IMMUNITY AGAINST SINS AND WRONGDOING
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:
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 “ he factors that contribute to committing sins are nonexistent 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?