Short Answer: No. They were fallible human beings, though. Before they received revelation, it’s unclear if they sinned. But as far as afterward, it’s important to note that they did make mistakes, but those mistakes were not considered sinful because they did not intentionally disobey God.
Asalamu Alaikum Ahmad,
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All Prophets Were Fallible Human Beings
When talking about human beings, it is understood that we are by our very nature, fallible.
That is to say we make mistakes and even sin.
When talking about the prophets–beginning with Adam and ending with the seal of the prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon them)–we need to be aware that they are human beings sent by God to guide people.
This matter of guidance necessitates that exemplary character should be a distinguishing attribute of all the Prophets.
And that, first, prophets should be human beings. If not, they would not be able to understand the reality of human needs.
And second, prophets should be wise, strong, and knowledgeable; so as to be able to lead human beings to the right path.
As for all the prophets, we need to raise some important points to be able to comprehend the meaning of their infallibility.
- The infallibility of the prophets comes after receiving the message from Allah Almighty.
- They make mistakes least among all people.
However, we need to confirm the fact that the prophets did not commit sins.
They only made mistakes, as they did not have the intention of disobeying Allah.
And their mistakes are only proofs of their humanity.
Examples of Mistakes They Made
Some examples of the prophets’ mistakes are mentioned in the following hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah in Al-Bukhari:
We were in the company of the Prophet at a banquet and a cooked [mutton] forearm was set before him, and he used to like it. He ate a morsel of it and said:
“I will be the chief of all the people on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know how Allah will gather all the first and the last [people] in one level place where an observer will be able to see [all] of them, and they will be able to hear the announcer, and the sun will come near to them?
Some People will say: ‘Don’t you see, in what condition you are and the state to which you have reached? Why don’t you look for a person who can intercede for you with your Lord?’ Some people will say: ‘Appeal to your father, Adam.’
They will go to him and say:
‘O Adam! You are the father of all mankind, and Allah created you with His Own Hands, and ordered the angels to prostrate to you, and made you live in Paradise. Will you not intercede for us with your Lord? Don’t you see in what [miserable] state we are, and to what condition we have reached?’
On that, Adam will reply: ‘My Lord is so angry as He has never been before and will never be in the future. He forbade me [to eat from] the tree, but I disobeyed [Him], [I am worried about] myself! Myself! Go to somebody else; go to Noah.’
They will go to Noah and say: ‘O Noah! You are the first amongst the messengers of Allah to the people of the earth, and Allah named you a thankful slave. Don’t you see in what a [miserable] state we are and to what condition we have reached? Will you not intercede for us with your Lord?’
Noah will reply: ‘Today my Lord has become so angry as He had never been before and will never be in the future. Myself! Myself! Go to the Prophet [Muhammad].’
The people will come to me, and I will prostrate myself underneath Allah’s Throne. Then I will be addressed: ‘O Muhammad! Raise your head; intercede, for your intercession will be accepted, and ask [for anything] for you will be given.’”
Prophet Muhammad’s Heart Was Purified Before Revelation
As for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Allah Almighty–with His perfect knowledge–knew that he would be the seal of the prophets.
Consequently, He wanted Muhammad to be the purest of all the prophets.
As is related by Anas in Sahih Muslim: Gabriel (PBUH) came down, ripped Muhammad’s (PBUH) chest open, took out Muhammad’s heart, then extracted a blood-clot from it, and said,
That was the part of Satan in thee.
Then he washed Muhammad’s heart with the water of Zamzam in a gold basin.
After that the heart was joined together and restored to its place.
Muhammad’s playmates came running to his nurse, and said,
Verily, Muhammad has been murdered.
They all rushed towards him and found him alright. Only, his face was white. (The Sealed Nectar)
God wanted Prophet Muhammad to be a spotless, morally perfect example for all generations to come.
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(From AboutIslam’s archives)