Debate of Imam Sadiq with “Abu Shakir”

debate part

During the lifetime of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (AS), theological debates and discussions involving the Imam himself were carried out quite often. One of the most serious topics around which discussions and debates took place was the existence of God. Due, mainly, to the free atmosphere prevailing in Arabia, the discussions would often take place among members of the opposite groups. There is no doubt that these discussions ultimately ended up in the victory of the theists and monotheists and the defeat of the disbelievers. One of those who had lengthy debates with Imam Ja’far Sadiq, peace be upon him, was Abu Shakir Daysani.[i] What follows is a report on two dialogues between him and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (AS) regarding the existence of God, the Exalted:

[dropcap]1[/dropcap] Hesham bin Hakam narrates:
Abu Shakir told me that he had a question and he asked me to arrange a meeting with my teacher, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (AS) because he had a question which he had asked many scholars but he had not got a convincing answer.
Hesham asked Abu Shakir if he did not want him to know about his question. He said that might perhaps have an answer to his question which he might probably like but Abu Shakir insisted that he wanted to meet Imam Sadiq (AS) and ask him his question as well.
Hesham says that he arranged a meeting for him and he asked his question:
Abu Shakir said to the Imam (AS): “Would you allow me to say something and ask some questions?”
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “What is your question?”
Abu Shakir al-Daysani asked Imam al-Sadiq (AS): “How can you prove that you have a Creator?”
Consequently, he (AS) responded: “I found myself not free from one of the two possibilities: either I have created myself, or someone else has created me. If I have created myself, then I am not free from one of two meanings: either I created myself while I was already existent, or I created myself while I was nonexistent. Hence, if I created myself, and I already existed, then I was self-sufficient of giving existence to myself. And if I was nonexistent, then you know that the nonexistent cannot bring about a thing. Therefore, the third meaning is proven that I have a Creator and that is Allah, the Lord of the Universe.”[ii]

[dropcap]2[/dropcap] One day Abu Shakir came to the Imam and said, “Prove to me the existence of God.” Imam (a.s) told him to be seated. At that time a boy passed by holding a hen’s egg. Imam (a.s) called him, and taking the egg from him kept it on his palm. Then he told Abu Shakir, “See, it is such a strong fort that has no doors. On its outside is a hard skin and below it is a thin membrane, inside which flow two seas of gold and silver. But neither can the yellow mix with the white nor the white can merge with the yellow. Neither can a repairer enter it nor a destroyer comes out of it. No one can even know whether the newborn would be a male or a female. Then all of a sudden it cracks and a beautiful chick emerges from it. Can your reason agree that all this happened without a designer or a maker?” Hearing this Abu Shakir bowed down his head and said, “I repent for my beliefs today and accept the religion of Islam.”[iii]
Although these two reports do not have so strong chain of narration, their contents are coherent and consistent with the fundamentals of Islamic beliefs and theology. Thus, they can be used to argue with. Indeed, the argument in the second narration somehow signifies the kind of knowledge which Daysani had no knowledge before it.

[su_expand height=”20″ link_style=”dotted” more_icon=”icon: arrow-down” less_icon=”icon: arrow-up”][i] Vide: Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Al-Kafi, researched and corrected by Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhundi, Muhammad, vol.1, p. 128, Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiyah, fourth edition, 1407 A.H; Ibn Shahr Ashub Mazandarani, Muhammad bin Ali, Mutashabeh al-Qur’an wa Mukhtalifehi, vol.1, p. 48, Qom, Beidar, first edition, 1410 A.H. [ii] Sheiky Saduq, Al-Tawhid, researched and corrected by Husseini, Hashem, p. 290, Qom, Islamic Publications Office, first edition, 1398 A.H. [iii] Al-Kafi, vol.1, p, 80; Tabarsi, Ahmad bin Ali, Al-Ehtijaj ‘Alaa al-Lejaj, researched and corrected by Khursan, Muhammad Baqir, vol.2, p. 333, Mashad, Murteza Publication, first edition, 1403 A.H.[/su_expand]

Debate of Imam Sadiq on Truthfulness

debate part [dropcap]W[/dropcap]ithout doubt people become ignorant and astray when they depend on their own viewpoints and do not consult the people of true knowledge. So, the ignorant person goes astray in the methods of ignorance. However, he thinks that he is knowledgeable in the true religious law.

There was a debate between al- Sadiq, peace be on him, and an ignorant person who affected knowledge in truthfulness. Al- Sadiq himself has told us about this debate. He has said:

“Indeed, whoever follows his desire and admires his idea becomes like that person whom ignorant people regarded as great. I saw a group of people surrounding him. So, I wanted to meet him. He deceived that group of people, then he left them. I followed him. Soon, he passed by a baker. He made the baker heedless and took two loaves of bread from his bakery.

