Did The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ever make a mistake? If so, then please elaborate with an example.
The Prophet (pbuh) never committed any mistake in the deliverance of God’s message. It is in this sphere that, according to the Qur’an God closely guards His prophets Himself as well as through His angels to see whether His message is accurately delivered or not (Al-Jinn 72: 27 – 28). Besides this sphere, as a human being, a prophet may commit a mistake. However, if this mistake has even an indirect effect on the message of God that the prophet is deputed to deliver, then God corrects him of such a mistake, without any delay.
The Qur’an has clearly pointed out some incorrect decisions of the Prophet (pbuh), which, if left uncorrected could have affected the message of God. For instance, in Surah Al-Tahreem 66: 1 – 2, the Prophet is directed by God to dissolve such oaths through which he had resolved to refrain from something, which was not unlawful according to the Shari`ah. Because such a refrain of the Prophet (pbuh) could easily have caused the ordinary Muslims, in their desire to follow the Prophet’s footsteps in all matters, to be inclined towards refraining from what the Prophet (pbuh) had resolved to refrain from, even though the Shari`ah had not prohibited such an act. The Prophet (pbuh) was therefore, immediately corrected in the matter.
Besides this matter, the Prophet (pbuh) has also been corrected for some minor errors in Al-Taubah 9: 43, `Abasa 80: 1 – 16, Al-Kahaf 18: 23 – 24.
Nevertheless, it should remain clear that the errors of a prophet of God are basically in their grace and sympathy toward others, in their love and respect for other people and in their desire to save people from the everlasting punishment of Hellfire.
Besides these matters, the prophets of God can also commit human errors of judgment in everyday life matters. However, as has been stated earlier, all such errors that could have even a slightest of impact on the deliverance of God’s message are immediately corrected by the Almighty Himself. This is the reason why the prophets of God are believed to be “Ma`soom” (i.e. innocent or clear of all mistakes) in this particular sphere, by the Muslims. Other errors, which have no impact on the message of God or its unadulterated deliverance, may or may not be corrected.
31st December 1999