Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 1

Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 1

Introduction
This article deals with the contention of whether or not the prophets and the messengers of Allah are infallible (sinless). In Part 1, we will examine the Sunni point of view, and then we will present the Shia opinion on the matter with reference to the verses of Quran. In Part 2, we will provide logical reasoning behind the issue of the infallibility. In addition, we look at some of the authentic Sunni traditions in support of the infallibility. In Part 3, we respond to the arguments of the opponents in this regard. Is it possible for a human being to be sinless? Is it realistic to believe that Almighty Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, would send forth a sinful man to guide mankind? What about the Quran, what information and evidence about the matter does it provide? These are the questions, among others, that the article at hand is attempting to answer.
Disclaimer
The Twelver Shi'ites do NOT hold ANY human being, whether he be a prophet, a messenger, or an Imam, to be divine. We do not worship human beings, nor do we approve of such a custom. Almighty Allah is never compromised in Shi'ite theology or philosophy! All the negative stuff you may hear about us is pure propaganda with political motives. Almighty Allah is Exalted above all that scratches dignity and justice. We hold Almighty Allah to be the JUST Creator, Who never commits any injustice against His creation. Almighty Allah is indivisible, and He does not relinquish His Majesty and Sovereignty to anyone. No one is permitted to interfere with His Wishes, except by His leave. This is the Authentic Twelver Shi'ite Creed, and everything else that is negative in nature, and is attributed to the Shia, is crap.
Infallibility According to the Sunnis
The Sunni scholars do not speak in one voice on this subject. Some Sunnis claim that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is sinless or infallible ONLY in the delivery of Allah's message. Other than that, he (PBUH&HF), just like others, sins and makes mistakes in many things. This faction of Sunnis base their opinion on the traditions narrated in their books about how the Prophet (PBUH&HF) falls asleep and forgets the prayer time, and even forgets to perform the necessary ablution (Wudu) for prayer.(1) Furthermore, they claim that he (PBUH&HF) used to sit with Aisha and watch a dance with music.(2) They also claim that he (PBUH&HF) was affected by a magical spell that caused severe episodes of hallucination on his part.(3) These are but a FEW of the most heinous of acts that these "scholars" attribute to the Mercy to Mankind, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH&HF).
Note that according to the Shia, these traditions are NOT authentic, nor do they constitute ANY truth whatsoever. Again, these traditions were inserted into their books by the Umayad, among others, to justify their own corruption and insolence. For when the Prophet (PBUH&HF) sins so heinously as they depict him (PBUH&HF) in the above traditions, we can no longer blame Uthman, or Muawiyah, or Yazid, or Amr Ibn al-Aas, among others, when they sin. It is to their advantage to portray the Prophet (PBUH&HF) as a man who listens to music and watches a dance with his wife, to justify the dancing and the music that was (and still is) rampant in their palaces. The current state of the Ummah is NOT because a few of us aren't praying or fasting,; it is because some people have CHANGED and MUTILATED the religion of Almighty Allah to satisfy their lusts, just like the Christians and Jews did. That's exactly what we have fallen into. We sin, then we say: so what -- the Prophet (PBUH&HF) himself was a sinner! Purified be the prophets and messengers of Almighty Allah from being of such a sinful nature! By Allah, to say such a thing is more of an insult to Allah, than it is to the prophet and messengers. Because when we assert that Allah sends forth sinful men, we are claiming that Almighty Allah Himself approves of sin; or why, then, would he send forth a sinful man? Yet, on the other hand, Almighty Allah forbids us from doing evil! What kind of twisted logic is this? Exalted be Almighty Allah from such an insult!
Infallibility According to the Shia
The Shia, on the other hand, state that ALL the prophets and messengers of Allah, with NO exception, are sinless and infallible, even before they became prophets and messengers. For instance, although Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) became Messenger at the age of forty, the Shia assert that even in the first forty years of his life, he was sinless and infallible -- an assertion that history attests to as well. It is indeed frustrating to conceive of a human being who is NOT sinful. So, let us first define the concept of infallibility:
The Concept of Infallibility
According to the scholar Muhammad Jawad Mughniyah (May Allah rest his soul in peace), in his book "al-Islam Wa al-'Aql -- Islam and Reason," the concept of Ismah (Infallibility) is very often misunderstood. What we mean by that concept is that a prophet, by virtue of his prophethood, has a pure soul. As the Quran states: "...the (human) soul certainly incites evil, UNLESS my lord do bestow His Mercy..."(4)
Clearly Almighty Allah has made an exception (by using the term "UNLESS") to the human soul that incites evil. We can understand, based on Shi'ite philosophy, that the attachment of the soul (Nafs) to being is that of a relationship of control and administration. Therefore, the soul may incite evil; but the individual has the freedom and the authority to reject that invitation to evil. If the individual accepts the invitation to evil, he becomes accountable for that evil which he commits. This is a very simplified explanation, but it serves the purpose. Now, the prophets or the messengers, are among the exception as Almighty Allah has indicated. That is, there is something in the soul of these virtuous HUMANS that precludes the incitement of evil, and as such they never commit it. Their virtue is so high that they never even think of committing a sin. It is NOT that if a prophet or a messenger wanted to commit a sin, he can't; rather, it is that "Mercy," mentioned in the above verse, that is bestowed upon him from Almighty Allah that precludes him from doing so. As such, he is sinless and infallible even though they have full ability of committing any kind of sin.