I was astonished at him, then I talked to myself: Perhaps, he is his customer. Then, I said: Why has he stolen the two loaves of bread? Then, I went on following him. Soon, he passed by pomegranate seller. He made him heedless and took two pomegranates.

I was astonished at him, and then I said to myself: Perhaps, he is his customer. Then I said: Why has he stolen them? Then I went on following him till he passed by a sick person. He put the two loaves of bread and the two pomegranates before a sick person.

Then I (al- Sadiq) asked him about his act. He said: ‘perhaps, you are Ja’far b. Mohammed?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. He said to me: ‘What does your noble origin avail you while you are ignorant?’ ‘Which verse of the Koran am I ignorant at?’ I asked. He said these Words of Allah, the Great and Almighty.’ Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it, and whoever brings and evil deed he shall be recompensed only with the like of it.'(6:160)

‘When I stole the two loaves of bread, they were two evil deeds. And When I stole the two pomegranates, they were two evil deeds, too. So, these are four evil deeds. When I gave each one of them as alms, Allah has subtracted 4 evil deeds from 40 good deeds. So, I have 36 good deeds.’ I (al- Sadiq) said: ‘May your mother lose you! It is you who are ignorant at the Book of Allah. Have you not heard that Allah said:

“(Allah) accepts (deeds) from the pious only.’ When you stole the two loaves of bread, they were two evil deeds. And when you stole the two pomegranates, they were two evil deeds, too. And when you gave them to other than their owner without the permission of their owner, you have added four evil deeds to four evil deeds, and you have not added four evil deeds to forty good deeds. So, he began looking at me. Then I left him and went away.”‘

Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: “They (the ignorant) mislead (people) and go astray with this ugly, hateful explanation.”(Wasa’il al- Shi’a, v.2, p.57)

Debate of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq) with an Arab unbeliever

debate part [dropcap]A[/dropcap]bu Shakir al- Daysany, an Arab unbeliever, sometimes debated with al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and sometimes with Hisham b. al- Hakam. However, Hisham went to al- Sadiq, peace be on him, when al- Daysany asked him a certain question. One day, al- Daysany said to Hisham: “There is a verse in the Koran, which is our saying, (that there are two gods).”

Hisham said: “What is it (the verse)?” Al- Daysany answered: “And it is He Who in heaven is God and in earth is God.”(43:84) Hisham said: “I did not know how to answer him. So, I went to perform the hajj and I told Abu Abd Allah, peace be on him, about the question.” Al- Sadiq said: “These are the words of an unbeliever.

When you come back, ask him: What is your name in Kufa? Surely, he will say by such and such name. Then ask him: ‘What is your name in Basrah?’ Surely he will reply by such and such name. Then you tell him: ‘Such is our Lord, Allah, Who in heavens is God, in earth is God, in seas is God, and in deserts is God. Thus, He is God at every place.'” Hisham said: “I came back to Kufa and went to Abu Shakir and gave him the reply.” So, he said: “These words have been brought from Hijaz.”(Al- Kafi, Chapter on Movement and Mobility)

Debate of Imam Musa Kadhim with a Christian monk

debate part [dropcap]A[/dropcap] Christian monk came to Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) claiming to have very deep knowledge about Torah and Gospel. Imam (a.s) asked him the name of Maryam’s (s.a.) mother and also the date, time and place of the birth of Prophet Jesus (a.s). The monk said that he didn’t know.

Imam said, “I will inform you about it. The name of Maryam’s mother in Greek language was “Martha” which is equivalent to the Arabic “Wahba”. The conception of Prophet Isa (a.s) took place at the time of noon on a Friday. Gabriel (a.s) descended for Maryam (a.s) at that very moment. The Holy Prophet (S) has ordained it to be a day of Eid (Festive) and Muslims are commanded to congregate at a place and perform worship. The day Prophet Jesus (a.s) was born was Tuesday. The day has risen four and a half hours. He was born on the banks of Euphrates.

The Almighty Allah bestowed such bounty to his birth that farmers said that it was very beneficial for the cultivation of dates and grapes. On that day Maryam (s.a.) did not speak to anyone. When King Qaidoos heard about it, he summoned the people of her tribe and ordered them: All of you go and ask Maryam about the truth behind this birth.

The people came to Maryam (s.a.) and said, “O Maryam! You have done a strange thing! O sister of Harun! Neither was your father an evil-doer nor your mother.” O Monk! Tell me what day was it?” The monk replied, “In our Gospel it is mentioned as a “New day.” Imam (a.s) said, “It is not a particular day. Thus it shows that people have made distortions in the book of God.” The monk said, “In order to confirm that you have the knowledge of the unseen. I challenge you to tell me the name of my mother.” Imam said, “In the Syrian language it is Utgaliya and in Arabic Maliha.

The name of your grandfather was Unfoor and that of your father is Abdul Masih. This name is incorrect; it should be Abdullah because no one can be the servant of the Masih (Christ). The name of your maternal grandfather was Gabriel. It is also incorrect. It should have been Abdur Rahman. Because it is not allowed to name people with the names of angels. Now you also listen to the account of the killing of your grandfather. The Syrians surrounded his residence and then killed him.” The monk said, “Now tell me, what my name is?” Imam said, “Your name is Abdul Saleeb but it should be Abdullah.” When the monk heard all these things, by the Grace of the Almighty he became a Muslim.

Objection Of Abu Hanifah
Abu Hanifah, an Imam of Ahle Sunnat told Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s), “Your son, Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s) was performing prayers in such a way that people were passing across him in the front. Does this not make a difference in concentration and humility?” Imam said, “I will call him, you may ask him directly.” When this objection was mentioned to him he said, “One to Whom I was praying was more near to me than those people. He himself says: We are closer than the jugular vein.”

As soon as he heard this the face of Abu Hanifah paled and he could not say anything. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s) embraced his son and said, “Bravo! O protector of the divine secrets!”

(Usūl al-Kāfī, v.1, p. 478-481)

Debate of Imam Javad (a.s) With Yahya Bin Aksam

debate part [dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne day Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s), then aged nine, was standing with some boys in a lane of Baghdad. Seeing the entourage of Mamun all the others ran away, but as was his habit, Imam (a.s) continued to stand at his place. Mamun came forward and asked him, “Boy! Why did you not run away?”

He replied, “O Chief! The passage was not narrow. There was no expectation that you would punish an innocent person. Then why should I run away?” Mamun liked this explanation and he asked the name of this boy and that of his father. He said, “I am Muhammad and Imam Ridha’ (a.s) was my respected father.” Mamun was moved by his condition and he spurred his horse forward. At that time he was going for hunting and he had some falcons with him. When he left the habitations he released a falcon to pursue a partridge.

The falcon disappeared and returned after sometime carrying a small fish in its beak. Mamun was greatly astounded. On his return he found the boys playing. All ran away except Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s). Mamun approached him and asked, “Tell me, what I hold in my hand?” He replied, “The Almighty Allah has created little fishes in the sea of His power that the falcons of the kings prey upon and inform the sons of the Ahl ul-Bayt of the Prophet.”

[highlight]Debate[/highlight] of Imam Javad (a.s) With Yahya Bin Aksam
All the Islamic history books mention this debate in detail. This gathering was held on such a magnificent scale that in addition to the nobles of the ruling class, 900 chairs were occupied with scholars and great men of learning and such people as the Arabs were proud of their intellectual accomplishments. Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s) who was educated in the divine school could never be afraid of such people.

When the court was filled with the people, Mamun called Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s) and had him seated besides him on the royal throne and pillows placed on both his sides. Qadi Yahya bin Aksam was also present in his seat. He said, “If you allow me, can I pose a few questions to this lad?” Mamun said, “Your good manners demand that you seek his own permission.” Yahya sought the Imam’s leave, which was granted immediately.

Yahya: What is the penalty for the one who hunts in the condition of Ehram.7
Imam: (Smiling) This question is absolutely absurd. First tell me, where this person hunted? In the surrounding area or inside the holy sanctuary? Whether he was aware of this matter or ignorant? Whether he did it willingly or by mistake? Whether he was a slave or a freeman? A matured person or a child? Did he do it first time or he had done it before also? Whether the hunted one was a bird or a quadruped? Small or big? Was the hunter regretful of his action or elated? Was the hunt conducted during the night or in the day? Was he wearing Ehram for Hajj or for Umrah?

Just as the Qadi heard these words he was speechless. The color of his face paled. Darkness appeared below his eyes. He continued to sit shocked. When the silence prolonged, Mamun could not restrain himself. He said to the Imam, “Now that you have told this, please also throw some light on its solution.”

Imam: If a person in Ehram hunts in the surrounding area and the prey is a bird, even if it is big, the penalty of the same is a goat. If he hunts a similar prey in the sanctuary, the penalty is two goats. If a young one of a wild animal is hunted in Ehram a ram is to be given as penalty. It should be one that is no more suckled by its mother. If the hunt is that of a deer a goat is to given as penalty and all these penalties apply for hunting wild animals in the surrounding areas.

