Refuting The Argument That The Prophet Made Mistakes, Therefore We Cannot Rely on Hadith Since They Can Contain Mistakes As Well
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat says...
The Qur'an-only people argue that since the Prophet made some mistakes attested in the Qur'an (8:67-68 (?), 9:43, 9:84 (?), 33:37, 66:1, 80:1-10), therefore even in the authentic Sunnah/Hadith there may be mistakes and hence they cannot be revelatory. But the very fact that the Qur'an mentions the mistakes of the Prophet assures the efficacy of the authentic Sunnah. For in case of any mistakes that the Prophet himself did not correct, we should expect God to do so through the Qur'an just as he did in cases that do we find in the Qur'an. Moreover, when we say that the Sunnah is revelatory, it includes also any mistakes that the Prophet might have made. In such cases, the mistakes must be seen along with their corrections and the revelation consists of the way the messenger handled the mistakes. Thus Adam made a mistake and the main point of his story in the Qur'an is that he was taught how to seek forgiveness and was granted such forgiveness. If one argues that Adam is not clearly indicated as a prophet in the Qur'an, then one has the example of Jonah who is said to receive revelation like the other major messengers such as Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad (4:163, 6:86). Yet the story of his mistake and his subsequent rehabilitation becomes part of the Qur'anic revelation (21:87-8837:139-148, 68:48-50)! Likewise David is described as a messenger who was given a book (4:163, 6:84, 17:55) and yet a story of his misjudgment and vanity with subsequent forgiveness becomes part of the Qur'anic revelation (38:21-26). Thus in the Qur'anic view revelation is not simply stating what is good and perfect but also reporting what is wrong and how it was or can be or should be corrected. Once this is understood the mistakes of the messenger can be considered revelatory as long as they were corrected. And, as noted above, the habitual Qur'anic practice of pointing out the Prophet's mistakes, many of them of the type that most people would not even notice, almost guarantees that had their been any mistakes in the authentic Sunnah the Qur'an would have corrected them. (Dr. Ahmad Shafaat, The Sacred Hadith Project, Chapter 2: The Message and the Messenger, Source)
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