Was the the Prophet(saws)a perfect human being free from sins? Was
he free from mistakes? Ustadh Abdullah explores this issue for one
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I've been debating with some friends about this issue, and we all
have mixed feelings. We can't seem to find any solid evidence either
way. The question is: Was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a sinless and a
perfect human? Was he just sinless or was he just perfect in every
way? Some said he was sinless, because in the Qur'an there are
mentions of him making a mistake and correcting it, but never about
Others said that he was perfect, that he never made a mistake and
never sinned either. Which is the truth? There is a big difference
between being just sinless, and being a perfect person who does
absolutely nothing wrong. Is there such thing as a perfect person? Is
that possible since were human?
Any help with this question would be appreciated. THanks
Ustadh Abdullah's response:
The truth is that the Prophet (pbuh) was sinless in spite of
sometimes committing occasional oversights. One must understand that
there is a difference between `sin' and `oversight' or `error.' A
sin is the intentional and knowing violation of God's divine
commandments, while an oversight, mistake, or error is merely an
_expression of a miscalculation, which is something that doesn't mar
or injure his character or veracity.
Some describe a perfect person as being one who commits no sin, does
nothing wrong, makes no oversight, and is guided aright in every
decision during his/her entire life.
As for this type of perfection, no such thing exists among people,
neither Prophets nor common people.
But another view describes the perfect person as the one who is not
guilty of knowingly committing any sin. Such is the case with all
the Prophets according to the dominant view of scholars.
Most scholars say that an essential attribute of every Prophet is
that he does not commit a major sin before or after he is given
revelation, while a minority of them hold that it is possible for
them to commit minor sins before revelation is given to them.
As for mistakes, they also agree that it is an impossibility in
their regard to make a mistake in conveying the words of the Creator
and in legislating the divine commandments and religious burdens of
As for making a mistake outside of revelation, scholars consider it
to be possible to happen to the Messengers when they are not acting
or speaking on God's behalf when carrying out some of their daily
As for Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, he is perfect in
that he committed neither a major nor a minor sin before or after he
became God's Messenger. And he committed no mistake in his
conveyance of the message of God and God's religion.
Outside of that, he did sometimes have oversights like his incorrect
judgment in believing that the blind man, Ibn Umm Maktum, wouldn't
benefit from what he was saying to the Quraishi nobles since the
Prophet (pbuh) knew that Ibn Umm Maktum already knew the things he
was preaching to the nobles. And he believed that he would help the
spread of Islam if he could convince those nobles of the truth of
Islam, since most or all of their followers would have likely
accepted Islam after him. What he didn't know was that he was
wasting his time with them. So Allah informed him of this, just as
He informed him of his oversight and miscalculation.
This is just one example. Others are like his judgment to free the
captives of Badr and his decision to pray over the chief hypocrite,
Abdullah ibn Ubai ibn Abi Salul, in spite of the fact that Allah
stated that praying over hypocrites 70 seventy times would be of no
benefit. Consequently, the Prophet (pbuh) took the statement
literally, and decided that he would pray more than 70 times to ask
for mercy for his enemy.
These are miscalculations and oversights, not sins. But committing
an oversight doesn't mar Muhammad's relative human perfection and
veracity, since it is the part of him that reminds us that he was
still human, and that by him being human, it is possible for one of
us to fulfill God's commandments just as he was able to, even though
we won't be able to reach his level of awareness of God.
I hope that this suffices as an answer. And may peace and blessings
of Allah be upon Muhammad, the best of all creation.