Pdf Book: Shiaism-A Critical Analysis:
The perception or the doctrine of human infallibility has played a very dominant role in the history of religions. Generally the founders or preachers of faith, have been exalted to such heights of supernatural infallibility, that with the passage of time they were understood to be divine or incarnated divine. Qur’an being the last message of guidance for the humanity has dealt with this aspect in a way which leaves little doubt or confusion, the Perfection belongs to Allah: “..My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;). Qur’an says: “..the angels celebrate the Praises of their Lord and pray for forgiveness for all beings on earth..”(Qur’an;42:5). “What do the disbelievers think? Shall We treat the Muslims as We treat the guilty?”(Qur’an;68:35). The implication is that, all human beings whether believers or unbelievers are liable to err and sin, God “is full of forgiveness un to men despite al their evildoing”(also Qur’an;13:6 & ). Hence unbelievers if they repent, and believe, Allah will forgive them. Faith in Allah, seeking His guidance and forgiveness will result in His Mercy: “Then those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him soon will He admit them to Mercy and Grace from Him and guide them to Himself by a straight Way”(Qur’an;4:175). It is mentioned in Sahih Muslims Hadith:1177: “Allah said:....My servants, all of you are liable to err except one whom I guide on the right path, so seek right guidance from Me so that I may direct you to the right path”…. O My servants, you commit error night and day and I am there to pardon your sins, so beg pardon from Me so that I may grant you pardon…”. “..I'll accept their repentance, for I am the Receiver of Repentance, the Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:160). According to Islamic teachings only the children are sinless. The Prophet Muhammad (peace ) said, "Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Magainism”(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, 2.440, Narrated by Ibn Shihab). “Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith - the nature made by Allah, the one on which mankind is created - and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the standard of true faith, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30). Once an adulteress was brought in front of Jesus, to be stoned to death according to Mosaics Law, he said: “.."Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John;8:7). They all left quietly, none was infallible. No mortal can judge the sins, to decide infallibility, except Allah, the Most Knowledgeable.
According to Imamate, the core belief of Shiite Islam, there must be an infallible, divinely appointed guide, in every place and time, who preserves the religion exactly as it was revealed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The person who bears the duty of guarding and preserving the Divine message after it is revealed and is chosen by God for this function is called the Imam, in the same way that the person who bears the prophetic spirit and has the function of receiving Divine injunctions and laws from God is called the Prophet. It is possible for the Imamate and Prophecy (Nubuwwat) either to be joined in one person or to be separate. The twelve Imams consist of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his eleven descendants who were chosen to the Imamate one after another. They being chosen and from the household of Prophet (peace be upon him) are considered as infallible. There are four main aspects in this concept, which need to be analyzed: Firstly; the ‘infallibility’, Secondly, the ‘membership’ of the household of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Thirdly, ‘the divinely appointed guide’.
First the human infallibility; according to
dictionary, infallible means; error-free, unerring, unfailing, faultless, flawless, impeccable, unimpeachable, perfect. Once applied to a human, it is meant that the person is free from any error, totally perfect. There is human tendency to exalt some respectable people, either due to their piety, knowledge or relationship with some exalted figure to the level of infallibility out of sheer love and reverence. In historic perspective it is observed that this has resulted in to practices, totally against the monotheism (Tawhid), central to the faith of Abraham, the Islam. The most glaring example is of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), who has been made to be called as Son of God, sharing divinity in Trinity, in contravention to his teachings and preaching. Oxford
Infallible Priesthood in Abrahamic Faiths:
Their priest and rabbis (doctors of law) considered as infallible, made lawful things as unlawful and unlawful things as lawful, and Jews and Christians followed them, hence by doing so they really worshiped them. Allah says: “They take as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were commanded to worship only One God. There is no god but He. Be He glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!”(Qur’an;). The growth of Jewish superstition is shown in the Talmud, and of Christian superstition in the doctrine of papal infallibility and the worship of saints, credited with divine powers in the Roman Catholic Church. Priest worship, and the worship of saints and ascetics is a form of superstition to which men have been prone in all ages. The worship of "lords many and gods many" is not confined only to the Pagans. The deification of the son of Mary is held and still holds in its thrall a large portion of civilized humanity.
