Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 3

Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 3

Reference to Infallibility in Sahih al-Bukhari
There is an interesting tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari which asserts that there are people who are Ma'soom (infallible/protected). The tradition clearly specifies that these people are the prophets and their successors (Caliphs). The tradition also illuminate the fact that He is Allah who gives the position of Caliphate to the Caliph which implies that the infallible Caliph is the one who is assigned by Allah, not by people. Moreover, the tradition asserts that there are good advisors/companions and bad advisors/companions for the prophets and their successors, but those who are protected by Allah will not be deceived by the evil advisors around them. Here is the tradition:
Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet said, "Allah never sends a prophet or gives the Caliphate to a Caliph but that he (the Prophet or the Caliph) has two groups of advisors: A group advising him to do good and exhorts him to do it, and the other group advising him to do evil and exhorts him to do it. But the protected person (Ma'soom) is the one who is protected by Allah.'"(1)
Do I need to make any comment?! Is Any One Like Him?
The Holy Quran states that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is HUMAN being like us Human beings. The likeness between us and him is in the sense that both of us are human and both are accountable for our deeds. However there is no similarity between us and him in terms of virtue, knowledge, closeness to Allah. Allah gave him abilities and authorities which were not given to us ordinary beings. In the following traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet clearly stated that he is not like any of us, meaning that although he is human, we cannot compare our weak and sinful soul with his:
Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "Do not practice al-Wisal (fasting continuously without breaking one's fast in the evening or eating before the following dawn)." The people said to the Prophet, "But you practice al-Wisal?" The Prophet replied, "I am not like any of you, for I am given food and drink (by Allah) during the night." (Qala: Lastu Ka ahadin minkum).(2)
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle forbade al-Wisal. The people said(to him),"but you practice it?" He said, "I am not like you, for I am given food and drink by Allah." (Qala: Inni lastu mithlikum).(3)
Narrated Abu Sa'id: That he had heard the Prophet saying, "Do not fast continuously (practice al-Wisal), and if you intend to lengthen your fast, then carry it on only till the Suhur (before the following dawn)."(4) The people said to him, "But you practice (Al-Wisal), O Allah's Apostle!" He replied, "I am not similar to you, for during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink." (Qala: Inni lastu ka Hay'atikum).
Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle forbade al-Wisal out of mercy to them. They said to him, "But you practice al-Wisal?" He said, "I am not similar to you, for my Lord gives me food and drink." (Qala: Inni lastu ka Hay'atikum)(5)
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said twice, "(O you people) Be cautious! Do not practice al-Wisal."The people said to him, "But you practice al-Wisal?" The Prophet replied, "My Lord gives me food and drink during my sleep. Do that much of deeds which is within your ability." (6)
Narrated Abu Said al-Khudri: Allah's Apostle said, "Do not fast continuously day and night (practice al-Wisal) and if anyone of you intends to fast continuously day and night, he should continue till the Suhur time."(7) They said, "But you practice al-Wisal, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet said, "I am not similar to you; during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink. It appears from these authentic Sunni evidences, among others, that the Prophet is like us ONLY in the sense that he is human being (i.e., like us, he has choice to do right or wrong and has a human flesh). Other than that, there is no similarity between his Supreme soul/virtues and ours.
In fact, the Prophet (PBUH&HF) himself testified that he and his Ahlul-Bayt are sinless. Interesting to see that Messenger of Allah used the purification verse of Quran to prove his point. Ibn Abbas Narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah recited "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O' People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification".(8) and then the Messenger of Allah said: "Thus Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are clear from sins."(9)
Please note the word "thus" in the highlighted part of the above tradition. It means the Prophet himself is CONCLUDING that the verse MEANS Ahlul-Bayt (including himself) are sinless.