When Satan refused to prostrate to Adam, He was driven away and became an accursed one. Quran states that thereupon Satan said: He said: My Lord, Because You has sent me astray, verily I shall adorn the path of error for them on the earth, and shall deceive them all. Except those of them who are Your perfectly devoted Servants. (Allah) said: "This (Way of My sincere servants) is indeed a Way that leads straight to Me. Lo! as for My slaves, you have NO way into them except the wrong-doers who follow you. And verily for all such people, hell is the promised place.(5) It is clear from the above conversation that Allah has promised that Satan has NO WAY into His sincere Servants, and only wrong-doers will follow the Satan. Thus the Sincere Servants of Allah are not wrong-doers and shall not be deceived. Also Allah confirms that the Path of His Sincere Servants is a path which leads straight to Him. All these facts prove that the Sincere Servants of Allah never fall into the trap of Satan, and as such they are infallible, due to Allah's Mercy.
One side remark here is that there is no mention of "prophet" or "messenger" in the above verses. In other words, the "perfectly devoted Servants" who are infallible are not necessarily "prophets" or "messengers". The issue of the infallibility of the Imams will be discussed in a separate article, however.
The Quran Speaks About the Prophets
First, it would be of help to take a look at the commandment of obeying the messenger, to see how all-encompassing and all-pervading this commandment is, and how great the authority of the messenger of Allah is. Allah states in Quran: "And we did not send any messenger, unless he should be obeyed by Allah's authority."(6) The prophet or the messenger of God is to be obeyed and followed; the followers ARE NOT EXPECTED TO CHECK EVERY ORDER OF THE PROPHET to decide what is to be obeyed and what is not to be obeyed. There is no way to check his commands, because he himself gave us all the rules and divine laws in the form of Scripture and his traditions (sayings/actions/ satisfactions). If we become suspicious to some of the actions of the prophet, this suspicion can cause all his commands and laws that he has already conveyed to go under question. This shows that the prophets and messengers were free from error and sin; otherwise, Allah would not have ordered people to obey them UNCONDITIONALLY.
There are many verses in which Allah commands us to obey the prophet: "O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and do not burn your deeds (by disobeying him)."(7)
Allah, Exalted, also states: "Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah."(8)
In the above verses as well as many other verses of the Quran, obedience of Allah has become synonymous with the obedience of the prophets. Such assertion would have been impossible if the prophets were not infallible (Ma'soom). Now, note the following verse: "....and obey not from among them a sinner or an ungrateful one."(9) The picture is complete! "The prophets are to be obeyed," and "the sinners are NOT to be obeyed." The only conclusion is that the prophets were NOT sinners or wrong-doers. In other words, they were infallible (Ma'soom) and sinless. Looking specially at the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HF), Allah tells us: "And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it; and from whatever he forbids you, keep back."(10) This is another indication that WHATEVER the Prophet (PBUH&HF) offered must be accepted unconditionally and with no doubt. This means that the permission or prohibition of the Holy Prophet was always in accordance with the will of Allah and was always favored by Him. It proves that the Holy Prophet was protected (Ma'soom). No one can be so sure about the commands of a man who is not infallible.
Now, if the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was a sinner as some people falsely allege, then how can Almighty Allah order us to accept that which could be sinful? Fear Almighty Allah in your reasoning. For those who argue that the above verse is specific ONLY to religious injunctions, and the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is sinless in that matter only, I would say such assertion is baseless. This is a basic rule that to the time that there is no exclusion or condition or particularization has been mentioned in conjunction with a text of Quran, it covers all aspects. Second, EVERYTHING the Prophet (PBUH&HF) spoke had something to do with Almighty Allah and His religion; then how can you claim that Almighty Allah is making a separation? Haven't you heard what Aisha said when she was asked about the Prophet's behavior? She said: "His life was the Quran, especially the first ten verses of the Chapter al-Noor, the Light." Now, if the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) life was the Quran verbatim, how can he (PBUH&HF) be a sinner? That means that the Quran is full of sinful things! Exalted be Almighty Allah from revealing such a book!!! There is another verse in which Allah said: "(O prophet) tell (people) If you really love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins."(11)
Here the love of Allah is made contingent on following the orders of the Prophet of Islam. Both sides of love are included in it. If you love Allah follow the Prophet; if you follow the Prophet, Allah will love you. Does it not show that the Prophet was absolutely free from any type of blemish? Not only the orders of the Prophet, but also all his decisions are protected from error for Allah said to his Prophet: But no by thy Lord! They can have no (real) Faith until they make thee judge in ALL disputes between them and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions but accept them with the fullest conviction.(12)
If ALL the decisions of the Prophet should be accepted unconditionally, then the Prophet should be protected from error in ALL his decisions. Beside his actions and his decisions, even any single word of his speeches was the Commands of Allah. Almighty states in the Quran: By the Star when it sets, Your companion (i.e., Prophet) does not err/wander, nor is he deceived Nor does he speak out of his desire; It is no less than a revelation that is revealed.(13)

Continue in article: ( Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 2 )

NOTES:

______________________________________________________

1. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v1, p37,44,171)

2. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v3, p228)

3. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v7, p29; and v4, p68)

4. (12:53)

5. (15:39-43)

6. (4:64)

7. (47:33)

8. (4:80)

9. (76:24)

10. (59:7)

11. (3:31)

12. (4:65)

13. (53:1-5)