. Forgive them and have mercy, and do with MuḤammad whatever You want.”
Because of the decree made in the Beginningless that fathers would flee from their children, He did not call him a father, lest on that day he flee from them and not intercede for them.
Listen to another subtle point: He was not called father because, if he had been a father, his testimony as a father against his son would not be accepted by the Shariah. Tomorrow at the resurrection he will testify as to the justice of the community. That is in His words, “That you may be witnesses against the people and the Messenger may be a witness against them” [2:143].
Muhammad is not the father of any man among you: he is not Zayd’s biological father and so it is not unlawful for him to marry his [former] wife Zaynab [after him]; but, he is, the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets, and so he will not have a son that is a [fully grown] man to be a prophet after him (a variant reading [for khātim al-nabiyyīna] has khātam al-nabiyyīn, as in the instrument [known as a] ‘seal’, in other words, their [prophethood] has been sealed by him). And God has knowledge of all things, among these is the fact that there will be no prophet after him, and even when the lord Jesus descends [at the end of days] he will rule according to his [Muhammad’s] Law.
(Those who convey the Message of Allah) meaning, to His creation, and fulfil that with which they have been entrusted.
(and fear Him,) means, they fear Him and they do not fear any besides Him, so no threats on the part of anyone can prevent them from conveying the Message of Allah.
وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ حَسِيباً
(And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner.) means, sufficient is Allah as a Helper and Supporter. The leader of all people in this regard and in all regards is Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, for he undertook to convey the Message to the people of the east and of the west, to all kinds of the sons of Adam, so Allah caused his word, his religion and his law to prevail over all other religions and laws. The Prophets before him were sent only to their own peoples, but he was sent to all of mankind, Arabs and non-Arabs alike.
(Say: "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah'') (7:158). Then his Ummah inherited the task of conveying from him, and the greatest of those who undertook this task after him were his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, who conveyed from him as he had commanded them, describing all his words, deeds and circumstances, night and day, when he was settled and when he was traveling, in private and in public, may Allah be pleased with them. Thereafter each generation inherited from their predecessors until our own time, so those who are guided, follow their example and their way. We ask Allah, the Most Generous Bestower, to make us among their heirs.
(Muhammad is not the father of any of your men,) After this it was not permitted to say Zayd bin Muhammad, i.e., he was not his father even though he had adopted him. No male child of the Prophet lived until puberty. Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, bore him Al-Qasim, At-Tayyib and At-Tahir, but they died in childhood. Mariyah Al-Qibtiyyah bore him Ibrahim, but he also died in infancy. He also had four daughters from Khadijah: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with them all. Three of them died during his lifetime, Fatimah lived long enough to be bereaved of him, then she died six months later.
(but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything.) This is like the Ayah:
اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ
(Allah knows best with whom to place His Message) (6:124). This Ayah clearly states that there will be no Prophet after him. If there will be no Prophet after him then there will surely be no Messenger after him either, because the status of a Messenger is higher than that of a Prophet, for every Messenger is a Prophet but the reverse is not the case. This was reported in many Mutawatir Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah via a group of his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Imam Ahmad recorded a narration from Ubayy bin Ka`b, from his father that the Prophet said:
(My parable among the Prophets is that of a man who built a house and did a good and complete job, apart from the space of one brick which he did not put in its place. The people started to walk around the building, admiring it and saying, "If only that brick were put in its place. '' Among the Prophets, I am like that brick.) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said "Hasan Sahih.''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The parable of myself and the Prophets is that of a man who built a house and did a complete and good job, except for the space of one brick. Whoever entered it would look at that space and say, how good it is, apart from the space of that brick. My position is like that of that brick, and the Prophets -- blessings and peace be upon them -- end with me.) It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, who said, "It is Sahih Gharib with this chain of narrators.''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The parable of myself and the Prophets who came before me is that of a man who built houses and made them complete and beautiful apart from the space of a brick in one of the corners. The people started to walk around, admiring the construction and saying, If only you put a brick here, your construction will be complete.) The Messenger of Allah said:
«فَكُنْتُ أَنَا اللَّبِنَة»
(And I am that brick.) It was also recorded by (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(I have been given preference over the other Prophets in six ways: I have been given the ability to speak concisely; I have been aided by fear (cast into the hearts of my enemies); the spoils of war have been made permissible for me; the entire earth has been made a Masjid and a means of purification for me; I have been sent to all of mankind; and the Prophets end with me.) This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah; At-Tirmidhi said, "It is Hasan Sahih.''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The parable of myself and the Prophets who came before me is that of a man who built a house and completed it apart from the space of one brick. I have come and completed that brick.) It was also recorded by Muslim.