It had long been taught that the church, as "the pillar and bulwark of the truth," could not fall away from the truth of divine revelation and therefore was "indefectible" or even "infallible." Inerrancy had likewise been claimed for the Bible by both Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians. As the visible head of that church and as the authorized custodian of the Bible, the pope had also been thought to possess a special gift of the Holy Spirit, enabling him to speak definitively on faith and morals. Hence in Roman Catholic theology, the doctrine that the pope, acting as supreme teacher and under certain conditions, cannot err when he teaches in matters of faith or morals. As an element of the broader understanding of the infallibility of the church, this doctrine is based on the belief that the church has been entrusted with the teaching mission of Jesus Christ and that, in view of its mandate from Christ, it will remain faithful to that teaching through the assistance of the Holy Spirit. As such, the doctrine is related to, but distinguishable from, the concept of indefectibility, or the doctrine that the grace promised to the church assures its perseverance until the end of time. The term infallibility was rarely mentioned in the early and medieval church. Critics of the doctrine have pointed to various occasions in the history of the church when popes are said to have taught heretical doctrines, the most notable case being that of Honorius I (625-638), who was condemned by the third Council of Constantinople (680-681, the sixth ecumenical council). The definition of the first Vatican Council (1869-70), established amid considerable controversy, states the conditions under which a pope may be said to have spoken infallibly, or ex cathedra ("from his chair" as supreme teacher). It is prerequisite that the pope intend to demand irrevocable assent from the entire church in some aspect of faith or morals. Despite the rarity of recourse to this claim, and despite the emphasis given to the authority of the bishops in the second Vatican Council, the doctrine remained a major obstacle to ecumenical endeavours in the late 20th century and was the subject of controversial discussion even among Roman Catholic theologians.(Encyclopedia Britannica). Ellen G White, in his book, ‘The Great Controversy’ writes, “The accession of Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred form Christ, the true foundation, to the Pope of Rome,” (p.52). Thus , church had become infallible and demanded undeserving homage.
Islam is a very simple faith, the majority of Muslims do not believe in the concept of infallible priesthood or religious hierarchy like Catholic or
and other religions. This belief is based on the inspiration from Qur’an and Sunnah. Every faithful has direct link with Allah, who is very close to him (Qur’an;50:16). When ever faithfuls call, He listens to their prayers (Qur’an;2:186). Allah forgive sins once believer repents (Qur’an;2:160). No intercessor or intermediary is required. The chain of Prophethood has been closed through divine command, by declaring Muhammad to be the last Prophet and closing his line of inheritance(Qur’an;33:40). With the end of prophethood, the divine revelations, stands closed. Qur’an and Sunnah is available for the guidance of humanity. To achieve this universal mission, Qur’an, the final and complete Book for the guidance of humanity was reveled to the Prophet: “To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between people according to Allah's revelations and do not yield to their vain desires diverging from the truth which has come to you. We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you. If Allah wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to Allah; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;). Unlike previous scriptures, Allah has Himself taken responsibility to guard and preserve Qur’an against corruption: (Qur’an;15:9). Orthodox Churches
Muslims as the ‘middle way community’ (Qur’an;2:143) have been appointed as inheritor of Qur’an (Qur’an;35:32). Some believers have to devote themselves to studies of religion, and admonish others (Qur’an;9:122). A band of people should rise to invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil (Qur’an;3:104). In his farewell address, the Apostle summed up when he said: O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.” Muslims have been able to create men of knowledge and understanding to spread the message of Islam.
Muslim can lead prayers, which can be performed in a mosque or any where on clean ground, can also perform simple rituals at birth, marriage and death. The religious teachers have special responsibilities in teaching the religious sciences, caution the society in enjoining good and forbidding evil, rendering their expert advice and opinions on new challenges to the government and society. All this should be done peacefully with in the confines of law without threatening peace of society, Allah says: “That House of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the End is (best) for the righteous.”(Qur’an;28:83). The other responsibilities are common to other Muslims as well, like, preaching (da’wah). Islam encompasses social, political, economic, judicial and all spheres of human life, hence the experts in these fields holding authority should perform their functions with in the tenets of Islam. The scholars should assist them. The mushroom growth of bearded Imams (prayer leaders) is due to negligence of Muslims who due to their apathy towards their religious obligations. Their lack of knowledge has left the faith of Islam at the mercy of mostly semiliterate scholars, though some are genuine.
