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He Is Asking: If The Prophets Were Physically Perfect And Protected From Sin, How Come Moosaa (peace Be Upon Him) Had A Speech Impediment...?

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Rufai Oladimeji
, Nigeria.
Question

I have read about how the Prophets
(peace be upon them) were
protected from physical and moral
deficiencies, so how come Sayyiduna
Moosaa (peace be upon him) was
unable to speak clearly, and how
could a Prophet kill a person who
had done no wrong? Is this contrary
to the idea of their infallibility
(being protected from sin)?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.
Firstly:
Allah, may He be glorified and
exalted, honoured His Messengers
and made them qualified to carry
and convey the message, and He
made them perfect in physical form
and character, and chose them to
convey the message from Him, and
He placed the message with them
and not with others. “Allah is most
knowing of where He places His
message” [al-An‘aam 6:124] .
Hence Allah proved Moosaa to be
innocent of what the Children of
Israel said, when they annoyed him
by accusing him of having a physical
defect, because they used to bathe
naked, looking at one another, but
Moosa used to bathe on his own,
concealing himself. So they said: By
Allah, nothing is keeping Moosa
from bathing with us except for the
fact that he has a scrotal hernia.
One day he went to do ghusl and he
put his garment on a rock. The rock
fled with his garment, and Moosa
began to run after it, saying: ‘My
garment, O rock!’ until the Children
of Israel looked at Moosa and said:
‘By Allah, there is nothing wrong
with Moosa.’ Then he took his
garment and started striking the
rock.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (278) and
Muslim (339).
The word translated above as scrotal
hernia refers to a swelling of the
testes.
Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani said,
commenting on this hadith: This
indicates that the Prophets, in their
physical form and character, were
perfect and that whoever attributes
any physical defect to any one of
the Prophets is saying something
offensive, and there is the fear that
the one who does that may become
a disbeliever.
End quote from Fath al-Baari
(6/438)

Secondly:
The impediment in the speech of
Moosaa (peace be upon him) was
not a defect that he was born with.
The most well-known view is that it
is a defect resulting from a hot coal
that he placed in his mouth when
he was a child, as some
mufassireen stated.
Injuries happened to the Prophets
as they may happen to other
people; they might be hurt or
injured, which resulted in them
developing some physical defects, as
happened to the Prophet (blessings
and peace of Allah be upon him)
when his tooth was broken in the
Battle of Uhud.
But because this acquired defect
would have an impact on the
conveying of the message, Moosaa
asked his Lord to remove the
impediment from his speech:
“[Moses] said, ‘My Lord, fill my
heart with courage and
steadfastness
And ease for me my task
And untie the knot from my tongue
That they may understand my
speech’”

[Taa-Haa 20:25-28] .
And Allah, may He be exalted,
answered his prayer: “[Allah] said,
‘You have been granted your
request, O Moses’” [Taa-Haa 20:36] .
Ibn Katheer said in his commentary
on the verse in which Allah, may He
be exalted, tells us that Pharaoh
said (interpretation of the
meaning), “Or am I [not] better
than this one who is insignificant
and hardly makes himself
clear?” [az-Zukhruf 43:52] :
The words “and hardly makes
himself clear” are another
fabrication [on Pharaoh’s part],
because even though something
happened to his tongue when he
was a child because of that coal, he
asked Allah, may He be glorified and
exalted, to untie the knot from his
tongue so that they could
understand his speech, and Allah
answered that prayer, as it says in
the verse (interpretation of the
meaning): “[Allah] said, ‘You have
been granted your request, O
Moses’” [Taa-Haa 20:36] .
End quote from Tafseer Ibn Katheer
(7/232).