Infallibility of the Prophets (Part III)
This part addresses the questions and counter arguments on this subject in the current and the previous rounds of discussions, and the responses to them.
Side Comments
A person asked how we explain the following verse of Quran considering the subject of infallibility: "If Allah were to punish mankind for their wrong-doing (Dhulm), He would not leave on the (earth) a living creature, but He respites them to an appointed time, and when their time comes they cannot put (it) off a second nor (yet) advance (it)."(10)
My comment is as follows: There are different meaning for "Dhulm". Surely the prophets were not wrong-doers (Dhalim) as what we simply by "Dhulm". Let me start with a tradition from the Messenger of Allah, and then prove it by Quran. The Messenger of Allah said: "The good deeds of the righteous people, are sins for those who are close (to Allah)."
This precious tradition means that the sin for the prophets and Imams has a different meaning than what we usually consider as sin. In their high level, they consider themselves sinful when they question themselves by saying: "I should have done more good deeds than of what I have done till now." This is while they did their best. Or "I did not worship Allah to the extent that He deserves by His Majesty." Or "I could be closer to God." These are the sort of sins to them which is much more different than what we think of as sin. Their sin is just a feeling of shyness toward the Glory of Allah.
According to his genuine nature, an advanced human being does not make any hesitation in following the path of Almighty God. In every step that he takes towards development, the greatness and grandeur of the power of the Almighty will become more obvious him, and he will look at his past from a higher level. For what he has done he will sometimes apologize, even if what he has done was his duties. That is because he now comprehends its inadequacy. He interprets his past worships as sin and does not see any value for his work when presented to the Great position of the Lord. With his elevated view, he perceives his submission to God's presence as sinful and even an action far from politeness.
The prophets and the divinely-appointed Imams have reached this point. Since they realize the Magnificence of their Lord and comprehend the position of the Life-Giver, they see themselves, their activities, and their prostrations and praises so little that they interpret the worship of that much affluence and greatness as sin, and with supplication and invocation, they ask for pardon and they hope for forgiveness. When they face the divine commandments and consider the Holy Position of the Almighty, they submit themselves to the Master. They see their action in front of the Lord as nothing, and recognize it as not suitable for praise. They hope it would be accepted by the Generosity and Majesty of the Creator, otherwise it is a sin to submit such inadequate worship to the Holy Presence of the Lord.
Those people like the Prophet Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them all) realized the Divine position with a much wider view. Continuously upon the two wings of knowledge and action, they progressed to a higher and superior position. They were, at every moment, finding out more about the Magnificence of the Life-Giver of the world, and more about their own needs; consequently better understanding of their inadequate actions in comparison with that much Power and Greatness. To compensate for that, they confessed to their sins and asked the Lord for the permission to apologize with the excuse that they cannot do to the extent of what Allah deserves, and with the hope that He would guide them to a higher and superior position until they could continue their development process in order to reach the sublime morality.
Now the verse you mentioned should be understood in this context. No HUMAN could warship Allah to the extent of what Allah deserves to be worshipped. It is like one wants to pay an infinite debt by finite resources. Thus everybody is sinful and shameful in front of His Glory. The closer to God, the more shameful of your insufficient worship in front of God you are.
Let me also give you a proof from Quran that "Dhulm" for prophets has much different meaning. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty states in Quran:
"And when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands and he fulfilled them. Then He said: Lo! I appoint you an Imam for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be Imam)? He said: My covenant does not reach the wrong-doers (among them)."(11)
In the above verse Allah states that the position of God-assigned leadership does not reach to a person who is "Dhalim" (wrong-doer). Now, there is no dispute that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) was a divinely appointed leader and a descendant of Abraham (AS). Not only him, but also Moses, Jesus, David, Sulayman (Solomon) were also descendants of Abraham and all of them were assigned by Allah as Imam. This goes to prove that none of them were "Dhalim" (wrong-doer), otherwise the last sentence of Verse 2:124 will become untrue!
The only way to accept that there is no contradiction between the verse 2:124 and the verse you mentioned, is to accept what our Prophet said in the above mentioned tradition concerning that sin has a different meaning for those who are close to Allah. Their sins are the good deeds in our eyes!
A Muslim convert (former Catholic) stated that there is a report of David's adultery in the Old Testament. The Prophets were human. Remember that Muhammad's past and future sins were forgiven. It is not that he didn't have any. The Prophet (PBUH&HF) used to ask forgiveness for himself. Clearly, that would constitute the attitude of a sinner repenting after an act of sin.