Divine Plan of Creation - Guidance, Choice & Trial :
The human infallibility needs to be analyzed in the light of Allah’s ‘Plan of Creation’, Qur’an and the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the greatest human being. Allah says: “(O Muhammad), tell them: "I am but a human being like you; the revelation is sent to me to declare that your God is One God; therefore, whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do good deeds and join no other deity in the worship of his Lord.”(Qur’an;18:110). The creation of Man, according to Qur’an is for trial: “Verily We have created Man into (life of) pain, toil and trial. Does he think that none has power over him?”(Qura’n;90:4); “Indeed, We have created man …… so that We may test him. Therefore, We gave him the faculties of hearing and sight. Then We guided him to the Way: Now, it is his choice either to be grateful or to be a disbeliever.”(Qura’n;76:2-3); “We sent an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them. Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power Full of Wisdom”(Qur’an;14:4). “And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard and the steadfast, and till We test your record.”(Qura’an;47:31). Hence God points out the road to truth, and lets men choose as they will.
Free Will and Accountability: The predestination, reward & punishment are to be understood in the context of the timeless knowledge of Allah, His Power to plan and execute His plans (Qadaa and Qadar) and limited freedom of choice granted to human by Him. God's Universal Plan, Qadha wa Qadr, is much misunderstood. That Plan is unalterable, and that is His Will. It means that in the spiritual world, there are laws of justice, mercy, grace, penalty, etc. which work as surely as anything known. The great Muslim philosopher Averroës (Ibn Rushd) while commenting on Qadaa and Qadar says: The human actions depend partly on his own free will and partly on causes outside his control. Man is free to wish and to act in a particular manner, but his will is always restrained and determined by exterior causes. These causes spring from the general laws of nature; God alone knows their sequence. Hence if some one refuses Faith, becomes a rebel, with each step he goes further and further down, and his pace will be accelerated; he will scarcely be able to take spiritual breath, and his recovery, in spite of God's mercy which man has rejected, will be as difficult as if he had to climb up to the skies. On the other hand, the godly Will find, with each step, the next step easier. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) expressed this truth paradoxically: "He that hath, to him shall be given; but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath"(Mark;), “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of the Father.”(John:6:65). Hence according to ‘His Design’, human is prone to error, can only be saved through obedience to Allah, seeking His Mercy.
The Human Soul (Nafas) and Infallibility :
The Human Soul (Nafas) may be referred as human self or personality as a whole: that is being composed of a physical body and that inexplicable life-essence loosely described as ‘soul’ or “living entity”. Allah says: “Consider the soul (nafas) and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10). “O mankind! Have fear of your Lord, the One who created you from a single soul…”( Qur’an;4:1). Muhammad Asad in his commentary to this verse, explains the meanings of soul: “Out of many meanings attributable to the term nafs-soul, spirit, mind, animate being,, living entity, human being, person, self (in the sense of personal identity), human being. Life essence, vital principle, and so forth- Most of the classical commentators choose “human being”, and assume that it refers here to Adam. Muhammad ‘Abduh, however rejects this interpretation (Manar IV, 323 ff) and gives, instead his preference to “humankind” inasmuch as this term stresses the common origin and brotherhood of the human race (which undoubtedly, is the purport of the above verse) without, at the same time, unwarrantably tying it to the Biblical account of the creation of Adam and Eve.
The Muslim scholars postulate three states or stages of the development of the human soul (Nafas): Firstly; Nafas Ammara (Qur’an;22:53), the impulses which often conflict with what the intellect regards as moral good, hence making man ‘Prone to Evil’. It is the ‘Unregenerate Human Soul’, that seeks its satisfaction in the lower earthly desires, if not checked and controlled, will lead to perdition; Secondly; Nafas Lawwama (Qur’an;75:2), which feels ‘Conscious of Evil’, may be compared to Conscience, except that in English usage Conscience is a faculty and not a stage in spiritual development. Nafas Lawwama, the self-reproaching soul that feels conscious of sin and resists evil, asks for Allah's grace and pardon after repentance and tries to amend; hopes to reach salvation; Thirdly; Nafas Mutmainna (Qur’an;89:27), the ‘Righteous Soul’ or ‘Fully Satisfied Soul’, the highest stage of all, when it achieves full rest and satisfaction. The righteous enter into their inheritance and receive their welcome with a title that suggests freedom from all pain, sorrow, doubt, struggle, disappointment, passion, and even further desire; at rest, in peace; in a state of complete satisfaction. In Muslim theology, this stage of the soul is the final stage of bliss. Allah says to Nafas Mutmainna: “Return to your Lord, well pleased with Him and well-pleasing to Him. Join My servants, and enter My paradise.”(Qur’an;89:28-30).
