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Offline Reader Questions

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Were All Prophetic Mistakes Corrected?
« on: March 25, 2013, 03:05:08 AM »
A Question posted on Facebook

Source Post:

"Do u think that Allah corrected ALL his mistakes OR Allah left some mistakes uncorrected? Note that the last verse revealed by Allah was to him (saw), no prophet will come after him and through him Allah mentioned a day when the religion was perfected, Quran 5:3. So do u think Allah would leave a mistake uncorrected in his (saw) sunnah?"

Offline Joseph Islam

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    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Were All Prophetic Mistakes Corrected?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 03:16:24 AM »
May peace be with you.

From my humble perspective, I feel the first point that needs clarification from a Quranic perspective is the appreciation that it was not only the ordinary souls that were being trialled throughout their lives, but also God's appointed agents (prophets and messengers).

"...And David became certain that We had tried him..."

Their judgments, their actions, their dealings with mankind in their widest interpersonal sphere including their ministerial duties and how they communicated their message, were all under severe scrutiny like the actions of any other soul.

"...and verily We shall question the messengers..."

"But as for him who came to you with earnest purpose / striving. And has fear, from him you are distracted. Nay! indeed it is an admonishment / message of instruction"

From a Quranic perspective, it can even be argued that the answerability of Prophets or messengers are far greater than that of an ordinary believer because of the heightened degree of truth that has been made manifest to them. This lends credence to the maxim that the degree of 'answerability' of a soul is directly proportional to the manifestation of truth that one has received. 

"And had We not given you (Muhammad) strength, you would nearly have inclined to them a little. In that case We would have made you taste double portion (of punishment) in this life, and double (punishment) after death: and moreover you would have found none to help you against Us!" 

In the above verses, the threat of punishment to the Prophet has been multiplied, arguably because of the level of truth that has been manifested to him. 
Therefore if he errs, his sin is arguably greater.

A tribe in the midst of the Amazon rain-forest whose errors of their ways have been not been made clear to them are arguably not going to be as answerable as a community to whom the message of the Quran has been made manifestly clear.

With regards your question:

"Do u think that Allah corrected ALL his mistakes OR Allah left some mistakes uncorrected?"

In his Prophetic capacity to deliver the message of the Quran (text / recitation), there would have been no mistakes. (53:3-4; 69:44-48; 15:9)

However, in the sphere of his personal life or in his wider capacities [1], his general judgments would not have all been necessarily 'infallible' as we have clearly noted from the Quranic verses shared in the post.

Otherwise, the following statement of the Quran which limits the scope of obedience to the messenger would become meaningless.

Please note that this is a verse which is often not appreciated by the general Muslim masses. When giving 'baya'a (oath of allegiance / pledge) to the Prophet, one reads the following limitation.

"...and that they will not disobey you in any just matter (or what is right / good) (*ma'rufin)" (60:12)
*'ma'rufin' in Arabic in this context clearly refers to anything which is fair, just, right, recognised and honourable. [2]

If the Prophet was to be obeyed blindly because he never made any mistakes, the above scope of 'baya'a (oath of allegiance / pledge) which limits the scope to 'what is considered just' would become meaningless.

The 'Sunna' of the Prophet consisted of his practical responses to his particular circumstances whilst he implemented the Quran’s guidance. The ‘Sunna’ has no intrinsic value outside that scope as the circumstances of 7th century Arabia that the Prophet faced would not exist. If the Prophet applied the same timeless guidance (i.e. Quran) to a different situation in a different culture at a different time slice of history, the outcomes could potentially be very different.

Therefore, I would respectfully feel that your statement / question:

“So do u think Allah would leave a mistake uncorrected in his (saw) sunnah?"

...would have no real essence as his Sunnah would not be applicable as a religious authority outside his ministry.

Finally, in response to your comment:

"Allah mentioned a day when the religion was perfected, Quran 5:3";

In my humble view, Islam does not need to be perfected. Islam was always 'perfect' and was the same religion preached by all the Prophets as a blessing and favour to them [3]

"The same religion (Arabic: Deen) has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah and that which We have sent by inspiration to thee and that which  We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Namely, that you should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions in it: to those who worship other things than God, hard is the (way) to which you call them. God chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)"

The Arabs during Muhammad’s (pbuh) ministry no doubt also had a system that they already observed and practiced. It is to be expected that certain parts of any system may have overlaps with Islam. In this way, the system of the ancient Arabs would have also been no different.
However, by ‘perfecting’ the system of the Arabs and removing alien doctrines, blasphemous practices and those ways incongruent with Islam, their Lord purified their system and 'perfected it' by bringing it back to the ‘system’ he had enjoined on all believers before them (i.e. Islam).
In this way, Islam was not perfected per se as a 'religion' (as Islam need not be perfected), but the existing practices of the Arabs were perfected and brought back into the folds of Islam. [4] There is a crucial difference.

Today, rather than applying ancient responses to 21st century conditions, we too need to apply the timeless guidance of the Quran to our circumstances to once again perfect our systems / religions.

I hope that helps, God willing.


'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell