Infallibility ('Ismah)

Infallibility is the inability to be wrong. Its importance and meaning is debated in epistemology and major religions.


Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 3 years ago

The meanings of Quranic verses must be taken from the Prophet himself as Allah (SWT) said in Quran   وأنزلنا إليك الذكر لتبين للناس ما نزل إليهم 

( We revealed on you the Thikr ( full knowledge of Quran) So that you explain to the people what was revealed for them). Al-Nahl, 44)

Verses which seem to suggest that any Prophet was fallible, are been misunderstood. Verses regarding Prophet Adam (AS) are been explained by the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his Holy Progeny confirming that Adam did not commit any sin whatsoever.

Ahlul Bayt (AS) had many debates in this subject including a very well known debate between Imam Al-Redha (AS) and Al-Ma’moon al-Abbasi, the ruler of that time, in which al-Ma’moon put to the Imam ( AS) the Quranic verses which were according his understanding, showing fallibility of some prophets, and Imam Al-Redha (AS) explained the real meaning which confirms infallibility of all the Prophets.

You may see Tanzeeh al- Anbiyaa’ by al-Shaikh al- Mofeed. تنزيه الأنبياء للشيخ النفيد.

The claim of fallibility of any Prophet goes against Quran where Allah orders people to absolutely obey the prophets. Allah will never order people to obey a sinner.



Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 3 years ago

As a result of political reasons which made many Muslims who blindly follow governments of Saqeefa, away from the teachings of Ahlul Bayt ( AS) which are the real real teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ( SAWA), Muslim sects who went away from Ahlul Bayt, deprived themselves from the most authentic Islamic knowledge and took instead from outsiders. Thousands of Israelites have come into Muslims books, such as the claim that the prophets are fallible. Jewish literature attacks many prophets and even accuses them of committing major sins like adultery and drinking wine. These false ideas have penetrated into Muslims who were away from Ahlul Bayt (AS) and made many of them take such Israelites as part of their religious knowledge.

Many Sunni Shaikhs say that the Prophets are infallible in Tableegh only but fallible in their usual acts. This claim goes against what Allah (SWT) has said in Quran when He ordered all human beings to absolutely obey the Prophets.( We did not send any messenger but to be obeyed by order of Allah)(Al-Nisaa’, Verse 64).  How such absolute obedience can be possible if any Prophet is fallible? Does Allah order us to obey a sinner even for a moment? That is impossible.

Some Quranic verses have been misunderstood  or deviated from the real meaning which was explained by the Prophet (SAWA) and taken in accordance with non Muslim text supporting the false claim against the prophets.

Ahlul Bayt (AS) narrated the prophetic earnings of Quran which states that all the prophets are infallible.



Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 years ago

All Shia and Sunni scholars believe the the Faqeeh has authority in the interest of the religion and Muslims. Shia scholars have discussed in their books the limits of this authority as a matter of scientific research. While all of our scholars believe in the authority of the Faqeeh, they have different opinions about its limits and boundaries . Al Naraqi was a well known Shia Scholar who wrote about this subject, but no scholar said that the authority of Faqeeh is equal to authority of infallible Imams.



Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 3 years ago

Thank you for your question. An infallible is somebody who is protected from committing sin as their knowledge and faith are such that it would be completely irrational (and therefore impossible) for them to commit any kind of sin. Their purification is to such an extent that their commanding soul does not call them to sin as it is completely under the control of their intellect.

An infallible is a sinless person, but being sinless is more general and could also include someone who hasn't committed a sin yet but perhaps doesn't have the knowledge and faith to make them infallible. The two are therefore the same in that they haven't committed sin, but can also be different from the perspective of knowledge and faith. An infallible is sinless and always will be.

May you always be successful.


Hussein Khimjee, Dr. Husein Khimjee obtained his Doctorate from University of Toronto Centre for Religious Studies majoring in Islam. He currently teaches Islam and World Religions at Wilfrid Laurier University. He... Answer imported 3 years ago

The name of Ahl al Bayt are not limited to Imam `Ali, Bibi Faatima, Imam al Hasan and Imam al Husayn `Alayhimu Ssalaam because Rasul Allah (Salla~llahu `Alayhi Wa Aalihi wa Sallam) is reported to have prophesied the names of the Imams from his Ahl al-Bayt that would follow. In a Hadith reported, he publicly announced them by name; and then each one of them is reported to have announced his successor.

The Twelve names that Rasul Allah Salla~llahu `alayhi wa Aalihi wa Sallam announced are:

(1) Imam `Ali ibn abi Talib (2) Imam al-Hasan ibn `Ali (3) Imam al-Husayn ibn `Ali (4) Imam `Ali ibn al-Husayn (Zayn al Aabidin) (5) Imam Muhammad ibn `Ali (al-Baqir) (6) Imam Ja`fer ibn Muhammad (al-Saadiq) (7) Imam Musa ibn Ja`fer (al-Kaazim) (8) Imam `Ali ibn Musa (al-Rida) (9) Imam Muhammad ibn `Ali (al-Jawaad) (10) Imam `Ali ibn Muhammad (al-Haadi) (11) Imam Hasan ibn `Ali (Hasan al-Askari) (12) Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan (al-Mahdi)

May Allah's Peace be upon all of them as we await the return of our Twelfth Imam, also as per prophesy from Rasul Allah Salla~llahu `Alyhi wa Aalihi wa sallam.

By virtue of the above Hadith, they too are part of the Ahl al Bayt.

Since they are the Imams appointed, they too are beyond making any sins,and therefore, Ma`sum.

As to your question of why are they sinless or what does the sinlessness mean, I think it is very important to know that their sinlessness does not mean that they are not human beings like ourselves. We are not allowed to exaggerate anything about Imams and it is our fundamental belief that they are human beings like ourselves and are bound by all the Laws and Hukm of Allah Subhanahu wa ta`ala.

They do not commit sins because they are honoured servants of Allah; and Allah Subhanahu wa ta`ala has honoured them and has given them great dignity and authority. Allah has protected them from all kinds of uncleanliness and has throroughly purified them (see Qur'an 33:33).

They have the highest perfection and are endowed with `ilm al-ladunni and chastity. They are endowed with all virtues, bravery, chastity and quality. Further, they are the carriers and transmitters of the correct Sunnah of Rasul~Allah. They are therefore our Imams. They are the guides and they have the authority after Rasul Allah(Salla~llahu `Alayhi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) in the matters in which we require help and guidance; in religious commandments, in Judgment, in legislation, in the commentary of the Qur'an and in the interpretation of the Qur'an.

For further reading in this and other issues that relate to us please see a very concise book "The Faith of Shia Islam" by Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar. Truly Allah IS the Knowing.