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.”

Debate 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?”


The Prophet’s (S) debate with Jews


debate part

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]mam Hassan Askari (as) said: ‘When Prophet (S) was living in Mecca, God’s order was such that while offering his prayers, he should face Bayt–ul–Muqaddas [the holy al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem] and when possible, keep Kaaba [the Holy Kaaba] in between the Bayt–ul–Muqaddas and Mecca and when this was not possible, keep Bayt–ul–Muqaddas as Qibla [direction to which Muslims turn for their prayers] and this routine continued for 13 years.

When Prophet (S) migrated to Medina, he would still face Bayt–ul–Muqaddas, while praying [a direction] that deviated from Kaaba, and this continued for about 16 or 17 months.

After seeing this, extremist and mischievous Jews said that how strange it is that Muhammad (S) faces our Qibla while praying and he has adopted our ways and style in his prayers.

When the Prophet (S) found out about what the Jews had been saying, he was hurt and severely grieved; it bothered him to pray while facing their Qibla and he wished to make Kaaba his Qibla. As soon as he wished this, Jibreel came to him.
The Prophet (S) said to Jibreel: “If God changed Qibla from Bayt–ul–Muqaddas to Kaaba, I would be very pleased because it hurts me to hear what the Jews are saying about praying while facing their Qibla.”

Jibreel [a] replied: ‘Oh Prophet of God! Ask God for changing the Qibla and I am sure that God will not reject your wish and request.’ Upon hearing this, the Prophet (S) prayed to God. As soon as he prayed, Jibreel went to Heavens and returned immediately. He said: ‘Oh Muhammad (S)! Recite this:
Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qibla which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not at all heedless of what they do.

And even if you bring to those who have been given the Book every sign they would not follow your qibla, nor can you be a follower of their qibla, neither are they the followers of each other’s qibla, and if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust. [2:144-145]

Upon hearing this, the Jews said: ‘Why did Muslims stop facing their previous Qibla [Bayt–ul–Muqaddas] and turned to Kaaba?’
God gave a perfect answer to this question and the Prophet (S) said:
The fools among the people will say: What has turned them from their qibla which they had? Say: The East and the West belong only to Allah; He guides whom He likes to the right path. [2:142].

And He is all-aware of the interests of His servants, and it is He who will send His obedient servants to gardens of bliss.”

Imam Hassan Askari (as) said: ‘Then, some Jews came to the Prophet (S) and started talking: ‘O Muhammad! You prayed while facing the Qibla you call Bayt–ul–Muqaddas for 14 years and now you suddenly left it so can we ask you a question: Were you following haq [righteous way, truth] before and now you have left it and started following batil [erroneous way, wrong, against haq] or were you following batil before for a period of time and now you have come to follow haq?’
The Prophet (S) said: “I was on haq before and I am on haq now as well because God’s clear command is that the east and the west are His and He guides whoever He wishes to the right path.

Oh servants of God! When Allah felt that your interest and welfare lies in praying while facing the east, He ordered you to make east your Qibla and when He saw that your interest and welfare lies in making the west as your Qibla, He ordered you to face the west. Hence, do not interfere in divine plans for His servants and His will for your interest”

The Prophet (S) then continued: “Now you tell me, you stopped working on Saturdays and then you worked on all the days. Then again you stopped working on Saturdays and then you again worked on all the days. Now tell me, did you come towards batil from haq or from batil towards haq or from batil towards batil or from haq towards haq? Explain in any way you wish. Then our answer will be the same as yours.”

The Jews said: ‘Yes, our ‘tark al-amal’ [leaving daily work for earning] on Saturdays was haq and our working afterwards was also haq.’
The Prophet (S) said: “So, this is exactly our situation. It was haq at that time when Bayt–ul–Muqaddas was made the Qibla. Then, the decision to make Kaaba the new Qibla at that time was also haq.”

The Jews said: ‘Has bada4 (change) occurred in Lord when He ordered you to turn your face from Bayt–ul–Muqaddas towards Kaaba while praying?’
The Prophet (S) said: “This change in the Qibla cannot lead to bada in God. The truth is that He is aware of all the consequences. He is omnipotent over the advantages and benefits [of His orders]. He cannot make mistakes nor can anyone change His decisions. God is higher over all these things.”

Then the Prophet said to them: “Oh Jews! Tell me, does not God give a person a disease and then cure him? And He cures him and does He not give him an incurable disease? Is this bada for God? And is it not so that God gives life and takes it away? Does this lead to bada for God?”

The Jews replied: ‘No.’
The Prophet (S) said: “Then just like this, God’s Prophet Muhammad (S) prayed facing the Kaaba while before, he used to pray facing Bayt-ul-Muqaddas. So, no bada occurred by His first order [so that there would be the necessity to give a new order] but that what happened was the need of time and the need of time changes in every era.”

He (S) continued: “Does not God bring winter after summer and summer after winter and does this change in seasons manifest bada in God’s decision?”

The Jews said: ‘No.’
The Prophet (S) said: “Then similarly, no bada occurred with the change of Qibla.”

He (S) then said: “Has not God ordered us to wear thick and warm clothes in winter to protect ourselves from cold and in summer, to protect our bodies from the heat of summer? Then, wasn’t the order given in summer against the order given in winter? So is this contradiction tantamount to bada?”

The Jews replied: ‘No.’
The Prophet (S) said: “Similarly, God gives you an order and it is in your interests. Then, at another time, He gives you a different order while keeping in view your interests. And then, when you will obey Him in both the situations, you will deserve His reward.”

Then he (S) said: “Oh servants of God! Think this way as if you are sick and the Lord of the world is your physician. So, the interest and welfare of the patients lies in acting upon the advice of physician. And not in considering the patients’ desires and fulfilling their wants. Thus, submit to Allah’s orders so that you will be among those who are successful.”

Reference: al-Ihtajaj, vol. 1, p. 81-86 [written by al-Allama Abu Mansur Ahmed Ibn Ali al-Tabarsi. d. 599 A.H.]

The Imam Musa Kadhim’s debate with Harun Rashid

debate part

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]uch was the knowledge and superiority of Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) that no scholar of his time could dare compete with him. He had many debates and discussions with the inimical scholars whereby they had to face humiliation and defeat.

Once, Harun Rashid came to Mecca for the Hajj. At the time of Tawaf (Circumambulation of the Ka’ba) he ordered that none should accompany him. But soon a youth arrived and also began to perform the Tawaf. A soldier told him to move away from the caliph.

“Why should I move away? This is the House of Allah”, said the youth. “Here, the dwellers of the cities and the villagers, all are equal.”

Hearing this Harun refrained his soldier and continued his Tawaf. The youth was walking ahead of him. When Harun wanted to kiss the Black stone, the youth preceded him and kissed it before him. In the same way, when he wanted to pray at the place of Ibrahim, the youth moved forward and performed the prayer before Harun could.

After completing his prayer Harun sent his soldier to summon that youth. The youth said, “Why should I go to him? If he wants to speak to me he should come here.” The royal servant reported this statement to the caliph. Harun himself arrived and began the following conversation:

Harun: I will ask you some questions, if you do not give proper replies, I will punish you severely.

Youth: Do you ask by way of testing me or to gain knowledge thereby?
Harun: For gaining knowledge.

Youth: Then sit in the way a student sits before a teacher.

Harun: Tell me, how many obligatory things are there in religious law?
Youth: One, five, seventeen, thirty-four, ninety-four, then one in twelve, one in forty, forty in two hundred, once in the lifetime and on in place of one.

Harun: (Laughing) Glory be to Allah! I am asking you about religions obligations but you mention mathematical figures to me.
Youth: The basis of religion and the world is on mathematics. If it had not been so why Allah would have taken account of the people on the Day of Judgment?

Harun: All right! But explain to me what you have mentioned. Otherwise I would slay you between Safa and Marwah.
(One of his officers said: O chief! This is the sanctuary of God. Do not make an intention of killing the youth here. Hearing this, the youth laughed all of a sudden).

Harun: Why do you laugh?
Youth: I don’t know who is more foolish. One who wants to deflect death that is decreed for one or that who wants to summon death for someone not yet to die?

Harun: Anyway what is the use of such talks? Now you explain your statement.
Youth: When I said that there is one obligation; it is the religion of Islam. Because apart from this no other religion is acceptable to Allah. When I said: Five, it denotes the five obligatory prayers and “seventeen” is the number of their rakats (units).

“Thirty-four” is the sum total of the prostrations; two in each rakat. Ninety-four obligations, denotes the ninety-four Takbirs (Allaho Akbar), that are recited in every rakat with every bowing (ruku) and prostration (Sajdah). And “one in forty” means the Zakat. As one in forty Dinar is liable to be given in Zakat.

“One in twelve” denotes one month of fasting of the twelve months of the year. And “forty out of 200” means Khums. That is if one saves 200 Dirhams after taking out his expenses for the year he has to pay forty Dirhams as Khums and none but the Prophet is eligible for this. “Once in the lifetime” means the Hajj, which is made obligatory once in a lifetime. “One in the place of one” is the retaliation of one killed unjustly. That is, the murderer becomes liable to capital punishment.

Upon hearing this reply, Harun was astounded and holding forth a bag of gold coins he said it was the recompense of the reply.

Youth: Is it for solving the problem or for gaining benefit?
Harun: For gaining benefit.
Youth: All right! Now I am asking you a question. If you reply correctly we will distribute these coins here otherwise you have to give me one more bag and I will distribute both among the poor people of my tribe and community.

Harun: Very Good!
Youth: Tell me, when the young one of the “Khanshaw Mushkill” (a type of worm) is born, is it fed by its parents with grains or nursed by its mother?

Harun: Surprising that I am asked such a question.
Youth: The Holy Prophet (S) has said: When a person is the chief of a community, he is given the same type of intellect. Since you are the chief of this nation at present you should have the most knowledge regarding it.

Harun: Tell me what is the correct reply, as I am ignorant about it. And take this bag of gold coins also.
Youth: When the Almighty Allah created the earth, He created many crawling creatures in it, which were created from the soil itself. When a young one is born to them, neither its mother nurses it nor is it fed any grain. Rather its life is from the soil. Same is the condition of this worm.

After this, the youth picked up both the bags of gold coins and distributed them among the needy at that very place. Harun inquired about the name of this young man from some people. Someone said: Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s)
Harun said: Why shouldn’t it be? Such are the fruits of a great tree!


The Imam Reza’s debates with an Atheist

debate part

[dropcap]An[/dropcap] atheist, experienced in atheism and unbelief, hurried to attend Ima`m al-Rida`’s session in which was a group of people. The Ima`m turned to the atheist and asked him:

“Do you see that if the correct view is your view and it is not your view then are we not equal? All that we have prayed, fasted, given the alms and declared of our convictions will not harm us?

” The atheist kept silence because of this undeniable argument, for if the matter was as the atheists said that there was no god, then prayer and fasting would not harm the monotheists. After that the Ima`m added, saying: “If the correct view is our view¾and it is our view then have you not perished and we gained salvation?

” The Imam wanted to say that if the atheists came to know that there was Almighty Creator, they would be perished, bring disgrace on themselves, and face a painful punishment. As for the believers and the pious, they would be successful. The atheist asked the Ima`m, peace be on him, the following questions:

Q1: “May Allah have mercy on, let me know how is He (Allah) and where is He?”

Ans. 1: “Surely the opinion you have adopted is mistaken. He (Allah) determined the ‘where’ and he was when there was no where; He fashioned the ‘how’ and He was when there was no ‘how’. So He is not known through ‘howness’ or ‘whereness’ or through any form of sense perception; nor can He be gauged by anything.” Indeed Allah is the Light of the heavens and earth, for it is impossible for Him to be distinguished by the ‘where’, ‘how’ and the rest qualities of the possible being who will perish sooner or later. As for Allah, the Glorified, He is not perceived by the senses; nor is He gauged by anything.

Q2: “So then He is nothing if He cannot be perceived by any of the senses?

” Ans. 2: “Woe unto you! When your senses fail to perceive Him, you deny His lordship. But when our senses fail to perceive Him, we know for certain that He is our Lord and that He is something different from other things.” The perception of the senses is limited in quantity and quality as well as the senses do not perceive many possible beings. For example, they do not perceive the reality of soul, then how do they perceive the Necessary Being, the Exalted, the Holy?

Q3: “Tell me, when He was?

” Ans. 4: “Tell me when He was not, and then I will tell you when He was.” The Imam, peace be on him, criticized the atheist for his question, for Allah, the Exalted is a brilliant reality which every one comprehends through His signs, His great creation, and His marvelous creatures. He is in every stage of existence, and it is impossible to say: “When He was?

Q4: “Then what is the proof of Him?

” Ans. 4: “Surely when I contemplate my body and it is impossible for me to increase or decrease its breadth and height, or to keep unpleasant things away from it or draw benefits to it, then I know that this structure has a maker and I acknowledge Him even though that which I had seen of the rotation of the celestial sphere through His power, the producing of clouds; the turning about of the winds; the procession of the sun, the moon and the stars; and others of his wondrous and perfectly created signs, had already made me know that (all) this has a Determiner and Producer.” Surely, every atom of this world is a proof of the existence of the great Creator, who has made them. If man carefully considers his own body and the wonderful systems and cells wherein, he will certainly believe in Allah, the Most High, just as it has been mentioned in the tradition: “He who knows his own body knows his Lord.” Allah, the Exalted, created man in the best manner. It is impossible that there is increase or decrease in his organs. It is well know that this surprisingly accurate creation of man is evidence for the existence of Allah, for effect is proof of cause as logicians say. Among the signs of Allah are the rotation of the celestial sphere, the producing of clouds; the turning about of the winds; the procession of the sun and the moon. He, the Exalted, says: “Neither it is allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.” Glory belongs to Allah! Many signs are evidence for His existence.

Q5: “Then why does the sense of sight not perceive Him?”

Ans. 5: “Because of the difference between Him and His creatures, who are perceived by the vision of the eyes, whether their own or others. Then He is greater than that sight should perceive Him, imagination encompass Him, or the power of reason delineate Him.” The sense of sight and rest of man’s senses are limited, then how can they, perceive, see, and encompass the Almighty Creator? Rather they perceive and comprehend some possible beings.

Q6: “Then define His limits for me.

” Ans. 6: “He has no limits.” Limitation belongs to possible beings. As for the Necessary Being, it is impossible for Him to be limited.

Q7: “Why?

” Ans. 7: “Because every limited thing ends at a limit. If limitation is possible, then increase is possible. If increase is possible, then decrease is possible. So He is unlimited. He neither increases nor decreases. Nor is He capable of being divided or imagined.” The Ima`m, peace be on him, provided evidence of that it was impossible for man to define the limits of the Almighty Necessary Being. That is because limitation, as we have mentioned, is one of the qualities of the possible beings.

Q8: “Then tell me about your saying that He is Subtle, Hearing, Seeing, Knowing, and Wise. Can He be the Hearing without ears, the Seeing without eyes, the Subtle without working with the hands and the Wise without workmanship (san’a)?

” Ans. 8: “Surely a person among us is subtle in accordance with (his) skill in workmanship. Have you not seen the man who undertakes a task and is subtle in his handling of it, so that it is said: ‘How subtle is so and so!’ Then how should it not be said of the Majestic Creator that He is subtle, when He creates a subtle and majestic creation, places in its living creatures their souls, creates every kind different in form from its own kind, and none resembles another?

Each possesses in the composition of its form a subtlety from the Subtle and Aware Creator. “Then we look upon the trees and their bearing of delicate things, whether edible or inedible, and we said at that: ‘Surely our Creator is Subtle, (but) not like the subtlety of His creatures in their workmanship.’ And we said: ‘Surely He is Hearing, for not hidden from Him are the sounds of His creatures between the Throne and the earth, from a mote to what is larger than it, and in the land and the sea. And their words are not confused by Him.’ At that we said: ‘Surely He is Hearing, but not through ears.

“Then we said: ‘Surely He is Seeing but not through eyes, for He sees the trace of a black speck on a dark night on a black stone. He sees the tracks of an ant on a pitch-black night. He sees what is harmful for it and what beneficial, and the result of its cohabitation, and its young and descendants.’ And at that we said: ‘Surely He is Seeing but not like the sight of His creatures. “

The Outstanding Merit of the Prophet

reading quran

 [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Outstanding Merit of the Prophet, May Allah bless him and his family:
Abu Khanis al-Kufi said:

“I attended the meeting of al-Sadiq, peace be on him, and a group of the Christians was in his presence. They (the Christians) said:

‘The outstanding merit of Musa, ‘Isa, and Mohammed is the same, for they, peace be on them, are the Owners of the Laws and the Books.’ Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said:

‘Mohammed is the best and the most knowledgeable of them, peace be on them. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has granted him knowledge of which He has granted none.’ They (the Christians) said:

‘Has any verse of the Koran been revealed in this respect?’ Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: ‘Yes.’ These verse of Allah, the Exalted: ‘And we ordained for him in the tablets admonition of every kind.'(7:145) His words to ‘Isa: ‘and that I may make clear to you part of what you differ in.'(43:63)

Allah, the Exalted, said to Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family: ‘And We will bring you as a witness against these- and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything.’ (16:89) So that He may know that they have truly delivered the messages of their Lord, and He encompasses what is with them, and He records the number of all things.'(72:28)

Then, by Allah, he (Mohammed) is the most knowledgeable of them. If Musa and ‘Isa attended in my presence and asked me, I would answer them, and I asked them, they would not answer.

“‘(Bihar al- Anwar, V.10, P.215)

Treating the Women with Justice

Treating the Women with Justice

[dropcap]An[/dropcap] unbeliever said to Abu Ja’far al- Ahwal: ” Tell me about the following Words of Allah, the Exalted:

Then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then marry only one.'(4:3)

and these Words of Him:

‘And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it), but be not disinclined (from one) with total disinclination.'(4:129)

There is a difference between these two verses.” Abu Ja’far al- Ahwal said: “I had no answer. So, I went to Medina and came to Abu Abd Allah, peace be on him, and asked him about the difference between the two verses.

” Al- Sadiq said: “As for the verse: But if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then marry only one, He (Allah) has meant the expenses.

And as for the verse: And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it), He (Allah) has meant love, for no one is able to do justice to two wives in love.

