There is a hadith of the Prophet ﷺ where he said:
إِنَّ مَثَلِي وَمَثَلَ الأَنْبِيَاءِ مِنْ قَبْلِي كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ بَنَى بَيْتًا فَأَحْسَنَهُ وَأَجْمَلَهُ، إِلاَّ مَوْضِعَ لَبِنَةٍ مِنْ زَاوِيَةٍ، فَجَعَلَ النَّاسُ يَطُوفُونَ بِهِ وَيَعْجَبُونَ لَهُ، وَيَقُولُونَ هَلاَّ وُضِعَتْ هَذِهِ اللَّبِنَةُ قَالَ فَأَنَا اللَّبِنَةُ، وَأَنَا خَاتِمُ النَّبِيِّينَ
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: ‘Would that this brick be put in its place!’ So I am that brick, and I am the last/seal of the Prophets.”
Many times we hear that he was the seal of the Prophets or the last of the Prophets. While they generally mean the same thing, they are slightly different. So how do we understand this? Let’s first look at the meanings:
- خاتِم – last
- خاتَم – this literally means a ring. The reason ring is understood as seal is because the Prophet would use his ring to seal documents and other important things.
So which is correct? They are actually both permissible. ملا علي بن سلطان محمد الهروي القاري in his مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح mentions:
بكسر التاء ويفتح #5745 – that it can be either with a fatha or kasra on the ت