Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 4

Infallibility of the Prophets in the Quran and Hadith 4

IN ADDITION

A reader mentioned that: We identify with the Prophets and Messengers through their sin. That is, we look at the sin of the Prophets and the Messengers, and we identify our OWN sins with theirs!
The above assertion is off base. We do NOT identify with the Prophets through their SIN; we rather identify with them through their SUFFERING. There is a big difference between the two: Suffering necessitates patience in times of tribulation and adversity to survive through the ordeal one is undergoing. All the prophets and messengers (May Allah bless them) suffered greatly by virtue of their title as representatives of the of Supreme Being, Almighty Allah. We identify with that, and remain steadfast during our times of despair. As such, a prophet did NOT sin, but rather suffered. The Mercy from Almighty Allah is NOT, as you state, that the prophets and messengers sin, but rather that they were sent to communicate and deliver the message of Almighty Allah to us. And in so doing, they were not kings or high priests who would not be able to identify with the oppressed masses. Indeed, look at Moses (AS), the great Messenger from Almighty Allah, whose ENTIRE life was a miracle. The suffering that Moses (AS) endured evoked a sense of peace in the minds of his (AS) followers that served to strengthen them in times of great hardship under Pharaoh's oppression.
Similarly, the Messenger of Almighty Allah, Muhammad (PBUH&HF), suffered when he was struck in his head, causing a severe injury to his jaw. He also suffered from hunger, rejection, a boycott from disbelievers, sarcasm, temptation, wars, mutiny, distrust from some of his followers, the hypocrites, betrayal, and then he, after his demise, also suffered by virtue of the massacring of his family. It is an authentic tradition that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) during his lifetime said: "No Prophet has EVER suffered as I have suffered." The indication here was to how his own flesh and blood, his family-- which were dearer to him than his own soul, would be treated after his demise; not to mention the hardship he was exposed to during his lifetime. It is that kind of suffering that allows us to identify with the Prophets, NOT their sins!
Again, the argument clearly fails when we analyze it from the perspective of the "example or model" par excellence sent to humanity: If Almighty Allah says: "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah AN EXCELLENT EXEMPLAR for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remember Allah much.,"(1) (Emphasis Mine) He (SWT) means that our lives should be modeled around that "EXCELLENT EXEMPLAR." That's where the word "Sunnah --- the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) custom or tradition" comes from. Now, if that model was corrupt (May Allah forgive us), then how can we model ourselves around it; we, then, will NEVER be able to cleanse ourselves!
Another brother stated To be human is to be a sinner; that is, sin is an innate part of us as human beings. I find highly disturbing the tendency among Muslims, Shia and Sunni likewise, to regard the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) almost as a species of infallible demigod.
I would like to first ask this brother if knows Muslims believe that angels are infallible, i.e., they do not make any mistakes. (Otherwise, some major flaws, among many, would be that the validity of Quran transmitted by Gabriel which will go seriously under question; and that the angels who record our deeds may write things incorrectly; and also the angel of death may take the life of a wrong person instead of another!!! Allah stated in Quran: "...the angels do not violate the Commands of Allah, and do (precisely) what they are ordered."(2)
If you also agree that angels are infallible, and if your above statement is true, then you consider angels are either god or demigod (? (may Allah protect us). Therefore, your above statement is wrong. I just gave you an example of infallible species who are nothing but the creatures of God. They are neither God nor semi-god, nor demi-god, yet infallible. Angels are programmed and work like faultless bug-free computers. They cannot go against the orders of Allah. However, the prophets are NOT angels. They are all human, but purified human beings. That purification by Almighty Allah as alluded to in the previously mentioned verses does NOT make them divine, but it does elevate them above the level of ordinary human beings in terms of denouncing sin.
The advantage of human over angel is that human is able to willingly obey Almighty Allah. In other words, the prophet has choice to either go right or wrong, but he chooses to go right always, and such, he is infallible while he has choice. A human can make mistakes, but he does not have to. If we make mistakes, it is not because we have to, but it is because of our foolishness, ignorance and lack of knowledge, or else because of the lack of control of our carnal desires. Those who say human has to make mistakes to be human, are generalizing their own weak soul to all others. They follow their lusts, and are envious to see if one never does that.