The Special Knowledge of Prophets:
The prophets are chosen human beings, who are guided, given special knowledge and granted special exalted status by Allah: “He (alone) knows the Unseen nor Does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries, except to the Messenger whom He may choose for that purpose, and then He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord. He also encompasses all their surroundings and keeps a count of each and everything.".”(Qur’an;72:26-27). They are bestowed with knowledge of certainty, there are three types; ilmulyaqin, certainty by reasoning or inference, or certainty of mind(Qur’an;102:5-6), 'ain-ul-yaqin, certainty by personal inspection.(Qur’an;102:7), haqq-il-yaqin, truth of assured certainty.”(Qur’an;69:51). Allah says :“We showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth , as We show you with examples from nature, so he became one of the firm believers.”(Qur’an;6:75). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also shown the His signs and heavens through night journey commonly known as Mairaj. (Qur’an;17:1). Due to this special knowledge of certainty the Apostles are very firm in their faith. However they continue to remain human and operate with in the ambit of divine laws governing the conduct of human being, although Allah is kind to them, ever ready to help and forgive. The freedom of choice, to over come the temptations of soul and trials further exalt their status. Allah extends His favour to them, as they pray to Him as His humble servants. In their day to day life, as human, at times they do err, but Allah protects them from evil and forgive their errors (as they are not angels). Nevertheless complete divine protection is provided in delivery of Revelations and in conveyance of true message of Allah. They can not commit any error in the maters of Din (faith) (Qur’an; 53:3-6, 72:26-28, 56:76-80, 15:9, 36:21, 7:158).
Apostles and Nafas:
The Messengers of God, though His chosen servants are also prone to the influence of soul (Nafas). This is supported through the example of Prophet Joseph in Qur’an: “Indeed in the story of Joseph and his brothers, there are signs for Seekers (after Truth)”(Qur’an;12:7). Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him), went through the trial, he came out successful with the Mercy of God:“(Joseph said) Not that I am free from sin - man's soul is prone to evil (nafs la- 'ammaarah), except the one to whom my Lord has shown mercy, certainly my Lord is Forgiving,"(Qur’an;). The wife of Egyptian master of Joseph, tried to seduce him. She was overwhelmed by passion, and his plea had no effect on her. It is narrated: “She (wife of Egyptian master of Joseph) advanced (with passion) toward him (Joseph), and he would have advanced towards her had he not seen a sign from his Lord. Thus did We shielded him from indecency and immodesty, for he was one of Our chosen, sincere servants.”(Qur’an;). Joseph (peace be upon him) was human after all, and her passionate love and her beauty placed a great temptation in his path. But Joseph had a sure refuge, his faith in Allah. His spiritual eyes saw something that her eyes, blinded by passion, did not see. She thought no one could see them when the doors were closed. Joseph knew that Allah is All Seeing, All Hearing. That made him strong and proof against temptation. Man can only try, with his free will like Joseph, to be true and sincere; Allah will purify and save him from all that is wrong. Again in the second attempt once the ladies of City’s elite were invited by the wife of his master: “He (Joseph) said: "O my Lord! I would rather go to prison than that to which they (ladies of City’s elite) invite me; and unless You ward off their cunning snare from me, I may, in my youthful folly, feel inclined towards them and become one of the ignorant."(Qur’an;). Like a true Prophet of Allah, Joseph took refuge in Allah. He understands that humans have been created weak by nature. (Qur’an;). He did not pit his own strength against the whole assault of evil. He relied on Allah to turn evil away from him, and praised Him alone for success in his fight. It is only the ignorant who do not know man's weakness and Allah's strength!
