Why Do the Prophets Have To Be Sinless?

Question: Why do the Prophets have to be sinless?

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate Walaikum assalam,

I hope you are doing well, insha’Allah. May Allah bless you for your concern for sound beliefs and understanding.


Allah Has Absolute Will and Absolute Power

We believe—rationally and on the basis of revelation—that Allah Most High is the necessary existent and creator of all things. Allah has the attributes of absolute Will and absolute Power.

His Will and Power relate to anything possible (mumkin). Allah Most High tells us that He is, “The One who does whatsoever He wills.” [Qur’an]

Thus, Allah Most High can do anything possible or not do it. Nothing of the possible is outside the Will of Allah Most High—and there is nothing that Allah “must” do.

And anything that Allah Most High wills, He brings into existence with His Power. [Sawi, Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid]

In Sura Yasin, Allah Most High tells us, “All it takes, when He wills something ˹to be˺, is simply to say to it: “Be!” And it is!” [Qur’an, 36.82]


Why Do The Messengers “Have To Be” Sinless?

While we affirm the absoluteness of Allah’s Will—that He can do whatsoever He wills—, we also affirm with certitude that Allah Most High is Wise (hakim) and Just. This is from His Perfection (kamal). [Nasafi, Sharh al-Umda fi’l I’tiqad]

Thus, while Allah could send anyone He wished as His representative—His prophet or messenger—what is (a) entailed by Divine Wisdom and (b) affirmed by Divine Revelation in the Qur’an and Sunna, is the sinlessness (‘isma) of the Prophets from all sin, major and minor. [Bajuri, Tuhftat al-Murid `ala Jawharat al-Tawhid]

Allah Most High has commanded us to (a) take the prophets as exemplars and (b) to follow them unconditionally—and Has commanded us to (c) obey Allah’s command, and (d) stay away from His prohibitions.

If the Prophets were to disobey Allah, it would entail that we were being called at once to (a) follow them in this act; and yet (b) not follow them in order not to disobey Allah. This is absurd. Thus, it is absurd for Prophets to disobey their Lord, whose representatives and exemplars they are. [Ibid.]

May Allah Most High increase us in faith certitude, knowledge, and clarity.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.