Based on Quran, the level of human CAN BE much higher than angels. (and of course, could go even lower than animals, on the other side Quran states that all angels prostrated Prophet Adam (AS). This is enough to prove that the rank of the prophets is higher than that of angels. In fact, the best human beings (in terms of Taqwa) are the best of all the creatures, and the most honored before Allah. Remember also the story of Mi'raaj where there were places in the heavens that only Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) could get into, but the Angel Gabriel could not fly to. The Gabriel said to the Prophet that he (Gabriel) will burn if he wants to go further with the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
One side remark, here, is that, Satan is not an angel. He was from Jinn (unseen creatures). Witness to that is Quran where it quotes the statement of Satan saying: "You have created me from fire." The unseen (Jinn) creatures are made of fire, and as such, they are not the angels. The Jinns, like human beings, have choice to go right or wrong, and will be accountable for their acts in the day of judgment.
A brother mentioned that there is a religious part of the prophet's life and a non-religious part. The danger of believing that everything the prophet did was by order of God, causes that Muslims should imitate the prophet (PBUH&HF) to the finest details otherwise they won't be obeying God!!! Even to what the prophet liked to drink and eat,...
My response to him was that ALL the acts of the Prophet were acts of worship. Even his eating, sleeping, etc., were worship, and as such, there was no non-religious part in his life! All he did were in full accordance with Allah's wishes and commandments. But religion is not limited to what is obligatory and what is forbidden. Most of the Prophet's actions fall in the category of what is "Mustahabb" (i.e., recommended) or what is "Mubaah" (i.e., OK either way).
Moreover, no one said we are required to imitate all the actions of the Prophet. If one eats what the Prophet preferred to eat, it will be all right and no one can blame him unless he claims that one should eat only what the Prophet ate. Obeying the Prophet (PBUH&HF) means that if the Prophet ordered to do something or forbade to do something, then one is religiously REQUIRED to follow it, no matter if the order does not seem to be religious (which is a false imagination). In fact, ALL the orders and prohibitions of the Prophet were a part of religion. This is actually what the religion is about. Even his Ijtihad was in full accordance with the wish of Allah for Allah granted him the most perfect reason. Whatever came to the heart of Prophet (PBUH&HF) is the order of God, and such it is a part of religion. Forget about that fabricated Hadith on agriculture.
As for eating food: Everything is Halaal, unless the Prophet prohibited it explicitly or implicitly. For instance, pork has been prohibited explicitly. Also any today's new product which was not at the time of the Prophet but has some ingredients which are extracts from those Haraam products, becomes Haraam implicitly.
Therefore, if the Prophet (PBUH&HF) did not eat a special food, but he did not prohibit it either, we still can eat it, because we follow his general order that whatever has not been made Haraam, is Halaal. Also if he preferred a special food, but he did not mention that it is obligatory to eat it, it does not become obligatory to eat. Thus, the preference of the prophet for a special food is not considered to be the order of Prophet as you tried to imply. In religion, there are many things that are neither obligatory nor prohibited, and we have choice to do it or not. What the Prophet ate might be considered as recommended food, and not obligatory unless otherwise specified.
Regarding the verse: "Nor does he (Muhammad) speak out of his desire. It is no less than revelation that is revealed,"(3) a brother said: The above verse is only limited to Quran. The pagan Arabs were calling the Prophet insane, and discrediting the Quranic revelations as the handiwork of the prophet. The meaning of the above verses is that the Quranic verses which the prophet is speaking about are not out of his desire, but are indeed Revelation. If everything the prophet said or did is revelation, then what is the difference between Quran and authentic Hadith?
My answer to this brother was that: Neither the above verses, nor the verses surrounding them specify limitation of any kind. There is no mention of "Quran" in the above verses nor the verses before and after, and therefore, your claim is unsupported, at least from the Quran. The Verse 53:3 exactly talks about "the speech" of the Prophet and not necessarily Quran, and thus, the rule mentioned in the next verse covers ALL his speeches. The pagan Arabs did not criticize the Prophet for the Quran alone. They also criticized him for his claim of prophethood as well as his teachings and ideas.