The request of Satan for permission to seduce humanity except the sincere devotees of Allah was granted by Allah (Qur’an;-41). It is evident from the story of Joseph, that even the chosen people like Messengers of God are not free from the evil temptations of Nafas Ammara, unless they seek mercy from Allah. This is in line with the Divine laws, governing the human conduct in this life. He has endowed human with intellect and guidance, they are free to choose between good and evil. Allah does not thrust or force goodness upon some one, basing on the race or blood links: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. God said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My Covenant," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124). Jesus was tempted by Satan: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”(Mathew;4:1).“Again, the devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.”(Mathew;4:8-11).
The Biblical account of the lives of Prophets, Noah (Genesis: Chapter; 5-15, 9:20-27), Prophet Lot (Genesis;19:30-38), Prophet David, (2 Samuel;11:4, 11:6-25, 6:20), Prophet Solomon (1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chronicles 1-9) is full of distortions to the extent of blasphemous narratives of character assassination which have been usually incorporated by the Israelites to degrade most of the pious messengers and prophets of God. The other extreme is by exalting Prophet Jesus to the level of divinity and son of God, which he never claimed (Acts; , Mathew;-20). It is Islam alone which maintains the balance, keeping the prophets at highest exalted place but with in limits of humanity (Qur’an;21:8, 18:110, 11:31, 3:144, 2:136, 42:13 , 17:3, 14:47 & 2:253).
Trial and Errors :
The first human and Prophet Adam(peace be upon him) made the mistake of eating forbidden plant: “Later on Adam repented and his Lord chose him, accepted his repentance and gave him guidance,”(Qur’an;20:122). Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was tested, but his desire for offspring was conditionally declined: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. Allah said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My pledge," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124).
Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah for safety of his family from the floods: “Before them Noah prayed to Us, We accepted his prayer and delivered him and his family from the great calamity.”(Qur’an;21:76). “Nuh called out to his Lord saying: "O my Lord! My son is of my family, and surely Your promise is true and You are the most just of all Judges!" Allah replied: "O Nuh! In fact he is not of your family; for he is not of righteous conduct. So do not ask Me anything of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you become one of the ignorant!" Nuh said: "My Lord! I seek refuge in You for asking You that of which I have no knowledge; and unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall surely be lost!"(Qur’an;11:45-47).
It is narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith 3.420 & 4.578, that Abraham did not tell a lie except on three occasions. Twice for the sake of Allah when he said, "I am sick," and he said, "(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it." The third was when Abraham and Sarah were going on a journey Abraham, to save from tyrant ruler he mentioned Sara as his sister. Abraham appears as both a man of great spiritual depth and strength and a person with common human weaknesses and needs (Geneses;20:2). Among Children of Israel Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) is one of highly respected Messenger of God. He life is full of trials : “Then he (Moses) prayed: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul (by killing Egyptian), please forgive me." So Allah forgave him, surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Moses promised: "O my Lord! After this favor that You have bestowed on me, I shall never be a helping hand to the criminals."(Qur’an;28:16-17). “When Moses came back to his people angry and grieved he said: "evil (worship of golden calf statue) it is that ye have done in my place in my absence: did ye make haste to bring on the judgment of your Lord?" He put down the tablets seized his brother by (the hair of) his head and dragged him to him. Aaron said: "son of my mother! the people did indeed reckon me as naught and went near to slaying me! make not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune nor count thou me amongst the people of sin." Moses prayed: "O my Lord! forgive me and my brother! admit us to Thy mercy! for Thou art the Most Merciful of those who sow mercy!"(Qur’an;7:150-151). “He (Khizar) said: "Didn't I say that you would not manage to have patience with me? Moses said: "Pardon my forgetfulness, do not be angry with me on account of this mistake.”(Qur’an;18:73)
Prophet David (peace be upon him) was, apart being the apostle, was a just king. Judged by the highest standard of those nearest to Allah, the thought of self-pride and self-righteousness had to be washed off from him by his own act of self-realisation and repentance. This was freely accepted by Allah : “(David) said: "He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (single) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes: truly many are the Partners (in business) who wrong each other: not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and how few are they?"... And David gathered that We had tried him: he asked forgiveness of his Lord fell down bowing (in prostration) and turned (to Allah in repentance). So We forgave him this (lapse): he enjoyed indeed a Near Approach to Us and a beautiful place of (final) Return.”(Qur’an;38:24-25). “Behold, We also put Sulaiman to test and placed a mere body on his throne, then he turned to Us in repentance, and said "O Lord! Forgive me and grant me a kingdom similar of which may not be given to anyone after me. Surely You are the real Giver.”(Qur’an;38:34-35). “We blessed Jonah (Younus), when he departed in anger, thinking We would not take him to task for this, but later he prayed to Us from the depths of darkness, "There is no god but You, glory be to You! Indeed I was the one who committed wrong." We accepted his prayer and delivered him from distress; thus do We deliver the believers.”(Qur’an;21:87-88).
