Sunday, October 5, 2008

Infallibility of the prophets in Islam???

This post is more of a question than commentary. In various khutbahs (the Islamic version of a sermon delivered at Friday prayer), I've heard some comments about the various prophets that almost make me think that the prophets are infallible and don't make mistakes or sin. Although they are indeed guided and inspired by God, their humanity still dictates their imperfection. The Quran mentions Adam's fall from grace in the Garden of Eden and also mentions Moses' (Moosa, in Arabic) murder of an Egyptian slave driver, although those are the only mentions I recall of prophets' mistakes. These are proof to me that Islam doesn't propose their infallibility. However, as I've said, I've heard comments that make me think otherwise so I figured I'd pose my question here.

Christianity definitely accepts that the prophets were imperfect men and sinned. In the Bible, there are stories of Adam's fall, Noah's drunkenness, David's adultery, Moses' murdering, and I'm sure more. The prophets were guided and inspired by God but at the same time, they were flawed human beings. The only man claimed to be free from sin was Jesus because of his being simultaneously God and man. His human side was tempted but he resisted and remained sin free.

However, I've heard Muslims get offended at the prospect of David's adultery or Noah's drunkenness. Does Islam preach the perfection of prophets? I don't see how that could be considering the Quran's inclusion of Adam's fall and Moses' murdering. Does Islam claim that Muhammad was sinless? I don't think accepting his sin would have any affect on the religion. He could easily be divinely guided when delivering the Quran without error yet still be an imperfect, flawed man. Just because he as a man is flawed doesn't mean the Quran would have to be flawed.

As I said, I don't know what Islam's stance is on this subject. If anyone knows, please inform me. If not, I guess I'll just have to do more research on my own.


Azooz said...

This is a big subject, but there are over 400 prophets and messengers that are in Jewish and Christian theology that in Islam we call "Israeil-iyat" - we do not belive or deny them unless we have sure knowledge from the Koran and Hadeeth. Their lives stories are available and after each of their names Muslims add Peace Be Upon Them (pbuh).

Many of the weaknesses and sins you learned are not in Islam, Noah (pbuh) is not a drunk in Islam nor did he utter that drunken "curse of Ham" - the daughters of Lot were good women and inocent of what they were accused of - but the things Muslims have no proof of we tend to ignore and think well of them all. You will note that the Muslims who are shocked by them are the born ones becuase they do not know them and never heard them before, especialy those that show low morals or disrespect of famaily values. Many of the sins were not even part of their society or culture and show that they were added by people of other lands, mostly Romans. I grew up in England myself and wish I had not learned many of the things and glad they are not in Islam.

Infallibity relates to the validity of the message, the Quran for example is imposible to change and while he was alive Mohamed made sure no one thought of him as anything other than a normal human being, his words (Hadeeth) however were inspired by God and infalibale, but still the words of a human. He was not a framer and told farmers that they knew amore aboutit than they did - it was true but nice to hear it admited.

The weakness and sins are acts and misdeeds that God forgave for the prophets, there was no pride in them when they asked for forgivenss - Mohamed (pbuh), for example looked away from a blind man - this is slight to a sighted person but not a blind one, but it was still corrected by God in the Quran.

Murder is a major sin, but the Quran states that Moses (pbuh) pushed to seperate two men arguing (fighting) with no intention of killing, but in Egypt's law that was murder to. At the time Moses (pbuh) was not a prophet and was not charged with deliveing a message, his escape and then return to Egypt were timed for the legal limit in Egypt for the crime to be charged (statute of limitations?) so even by Egyptian law he was considered inocent.

>>Does Islam preach the
>>perfection of prophets?
No, but we have to respect them for the great effort they made to avoide maeking sins and their great efforts in asking God to forgive them - Mohamed (pbuh) tought Muslims to ask for it at least 20 times after each prayer, 100 times a day - they are teachers, human teachers - with the same burden of free will that we all have to live with.

Sin is a crime as judged by God, and as we learn what to do from the prophets we also learn how to correct our mistakes and make them right.

Jesus (pbuh) is sinless in the Quran, and we think of him in that way becuase he had great fear of God from the day he was born, and the greatets of all human females to teach him even more fear of God is he asked.

In Islam we accept that in his time the words of Jesus (pbuh) were totally infalliable and his words about religion were directly inspired from God, but they were later changed in the dark centuries that followed.

Azooz said...

Lot (pbuh) is mentioned in the Quran among a very favored group of prophets, and in the language of his area when he says "take my daughters" it means marry the women of my village, an older man refers to younger women as daughters and older ones as aunts. His daughers are mentioned in the Quran by God as being good women, but his wife was not included in that description but even she we do not add anything bad other than what is in the Quran.

Anonymous said...

Azooz sums it up pretty much according to my understanding on the infallibility of prophets. In any case a true repentance of a particular sin warrants our Creators forgiveness. When the Creator forgives the sin is wiped away and the sinner becomes sinless.

Anonymous said...

Azooz sums it up pretty much according to my understanding on the infallibility of prophets. In any case a true repentance of a particular sin warrants our Creators forgiveness. When the Creator forgives the sin is wiped away and the sinner becomes sinless.