Muhammed in Islam: Infallible or imperfect prophet?


In wrestling to understand some of the posts about Muhammed and Islam it occurred to me that I don’t know the answer to an important question.

Do muslims believe Muhammed is a perfect example of what a muslim should be (impeccable and without sin) or do muslims look at him as we might look at St. Francis: a man who overcame his sinfulness and grew closer to God every day. Not that he was ALWAYS a saint or that every event of his life is a model for the rest of us, but rather an example of how we can become more than we are now.

Do we, as christians, misunderstand when we point out that muhammed did shameful things? Is this a non-issue just as it would be if muslims pointed out the shameful things St. Paul or St. Francis, or St. Peter did? Or do muslims consider everything Muhammed did to be an example of ideal Islam?


Grace and Peace,

I’ve read a fair amount about Islam but I’d be more comfortable having an actual Muslim answer this question. Fortunately or unfortunately you appear to be asking a question toward Christians so I’d just say that I believe there is a ‘tradition’ in Islam to look at the Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) as ‘the ideal man’. It is my understanding that the tradition of Sunnah is the tradition of the study of the ‘man Muhammad’ as a form of imitation and study.



yes, he is considered the ideal model to follow, and some even say he was sinless in the sense that he did only “mistakes” and not “sins”. What we point out as immoral is considered moral to them. It’s about relativism : whatever muhammad did is good and if you say otherwise, you’re in deep trouble.That’s why no Muslim will tell Jesus is far superior even though he knows it.


I DO want to hear what our muslim friends have to say on the matter. Thanks for the clarification. I’m also interested to see if there are divergent opinions on the matter within Islam.

Surely no christian believes Jesus ever sinned or even made any mistakes. I realized that I assumed muslims see Muhammed the same way and wanted to check my assumption.


I know some very nice and decent Muslim people who would never agree with what the terrorists did on 9-11. It breaks my heart to see what some of them have done to Christians, though.

I’ve heard that Christians can’t do anything that looks like evangelizing in Muslim countries. They can be executed for it. Has anyone heard that, too?

But here in America, most of the Muslims I’ve ever seen don’t seem like these people. I wonder why the difference.


In Saudi Arabia there is no religious freedom. Only Muslims may worship in public. Theoretically Christians and other religions can worship in private but the Government has not defined private. A group of Christians who got together in their private appartments to worship were promptly arrested and then jailed.
In most Muslim countries there is very little religious tolerance and even in the countries where Christians are allowed to go to public worship they are not allowed to evangelise. It is often a criminal offense to convert someone and also a criminal offense for the person being converted.
Yet the Muslims in all these countries make a big noise (often violently) if there is even a hint of discrimination against Muslims in any Western country.


I really don’t want to sound bigoted, but it does seem to me that Muslim countries are very hard on non-Muslims. But again, the Muslims I know here are very nice. Maybe its partly the culture, not just the religion?

I’m just guessing.


We understand Muhammed as a Mortal man who is infalliable in the aspect of him bieng a messenger of God. It means infalliable when it comes to delivering God’s message. But he commits mistakes and he gets notice from God if he did. He is not falliable when it comes to normal life. He cannot be a rocket scientist nor a perfect cook nor the best military general. He doesnt do grave sins and small mistakes he gets correction by God.

He is to muslims as Moses is to the Jews. He is not devine. Nor worshipped.



Muslims believe that Muhammad is the ideal man - an example for all time (hence that is why Allah chose him - because he was a cut above the rest)

"The Lord of the universe, The Most Merciful and Compassionate sent about 124,000 prophets and messengers to every nook and corner of this earth to guide humanity towards understanding the purpose of its creation and thereby surrender to His Divine Laws and achieve its final destiny of Eternal Peace in His Paradise. The last messenger of God who brought His last revelation the Holy Quraan to humanity is Muhammad bin 'Abdullah, born in Mekkah, approximately 550 years after Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings of God be on them both. This is the account of this last Messenger of God, the most remarkable man, that human history has known."

"The Prophet accomplished all this through the strength of his character and personal example;"

Moslems who try to consider themselves extra-devout will follow Muhammed’s example, even if it’s not necessary. Thus some foods are permitted to Moslems, but because Muhammed avoided them, they’ll avoid them too.

These devout Moslems might urinate only when squatting, because Muhammed did this…

(they even drink the stuff

Muhammed had nine wives, and although they are only allowed a maximum of four at a time, the types of wives he had are considered the types of women Moslems may have. Muhammed had a wife much older than he. So older wives are permitted. He had a Christian wife, and a Jewish wife, so Moslems are allowed to marry Christian and Jewish women. Muhammed also had a child as a wife. Moslems are permitted to have children as brides.

Here’s some ‘advice’ sites from Moslems for Moslems about marrying brides who aren’t even at puberty

The appropriate age for marriage

Question: What is the appropriate age for men and women to marry? Some of the young ladies of today do not accept to be married to men older than them and also some of the men do not get married from anyone older than them either. We hope for a response, may Allaah reward you.
Response:… The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) married ‘Aa.ishah when he was fifty-three years old and she was nine years old. Older age is not harmful. There is no problem if the woman is older than the man and there is no problem if the man is older than the woman.

