Understanding the Sinlessness of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
Of course I do not deserve any credit for this article as I would only be quoting a Sheikh, however I thought that this is something very important for Muslims to understand and therefore singled it out into an article. This is a question asked on www.islam-qa.com...
My question is about the Prophet. Some muslims believe that he was sinless while others
say he was not. I personally dont think he was sinless cause he was just a human. Can u
tell me which is true using Quran or Hadith, please? Thank you very much. Allahu Akbar
be to Allaah.
the use of the word sin in the question is a grave mistake, because sin (khateeah,
pl. khataayaa) is impossible in the case of the Messengers. It is more correct to
say mistakes, because a mistake may be made unintentionally, which is not the case with
with regard to sins, the Messengers, including Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him), never committed any sin intentionally as an act of disobedience towards Allaah
after receiving their Mission (risaalah). This is according to the consensus of the
Muslims. They were protected from major sins (kabaair) but not from minor
al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
view that the Prophets were protected from major sins (kabaair) but not from
minor sins (saghaair) is the view of the majority of the scholars of Islam
and all the sects
It is also the view of the majority of the scholars of tafseer and
hadeeth, and of the fuqahaa. Nothing was reported from any of the Salaf, Imaams,
Sahaabah, Taabieen or the successive generation that does not agree with this view.
(Majmaa al-Fataawaa, 4/319).
question was posed to the Standing Committee on this topic:
people, including the heretics, say that the Prophets and Messengers could make mistakes,
i.e., they could make mistakes like all other people. They say that the first mistake ever
made was when the son of Adam, Qaabeel, killed Haabeel
and when the two angels came
to Dawood, he listened to the first and did not listen to what the second had to say
and the story of Yoonus when the big fish swallowed him; and the story of the Messenger
with Zayd ibn Haarithah, they say that he concealed something which he should have
declared openly; and with his Sahaabah, he told them, You know better about your
worldly affairs, and they say that this is because he made a mistake in this regard;
and what happened with the blind man, which is referred to in the aayah (interpretation of
the meaning), (The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him
the blind man
[Abasa 80:1-2]. Could the Prophets and Messengers
really make mistakes? How can we respond to these sinners [who say these things]?
Yes, the Prophets and Messengers made mistakes, but
Allaah did not approve of their mistakes; rather, He pointed out their mistakes as a Mercy
to them and their ummahs, and He forgave their mistakes and accepted their repentance as a
Grace and Mercy, for Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. This will be clear to anyone who checks out the aayaat
of the Quraan in which the matters raised in the question are discussed
regard to the sons of Aadam, even though they were not Prophets
Allaah explained how
evil was the deed which he did to his brother
(Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah,
no. 6290, 3/194).
Thirdly: before they were given their Mission
(risaalah), the scholars have said that it is possible that they may have committed some
minor sins, but they were protected from committing major sins such as zinaa, drinking
But after they received their Mission, the correct
view is that they may have committed some minor mistakes but this was not approved of and
they were rebuked.
al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said:
Most of the reports from the majority of scholars
state that they were not infallible with regard to minor mistakes, but they were not
allowed to persist in them; they do
not say that this could never happen at all. The first suggestion that they were
completely infallible came from the Raafidis, who say that they are so infallible that
they could never make any mistake even by way of forgetfulness and misunderstanding.
(Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 4/320).
They are infallible with regard to conveying the
Message from Allaah, may He be exalted.
al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The aayaat which indicate the Prophethood of the
Prophets also indicate that they are infallible with regard to the conveying of the
Message from Allaah; so what they say can only be true. This is the meaning of Prophethood, which implies that
Allaah tells the Prophet something of the Unseen and he tells it to the people. And the
Messenger is commanded to call the people to Allaah and to convey the message of his Lord.
(Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 18/7)
mistakes which are committed unintentionally are of two types:
regard to worldly matters: this happened to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him). With regard to agriculture, medicine, carpentry, etc., he was like
all other people. Allaah did not tell us that he was sent to us as a businessman or a
farmer or a carpenter or a doctor. His mistakes in these fields are quite natural and do
not impact on his Message at all.
was reported that Raafi ibn Khudayj said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
came to Madeenah, and they were pollinating the date-palms. He said, What are you
doing? They said, We always used to pollinate them. He said,
Perhaps if you do not do that, it will be better. So they did not do it, and
the harvest was lacking. They mentioned that to him, and he said, I am only a human
being like you. If I tell you to do something with regard to religion, then follow it, but
if I tell you to do something based on my own opinion, I am only a human being. (narrated
by Muslim, 2361).
note that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made a mistake in this worldly
matter, because he was like all other human beings, but with regard to matters of religion
he did not make mistakes.
With regard to unintentional mistakes concerning
matters of religion:
The most correct view among the scholars is that the
way this happened with regard to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
is that he might do something which is OK but it was not the more appropriate choice.
was sometimes faced with issues concerning which there was no shari text on which he
could base his decision, so he sought to make ijtihaad based on his own opinion, just as
any Muslim scholar may make ijtihaad, and if he makes the right decision, he will be given
two rewards, and if he makes the wrong decision, he will still be given one reward. This
is what the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: If the judge makes ijtihaad and gets it
right, he will have two rewards, and if he makes ijtihaad and gets it wrong, he will have
one reward. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6919; Muslim, 1716, from the hadeeth of
also happened to him concerning the prisoners of Badr.
said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) consulted the people concerning
the prisoners who had been captured on the day of Badr. He said, Allaah has given
you power over them. Umar ibn al-Khattaab stood up and said, O Messenger
of Allaah, strike their necks [execute them]! The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
turned away from him. Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
came back and said, O people, Allaah has given you power over them and they were
your brothers. Umar stood up and said, O Messenger of Allaah, strike
their necks [execute them]! The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
turned away from him. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back and said
something similar to the people. Abu Bakr stood up and said, O Messenger of Allaah,
why dont you forgive them and accept payment of ransom from them? The worried
expression left the face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him), and he forgave them and accepted their payment of ransom. Then Allaah revealed the
words (interpretation of the meaning):
It is not for a Prophet that he should have
prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among
his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for
freeing the captives), but Allaah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allaah is
All-Mighty, All-Wise [al-Anfaal 8:67]
Narrated by Ahmad (13143).
may note that in this case, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
did not have any clear text so he made ijtihaad and consulted his companions, and he made
a mistake in deciding what was the best thing to do.
like this are few in the Sunnah. We have to believe that the Messengers and Prophets
are infallible, and we know that they did not disobey Allaah. We should also beware of the
words of those who want to cast aspersions on his conveying of the Message by referring to
the fact that he (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made some mistakes with regard to earthly matters.
There is a huge difference between the former and the latter. We should also beware of
those misguided people who say that some of the rulings of shareeah which the
Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us about are his own personal ijtihaad which could
be right or wrong. What would these misguided people say in response to the words
of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): Nor does he speak of his own desire. It
is only an Inspiration that is inspired [al-Najm 53:3]? We ask Allaah to
protect us from confusion and misguidance, And Allaah knows best. (Source)
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