السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Ahmadis believe that Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is the Last Law-Bearing Prophet… Wait, what? Law-Bearing Prophets? What’s that? Non-Law-Bearing Prophets? Huh? Where is that distinction mentioned in the Qur’an? Well, it isn’t. Its a theory by some of the ‘Ulema of the subcontinent, employed by the Ahmadiyya. Based on this they believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a “Non-Law-Bearing Prophet”. This concept of law-bearing and non-law-bearing prophets is far too seldom critiqued. Below is a discussion on the topic of law-bearing vs non-law-bearing prophets, and its (lack of) evidence in the Qur’an.
The following argument was taken from The Qur’anic Evidence: Truthfulness of The Promised Messiah, by Ansar Raza, Chapter 3, “The Possibility of Prophethood”, under Question 1.
تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللّهُ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَكِنِ اخْتَلَفُواْ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن كَفَرَ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُواْ وَلَكِنَّ اللّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ
These messengers have We exalted some of them above others; among them there are those to whom Allah spoke; and some of them He exalted in degrees of rank. And We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs and strengthened him with the spirit of holiness. And if Allah had so willed, those that came after them would not have fought with one another after clear Signs had come to them; but they did disagree. Of them were some who believed, and of them were some who disbelieved. And if Allah had so willed, they would not have fought with one another; but Allah does what He desires.
– Muhammad ‘Ali translation, Surah Baqarah, Chapter 255
This verse hints at the two different kinds of prophets: law-bearing and non-law-bearing. Notice where the verse says, “among them there are those to whom Allah spoke”. There is no such thing as a prophet to whom Allah did not speak. So, this part of the verse refers to the laws which certain prophets received. These are the law-bearing prophets. The verse continues by saying “and some of them He exalted in degrees of rank.” This part of the verse refers to non-law-bearing Prophets, who were honored by Allah, but did not bring forth any laws for their nation to follow. This verse is evidence that the Qur’an speaks of law-bearing and non-law-bearing prophets.
This is an attempt by the Ahmadis to interpret the Qur’an according to their pre-conceived notions of what they want it to mean, rather than reading the text as-is.
The crux of the refutation of this argument lays in an important distinction between the methods Allah employs to communicate to his prophets. What is known from the Qur’an is that Allah sent inspiration to all of the Prophets, but did not necessarily speak to them all.
For example, in Surah Baqarah verses 164 and 165, Allah says:
إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإْسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَى وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
وَرُسُلاً قَدْ قَصَصْنَاهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَرُسُلاً لَّمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ وَكَلَّمَ اللّهُ مُوسَى تَكْلِيمًا
164. Surely, We have sent revelation to thee, as We sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him; and We sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and his children and to Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave David a Book.
165. And We sent some Messengers whom We have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom We have not mentioned to thee – and to Moses Allah spoke at great length
In verse 164, the Qur’an says Allah sent revelation (أَوْحَيْنَا) to the prophets. Then, in verse 165, the Qur’an specifies that Allah spoke to Musa (كَلَّمَ اللّهُ مُوسَى). Notice the distinction between revelation and speech. This is because Musa was one of the few prophets who spoke to Allah directly, without the intermediary of an angel. For example, Surah Ta-Ha starting from verse 12, describes the entire conversation between Allah and Musa. Again in Surah Nisa verse 165 Allah speaks to Musa. Likewise, Allah spoke directly to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم during the journey of al-Mi’raaj and even negotiated the daily prayers down to five.This is what is meant when Allah says he spoke directly to some of the prophets.
The verse continues by saying “and some of them He exalted in degrees of rank.” All prophets are honored, but some are honored above others. For example, al-Azam min ar-Rusul, the greatest from amongst the Prophets, are Muhammad, Ibrahim, Musa, ‘Esa and Nooh عليهم السلام.
The Ahmadis have attempted to interpret speech as laws, and honored as non-law-bearing. This outrageous extrapolation is simply not the meaning of the verse, cannot be implied from the text of verse, nor was the agreed upon by any of the traditional scholars of Islam.
وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ
And it is not for a man that Allah should speak to him except by direct revelation, or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His command what He pleases. Surely, He is High, Wise.
The Qur’an says that there are only three mediums Allah uses to communicate to humanity: through direct revelation, from behind a veil and through a messenger (ie, angel). There is no fourth medium. So, direct speech is not a valid medium of communication between Allah and his prophets. This implies that there was an intermediary between Muhammad and Musa عليها السلام in both examples, such as an angel.
