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I have read this question and I have also studied in school that Prophets are sinless. Today I read in the Quran that Moosa killed a man. Here are the verses that describe the scene. I read at another place that he 'accidentally' killed him. I don't find it accidental myself (Musa struck him with his fist and he died.) Are Prophets sinless? Even if he hit the guy with his fist, its considered a sin.

  • There are several explanations of this. In particular punching a person does not imply intention to kill, and the resulting death would be accidental, unintentional mistakes are not sins. Hitting a person is not a always a sin, in this particular case he was a defending a Muslim from a Harbi Kafir. – UmH Apr 4 at 9:58
  • @UmH: If he was defending a 'Muslim' from a kafir, then why did he say no to him the second time he asked for help? – fuddin Apr 4 at 9:59
  • @UmH: "(18. So he became afraid, looking about in the city, when behold, the man who had sought his help the day before, called for his help (again). Musa said to him: "Verily, you are a plain misleader!'') (19. Then when he decided to seize the man who was an enemy to both of them, the man said: "O Musa! Is it your intention to kill me as you killed a man yesterday Your aim is nothing but to become a tyrant in the land, and not to be one of those who do right.'')" – fuddin Apr 4 at 10:00
  • I think that verse 19 {qtafsir.com/…} makes it clear that he did not refuse to help him the second time. Even if he did refuse, that does not mean that he had sinned by helping him the first time. – UmH Apr 4 at 10:42
  • @UmH: If he did not commit a sin, why did he asked for forgiveness? – fuddin Apr 4 at 10:56
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Note that عصمة of the Prophets is agreed upon by the Muslims, however they differed on what it entails and from when it is applicable. For example, according to the Ahlul Sunnah it entails protection from intentional sins but not mistakes and forgetfulness, for some also it entails protection from major sins but not from some minor sins. For some, such as the Shia, it entails protection from even mistakes.

The killing of the Egyptian by Moses (عليهم السلام) was not a sin, but an unintentional mistake. The evidence for this includes the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ:

وإنما قتل موسى الذي قتل من آل فرعون خطأ

Moses killed a person from among the people of Pharaoh unintentionally

Sahih Muslim

Further Mufassirs have also given the following explanations:

  • The Egyptian was a Harbi, whose blood is permitted. At most it was preferable to handle the situation differently rather than to kill him. Leaving what is recommended for what is permitted is not a sin.

  • He had not yet received Prophethood at the time of this incident, so the viewpoint of those who claim that infallibility is only after prophethood is satisfied.

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