received inspiration, and those that he should commit even until his death. Again, in Surah XLVII., Muhammad, 21, he is bidden "Ask pardon for thy sin, and for believers, both men and women." In Surah XL., Al Mu'min, 57, and Surah IV., An Nisa, 106, the command to Muhammad to ask for pardon is repeated: cf. also Surah XCIV., Al Inshirah, 1-3. If you accept the Qur'an as a revelation from God, you must perceive that God is here represented as commanding Muhammad to ask forgiveness, and as promising to grant it. Does not this amount to a Divine assertion of Muhammad's sinfulness?

88. M. By no means, for our commentators for the most part, as Ar Razi and Zamakshari, explain this by saying that by "thy offence" is meant "thy people's offence."

C. You must see that the passage above quoted from Surah XLVII., Muhammad, 21, refutes this argument, for there he is bidden to pray for forgiveness for his own sin first, and then for those of "believing men and believing women."

89. M. The word used (ذَنْبُ ) does not mean sin but only fault: it is explained by Baizawi (on Surah XL., Al Mu'min, 57) as denoting in that passage some remissness on Muhammad's part in spreading the true religion. In reference to the prophets it means only the natural weakness of man, to overcome which he requires the strength and support of God.


C. With reference to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Solomon and others, we have seen that it means much more than that. In Surah LV., Ar Rahman, 39, the word zanb (ذنب ) in the plural is applied to the sins of both jinns and men. In Surah XXVIII., Al Qisas, 78, it is thus said of idolaters, "But such sinners [مجرمون mujrimuna] need not be asked about their crimes [نُوب zunub]." The Tafsir i Husaini distinctly and rightly says that this is said of idol-worshippers; and their sin is the unpardonable one. This text shows that a jurm [جرم ] is rightly called a zanb[ذنب ], so that the latter word does not denote a slight and unavoidable weakness but a sin actually committed. In Surah LXVII., Al Mulk, II, the souls of the wicked "shall confess their sin" (ذنب ) in hell-fire. In Surah XII., Yusuf, 29, the crime of Potiphar's wife (lying, slander, lust) is called ذنب . In Surah XCI., Ash Shams, 14, the people of Thamud are said to have been destroyed for their ذنب , which consisted in accusing their Prophet Salih of imposture, disobeying God's command, and slaying the Prophet's camel. Hence the Qur'an itself proves that ذنب does not mean mere human weakness, or at worst some trivial offence, for the word is used of "greater" sins (كبائر kabair).

90. M. Muhammad, like all others who are of the number of the مقرّبون (muqarrabuna, those nearest to God), felt remorse for even slight faults, and to him they seemed serious.