When the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم spoke to Allah, he did not see him. He could only see the veil of light.  This is confirmed because Abu Musa al-Ash’ari رضي الله عليه said that the veil, separating Allah and the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is light. 
Similarly, Surah Al-A’raaf verse 144 proves that Musa عليه السلام did not see Allah. And, Surah Ta-Ha does not suggest that there was any sort of angelic intermediary, whatsoever.
For those who place a sense of trust in classical Islamic scholarship, this interpretation is agreed upon by all of the books of Qur’an exegesis that I researched, such as Tafseer Jalalayn (written by someone whom the Ahmadis believe was a Mujaddid), Tafseer ar-Raazi, Tafseer Ibn Katheer (written by the student of someone whom the Ahmadis believe was a Mujaddid), Tafseer at-Tabari (one of the earliest books of Tafseer ever), and many others.
Next Ahmadi Argument:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُواْ مِن كِتَابِ اللّهِ وَكَانُواْ عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاء فَلاَ تَخْشَوُاْ النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Surely, We sent down the Torah wherein was guidance and light. By it did the Prophets, who were obedient to Us, judge for the Jews, as did the godly people and those learned in the Law, because they were required to preserve the Book of Allah, and because they were guardians over it. Therefore fear not men but fear Me; and barter not My signs for a paltry price. And whoso judges not by that which Allah has sent down, these it is who are the disbelievers.
- Surah Ma’idah, Verse 45
As the verse explains, first Allah sent the Torah, through a law-bearing prophet, that contained the laws for the Jews to follow. Then, he sent a succession of non-law-bearing prophets who judged according to the Torah. This verse implicitly explains the distinction between law-bearing and non-law-bearing prophets.
If this verse was taken in isolation, the Ahmadis would have a tenable position, but further analysis weakens their belief.
According to the Ahmadis, ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام is a “non-law-bearing prophet.” It is true that he came to confirm the Torah. But, consider Surah Ale ‘Imraan verse 51, where ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام says:
وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَجِئْتُكُم بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ
‘And I come fulfilling that which is before me, namely, the Torah; and to allow you some of that which was forbidden unto you, and I come to you with a Sign from your Lord; so fear Allah and obey me;’
This verse brings forth three objections to the Ahmadi position. First, while ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام fulfills the Torah, but per the mandate of Allah, he also modified and altered the existing laws. Some of the scholars of Islam comment that this means he allowed certain foods that were previously impermissible and made work permissible on their Sabbath. Either way, he was authorized to modify law. This would effectively make him a “law-bearing” prophet.
Second, consider that in the Islamic legal system there are two sources of law: the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, preserved through the books of hadith. The obligation to obey the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is outlined in dozens of verse, such as Surah Alee ‘Imraan verse 133 where Allah says:
وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may be shown mercy.
Allah used the word أَطِيعُواْ, the command form of the word obey, and from this one can gather that it is legally incumbent upon all Muslims to obey his commandments. Next, consider that this same root-word is used with regards to ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام. He tells the Bani Isra’eel to fear Allah and َأَطِيعُونِ (obey me). The obligation upon Bani Isra’eel to obey ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام makes him a “law-bearing” prophet just as the obligation upon the Muslims to obey the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, in addition to the Qur’an, makes him a “law-bearing” prophet.
This analysis is not specific to ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام. Even if not all prophets were given revelatory scriptures, all prophets gave orders, and their commandments were incumbent upon their communities, thus making them all “law-bearing” prophets.
And We have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the command of Allah. And if they had come to thee, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they would have surely found Allah Oft-Returning with compassion, and Merciful.
- Surah Nisa’ Verse 65
It is entirely possible that there is a distinction between law-bearing and non-law-bearing prophets, and even some modern Muslim scholars have commented on this idea. But, any conclusion thereof stems from deduction, not manifest evidence.
Even if there truly is a distinction between law-bearing and non-law-bearings prophets, there is no concise explanation anywhere in the Qur’an. But, such a distinction is foundational to Ahmadiyya, as Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a “non-law-bearing” prophet. If Ahmadiyya is the True Islam, as they claim, that would mean Allah mistakenly left out a fundamental pillar required to accept one of his later prophets, or ciphered this belief in what seems to be otherwise unrelated verses, effectively dumbfounding the masses of those who believe in the Qur’an sending them to hellfire.
No, the guidance from Allah is clear. The concept of “law-bearing” and “non-law-bearing” prophets does not exist anywhere in the Qur’an. Any argument which uses this as a pillar rests on weak grounds and is subject to dismissal, including the entire Ahmadiyya religion.
May Allah guide our Ahmadi friends to Islam.
 Saheeh Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 309