However, if it is done in the sanctuary the penalty would be doubled. And one who gives the penalty has himself to take the animals to the Ka’ba. If this person is wearing Ehram for Hajj he should slaughter these animals in Mina, if he is wearing Ehram for Umrah, he should slaughter then in Mecca.

The aware and the ignorant are equally liable. One who does it willingly and knowingly is a sinner. Although in event of ignorance there is no sin. For a freeman the penalty is liable on himself, and the penalty of a slave is obligatory upon his master. There is no penalty on a small child. Penalty is incumbent on a matured person.

One who regrets this hunting would be saved from the punishment of the Hereafter. And if he is elated at his deed the punishment of the Hereafter is also there for him.

Hearing the reply the whole gathering was astounded and accolades and congratulations arose from everywhere. Mamun was so happy that he continued to repeat again and again, “Allah best knows where to place His message.”
After this Imam (a.s) asked Qazi Yahya, “Now let me ask you a question.” Mamun said, “Ask him, indeed.”

Imam said, “What do you say regarding this problem? A man looked towards a woman while she was prohibited for him. She became lawful at sunrise, unlawful at noon, again lawful in the afternoon, unlawful at sunset and lawful at night. Again unlawful in the middle of the night and then finally lawful in the morning?
Since Yahya was helpless, the Imam explained, “She was a slave-girl whom he purchased in the morning and she become lawful for him, at the noon time he freed her and she became unlawful for him. In the afternoon he married her.

at Sunset he recited the words of Zihar (that she is to him like the back of his mother) and she became unlawful for him. In the night he paid the penalty and she became lawful for him again. During the night he gave her a revocable divorce and she became unlawful for him and finally he took her back nullifying the divorce in the morning, making her lawful for himself.”

Mamun told the people, “Have you seen the level of his knowledge?”

 (Bihār alAnwār, v.50, p.78)

Debate of Imam Hasan Askari wih Christian scholar

debate part [dropcap]D[/dropcap]uring the time Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) was in imprisonment at Baghdad, for three years at a stretch there was a severe famine. A Christian scholar arrived there and showing a miracle of causing rain he created a great turmoil in the beliefs of Muslims. Everyone began to extol his spiritual feats and the truth of Christian faith. The news reached Motamid.

He summoned him and requested him to cause rain. Immediately he raised his hands to the sky and uttered a few words. Within no time a black cloud spread on the sky and it began to rain. Motamid also began to have faith in his miracle and the beliefs of all his courtiers became shaky. Motamid realized that the best course of action was to somehow send this Christian away from his court.

When he departed a debate began on this matter. No one could explain it away. A courtier said that except for Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) no one could solve this puzzle. It was ordered to bring him to the court at once.

It is mentioned in Sawaiqul Mohreqa that when Imam (a.s) arrived, Motamid related to him the whole incident. He said, “What is so great about it? People should accompany me outside the town and if Allah wills, I will clarify the whole matter. But the condition is that all prisoners must be released.” Thus it happened in this way. The Christian monk was also summoned. Imam said, “Now you invoke and show your miracle.

” He raised his hands and began to recite something inaudibly. At once, a cloud appeared. Imam (a.s) told a man next to him, “Catch hold both the hands of the monk and snatch whatever he is holding.” The man did as commanded and came to the Imam holding a bone. The Imam buried this bone in the soil and told the Christian, “Now let’s see if it rains or not.” Again he raised his hands, but leave alone rain, the cloud that had appeared also dispersed.

Imam (a.s) told Motamid, “There was no miracle in this man; it is in the bone that he was holding. It is a bone of some prophet that he somehow got. It is the specialty of this bone that when it is shown to the open sky, at once a cloud will appear and rain.” Hearing this, the doubts of the people were dispelled and the misplaced faiths again returned to their original position.

(Managhib, by IbnShahr‘ashub, v.4, p.425)


Debate of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq) with an unbeliever

debate partHisham b. al- Hakam said: “There was an unbeliever in Egypt. The unbeliever heard something of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him. He went to Medina to debate with Abu Abd Allah, but he did not find him there. It was said to him: `He (Abu Abd Allah) has been in Mecca.` So, he went to Mecca.

We (Hisham b. al- Hakam) were with Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him. While we were performing the procession around the Kaaba, he (the unbeliever) met us by chance. His name was Abd al- Malik. His kunya was Abu Abd Allah.