Action Items for the uttaqun:
Single Muslims should have intentions to marry as soon as Islamically permissible and a suitable candidate for marriage is available.
For a female, it is permissible to marry at any time near puberty.
For a man, he is ordered to marry after puberty once he has established a means to support a family.
It is recommended (in order to avoid being jailed) to not marry until old enough according to the laws in the land they live, but it is Islamically permissible before that. In the U.S., the typical legally permissible age is 14 or 15 with a parent’s permission, but it will vary depending on where you live, so check with the local authorities first.

Question: Is it possible to have intercourse with girls before puberty, would not this physically and mentally harmful to the girl. Is such a thing permissible in Islam, and if it is permissible then what is the minimum age for marriage execution in Islam, since puberty is not a requirement.

Answer: In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Jurists discussed the issue of marrying a girl before puberty, i.e. a girl who might not be able to have sexual intercourse due to her young age.

They agreed that the Wali can marry a girl before puberty. But when she reaches puberty, she has the right to choose either to nullify the marriage contract or to continue her marital life.

Also, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, married `Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, before she reached the age of puberty.

Hence, we conclude that puberty is not a condition for executing marriage. The only condition is the wife’s ability to bear responsibilities of marital life. However, we do not recommend marriage before puberty because at that early age the girl can’t fulfil her obligations towards her husband properly, nor can she know her rights towards him.

Thus, to avoid any negligence or liability on her part we do not recommend marriage at such an early age.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Dr. Su`aad Ibrahim Salih


Meedo, scripture teaches that God was displeased with Moses when he struck the rock more than once, thinking that his act had some impact on making the water flow.

Does Islam similarly allow interpretations of the Koran in which Muhammed acted upon his own flawed human will instead of submitting to God’s? If so, it might make a lot of the bickering about Muhammed’s example moot. That’s why I ask.



I know there are a Shia (sp?) and Sunni (sp?) muslims…are there other kinds, too?


There is no bickering. Humans are humans and all of them make mistakes. Yes Muhammed made mistakes and God coirrected him in the Quran. But he asked for forgiveness and he was forgiven. That doesnt make him a bad example.

i dont understand what is the problem?



Muslims , unlike Jews and Christians, believe that prophets are sinless. ie, they do “mistakes” but not “sins”. This idea is alien to Jews and Christians who know that any human being, even prophets, are sinful and the Bible shows their sins, except, of course, Jesus:D


So Muslims think that Moses just made a mistake when he hit the rock twice? God seemed a bit angry with him…no promised land, for just a mistake don’t you think?


What about the other mistakes in the Koran, such as the belief that Christians worship Mary as one of the Trinity?


This is not a mistake. The meaning of worship is different in Islam than you have in Christianity. Its a broaer meaning that include intercession with dead saints and stuff like that . The Quran doesnt make mistakes. You just dont iunderstand it.

prophets are not sinless. But they dont commit grave sins because God has chosen his prophets to be the best of people. So thats why we dont like to call them sins , we just like to call them mistakes.

hope that clarifies



In the Koran isn’t the divinity of Jesus denied?


Moslems say “peace be upon him” but in Arabic they say “salah allahu alayhi wasalam” which means “God prayed over him and greeted him." Now first of all, how can God pray? And if he does pray then what does he pray to? Mohammad? If so then according to Islam Mohammad is greater than God. If not then why does the Quran on one hand recognize Jesus as “the spirit of God” but on the other states that Christians must follow Mohammad? If we are following “the spirit of God” but we must follow Mohammad then Mohammad must be greater than God. What kinds of reasoning if any does this religion have?


Yes, the meaning of worship is different in Islam!:rolleyes:

Doesn’t the Quran state that the earth is flat and that the stars were created as missiles to throw at the jinns??? How do you explain that?? The Quran is supposed to be the word of “God” isn’t it??

prophets are not sinless. But they dont commit grave sins because God has chosen his prophets to be the best of people. So thats why we dont like to call them sins , we just like to call them mistakes. hope that clarifies


And as for the statement that prophets do not commit grave sins, it is pure nonsense! Muhammad was not one of the “best of people”! He committed many crimes and atrocities which you Muslims refuse to accept!

Muhammad was a real expert at mind control! he knew how to keep Muslims enthralled with his cult!


There are mistakes and there are mistakes.

One feels Allah fully supported Muhammad in such immoral acts as genocide, ethnic-cleansing, banditry, slavery, lechery, rape and pedophilia, among other things. Were they mistakes or just immoral acts?

If Muslims regard Muhammad an infallible man that means those acts are considered moral - since an infallible man cannot commit immorality.

If Muslims regard Muhammad as merely a human being capable of making mistakes - then why didn’t Allah point out the mistake of committing immoral acts?

It’s a conundrum if you bother to think a little deeper on the subject.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit