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WHY ARE PROPHETS SINLESS INFALLIBLE

WHY ARE PROPHETS SINLESS INFALLIBLE

Why are Prophets Sinlessinfallible

No doubt, each Prophet should attract public confidence as his first priority so that no one could identify any trace of wrongdoing, lying, or error in his utterances.

If this is not the case, his very position of leadership will be undermined. If the prophets were not infallible, those who seek for an excuse, under the pretext that the prophets make errors, and those who find the truth, due to the flaws they observe in the Prophet’s invitation, would abstain from answering their invitation or at least not accept them enthusiastically.

This reason which could be called “the infallibility reason” is one of the strongest proofs of the infallibility of the prophets.

In other words, how could God order us to obey a person with no pre-conditions while that person might be a wrongdoer? Under such circumstances, if people obey such a person, they would have followed a sinner and if they did not obey him, then his position of leadership would have been compromised.

For this very reason, when the great interpreters interpret the sacred verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ.

O you who believe: Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you. [Qur’¡n 4: 59],

they inform us that the reason for this unconditioned obedience is that both the Prophet and “those in authority,” who are the infallible Imams, are sinless and infallible. Otherwise, God would never have issued the command for absolute obedience.

Another approach to verify the sinlessness and infallibility of the prophets is to consider the fact that “the factors that contribute to committing sins are non existent in the prophets.”

Now let us explain a little more: When we study ourselves, we will find out that we are almost sinless with respect to some dirty or inappropriate deeds.

Let us observe the following examples:

Have you ever met a wise man who likes to eat fire, dust or garbage? Can you find an intelligent person who likes to walk in the streets naked?

Definitely not; and when we come across such a person, we will be certain that he has gone insane and suffers from some mental disorder.

For this very reason, we could explain this magnificent fact through the following succinct sentence: Every rational and healthy individual is infallible and sinless with respect to a range of improper deeds.

If we delve into this issue a little more, we will find out that some people are immune from the wrongdoing that others commit while ordinary people do not have such immunity.

For instance, a proficient and skillful physician, who has a deep knowledge of microbes and their hazards, would never drink dirty water that had been used to wash the clothes of infected patients, while an illiterate person might unknowingly do this.

We could also come to the following conclusion: the more knowledge we have about a subject, the more immune we are from acting in error regarding that subject.

It is easy for us to see that a person whose faith is strong and who firmly believes in God’s justice and vividly sees this justice around him, would be immune against all sins and any repulsive act would seem to him just like walking naked in the streets. For him illegally gained property would look like the flames of fire. In the same way that we refrain from taking fire into our mouths, he too would avoid taking religiously unlawful property.

From these discussions, we could conclude that the prophets, due to their strong faith and knowledge, could easily control and suppress the stimuli for committing sins and the most enticing means to engage in sins could never influence their wisdom or faith. That is why we have concluded that prophets are infallible and immune from sins.

How Could Infallibility be considered a Point of Honor?

Some people who are ignorant of the fact that infallibility and inerrancy inhibit the commission of sins claim that it is not a point of honor for an infallible person not to commit a sin since God has helped him to be so. They add further that this is an imposed infallibility and the person should not claim any virtue for it.

However, with the explanation we have offered above, the answer to such a claim loses its merit. A Prophet’s immunity against sins is in no way imposed; rather; it is the result of this powerful faith and conviction and his extra-ordinary knowledge. And this is the greatest point of honor for him.

Is a skillful physician forced to avoid infectious diseases? Is it not a virtue for such an adroit person to observe hygiene? Is it not a point of honor for a lawyer to avoid crimes due to the fact that he knows their consequences?

Thus, we conclude that infallibility on the part of the prophets is entirely voluntary and is considered a great honor for them.


THINK AND ANSWER

How many branches of infallibility are there?

What would happen if the prophets were not infallible?

What is the essence of infallibility?

Could you offer some more instances of actions against which some people are infallible?

Is the infallibility of prophets compulsory or voluntary? Why?


Fourth Lecture
The Best Way to Recognize the Prophet

It is, no doubt, against wisdom and logic to accept the claim of just any claimer. A person who claims to be a Prophet might be telling the truth, but there is always the chance that an opportunist might also claim that he is a Prophet. For this reason, it is necessary for us to have definitive criteria to evaluate such claims.

There are different ways for us to arrive at such an objective. Among them are the following two approaches:

A study of the content of the Prophet’s invitations and message;

Miracles and supernatural deeds.

