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Khatamul Anbiya According to Ahmadiyya in Indonesia: A History of Interpretation


The meaning of khatamul anbiya in Q.33:40 has been source of discursive disputes among Muslims. While the Sunni believes in its meaning as testifying Muhammad as the last of the prophets for there is no direction left by Muhammad to appoint his successor when he died, the Shia a shares with the Sunni group similar meaning of the phrase, in addition to its Imamate concept made up to express the group as needs to have Godas guardianship after the demise. On the other side, the Ahmadiyya of Qadian presented by the JAI also believes Muhammad is the last of the Prophets while holding onto Ghulam Ahmad as claim as the Promised Messiah and Prophet under authority of Muhammad. In a contrast, the Ahmadiyya of Lahore presented by the GAI rejects what the JAI believes in the claim; so, it is keeping its stance with the Sunni group. Problems of the disputes are about whether or not the word khatam or the phrase in the text only has one single meaning; and whether or not the approach used to interpret the word or the phrase counts all information about it. To deal with the problems I employ history of interpretation to offer a way out of the disputes especially the controversy arose from the JAI as understanding over the word or the phrase. In this approach, certain thoughts applied throughout the research. I take over thoughts of Laurel Schneider, Catherine Keller, Richard Kearney and other narratives to support the approach addressing the word or the phrase. Results found in the present research show that the word khatam has historical relations to other groups in the past prior to the usage of it by Muslim, becomes the identity marker for each group in Islam, and suggests us the meaning of the word and the phrase produced by each group as a historical product and ideology as well. Especially its meaning in the JAI is a kind of multiplicity theology in which certain reading strategy is included to make it so, presenting it as a complex religious phenomenon.

Key Words: Multiplicity theology, relations, ideology, historical products, reading strategies