Muhammad ( peace be on him)
Submitted by on Sun, 02/11/2008 - 11:37
Dear Brother / Sister,
Mentioning the qualities of sinlessness and pure nature that belong to the prophets, some say that the prophets are created as sinless, are different from normal people, not prone to sins like us, and they are pure from birth so, of course, they don't commit sins, but we are not created this way and commit sins. How can we answer such claims?
The great people who have advanced in spirituality have not advanced because they have pure souls. They each have the same evil commanding soul, too. Moreover, parallel to the saying “The greater the person, the harder his test.”, in comparison to other people, their souls are more rebellious and wild. However, they have always fought with their evil commanding souls and eventually they managed to be spiritual leaders.
Just as every success has its hardships, being a spiritual leader also has its own hardships. People who are at the top currently in the fields of sports and arts have been able to come to this point at the end of serious work. It is not possible to aim at the peak without a certain program, intense work, and continuous discipline.
When we look at the Qur'an, we see that the prophets also experienced hard tests. Let us look at this verse as an example:
“Remember that his Lord tested Abraham with tests and ordeals and he fulfilled them thoroughly. He said: “Indeed I will make you an Imam/leader for all people.” (Al-Baqarah Surah, 2:124)
As is seen, it is the result of his having successfully passed the hard tests that Prophet Abraham was appointed as leader to people. Actually, prophethood is not a result attained through work, but a complete divine blessing. However, this blessing is related to the Prophets' work and deserving. This is because “God knows best upon whom to place His Message.” (Al-An'am Surah, 6:124)
It is obvious that climbing a mount of one thousand meters and climbing up to the peak of Mt Everest are not equal in difficulty. It is necessary to have received professional training and to have speacial qualities in order to climb Everest. It is also historically recorded that not all people who tried to reach the top of Everest were successful. Many of the people who headed for the top changed their minds half way and many died on the way.
Just like the attribute of prophethood is solely a blessing from God, rather than something earned with work; the attribute of sinlessness is also a special blessing of God and an indispensible criterion for prophethood.
As humans, we do not have the right to demand share from prophethood, and in the same way, we do not possess the right of desiring for ourselves their special qualities like sinlessness that their special positions necessitate.
Just as all people can't be a prophet, not all people can be sinless. Indeed, God does not want sinless people, because the existence of angels who are sinless leaves no need for humans to be sinless. The purpose of human's creation is to know and worship God, and to repent and ask for God's forgiveness when s/he commits sins. If everybody were sinless, then how would the names of God that show His forgiveness and forbearance like Al-Afuww (The Effacer of Sins), Al-Ghafur (The All Forgiving), At-Tawwab (The Ever Relenting) reflect themselves? Just as we know one of God's names Ash-Shafii (Bestower of Health) through illnesses, we know His names of forgiveness through our sins.
However, it is a truth that throughout their lives, the Prophets experienced more troubles, ordeals and sufferings than everybody, and they bore these with their own free wills, and they faced God's tests with acceptance. The tests of great people are accordingly hard.
The Prophets are humans, not angels. As humans they also have evil commanding souls and devils. They always fought with them. For example, in the face of people's disrespect, they got angry but could overcome their anger. In one of his hadiths, the Prophet says: “I also had a devil (trying to lead me to evils) but willingly or not, it surrendered.” (Tirmidhi, Rada 17; Musned, III. 309).
It is a very wrong attitude to account for our sins by saying that we are not sinless, because if we were sinless, we wouldn't have been put to test, like angels.
“Indeed, human will be an eye-witness against himself, even though he puts forth his excuses.” (Al-Qiyamah Surah, 75:14-15).
God assigns prophethood to whom He wills. However, He has given this duty to those capable of undertaking it. If somebody else had had this capacity, he would have given him the duty. Therefore, the people aside from those given prophethood did not have these qualities.
Everybody can bear a burden up to a certain weight. What is the meaning in asking somebody who can only bear 50 kilos to bear 500 kilos? Or why should the load of the plane tree be given to a young shoot? God assigns this duty to whomever He wills. But it is the necessity of His Wisdom to give it to the capable.
Though the duty of prophethood is God's blessing, the Prophets accepted this responsibility with their own free wills, they were not forced.
If the devil did not affect the Prophet and if he did not commit sins, how did the black spot on his heart occur? How many times was his heart cleft open?
Prophethood is not a position to be earned by subsequent work.
- Nature cannot be changed. The nature of the prophets cannot be changed, either. There are two aspects of nature: one is the evil-prone animal and vegetal aspect; this can be named as soul. And the other is the aspect of reason and conscience that tends toward the good. As a human, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, also had these qualities. This is because the test of the great people are accordingly hard, and he was also tested as a prophet. However, as he was created as a candidate for a special position, the evil-commanding soul turned into peaceful soul and then into the soul that God is pleased with. In one of his hadiths, the Prophet says: “Like everybody I also had a devil, but he surrendered to me.” (Tirmidhi, Rada 17; Musned, III. 309)
- One of the greatest scholars of Qur'an, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi says “My evil commanding soul has obeyed my reason, willingly or not...” This shows that not only the prophets but also the people who sincerely follow them and who accept them as the sole guide in their lives may turn their aspects capable of evils into the capacity of goodness.
- Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is blessed with the special equipments suitable for his misson of prophethood, different from other people. Accordingly, all his qualities, feelings, feelings pertaining to lust and anger and his mental abilities were all precisely balanced. He showed a great and balanced mixture of glory and humility, economicalness and generocity, ease of nature and bravery. When his companions asked him to describe himself, the Prophet replied:
“I am the prayer of my father Abraham, the good news of my brother Jesus, and the dream of my mother. While she was pregnant with me, she saw that a beam of light that illuminated the palaces of Damascus emerged from herself.” And he went on to tell the following story.
“I was suckled and brought up by the family of Sa'd bin Bakr. One day I and my milk-brother were pasturing lambs behind our house. In the meantime, two persons in white clothes came to me. One of them had a golden cup full of snow in his hand. They seized me and cleaved my bosom. They took my heart out and cleaved it, too. They took a black piece of blood out and cast it away. They cleaned my bosom and heart with that snow.” (Sîre, 1/175; Taberî, 2/128)
With that event, the blessed heart of the Prophet was broadened with divine light and peace. At the same time, from that age onward, the Prophet's soul was being purified from any kind of apprehension and doubt by being supported with divine feelings and peace. It is important to point out here that the heart should not be thought only as a piece of meat like a cone of a conifer. It is a divine sense. To clarify the issue, it is beneficial to understand Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's explanation about the heart:
“With heart, we don't mean a piece of meat like a cone. But it is a divine sense that shows its feelings on conscience and that reflects its thoughts on mind. Therefore, naming this piece of meat as heart which includes this divine sense results in this fine point: the service of this divine sense for the spirituality of human is similar to the service dsone by this conical piece for the body. Just as this conical piece, which pumps the water of life to every corner of the body, is a life machine, and the material life continues with its functioning, and when it stops, the body also stops. In the same way, this divine sense revives and illuminates with deeds and feelings; and with the dying down of the light of faith its composition turns into a motionless dead body like a statue.” (Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Işârâtü'l-Icâz, p. 79)
As is understood, the material heart has a close relation with the spirituality, with faith, knowledge, and conscience. Similarly, the material cleanliness also has a relation with spiritual cleanliness. In this respect, it shouldn't be seen as unreasonable that after the Prophet's heart was cleansed, it was filled with knowledge, divine light and favors.
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