Debate of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) whit Ibn Sikkit
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce Mutawakkil said to Ibn Sikkit, “In my presence, ask Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) such a difficult question that he cannot reply.” Thus he posed the following questions:
Ibn Sikkit: Allah gave to Musa the miracle of the staff, to Isa the miracle of curing the lepers and the blind and the enlivening of the dead. To the Holy Prophet (S), He gave the miracles of the Holy Quran and the sword. Why were these miracles different? Why didn’t He give the same sort of miracles to all the prophets?
Imam: Miracle was awarded depending upon the demands of that particular period. How could the same miracle have been effective in every age? During the time of Musa, magic was prevalent; therefore he was given the staff and the shining hand. During the period of Isa the science of medicine was dominating. Thus he was bestowed cure and the power to enliven the dead. In the time of the Messenger of Allah (S) the prevalent arts were of eloquence, literature and warfare. Therefore, in order to overcome them, he was given the Quran and the sword.
Ibn Sikkit: What is the proof for the people of today when no miracle is seen?
Ibn Sikkit: Intellect was present before also.
Imam: However, the methods of its utility were not known. The prophets opened up these channels.
Ibn Sikkit: Who does the Quranic words: “One with whom was the knowledge from the book” denote?
Imam: Asif bin Barkhiya.
Ibn Sikkit: When Solomon (a.s) asked his courtiers which of them could bring the throne of Bilquis along with her there, did he not know that Asif bin Barkhiya could accomplish it? If he was aware, why did he put up such a question?
Imam: He knew it, but he wanted to prove the superiority of Asif bin Barkhiya to the jinn and men of his community, that after him, he would be his vicegerent.
Ibn Sikkit: Why did Yaqub (a.s) prostrate before his son? Is it permitted for a father to prostrate before his son?
Imam: The prostration was by way of obedience to Allah and a mark of respect for Yusuf. It was like the prostration of the angels before Adam. Actually the prostration of Prophet Yaqub and sons was a prostration of thanks, because the Almighty Allah had again brought them together after separation.
Ibn Sikkit: The Almighty Allah says: “Then if you are in doubt regarding what is revealed to you then ask those who recite the book.” In this verse the doubt is related to the Prophet, was he really having any doubts?
Imam: Definitely not! The ignorant people used to say why Allah did not send a prophet from the angels. So that they neither would have the need to eat nor drink and neither to frequent the markets (to earn the livelihood). Such needlessness would have been more effective on the people.
Thus the Almighty Allah revealed to His Prophet that: If due to ignorance the readers of the book are in doubt, do they not know that the prophets before you also ate and drank (were humans).
If it had been so, what is the meaning of doubts regarding you? The doubt is ascribed to the Prophet is this verse only because that it should not offend those people. Have you not read in the verse of imprecation: “Then invoke the curse of Allah on the liars?” (Surah Aale Imran 3:61) Allah knew that His Messenger was on the truth and the others were lying, but by way of etiquette it was not considered proper to call them liars. Therefore the Prophet was also included with them.