Now, let us talk a little about miracles: there are those who are amazed at the word “miracle,” or consider miracles to be the stuff of legends and myths. But when we consider the true meaning of miracles, we find out that such conceptions are false.

A miracle is not an impossible act, neither is it an effect with any cause. In plain words, a miracle is an extra-ordinary act whose performance is beyond the power of the common man; rather, its performance depends on a supernatural power.

Thus, a miracle has the following features:

It is an action that is possible and acceptable.

Ordinary people or even men of great genius who are reliant on human power are not capable of performing such an act.

The performer of a miracle should be so confident of his performance that he could invite others to challenge him.

No one else could perform the same miracle, and as its name implies, no one would be able to perform it and would be frustrated in attempting it.

A miracle should be accompanied with the claim to prophethood or Imamate [thus, any extraordinary work performed by a common man is not a miracle; rather it is an act of divine grace (Kar¡mah)]

Some Vivid Examples

All of us have heard that one of the miracles performed by Jesus Christ(s) was to bring the dead back to life and to cure incurable diseases.

What scientific or rational reasons do we have to believe a man could not return to life after his body was dead? Or what rational reasons are there for us not to believe that a cancer patient who was considered incurable could be cured?

Of course, man, with his normal powers, is not capable of resuscitating the dead or curing many diseases, even if all the world physicians worked together.

But why couldn’t a man who is equipped with a divine power and who is cognizant of God’s immense ocean of Knowledge resuscitate a dead body or cure an incurable disease?

Science says: I do not know and am not capable, but it could never say that it is impossible or irrational.

Another example: A journey to the moon without a spacecraft would be impossible for any human being. But what is wrong for a person to do it if he is equipped with a supernatural force and with a mysterious mount that is very different from what we have seen?

Anybody who could perform such feats and then claim prophethood and invite people to challenge him must be definitely sent by God.

This is because it is impossible for God to give a thief and a liar such a power to mislead people.

Miracles should not be mingled with Superstitions

Going to extremes have always caused the distortion of facts and truth. The same is also true regarding miracles.

While some modernist thinkers, either explicitly or implicitly deny all miracles, other groups of people invent miracles and present others with weak Islamic traditions and superstitious myths, which are probably the work of mysterious enemies, thus defacing the Prophet’s true and intellectually sound miracles by encapsulating them within the cover of illusion and superstition.

True miracles do not show their merits unless they are pruned of such man-made, invented myths.

For this very reason, our religious thinkers have always been careful to present Islamic narrations without such man-made innovations.

These Islamic thinkers created a science called “the science of the men of religion” so that they could evaluate the narrators and they could distinguish correct narrations from weak ones and stop the mixing of truth with illusory and baseless ideas.

Colonizers and atheistic movements have also not remained idle and have also endeavored to mix pure, clean religious ideas with baseless superstition. In this way, they have frantically tried to give an unscientific aspect to these genuine miracles. However, we should always be aware of the destructive conspiracies of our enemies.

The Differences between Miracles and Other Extraordinary Acts

Sometimes we hear about people performing supernatural deeds. Many have witnessed such feats. This is a fact, not a myth.

Now this question is raised: What is the difference between these extraordinary acts and the miracles of the prophets? What are the criteria to distinguish between them?

There are two clear answers to this question:

Yogis perform only a limited set of acts. In other words, no Yogi would do any act that you might suggest; rather, he would carry out the extraordinary act at which he is adept. This is obvious since the power of human beings is limited and he can become an expert only in one or of practice.

However, there is no limit to the Prophet’s extraordinary feats. There is no condition on them.

At any moment, a Prophet is ready to perform any miracle required of him. This is because they receive their power from God. And we know that there is no limit to God’s power while man’s power is limited.

What a yogi may perform could be done by another yogi, so their practice is not beyond the power of man.

For this very reason, a yogi would never challenge others to carry out the same feat he does. This is because there might be other people like him.

However, the prophets challenged others to do what they did and they would say, “If all people on the earth gathered together, they would never be able to do what we do.”

The same applies to magic. These two differences clearly distinguish miracles from magic, as well.


THINK AND ANSWER

Why is a miracle called by this name?

Are miracles considered as exceptions to the law of cause and effect?

How could you distinguish miracles from the works of yogis?

What are the main principles of miracles?

Have you ever encountered a phenomenon similar to a miracle in your life?

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