His shoulder hit the shoulder of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him. So, he (al- Sadiq) said to him: `What is your name? “Abd al- Malik`, answered the unbeliever.” `What is you kunya?` asked al- Sadiq. `Abu Abd Allah,` answered the unbeliever. So, Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said: ` who is this king (Malik) whose servant is you? Is he among the kings of the earth or among the kings of the heavens? Then tell me about your son, is he the servant of the God of the heavens or the servant of the god of the earth? Say whatever you like.`
Then al- Sadiq said to the unbeliever: `When I have finished the procession around the Kaaba, come to me.` When Abu Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, finished that, the unbeliever came and sat before Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him. We (Hisham and His companions) were sitting in the presence of al- Sadiq. Then, Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq) said to the unbeliever” Do you know that the earth has upper part and lower part? ` `Yes, ` said the unbeliever. ` `Have you come in its lower part? ` Asked al- Sadiq. `No, ` answered the unbeliever.

`Do you know that there is something in its lower part? ` Asked al- Sadiq. The unbeliever answered: `I do not know. However, I think that there is nothing in its lower part. ` Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said: `Mere thinking is feebleness. Why aren`t you certain? ` Then, Abu Abd Allah (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, said: `Have you ascended to the sky? ` `No, ` answered the unbeliever.

Al- Sadiq ask: `Do you know that it has something or not? ` `No, ` answered the unbeliever. So, al- Sadiq said: `How wonderful! You have not reached the east nor the west, you have not descended to the lower part of the earth nor have you ascended into the sky, nor have you gone any further to know what is beyond them. However, you have denied what they have, then does the wise man deny what he does not know? `

The unbeliever said to al- Sadiq: `No one has told me about that except you.`
Then, Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said to the unbeliever: `Then you have doubt about that (the Creator). Perhaps, He is existent, and perhaps He is nonexistent.` The unbeliever person said: `Maybe.` So, Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said:

`The person who does not know has no proof over him who knows. The ignorant person has no proof Brother of the people of Egypt, understand my words: We never doubt Allah. Do you not know that the sun and moon, day and night come successively, while they do no mistake, nor do they come back? They have been forced to do that. They have no place except their palaces. If they were able to leave their places, then why do they come back? Besides the one who has forced them to do that is wiser and greater than them. ` So, the unbeliever said: `You are right.`

Then Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said: `Brother of the people of Egypt, you think that the time forces them (the sun and the moon, day and night) to come successively, then why does the time not force them to come back? And if the time was able to force them to come back, why does it not take them away?
Brother of the people of Egypt, if they are forced (to do that), why is the sky raised? Why is the earth set? Why does the sky do not slope down the earth? Why does the earth do not slope down its layers? Why do the sky and the earth do not stick together? Why does what`s on the earth not stick together? ` The unbeliever person said: `Their Lord and Master has prevented them (the sky and the earth) from sticking together. `

He (Hisham b. al- Hakam) said: `So, the unbeliever believed in Allah with the help of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him. ` Then, Hamran b. A`yun said:

“May I be ransom for you, the unbelievers believed in Allah with the help of your father, too.” Then the unbeliever who believed in Allah with the help of Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said to al- Sadiq: “Make me among your students.” So, Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said: “Hisham, the teacher of the people of Sham (Syria) and Egypt, teach him belief.” So, the inner self of the unbeliever became good. Then Abu Abd Allah (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, was satisfied with him.

(EhtejajeTabrisi, v.2, p.75)

The Imam Reza’s debates With A Catholic Priest and A Rabbi

debate part[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter the death of Imam Musa al-Kazim, peace be on him, Imam Reza(A.S.) traveled to Basrah in order to produce evidence in support of his Imamate and in order to disprove the vague errors of those who deviated from the truth. He stopped at the house of al-Hasan b. Mohammed al-‘Alawi and held in it a session for a group of the Muslims among whom was ‘Amru` b. Hadda`b, who deviated from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt ), peace be on him, and showed stubbornness toward them.

He also summoned to session the Catholic and the Rabbi. Then he turned and said to them: “I have summoned you in order that you may question me about the Prophet’s traditions and the Ima`m’s signs which you may not find with anyone except with us, the members of the House, so come and question me!”
‘Amru` b. Hadda`b hastened and asked him: “Mohammed b. al-Fade al-Ha`shimi told us that you knew all that which Allah sent down, and that you knew all languages?”

The Imam, peace be on him, confirmed the statement of Mohammed b. al-Fadl concerning him, saying: “Mohammed b. al-Fadl is right; I told him about that.”
‘Amru hastened to say: “First of all I want test you through languages. This is a Roman; this is an Indian; this is a Persian; and this is a Turkish. We have brought them before you.”