” Then Abu Ja’far came back to the unbeliever carrying the answer. But the unbeliever said: ‘You have brought this answer from Hijaz.

“‘(Bihar al- Anwar, v. 10, p.202)

Debates of Prophet Muhammad (S) with scholars of five different religions/ part 5


part 5: Debate with Polytheists
Then, the Prophet (S) turned towards the Arab polytheists and said: “Why do you worship idols instead of worshipping Allah?”
The polytheists replied: ‘We seek nearness to God through worshipping these idols.’

The Prophet (S) said: “Can these idols hear? Do they obey their lord? Do they worship God so that you would become close to God by paying homage to them and their worship?”

The polytheists said: ‘No, this is not so.’
The Prophet (S) said: “You made these idols with your own hands so if worship was possible for them, it was them who should have worshipped you and not the other way around. In addition, the One who knows your needs and your future and knows your affairs has not ordered any such respect and homage to these idols…”

Upon hearing this, there was a discord among the polytheists. Some of them started saying that ‘God incarnates himself in the bodies of few human beings and then we make the idols of these human beings and pay homage to them so that those statues in which our god was incarnated before will bring us closer to him.’

Others started saying that ‘these idols were the sculptures of great servants of god who were obedient towards him. We made their idols so that they would be worshipped and in this way we openly show respect towards god.’
The last group among them said that ‘when God created Adam (as), He ordered the angels to prostrate before him while we were more worthy of prostrating before Adam than the angels and since we did not get the chance to do this, we made an idol of Adam and bowed before it so that we would achieve the same nearness to god just like the angels did.

And in the same way that you ordered your followers to prostrate towards the Kaaba [Holy Kaaba] in Mecca and you built mosques in other places and prostrated in those mosques but your intention was Kaaba and not the mehrab [the physical place of worship in mosque].

And even when you were prostrating towards Kaaba, your intention is not to prostrate to the Kaaba itself but to prostrate to God. Our intentions too, are directed towards worship of God while seemingly we are prostrating the idols.’
The Prophet (S) said: “You are on the wrong path and misguided. By saying this, you are attributing the characteristics of the creatures to the Creator because when your god will incarnate himself in an object [or body], then that object will surround him.

Then, if so, what difference will remain between this God who incarnates himself in an object and the things which mix [or combine] with other things [having characteristics] such as color, odor, softness, hardness, lightness and heaviness?
And why should these objects [in which God incarnates] be considered haadith [contingent, with a beginning] and God qadeem [eternally pre-existent]? [means that it is opposite and impossible as these objects are created and have a beginning while God is pre-existent, without a beginning]

Why don’t we then call God haadith and take these bodies qadeem? And also, tell me how can God be in need of space when He was there before the creation of space itself and when you attributed the characteristic of hulool7 (incarnation) to God and added the characteristics of creatures to him. Then it is necessary for you to also place the characteristic of zawaal8 (transient, falling) in Him. After that, for the one who has the characteristic of zawaal, you must also add the characteristic of fana9 (destruction) to it.

This is because all of these characteristics are indispensable for those who incarnate and also for the objects in which others incarnate. And it is definite that all of these objects are variant [have tendency to change over time]. So if God does not change after hulool, it would mean that an invariant thing will be simultaneously moving and stationary, will be black and white, and red and yellow at the same time which is impossible.

And it is also proven that when something [such as an object] acquires the characteristics of a haadith [with a beginning], it itself transforms into a haadith object. And you have no choice but to admit that my God is superior to all of these haadith characteristics [of creatures]. And when the claim that ‘God incarnates in someone’ is itself proven false, then the entire belief system which rests upon it is also falsified.”

Upon hearing this, all of them were silent and said: ‘We would like to think upon their beliefs.’

Then, the Prophet (S) turned towards the second group and said: “Now tell me, when you worship the sculptures [statues] of those human beings who used to worship God and when you prostrate before them and put your pure foreheads on the ground, then tell me what ways of expressing servitude have you specifically reserved for the One who is the Lord of these statues and is the Lord of the Worlds you have discarded? Do you not know that you are not supposed to equate the One who is worthy of respect and worship with His servants and creatures?

Suppose you show same level of respect and glorification to a king or an important person as you show to his servant; would this not be considered as an insult and humiliation to the King or that important person?”

The polytheists replied: ‘Yes, this would be so.’

The Prophet (S) said: “So are you not aware that by bowing, respecting and glorifying the sculptures of the obedient servants of God, you are in fact insulting God ?” [because then it seems that there is no better way of expressing servitude towards God]

Upon hearing this, they were silent and said: ‘We would like to think over our beliefs.’