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, Volume; 9, Hadith; 532C, narrated by Anas: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The believers will be kept (waiting) on the Day of Resurrection so long that they will become worried and say, 'Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord so that He may relieve us from our place.' Then they will go to Adam and say, 'You are Adam, the father of the people. Allah created you with His Own Hand and made you reside in His Paradise and ordered His angels to prostrate before you, and taught you the names of all things will you intercede for us with your Lord so that He may relieve us from this place of ours? Adam will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention his mistakes he had committed, i.e., his eating off the tree though he had been forbidden to do so. He will add, 'Go to Noah, the first prophet sent by Allah to the people of the Earth.' The people will go to Noah who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention his mistake which he had done, i.e., his asking his Lord without knowledge. He will say (to them), 'Go to Abraham, (Khalil Ar-Rahman).' They will go to Abraham who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He would mention three words by which he told a lie, and say (to them), 'Go to Moses, a slave whom Allah gave the Torah and spoke to, directly and brought near Him, for conversation.' They will go to Moses who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' He will mention the mistake he made, i.e., killing a person, and will say (to them), 'Go to Jesus, Allah's slave and His Apostle, and a soul created by Him and His Word.' (Be: And it was.) They will go to Jesus who will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking but you'd better go to Muhammad, the slave whose past and future sins have been forgiven by Allah.' So they will come to me, and I will ask my Lord's permission to enter His House and then I will be permitted…(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: Hadith 9.532C). Hence no human can claim to be sinless or infallible, one has to seek His blessings and Mercy by being His obedient servant, He is most forgiving most gracious: “My Lord neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.”(Qur’an;).
The Great Human & Messenger of God are Not God:
The abosolute Perfection and Infallability can only be attributed to Allah: “Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, the Guardian, the Almighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory be to Allah! from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).”(Qur’an;59:23). As far as Revelation is concerned, it is form Him, Allah says: “nor does he (Muhammad) speak out of his own desire. This (Qur'an) is but an inspired revelation. He is being taught by one who is mighty, powerful (angel Gabriel); the one free from defects who became stable in the view.”(Qur’an;53:3-6). Allah has also guaranteed the protection of Revelation : "Indeed, We sent down the message and We will guard it (from corruption)" (Qur’an;15:9). “..He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord..”(72:26-28). The purity of the text of the Qur’an through fourteen centuries is a foretaste of the eternal care with which Allah's Truth is guarded through all ages. All corruptions, inventions, and accretions pass away, but Allah's pure and holy Truth will never suffer eclipse even though the whole world mocked at it and were bent on destroying it. Hence it can be stated without that the Qur’an is infallible word of God.
Some Aspects of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him):
The created human beings, even most exalted can not be totally free from error, part of human nature. A Prophet is a Prophet, not God, and as a human he may commit errors in worldy, non relighous matters. Hence worldly matters are left to personal discretion of Apostle, some incidents from the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), recorded in Qur’an and Hadith are narrated to illustrate.
