The Holy Qur'an states:
Muhammad (SAW) is not the father of any man amongst you, but he is the Prophet of Allah and khatam-al-nabiyyīn. (Q 33:40)
Kindly explain if he is not the father of any male child or man, then how could we justify the birth of His son who died in infancy? Your guidance in the matter shall be highly appreciated.
M. Atif Ghouri
We believe that the correct translation of the verse is as follows:
Muhammad (sws) is not father of any man among you. He is rather the Messenger of God and the last of the Prophets. (Q 33:40)
The verse does not say that Muhammad (sws) never engendered any son. The word rijāl (singular rajul Arabic for man) cannot be replaced by male children. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, a celebrated exegete of the Holy Qur'an explains:
The verse addresses people who had tried to cause disrepute the Prophet (after he married Zainab) claiming that Zaid was his son (and the Prophet (sws) had married the wife of his son). The Almighty says that Muhammad (sws) is not father of any man among you. He is but the Messenger of God and the last of the Messengers. Being the Prophet (sws) and Messenger of God he has discharged all the responsibilities he is obliged to fulfill by God. Since he is the last of the Messenger it was imperative that the redundant custom of considering the adopted person as real son is corrected. Had there been a chance of the advent of a new Prophet (sws) the issue could have been deferred to the advent of that Prophet (sws). But no Prophet will come after Muhammad (sws). The religion has to be completed through him. This entails that all the concepts and practices that are distorted need to be straightened. The implication is that people should not interpret the matters (relating to the Prophet's life and his acts- the marriage of the Prophet with Zainab is the case in question) based on their assumptions but keeping in consideration the responsibilities of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) as a Divine Messenger and the last in the line of the Apostles. Having missed his true position you will not be able to understand many other acts he is required to do. Whereas he is doing all what God commands him without giving any importance what the people would say. People should also keep in mind that he is a messenger of God to them. If they dared to reject him they would not be able to escape the divine punishment ordained for the rejecters of the Messengers of God. The divine will regard has always been fulfilled in this regard.
The worlds 'Muhammad is not father of any man among you" in fact negates this misconception of considering the Prophet Muhammad (sws) as real father of Zaid and then building stories of baseless assumptions and slandering the Prophet (sws). The Qur'an does not merely say that Zaid is not like the real son of the Prophet Muḥammad (sws). It goes on to say that none among the addressee men was a child of his. This gives full stress to what the Qur'an intends to indicate and depicts the real picture. This we say because all the male children of the Prophet (sws) died in infancy. None of them reached the age of adult years. (Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 6 page 238)
I hope this explanation removes the question that you have put.