From this it is clear that what had
happened to Moosaa’s tongue did
not interfere with his carrying out
of his mission and conveying the
message in a manner that was
proper and clear, and it was not a
disfigurement or defect that would
put people off listening to him, and
it was something that would cause
them to criticise him, except by way
of the lies and fabrications of the
accursed Pharaoh.
Secondly:
The Prophets are the elite of
humanity and the dearest of
humanity to Allah, may He be
exalted. Allah protected them from
committing major sins, so they
never committed such deeds, for
they were protected from them
both before their missions began
and after that.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said
in Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (4/319):
The view that the Prophets were
infallible and protected from
committing major sins, but not
minor sins, is the view of the
majority of Muslim scholars and of
all the sects… It is also the view of
most of the scholars of tafseer and
hadith, and the fuqaha’. Indeed
nothing was narrated from the early
generations, the leading scholars,
the Sahaabah and Taabi‘een and
those who followed them except
that which is in accordance with
this view. End quote.
As for minor sins, they or some of
them may have done such deeds.
Hence the majority of the scholars
are of the view that they were not
protected from them, and if they
did such deeds, their sin would not
be overlooked; rather Allah, may He
be blessed and exalted, drew their
attention to that and they hastened
to repent from it.
See the answer to question no.
248875.

One example of that is Moosaa’s
killing of the Egyptian; the latter
was not without fault, and Moosaa
did not kill him deliberately; rather
it was an error, and what motivated
him to do that (strike the man) was
support of one who had been
wronged, because the Egyptians had
enslaved the Children of Israel and
were mistreating them.

Al-Qurtubi said:
Rather he supported him because
supporting one who has been
wronged is something that is
encouraged in all religions and is
enjoined in all systems of law.
Qataadah said: The Egyptian wanted
to force the Israelite to carry
firewood to the kitchen of Pharaoh’s
palace, but the Israelite refused to
do that, and called on Moosaa to
help him.

Al-Qurtubi said in his commentary
on the verse, “He said, ‘My Lord,
indeed I have wronged myself, so
forgive me,’ and He forgave
him” [al-Qasas 28:16] :
Moosaa (peace be upon him)
regretted that punch that killed a
soul, and his regret prompted him
to beseech his Lord and seek
forgiveness for his sin.
Nevertheless, killing him was a
mistake, because usually punching
and kicking are not lethal.

Muslim narrated from Saalim ibn
‘Abdillah that he said: O people of
Iraq, I will not hold you accountable
for minor sins when I commit major
sins, for I heard my father
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar say: I heard the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him) say:
“Fitnah (turmoil) will come from
here” – and he pointed towards the
east – “from where the side of the
head of the Shaytaan will emerge,
whilst you are striking one
another’s necks. Moosaa killed the
man of Pharaoh’s household by
mistake. Allah, may He be glorified
and exalted, says (interpretation of
the meaning): “And you killed
someone, but We saved you from
retaliation and tried you with a
[severe] trial” [Taa-Haa 20:40] .
End quote from Tafseer al-Qurtubi
(13/261).

Al-Qastallaani said:
No aspersions can be cast on his
infallibility because of his having
made a mistake. Moosa described it
as being the work of the Shaytaan
in one verse [al-Qasas 28:15], and
said that he had wronged himself
and prayed for forgiveness [al-
Qasas 28:16], as was the way of the
Prophets, for they would take the
matter of even minor sins very
seriously.
End quote from Irshaad as-Saari
(7/206).

However, even though there was a
reason for striking this Egyptian, his
death was a mistake, and Moosa did
not deliberately kill him, it
happened before Prophethood came
to Moosa ( peace be upon him), and
the Prophets were not protected
from sin before Prophethood came
to them, especially when the
intention was sound and there was
a reason for the action.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
I do not know that the Children of
Israel criticised any of the Prophets
for committing sin and repenting
from it; rather they used to cast
aspersions upon them by fabricating
lies against them, as they used to
offend Moosaa. Moosaa killed the
Egyptian before Prophethood came
to him, and he repented from
having asked to see Allah and so on
after Prophethood came to him. I do
not know of any of the Children of
Israel who cast aspersions upon him
for such a thing.
End quote from Minhaaj as-Sunnah
an-Nabawiyyah (2/409).
And Allah knows best.

islamqa.info/en/answers/267767/he-is-asking-if-the-prophets-were-physically-perfect-and-protected-from-sin-how-come-moosaa-peace-be-upon-him-had-a-speech-impediment-and-killed-a-soul-who-had-done-no-wrong

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