Grafting of Date Palm Trees: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), used his discretion and expressed his opinion on many ordinary matters and even changed his opinion on advice of his companions. It has been narrated Rafi' ibn Khadij: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) came to
and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, (or; when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Hadith Number:1099) and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being…(Sahih Muslim Hadith Number:1100). Medina
at Badar: In the battle of Badr, the Prophet (peace be upon him), chose a place for the Muslim army to encamp. That place was not suitable from the strategic point of view. One of his companions asked him: "Messenger of Allah, has this place where you have encamped been chosen for you by Allah, or is it your personal choice?" When the Prophet (peace be upon him), informed him that it was his personal opinion, the man advised the Prophet (peace be upon him), to move the encampment to another place, explaining his rationale. The Prophet (peace be upon him), found his advice to be logical, hence ordered to relocate the troops accordingly. Camp Site
Prisoners of War at Badar: Victorious Muslims took seventy captives at the battle of Badr. After mutual council, it was decided to release them for ransom. This resulted in harsh Divine response recorded in Qur’an: “It is not fit for a Prophet that he should take prisoners of war until he has thoroughly subdued the land. Do you, (O followers of Muhammad), desire the temporal goods of this world? While Allah desires for you the hereafter? Allah is Mighty, Wise. Had there not been a previous sanction from Allah to take ransom, you should have been sternly punished for what you have taken.”(Qur’an;8:67-68).While the general principle of fighting for the purpose of taking captives in order to get their ransom is condemned, the particular action in this case was approved. At the same time, if there has been heavy loss of life already, captives may be taken, and it would be for the Leader to exercise his discretion as to the time when it was safe to release them, and whether the release should be free or on parole or on a fine by way of punishment. Destruction and slaughter, however repugnant to a gentle soul like that of Muhammad (peace be upon him), were inevitable where evil tried to suppress the good. Even Jesus, whose mission was more limited, had to say: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword."(Mathew;).
Invoking God’s Curse Upon Pagans at Uhad: As recorded in several authentic Traditions, the Prophet invoked, during the battle of Uhad, God’s curse upon the leaders of the pagan Quraish (Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal); and when he lay on the ground severally injured, he exclaimed, “How could those people prosper after having done this to their prophet, who but invites them to (acknowledge) their Sustainer?” – whereupon these verses were revealed (Muslim and Ibn Hanbal): “O Prophet (Muhammad), you have no authority to decide the affair; it is up to Allah whether He pardon or punish them since they are wrongdoers. To Allah belongs all that is in the Heavens and in the earth. He pardons whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;3:128-129).
Grant of Exemption from Tabuk Expedition: In 631 CE, the Byzantines threat was reported in the north, Prophet (peace be upon him) marched towards Tabuk with a force of 30,000 volunteers. The weather was very hot and the crop was also ripe at
, many people requested the Apostle for exemption with flimsy excuses, which he granted due to his kind nature, then it was revealed: “Allah forgives you! But why did you (O Muhammad) gave them leave to stay behind? (You yourself should have not given them leave) so that it would have become clear which of them spoke the truth and which of them invented false excuses.”(Qur’an;). Medina
Ignoring The Blind Man: Once some big chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the Holy Prophet's assembly and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Ibn Umm Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah revealed: “The (Prophet) frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell thee but that perchance he might Grow (in spiritual understanding)? Or that he might receive admonition and the teaching might profit him?(Qur’an;80:1-4).
Making Lawful as Unlawful for Himself: At an other ocassion, the Apostle, made a thing unlawful for himself only to please his wives, which Allah had declared lawful. Allah severely reproved of their errors: “O Prophet! Why do you make something unlawful, which Allah has made lawful to you in seeking to please your wives? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;66:1). The wives of the Prophet whom Allah Himself has declared as mothers of the faithful; worthy of the highest esteem and honor. The criticism of the Prophet and the administration of the warning to his wives was made not secretly but included in the Book, which the entire humanity, specially the Mulims have to read and recite forever. Obviously, the intention of making mention of this and other instances mentioned above, in the Book of Allah was not, nor could it have been, that Allah wanted to degrade His Apostle and the Mothers of the Faithful in the eyes of the believer. It is also obvious that no Muslim has lost respect for them after reading this in Qur'an.
