A Study and Critique of the «Tark-i Awlà» Approach in Justifying Prophets' Lapses

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Abstract This article delves into the study of the term «tark-i awlà» (abandoning performance of that which is better and doing that which is less than better) as an approach for defending the infallibility of the prophets when confronting verses from the Holy Qur‘ān that apparently prove the prophets committed sins; and after going into the semantics of «tark-i awlà», the following question has been made the focus of discussion and study: are the intellectual arguments proving the infalliblity of the Prophets in agreement with the fact that the prophets committed tark-i awlà? According to the author, considering that tark-i awlà is a type of error and lapse and because the intellectual arguments for infallibility (like the trust and certitude of the people, the guiding purpose of prophet hood, the necessity of following the prophets, the principle of luṭf (grace) and absence of disinclination in the hearts of the people towards the prophets) necessitate the negation of all types of errors and lapses from the prophets, the prophets must be infallible from tark-i awlà too and this approach by Islamic theologians in justifying the verses that indicate the committing of sins by the prophets is not successful. Accepting the committing of tark-i awlà by the prophets is to accept that they committed errors and is against the belief of the Shi‘a regarding the infallibility of the prophets. As a result, Shi‘a theology will face a great challenge in justifying the verses that indicate the committing of errors and lapses by the Prophets which, according to the author, necessitates a revision of the Shi‘a theological belief in regards to the absolute infallibility of the prophets.
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First archival date: 2019-10-08
Latest version: 2 (2019-11-14)
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