The Prophet (S) then turned towards the third group and said: “You gave my example and compared me to you while in reality we are not equal. We are God’s servants, His creatures and nurtured by Him and we do as He says and avoid what He has forbidden and worship Him the way He wishes us to worship Him. When He orders us to do something, we do not go after something against that order which He has not permitted us to do because we do not know and it might be possible that He wishes us to do an action but not the other one which He has forbidden us.

He has forbidden us to transgress His order. So when God ordered us to worship Him while facing the Kaaba, we exactly followed His order. And when He ordered us to face Kaaba even when we were in other cities, we again did what He had ordered and we never tried to go beyond what He had asked us to do. So when God ordered the prostration before Adam, He did not order the prostration before Adam’s (as) sculpture [which is separate and different from Adam].

It was obligatory upon you to obey this order of God and not compare it [using analogy] to Sculpture of Adam (as). How do you know that maybe God will not like this deed of yours when He has not ordered such a thing. You must be observing this in your daily life that a person invites you to his house. Is it possible then that you enter his house on another day without his permission or go to another one of his houses? Or suppose that a person provides you his clothes, food and animal for travel, will you take these things next time without his permission?”

The polytheists said: ‘No.’

The Prophet (S) said: “Alright, if you don’t take these things but take his other belongings which are of the same colour, shape etc., will that be right?”
The polytheists said: ‘No, because he did not give us permission.’
The Prophet (S) said: “Alright, so tell me, is God more worthy of the fact that no one commits something against His orders in His kingdom or His servants [creatures]?”

The polytheists said: ‘God is more worthy of the fact that no one acts against His orders in this world.’
The Prophet (S) said: “Then why do you do this [worship idols]? When did God ask you to worship these idols?”
After hearing this, they were all silent and said: ‘We would like to think over our beliefs.’

Imam al-Sadiq (as) says that Imam Ali (as) said: ‘By God not even three days had passed that all those 25 scholars who came for debate, and were 5 individuals from each sect, converted to Islam. They declared: ‘O Muhammad! Until today we never heard such solid arguments and proofs which you presented to us. And we declare that you are the Prophet of God.’’

Al-Ihtajaj, vol. 1, p. 27-44 [written by al-Allama Abu Mansur Ahmed Ibn Ali al-Tabarsi. d. 599 A.H.
1. Please see glossary for more details.
2. Please see glossary for more details.
3. Prophet Muhammad (S) had another debate with Christian Scholars of Najran in the year 10 A.H. On the orders of God, both parties decided to have Mubahila [imprecation] next day. However the Christians were frightened and backed out of Mubahila and agreed to pay jizyah [Islamic tax]. The relevant Qur’anic verses are:
But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: “Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars” (61). Most surely this is the true story, and there is no god but Allah,’ and most surely Allah is the Mighty, the Wise (62). But if they turn back then surely Allah knows the mischief makers (63) [3: 61-63].
For Qur’anic exegesis of the event of Mubahila from Tafsir al-Mizan, kindly visit: See under 3: 61-63.
4. Please see glossary for more details.
5. Please see glossary for more details.
6. Please see glossary for more details.
7. Please see glossary for more details.
8. Please see glossary for more details.
9. Please see glossary for more details.

Debates of Prophet Muhammad (S) with scholars of five different religions/ part 4


Part 4: Debate with Dualists [Sanaviyas]
Prophet Muhammad (S) then turned towards the Sanaviyas [Dualists, believers of two Gods], who believe that light [or goodness] and darkness [or evil] control the matters of this Universe.

The Prophet (S) said: “Tell me what has forced you to claim that light and darkness control this Universe.”

The Dualists replied: ‘We have observed two discrete characteristics in this Universe, goodness and evil and we found out that these two are completely opposite of one another. So we could not accept that the one who does a good thing can also perform what is its opposite. Hence, we considered the performer of each one of these characteristics as a separate being. Can you not see that it is impossible for ice to be hot and fire to be cold? So we suggested two creators, the first one is light and the second one, darkness.’

The Prophet (S) said: “Have you not observed blackness, whiteness, redness, yellowness and greenness and isn’t each one of them opposite of the others? And that, just like how coldness and hotness cannot be together in one place, these colors can’t be gathered in one place?” [meaning that these colors cannot be one other at the same time, e.g. green cannot be blue at the same time]
The Dualists replied: ‘Yes.’

The Prophet (S) said: “So, just like you have suggested one creator for every separate characteristic, can the creators of each one of these colors be considered separate?”

Everyone was silent when they heard this argument from Prophet Muhammad (S).

The Prophet (S) continued: “Now tell me, you say that light and darkness decide the affairs of this Universe together. How can light and darkness mix when it is the nature of lightness to ascend and the nature of darkness to descend? Can you not see that when a person walks towards east and another person walks towards west, is it possible for them to meet?”