Forgiveness of Past & Future Sins : Allah says: “(O’ Apostle) Therefore, you should know that there is no god but Allah; implore Him to forgive your sins and to forgive the believing men and believing women; ..(Qur’an;47:19); “That Allah may forgive (O Muhammad) your past as well as your future sins, and may perfect His blessings upon you, and keep you on the Right Way,”(Qur’an;48:2). Narrated Aisha: The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?" He said, "Shouldn't I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?"...(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith:6.361).Forgiveness of past and future sins indicate elliptically that freedom from faults is an exclusive prerogative of God, and that every human being, however exalted, is bound to err on occasion. Allah Himself has enjoined the reverence and respect of the Prophet, as a necessary part of the faith of His servants. It is evident that the respect of the Prophet has not been enjoined because he is infallible, but because he is a perfect representative of Divine Will, and Allah has not permitted any of his errors to pass unnoticed. This gives the satisfaction that the noble pattern of life left by the Prophet wholly and fully represents the Will of Allah. These incidences mentioned above, according to normal ordinary human standards may not be considered as sins. While the actual purpose of their narration is best known to Allah, it may however be reasonable to assume that considering the very high position of the Last Messenger of Allah, there might have been considerations to emphasize the human aspect of the Apostle leaving no doubt about it, so that no one should dare to repeat the blasphemous error done with the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), by his so called disciples.
Prophets - Men of Exemplary Conduct :
The Muslim scholars are unanimous that Allah has protected His prophets and messengers against committing any grave sin, either before or after their Prophethood. The overwhelming majority of scholars also agree that all prophets and messengers have been also protected against committing any trivial sin, although such sins do not affect their honorable positions or detract from their honor. Allah has made prophets, men of exemplary conduct, thus He directs the believers to follow their example in always avoiding anything, which is unbecoming of a man of the highest moral standards. It is well known that the Prophet (peace be upon him), never committed a sin and that he had never made a mistake as far as religious teachings are concerned.
Infallible Guidance :
Allah has sent the infallible guidance embodied in the Qur'an, which was conveyed to the people through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says: “He Alone knows the unseen. He does not reveal His secrets to anyone except to the Messenger whom He may choose for that purpose, and then He appoints guards, who march before him and behind him, so that He may know that they have indeed delivered the messages of their Lord. He also encompasses all their surroundings and keeps a count of each and everything.”(72:26-28). “and it is indeed a mighty oath if you but knew it, that this is indeed a Glorious Qur'an, inscribed in a well-guarded Book, which none can touch except the purified (angels): a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.”(56:76-80). Allah also took responsibility to ensure that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not forget Qur’an: “By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message) so thou shalt not forget”(87:6). More over He has taken the responsibility to guard it against corruption: "Indeed, We sent down the message and We will guard it" (Qur’an;15:9). Allah referring to the prophets, says in Qur'an: “Follow the ones who ask no reward of you and are rightly guided.”(Qur’an;36:21); “Follow him (Muhammad) so that you may be rightly guided.” (Qur’an;7:158). Islam abolished the priesthood which previously, in case of People of the Book, had no only resulted in the corruption of the divine scripture but distortion of the Divine message. (Qur’an;5:44,63, 61:6, ). Hence there is no priesthood or chosen people of special race or group in Islam: “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181). After the Prophet, Muslim Ummah has been chosen by Allah as inheritor of Qur’an for the guidance of mankind (Qur’an;35:32), and to be witness against them (Qur’an;2:143). The scholarship is encouraged (Qur’an;9:122), to invite the people towards righteousness, to enjoin good and forbid evil (Qur’an;3:104, ). The history is witness to fact that the Muslim scholars as well as common Muslims have met these responsibilities according to their capabilities (intellectual, financial, physical etc) and carried the message of Islam all over the world.
The mere idea of a separate order of infallible priesthood, to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. (Abdullah Yousuf Ali). With the end of line of Prophethood through last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the process of divine inspiration through Revelations has ended. Qur’an, the last book of guidance is protected by Allah, is available to humanity in its original form, along with Sunnah of Prophet. Allah says: “This Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, which is free from any flaw, so that they may learn to be righteous.”(Qur’an;39:28), “Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant and did not make it complicated. It is straightforward so that He may warn about the terrible punishment for the unbelievers from Him and give good news to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward,”(Qur’an;18:1-2). Muslims continue to have successfully lived up to the divine trust bestowed upon them as inheritor of Qur’an collectively, without any infallible priesthood. Muslims highly revere the members of Household of Prophet due to their knowledge, piety, contributions and sacrifices rendered for the cause of Islam. Infallibility is the virtue, which is the sole prerogative of Allah and His word: “..He neither makes a mistake nor does He forget.” (Qur’an;).
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