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Let them say whatever they desire. I will answer each of them in his own language, Allah willing.”

The non-Arabs stood before the Imam and questioned him, and he, peace be on him, answered them in their own languages. So they admired him.

Then the Imam turned to ‘Amru` and asked him: “Do you believe me when I tell you that you will be tried in these days by murdering one of your blood relations?”

“No,” was the answer, “for none knows the unseen except Allah, the Most High.”
The Imam disproved ‘Amru`’s statement, saying: “Doesn’t Allah, the Most High, say: The Knower of the unseen, so He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle. Allah is pleased with His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, and we are the inheritors of the Messenger whom Allah informed of whatever He willed of His secrets, and he (the Messenger) informed us of what was and what will be to the Day of Resurrection.
“What I have told you about, son of Hadda`b, will occur five days later on. When that has occurred, you will come to know that you oppose Allah and His Apostle.”
The Imam added, saying: “As for you, you will lose your sight and become blind. So you will see neither a plain nor a mountain, and this will happen a few days later on. You will perjure and be infected with leprosy.”

Mohammed b. al-Fadl swore by Allah that the matter was just as the Imam had predicted.

Then ‘Amru` b. Hadda`b was asked: “Was al-Reza` truthful in what he had foretold?”

“By Allah I knew that he was truthful at the time when he told me,” answered b. Hadda`b, “but I showed myself patient.”

Then the Imam turned to the Catholic and asked him: “Has the Bible produced evidence in support of the prophecy of Mohammed, May Allah bless him and his family?”

“If the Bible has given proof of him, we would not deny him,” retorted the Catholic.

“Could you tell me about the sakana which you have in the third Book?” asked the Imam.

“It is one of Allah’s attributes,” replied the Catholic, “it is not permitted for us to reveal it.”

“If your Lord acknowledges that it is the name of Mohammed, Jesus acknowledges him and gives good news to the children of Israil of him, then you should acknowledge him and do not deny him.”

The Catholic accepted that, saying: “If you do, I will acknowledge, for I do not oppose the Bible; nor do I deny it.

The Imam continued establishing proof against him, saying: “Take (an example) from the third part in which Mohammed (S.A.W.) has been mentioned and Jesus given good news of him.”

“Give me (an example of) what you have said,” retorted the Catholic.
The Imam began reciting him the part of the Gospel in which the Messenger Mohammed (S.A.W.) has been mentioned. Then he asked the Catholic: “Who is this described one?”

“Describe him!” the Catholic demanded.
The Imam, peace be on him, began describing him, saying: “I will not describe him but through what Allah has described him. He is the owner of the she-camel, rod, and the cloak; the illiterate Prophet whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Bible; (who) enjoins them (to do) good and forbids them (from doing) evil; makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things; removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them; and guides (them) to the best path leading to (Allah), the most just way, and the most straight road.

“I ask you, O Catholic, by the right of Jesus, the Spirit of Allah and His Word, have you found this description of this Prophet (may Allah bless him and his family) (written) in the Gospel?”

The Catholic bowed his head, thought deeply and felt that the earth was narrow though it was wide. He could not deny the Bible, so he answered the Imam, saying: “Yes, this description is in the Bible. Jesus has mentioned this Prophet in the Bible, but the Christians have not proved true that he is your Prophet (S.A.W.).”

Then the Imam went on establishing arguments against him and disproving his imaginations, saying: “As you have not denied the Gospel and acknowledged the description in it concerning Mohammed(S.A.W.),then take the second Book, for it has mentioned him, his testamentary trustee (i.e. Imam ‘Ali(A.S.), his daughter Fatima (A.S.) al-Hasan (A.S.), and al-Husayn (A.S.).”

The Catholic and the Rabbi came to know that the Imam was learned in the Torah and the Bible, and that he had knowledge of all that which was mentioned in both of them. They thought of a way to get rid of the Imam’s arguments. They doubted the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.), of whom Moses and Jesus gave good news. They said: “Moses and Jesus gave good news of him, but we have not decided that he is this Mohammed (S.A.W.). It is not permitted for us to acknowledge his prophecy because of his name Mohammed (S.A.W.). We doubt whether he is your Mohammed (S.A.W.) or other than him!”

The Imam continued disproving their vague errors, saying: “You have regarded doubt as an argument. Has Allah appointed from among the children of Adam a prophet whose name is Mohammed (S.A.W.) other than (this) Mohammed (S.A.W.)? Have you found him (written) in one of the Books which Allah sent down upon all the prophets?”

