The Concept of Papal Infallibility in Christianity and ‘Iṣmah (Sinlessness) in Islam: A Comparative Study


  • Muhammad Zamir Syahmi Zainudin International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
  • Thameem Ushama International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)



Church, Christianity, Islam, Infallibility , ‘Iṣmah, Kalām, Pope, Prophet


The issue of papal primacy remains debated among Christian churches. The definition of papal infallibility made in the First Vatican Council through Pastor Aeternus has been an obstacle to the unification of churches. The doctrine of ‘iṣmah of prophets has been crucial concerning the concept of prophethood. Both papal infallibility and ‘iṣmah of prophets denote that Pope and prophets were being preserved from sins and errors. This study, therefore, examines concepts of papal infallibility and ‘iṣmah of prophets in understanding, theory and practice. Similarities and differences in these concepts are examined based on how the adherents of religions perceive them. Debates from selected denominations and theological schools in both religions: Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodox for Christianity and Shiites, Mu’tazilites and Ash’arites for Islam are focused. Since the study is theoretical, it relies on materials from classical to contemporary sources. Although both concepts seem similar, the findings convey that many differences are found, with few similarities between the two concepts.

Author Biographies

Muhammad Zamir Syahmi Zainudin, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

Muhammad Zamir Syahmi bin Zainudin completed BIRKH in Usul al-Dīn and Comparative Religion from the International Islamic University Malaysia

Thameem Ushama, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

Thameem Ushama is a professor at Department of Usul al-Dīn and Comparative Religion, International Islamic University Malaysia. He is the corresponding author. He is also associated with ISTAC-IIUM


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How to Cite

Zainudin, M. Z. S., & Ushama, T. (2022). The Concept of Papal Infallibility in Christianity and ‘Iṣmah (Sinlessness) in Islam: A Comparative Study. Journal of Islam in Asia (E-ISSN 2289-8077), 19(2), 263–294.



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