What is the difference between the terms: Zanb (sin), lthm (transgression), lsyaan (disobedience) and Tarke Oolaa (leaving a preferable option)?

 Q: What is the difference between the terms: Zanb (sin), lthm (transgression), lsyaan (disobedience) and Tarke Oolaa (leaving a preferable option)?

The Holy Quran talks clearly about Zanb (sin) of prophets. How can it mean Tarke Oolaa (leaving a preferable option)? How is immunity from sin (lsmah) proved?

A: Zanb, lthm and Isyaan are different words meaning one thing, which is going against divine command to do something or to refrain from a thing that Allah has ordered. Again order and prohibition are of two types. It is either absolutely obligatory and what is opposite to it should never be done. In other words, it is liked by Lord Almighty and hence not complying with it, results in divine anger. For example, the order to perform ritual prayer, fasting, paying of Zakat etc. Carrying out these commands pleases God and not complying with them invites God's wrath and displeasure; likewise are examples of prohibitions.

The second kind is without any threat. In other words, it is desired and liked by God, yet not doing it does not earn His anger and chastisement. Such commands and prohibitions are called recommended and detestable respectively. It means that a recommended act is one doing which is better and that it is better not to leave it. Yet there is no punishment for leaving it. That which is against the position of prophet's infallibility is the first kind: That is to leave compulsory deeds and to indulge in prohibited things.

But to give up recommended deeds and to commit that which is detestable (better not done) does not go against the position of messengers. Since plain logic demands that messengers of Allah must always be immune from every big and small sin, the word used in the Holy Quran that is, 'Zanb' must mean a deed of the second sort.

As regards the way of proving the infallibility of prophets and Imams, Allamah Hilli 's Sharhe Gufta Muhaqqiq Tusi, says that infallibility is a secret known to nobody (as it is a power of the soul and might of Almighty Allah, it is impossible for one who has it to ever disobey Allah). It can be proved in two ways:

First is a clear statement of the prophet or Imam and such clear texts prove the matter. Of course, the concerned person in question must have the qualities of such infallibility.

Second is appointment by Almighty Allah, Who shows miracles through that holy person. Such show of miracles testifies that Allah made him His prophet. Otherwise He would have never allowed such extraordinary event to take place through him. Since showing miracles by a man is proof of Allah's attestation to that person 's prophethood or Imamate, he must always have the virtue of infallibility, which is an essential condition.

"Logically effect is the proof of the cause. Accordingly, existence of effect proves existence of cause. The mention of the messenger in the Holy Quran testifies that they are divinely appointed messengers. Hence their infallibility too is also proved and agreed. Therefore whatever fault of theirs is mentioned therein must be of the second kind: either omitting the recommended or committing the detestable.

Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib


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