They refrained from answering and found no vague error to cling to it. They insisted on obstinacy and denial, saying: “It is not permitted for us to confess before you that Mohammed (S.A.W.) is your Mohammed (S.A.W.). If we acknowledged Mohammed (S.A.W.), his testamentary trustee, his daughter and her two sons according to what you had mentioned, then you made us adopt Islam unwillingly!”

The Imam added, saying: “As for you, O Catholic, you are safe, in the protection of Allah and of His Apostle. Nothing which you hate will issue from us toward you.”

The Catholic retorted: “As you have given my security, this Prophet whose name is Mohammed(S.A.W.), the testamentary trustee whose name is ‘Ali(A.S.), this daughter whose name is Fatima(A.S.), these two grandsons whose names are al-Hasan(A.S.) and al-Husayn(A.S.) are in the Torah, the Bible, and the Zabur (David’s Psalms).”

“Is this truthfulness and justice?” asked the Imam.
“Yes, it is truthfulness and justice,” replied the Catholic.
The Catholic kept silent and acknowledged the truth, so the Imam turned to the Rabbi and said to him: “Listen, O Rabbi, to the Book so-and-so of David’s Psalms.”

The Rabbi said: “May Allah bless you and your father, give me (an example of) what you have.”

The Imam began reciting to him the first Book of David’s Psalms until he reached the names of Mohammed (S.A.W.), Ali (A.S.), Fatima (A.S.), al-Hasan (A.S.), and al-Husayn(A.S.). Then he asked him the following questions: “I ask you, O Rabbi, by the right of Allah, is this in the Zabur of Dawud (David’s Psalms)?”
“Yes, this is itself and their names are in the Zabu`r,” answered the Rabbi.
“By the right of the ten verses which Allah sent down upon Mu`sa` (Moses), have you found the description of Mohammed(S.A.W.), ‘Ali(A.S.), Fa`tima(A.S.), al-Hasan(A.S.), and al-Husayn(A.S.) (written) in the Torah, and that they are ascribed to justice and excellence?”

The Rabbi acknowledge that. Then the Imam continued reciting another Book of the Torah. The Rabbi admired the Imam’s abundant knowledge, eloquence, and his interpreting what was mentioned concerning the Prophet, ‘Ali (A.S.), Fatima(A.S.), al-Hasan(A.S.), and al-Husayn(A.S.). Then he said: “By Allah, O (grand)son of Mohammed(S.A.W.), were it not for the presidency which I attained over all the Jews, I would have believed in Ahmed (i.e. Prophet Mohammed(S.A.W.)) and follow your order. By Allah Who sent down Torah upon Musa` and Zabu`r upon Dawud, I have never seen anyone better than you in reciting the Torah, the Bible, and the Zabur; nor have I seen anyone better than you in interpreting these Books.”

The Imam’s debate with them lasted for a long time until the timing of the noon prayer came, so the Imam, peace be on him, stood and led the people in the noon prayer, and then he went to carry out his personal affairs. On the following day he returned to his assembly, and they brought a Roman slave-girl before the Imam, peace be on him, that they might test the Imam. The Imam spoke to her in her own language in the presence of the Catholic. He had knowledge of her own language, so he asked her: “Whom do you love more Mohammed (S.A.W.) or Jesus?”

“In the past I loved Jesus more,” replied the slave-girl, “for I did not recognize Mohammed (S.A.W.). After I had come to know of Mohammed (S.A.W.), I loved him more than Jesus.”

The Catholic turned to her and asked her: “You have adopted the religion of Mohammed (S.A.W.) then do you detest Jesus?”

The slave-girl opposed his statement and said: “I seek refuge in Allah; rather I love Jesus and believe in him, but I love Mohammed (S.A.W.) more than him.”
The Imam turned to the Catholic and asked him to translate her words to the people, and he translated them to them. Then the Catholic asked the Ima`m to debate with a Christian from the Sind, for he had knowledge of Christianity and debates. The Ima`m debated with him in his own language.

Al-Sindi adopted Islam and acknowledged the Imamate of the Imam, peace be on him. Then the Imam, peace be on him, asked Mohammed b. al-Fadl to take the Christian to the bath-house, that he might bathe and purify his body from the dirt of polytheism. Mohammed took him to the bath-house and clothed him in clean clothes. Then the Ima`m ordered the Christian to be taken to Median (Yathrib) to learn some of his sciences. Then the Imam said farewell to his friend (the Catholic) and went to Medina al-Munawara.