Jubayr bin Mut`im, may Allah be pleased with him, said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(I have several names: I am Muhammad, and I am Ahmad; I am Al-Mahi (the eradicator) through whom Allah will erase disbelief; I am Al-Hashir (the gatherer) at whose feet mankind will gather; and I am Al-`Aqib (the final one) after whom there will be no Prophet.) It was also recorded in the Two Sahihs. And there are many other Hadiths on this topic. Allah has told us in His Book, and His Messenger has told us in the Mutawatir Sunnah, that there will be no Prophet after him, so that it may be known that everyone who claims this status after him is a liar and fabricator who is misguided and is misguiding others. Even if he twists meanings, comes up with false claims and uses tricks and vagaries, all of this is false and is misguidance as will be clear to those who have understanding. This is what Allah caused to happen in the case of Al-Aswad Al-`Ansi in the Yemen and Musaylimah the Liar in Al-Yamamah, whose false miracles and nonsensical words showed everyone who was possessed of understanding that they were liars who were leading people astray; may the curse of Allah be upon them both. This is the case with every false prophet until the Day of Resurrection, until they end with Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist). Each of these liars is given by Allah signs which show the people of knowledge and the believers that his message is false -- which is part of the perfect kindness of Allah towards His creation. These liars do not enjoin what is good, nor forbid what is evil, unless they do so by coincidence or because it serves an ulterior purpose. They are the utmost in falsehood and immorality, in all that they say and do, as Allah says:
(Shall I inform you (O people!) upon whom the Shayatin descend They descend on every lying, sinful person.) (26:221-222) This is in contrast to the Prophets -- may blessings and peace be upon them -- for they are the utmost in righteousness, truthfulness, wisdom, uprightness and justice in all that they say and do, command and forbid. In addition to this they are supported with miracles and clear and obvious proof. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them always, as long as heaven and earth remain.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This one sentence arts at the root of all those objections which the opponents were raising in connection with this marriage of the Holy Prophet.
Their first objection was that he had married his own daughter-in-law, whereas according to his own law the son's wife is forbidden for the father. This was answered by saying: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men." That is, Zaid was not his real son, and so it was not unlawful to marry his divorced wife.
Their second objection was that even if his adopted son was not his real son, it was not necessary that he should have marred his divorced wife. This was answered by saying: ''... but he is the Messenger of Allah." That is, it was his duty as the Messenger of Allah to put an end to all kinds of prejudices about a lawful thing which custom and tradition had made unlawful without good reason and declare it to be lawful once again.
The point was stressed by saying: "... and (he is) the last of the Prophets." That is, not to speak of a Messenger, no other Prophet would be raised after him, who could make up for a possible deficiency in the enforcement of a reform in the law and society that might have been left un-enforced in his time. Therefore, it had become all the more necessary that he should himself root out the custom of ignorance.
Again, to further emphasize this point, it was said: "Allah has knowledge of everything. " that is, Allah knows best why it was imperative to get the custom of ignorance rooted out at that juncture through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) rather than let it remain as it was. He knows that no other prophet would be coming after him in the future; therefore, if He did not abolish this custom through His Last Prophet, no other person after him would be able to abolish it for all the Muslims of the world for ever. Even if the later reformers would abolish it, no action of any one of them will have the permanent and universal authority behind it so that the people of every country and every age might -start following it, and none of them would have a personality endowed with that holiness and sanctity that an action's being merely his way (Sunnah) might root out every feeling of aversion and abhorrence from the mind of the people.
It is a pity that a section of the people in our age have given wrong interpretations of this verse and opened the way to a great mischief. We have therefore added a comprehensive appendix at the end of the commentary of this Surah for the explanation of the question of the Finality of Prophethood and the eradication of the misunderstanding spread by these people.