In reply to the disparaging quote about David (AS) from the Bible, I won't even dignify that statement by the Bible writers with a comment! one should know better than to quote a mutilated book!
As for the Prophet (PBUH&HF) asking for forgiveness from Almighty Allah, I have just answered this few lines before and proved it by Quran and Hadith that the sin of the Prophets and Imams are much different than what we consider sin (which is punishable), and as such they will not be held accountable for that. That is why Allah informed the Prophet (PBUH&HF) that his past and his future "sins" are forgiven!
If Almighty Allah had inspired "sinful" prophets and messengers to lead people to the Right Path, it would mean that Almighty Allah approves of sinfulness! Why then does He prohibit it? What kind of game is Almighty Allah playing? What kind of Creator is He Who approves of something while prohibiting it at the same time? Cease and desist from insulting Almighty Allah by claiming that His prophets and messengers were sinners. Fear Almighty Allah O People before the day comes when you will account for your deeds! Exalted be the Merciful from these ludicrous insinuations!
A reader mentioned that Moses (AS) killed a man with his fist. What sin could be greater than killing a human?
Well, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) and Imam Ali (AS) killed many unbelievers! They did this to comply with Allah's regulations. Also killing a person during self-defense or when protecting believers from the assault of a non-believer, is not a crime.
Moreover, in many instances the sin of the prophets mentioned in Quran is the act they have committed which is considered violation by the tyrants of their time and NOT by Allah. It means that the governor considered such prophet is GUILTY of a specific act. This does NOT mean that they are guilty before Allah. The case of Prophet Moses killing a non-believer in defense of one of his Shia (followers) falls into this category. In fact Quran testifies the above mentioned fact by saying:
Behold your Lord called Moses: "Go to unto the wrongdoing folk: The people of Pharaoh, will they not fear Allah? He said: "O my Lord! I do fear that they will charge me with falsehood"
"My breast will be straitened and my speech may not go (smoothly), so send Aaron (to help me). "And (further) they hold a charge of sin against me; and I fear they may slay me."(12)
As we can see in the last verse, the sin of murder is what the people of Pharaoh considered to be sin and not Allah. They considered Moses guilty. As such, that was not a sin before Allah, but rather the charge of the government.
Prophet Moses did what he was supposed to do, that is helping the oppressed believer against the oppressor. Although he did not intend to kill the oppressor, it happened during that defense. It was a Satan's plan to make the situation more difficult for Moses (AS). By that unplanned murder, life was made harder for Moses (AS) since he had to stay away from Egypt, but this does not mean that he sinned. Sometimes defending the truth may cause trouble but not sin. Despite all such troubles, Allah finally granted Moses (AS) victory over the unbelievers. Again, Prophet Moses (AS) was not a wrong-dower (Dhalim) otherwise it contradicts Verse 2:124 where Allah said that the position of God-assigned leadership shall not reach to the wrong-doers.
Another brother argued that Almighty Allah has forbidden us from purifying ANYBODY in verse: "... hold NOT yourselves PURIFIED"(13) As such, even prophets and messengers cannot be considered purified.
My response was that the verse is taken out of context, and thus has clouded the meaning. Let us carefully study the WHOLE verse:
Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, and only fell into small reprehensible faults, verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth and when you are hidden in your mother's wombs therefore justify not yourselves. He knows best who (among you) guards against evil.(14)
This verse is saying: THOSE WHO HAVE COMMITTED SMALL REPREHENSIBLE FAULTS should not justify themselves. They should be careful not to fall victim to their egoism and pretend that they are the best when ONLY Almighty Allah knows what is really in their hearts. As such, this verse does NOT apply to the Prophet (PBUH&HF) who did not have any fault, or Almighty Allah would have directed the verse at him (PBUH&HF) as He (SWT) does when talking to or about him (PBUH&HF). Therefore, the verse DOES NOT even come close to supporting an argument that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was a sinner.
Moreover Allah mentioned in Verse 33:33 of Quran that the Ahlul-Bayt of Prophet (PBUH&HF) are PERFECTLY pure and flawless, then we can conclude that Allah is the one who is confirming that the Prophet is pure and thus it is in conformity with the above quoted verse which states only Allah knows who is the best and most purified. No need to mention that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is the first member of the Ahlul-Bayt, and if the Ahlul-Bayt are perfectly pure, so is the Prophet (PBUH&HF).

Continue in article: (Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 4)

NOTES:

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1. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.306)

2. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.182)

3. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.183)

4. Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.184

5. Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.185

6. Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.187

7. Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.188

8. (the last sentence of Verse 33:33)

9. al-Durr al-Manthoor, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v5, pp 605-606,198 under the commentary of Verse 33:33 of Quran

10. (16:61)

11. (2:124)

12. (26:10-14)

13. [53:32]

14. (53:32)