 (alKharaej val-. Jaraeh by Qotb Ravandi, p.204-206)

Mamun’s Questions from Imam Reza

debate partOne day the Abbaside Caliph Mamun asked Imam Ridha’ (a.s):

Mamun: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Prophets?
Imam: Doubtlessly

Mamun: But the Holy Quran itself says regarding Adam (a.s): Adam disobeyed his Lord and then he became misguided. This clearly shows that Adam was a sinner.
Imam: It was Allah’s command that: O Adam, you and your wife, both remain in Paradise and eat whatever you like but do not eat from that tree or of its same kind. He did not eat from that tree; rather it was Satan who instigated him to eat from another tree of the same kind.
The Satan told him, “Allah has forbidden you to eat from this particular tree and not from other tress of the same kind.” Then Satan also took a false oath. Since Adam and Hawwa had never seen anyone taking a false oath before this, they were befooled. And trusting this oath they committed that act. And Adam performed this thoughtless action even before he became a prophet.
It was not a greater sin that he should become deserving of Hell. It was merely a case of giving up a preferable option (Tark-e-Awla). Or it was a detestable act (Makruh), which is acceptable from prophets before receipt of divine revelations.
When Allah appointed him as a prophet, he was infallible. He did not commit either a greater or a lesser sin.

Mamun: All right. What do you say regarding Prophet Ibrahim? The Quran mentions in clear words: “When the darkness of the light spread on him he saw a star and said: This is my Lord.” Is this not obvious polytheism, that a star should be addressed as ones Lord?
Imam: The phrase: “This is my Lord” is interrogative which means; “Is this my Lord?”
Since the people of that time were star-worshippers and their belief had reached his ears, thus when he came out of the cave and saw the stars he asked by way of question: Is this my Lord? Thus when it disappeared, he said: I do not like those who disappear. That is, this cannot be a quality of my Lord. It is a quality of a creature.
When the moon arose, again he asked in a negative interrogation: Is it my Lord. In the same way he mentioned this for the sun.
Thus whatever he said was against the falsehood of the star-worshippers and not regarding his own beliefs.

Mamun: O son of the Messenger of Allah (S)! May Allah give you a good recompense. You have given a very good reply. But there remains a slight misgiving in the heart. The Almighty Allah says in the Quran: “Ibrahim said: Show me how You enliven the dead. He said: Don’t you have faith (in it)? He said: yes, but that my heart should be satisfied.” So, tell me, did the Khalil (friend of Allah) not have faith in the power of Allah before this?
Imam: The Almighty Allah revealed upon Ibrahim (a.s) that I will make a righteous slave of Mine as the Khalil. And if he asks Me to enliven the dead for him, I will fulfill his desire. So, Ibrahim was uncertain whether, he was that Khalil or someone else. That is why he said thus. That is, he desired certainty of the heart for this matter.

Mamun: May Allah recompense you! You have removed this objection in a beautiful manner. Now, there is one objection regarding Prophet Musa (a.s). It is that Musa (a.s) said: My Lord! Show Yourself to me so that I can see You. This shows that Prophet Musa did not even know that ones eyes could not see Allah.
Imam: It is not so. Musa (a.s) well knew that He is not visible to the eyes. But his people were insisting that he should pray to Allah to show Himself to him. “We will not bring faith in Him without seeing Him with our eyes.” Thus, becoming helpless of his people he prayed to Allah in the same words, that the people insisted. Thus this request of Musa was on behalf of the people.

Mamun: It is mentioned about Yusuf (a.s) that: She intended with him and he intended with her. If Yusuf was a prophet how can he have such intention?
Imam: You have not recited the complete verse, which is as follows: Yusuf would also have intended if he had not seen the proof of his Lord. Since he was an infallible prophet, he did not make such an intention. Another meaning of this is that Zulaikha made an intention of sin, and Yusuf (a.s) made an intention “not to do it”.

Mamun: All right. It is mentioned about the Messenger of Allah (S) in the Quran: Indeed We gave you a clear victory so that Allah may remit your past and future sins. This shows that the prophet was a sinner.
Imam: This verse does not denote the sin of the Prophet. Rather it means that: O Prophet! Your denouncement of the idols of the polytheists and your invitation towards the oneness of God, which were sinful actions in the eyes of the people, now that Mecca is conquered, and people willingly or unwillingly have become Muslims, thus all your past actions (sins in the view of the polytheists) are forgiven. That is, you are no more a sinner in their view.

Mamun: Son of the Messenger, I am thankful to you that you removed all my doubts.

(Uyun Akhbar Al-Reza, p.147)

Debate of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s) whit Ibn Sikkit

debate part[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?
Imam: Intellect.

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.