As for the difference between Quran and Hadith: Both Quran and genuine Hadith are from Allah. The Prophet did not say anything of his own desire. However, there is a difference between Quran and Hadith:
Quran is well-proven, but is NOT well-understood (see note below) Hadith is NOT well-proven, but is well-understood. What I meant by "Quran is well-proven", is that we have no doubt about its authenticity, genuineness, and that has not been fabricated.
What I meant by "Quran is NOT well-understood", is that most of its verses are ambiguous and only "Those who are Firmly Grounded in Knowledge" (i.e., the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt) have touched the depth of its meaning. In addition, Quran only specifies the general rules. For all these and many other reasons, Quran cannot be considered as the sources of Guidance ALONE. It needs an interpreter, and this is where the Hadith plays its role. By genuine Hadith we can get close to the understanding of Quran. Allah said in Quran:
He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book, in it are some clear verses; they are the Essence of the Book; and others which are ambiguous. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part there of that is ambiguous seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge.(4)
What I meant by "Hadith is NOT well-proven", is that, since we have not personally met the Prophet (or his successors), we are not sure if such and such Hadith are genuine. The important point which has the answer to your question is: If we were at the time of the Prophet and would have heard the Hadith from the mouth of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), then that Hadith would have been AS BINDING AS Quran for us, and we cannot prefer Quran over that Hadith, rather I would say, that Hadith which was heard in person is preferred to our defective understanding of Quran because most verses of Quran are ambiguous, but the Hadith we heard from the Prophet is clear. Also, there are many cases where the Hadith explains the exceptions of the general Quranic rules, and as such, it may SEEM to be contradictory with the Quran.
However, since we have not personally heard the Hadith from the Prophet (or his true successors), we need to examine its documentation (i.e., the chain of narrators who passed the Hadith) and the number of similar narrations in that regard to determine the overall strength of what has been attributed to the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Some of the requirements of the authenticity of Hadith are as follows: It should not be in clear contradiction with well-established concepts in Quran; It should not be in clear contradiction with other well-established traditions;
All the transmitters of the Hadith in the chain of transmitters should be righteous and just, etc.
Most Sunnis, however, do not consider the justice of the narrators as a criterion. They narrate from whoever saw the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and claimed to be Muslim.
The bother, then, asked: If the speech of prophet are the literal word of God, then why are they not included in the Quran itself?
Not all the traditions are literal words of God. Only some traditions are the literal words of God such as Hadith al-Qudsi. They are not a part of Quran though. Some other traditions are the commands of Allah transmitted by Gabriel, and thus, they are indirect words of Allah. They include the divine commentaries of the verses of Quran which were revealed along with Quran, but not as a part of Quran. The rest of genuine traditions are the information and commandments that Allah induced into the heart of the Prophet directly, and as such, they are the indirect words of God. This includes his Ijtihad and whatever passed through his mind.
Therefore, the some traditions are direct literal word of God, and some are indirect words of God, and as such, all of them are either revelation or inspiration, and are all from Allah. The Prophet did not say ANYTHING of his own. The reason that they are not a part of Quran, is because they were not supposed to be! A better answer is: Quran is an encapsulated database which provides general information for all ages. The Hadith is more specific and furnishes more details and also provides commentary to the Quranic injunctions without which Quran cannot be understood correctly.
Conclusion
In conclusion, I repeat the question: 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 (SWT) prohibit it (sin, that is)?
Allah and His Angels, send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.(5)

NOTES:

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1. (33:21)

2. (66:6)

3. (53:3-4)

4. (3:7)

5. (33:56)