The Dualists replied: ‘No, it is impossible.’

The Prophet (S) said: “Thus it is proved that light and darkness cannot be combined because each one of them moves in opposition to the other. When they cannot be combined together, they cannot be makers of Universe. So how do you think that the Universe is created by the combination of these two when combination of these elements is impossible? These two [light and darkness] are in fact the creatures of one God who intelligently prevails over them and wisely controls them.”

The Dualists replied: ‘Let us think about our views.’

Debates of Prophet Muhammad (S) with scholars of five different religions/ part 3


Part 3: Debate with Atheists
The Prophet (S) then turned towards the atheists and said: “Now, tell me what is the reason behind your claim that the objects [or whatever is] in this Universe have no beginning and they have been there forever and will exist forever.”
The atheists replied: ‘We are simply stating what we observe. We have not seen hudooth [contingency, coming into existence] in objects [or whatever exists] of the Universe so we say that this Universe has been there forever and when we did not observe destruction and annihilation, we postulated that whatever exists in this Universe is not transient [will never annihilate].’

The Prophet (S) said: “Did you find this Universe qadeem [eternally pre-existent, without a beginning] or did you find it eternal? If you say so, then explain if you yourself are in the same physical and intellectual state as you are now and that you will remain like this forever. If you will answer positively, then undoubtedly, you will deny your own observation and reject the observation of the observers [in other words, you yourself were not in the same physical and intellectual state].”
Facing this question from the Prophet (S), the atheists replied: ‘No, we do not find this Universe pre-existent or everlasting.’

The Prophet (S) then said: “Then how come you said that the objects in this Universe are eternally pre-existent and eternal? And when you did not observe hudooth [contingency, coming into being] or inqadha6 (perishing, being transient) in this Universe, you called it pre-existent and eternal; while it was better for you, when you did not find eternal pre-existence and eternity in this Universe, to claim that this Universe is haadith [came into existence] and has inqadha (perishable). Alright, have you seen how the day and night come one after another?”

The atheists said: ‘Yes.’

The Prophet (S) said: “Do you think of the night and the day to be eternal?”
The atheists said: ‘Yes.’

The Prophet (S) said: “In your opinion, can the night and the day coexist?”
The atheists said: ‘No.’

The Prophet (S) continued: “Doesn’t one of them separate from the other and come forward and the other one follow it?”

The atheists said: ‘Yes, this is how it works.’
The Prophet (S) said: “So, through your affirmation, you have said that the night and the day that have passed display hudooth [coming into existence], while you have not observed it directly. Now, tell me you say that the Universe is eternally pre-existent and not haadith [something pre-existent]. Do you know what are the things that you will have to admit to and reject, based on your proposition?”
The atheists said: ‘Yes.’

The Prophet (S) said: “You have definitely observed that in this Universe, one thing is dependent over another because existence of anything in this Universe is impossible without its contact [or connection] with another thing. You may have seen how some parts of a building are dependent over others or else, the building would be unstable and not be able to stand as a unit [will fall] and this is true for everything [in this Universe]. The same is true for all other objects. So, when these objects, while being eternally pre-existent, require other objects for their strength and completeness, so now tell me, what would have been their situation and characteristics had they been haadith [having a beginning]?”


Imam Ali (as) says that after hearing this question from Prophet Muhammad (S), all the atheists were baffled and understood that it is impossible to acquire a new characteristic for a haadith object [something with a beginning] that is different from the characteristics of the objects which we call qadeem (eternally pre-existent).

The atheists stopped their discussion and said: ‘We wish to think over our matters for some time…’

Debates of Prophet Muhammad (S) with scholars of five different religions/ part 2


Part 2: Debate with Christians

The Prophet (S) then turned towards Christians and started debate…
The Prophet (S) said: “You say that the qadeem [eternally pre-existent] God united with His son Messiah [Jesus, Prophet Isa (as)]. So, in other words, you are implying that qadeem (God, eternally pre-existent) became haadith (something with a beginning) because of a haadith [Prophet Isa (as)] and so haadith [Prophet Isa (as)] became qadeem, just like God is. [means that an eternal being became contingent and the contingent became eternal].4

Or maybe what you mean by ‘God united with His son’ is that God specially blessed him and did not bless anyone with the same dignity and respect. So, if by this you meant that qadeem God became haadith, then you are completely wrong. This is because it is impossible for a qadeem [eternally pre-existent] to become haadith through some revolutionary means. And if you say that haadith became qadeem then this is also incorrect because, just like how a qadeem cannot become haadith, a haadith cannot become qadeem.

