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
Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly: the use of the word “sin” in the
question is a grave mistake, because sin (khatee’ah, 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 sins.
Secondly: 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 (kabaa’ir)
but not from minor sins (saghaa’ir).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The view that the Prophets were protected from major sins (kabaa’ir)
but not from minor sins (saghaa’ir) 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, Taabi’een or the successive generation that does not
agree with this view.
(Majmaa’ al-Fataawaa, 4/319).
This question was posed to the Standing Committee on
Some 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 Qur’aan in which the matters raised in the question are
discussed… With 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-Daa’imah, 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.
Shaykh 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.
Shaykh 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)
Fourthly: mistakes which are committed unintentionally
are of two types:
With regard to worldly matters: this happened to the Messenger of
(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.
It was reported that Raafi’ ibn Khudayj said: The Prophet
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).
We 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.
He was sometimes faced with issues concerning which there was no
shar’i 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 Abu Hurayrah).
This also happened to him concerning the prisoners of
Anas 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 don’t you forgive them and accept payment of ransom from
them?” The worried expression left the face of the Messenger of Allaah
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).
We 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.
Cases 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 sharee’ah 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.