And if by ‘unity’ you mean that God specially chose him for Himself and from among all His servants only chose Prophet Isa (as) for this dignity, then this means that you have admitted on hudooth5 (coming into existence) of Prophet Isa (as) for which God united with him. Because when Prophet Isa (as) became haadith [came into existence] and then God united with him, it means that he acquired ‘characteristics’ by which he became superior to all the creatures, then Prophet Isa (as) and the new ‘characteristics’ are both haadith. And this goes against all that you have said so far.”

The Christians replied: ‘Oh Muhammad! When God placed great miracles [which the whole world knows] on Prophet Isa’s (as) hands, then He made Jesus His son to dignify and glorify him.’

The Prophet (S) said: “You just heard what I said to the Jews on this topic.” [And then the Prophet (S) repeated his conservation with Jews].” [Please see debate of Prophet (S) with Jews]

After listening to Prophet’s arguments, everyone was silent. However, one person from among them came forward and said: ‘Oh Muhammad! Do you not say that Abraham [Prophet Ibrahim (as)] is the Khalil of God?’
The Prophet (S) replied: “Yes, we say that.”

The Christian man said: ‘If Ibrahim (as) can be the ‘Khalil of God’, then why do you stop us from saying that Jesus is the ‘son of God’?’

The Prophet (S) replied: “These two things are not similar, because when we say Ibrahim (as) is the Khalil of God, we mean something different. In reality, the word Khalil derives from khillat and khillat means ‘needliness and poverty’. So, he is called Khalil because he only needed God and he was totally cutoff from everything of the world, he only trusted God and only asked Him in time of need. And his story is that when his enemies decided to throw him in the fire and placed him on the catapult, God sent angel Gabriel [Jibreel] towards him and told Jibreel, “Go and help My servant.” Jibreel went to Ibrahim (as) and met him in air [while he was thrown towards fire] and told him, “Tell me what you want. God has sent me to help you.”

Ibrahim (as) answered by saying, “No, I do not need your help. God is enough for me and I trust only Him. I will never ask anyone but Him. If I need anything, I will only ask Him.” So, God called him Khalil, which means someone who is only needy of God, only depends on Him and is disconnected from everything other than Him and asking God only in time of his need. And if the meaning of khillat is taken as secrets then it means that he knew those secrets of God that no one else did, then Khalil would mean ‘Knowledgeable of God’ and ‘Knowledgeable of His divine affairs’ and on this basis, you cannot compare God to His creatures.

Can you not see that when there is no need towards Him, then he cannot be Khalil and similarly, if the knowledge of His secrets does not exist, then he is again not a Khalil? But if a person has a son and he insults him or rejects his son, even then he cannot take him out of his fatherhood because birth is a reality. In addition, if God’s said ‘Ibrahim (as) is My Khalil’ based on this, it is incumbent upon you to call Prophet Isa (as) His son, then it is also incumbent upon you to call Musa His son because he performed strange miracles that were different from those of Prophet Isa (as). Then, you will also have to say that Musa (as) is His son and just like I told the Jews, you can also call Musa (as) His leader, uncle, boss and master.”

After hearing this, the Christians started saying to each other that it is written in the Holy Bible that Jesus said: ‘Go towards my and your Father.’
The Prophet (S) said: “If you practice what is written in this book [Bible, Injeel] and if it says, ‘Go towards my and your Father,’ then you will also have to say that all of those people to whom Prophet Isa (as) was speaking to when he said this [sentence] are also God’s sons and they were all God’s sons on the same basis as Prophet Isa (as) was God’s son. And this quote from this book [Bible] falsifies your claim because you consider Prophet Isa (as) as the son of God due to his special position and proximity to Him. Just now, you said that we call Prophet Isa (as) son of God because of his special status that God has exclusively given him and not anyone else.

And you are also aware of the fact that this special attribute was only possessed by Prophet Isa (as) and not the ones to whom Prophet Isa (as) said: ‘Go towards my and your Father.’ Thus, this claim of yours that God made Prophet Isa (as) His son because of his special attribute is falsified because ‘being a son of God’ is also proved for those who did not possess any special status. And is it not possible that you made a wrong interpretation and explanation of Prophet Isa’s (as) quote and made a mistake in understanding it? Because when he said:

‘Go towards my and your Father’ he might not have meant what you think. However, it is quite possible that he meant go towards your father [Adam or Noah (as)] and very soon, God will ascend me towards them and gather me with them and ‘Adam (as) is my father, as well as yours.’ Similarly, ‘Noah (as) is my father and also your father’ [Noah (as) is also called the second Adam (as)] and it is possible that there might be another meaning to what he said which you cannot comprehend.”
Upon hearing this, all the Christians were silent and said: ‘We have never seen anyone [like Prophet Muhammad (S)] who debates like this and we want to think over our matters