Short Story: Abu Hanifa And His Encounter With Bahlul

A human being with regards to his actions, he has a choice with regards to his actions. And hence when the imam Abu Hanifa was saying that Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, because he was a student of Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, for two years. He said: 'he has said three things which really I have failed to comprehend'. I think he has failed to comprehend more than three things. But anyways, he says there are three things.

So one thing he said, I have failed to comprehend is that he says [Imam as-Sadiq], we cannot see Allah on the Day of Qiyamah and I don't understand how is it possible that Allah exists and we can't see Him? How can we not see something that exists? Something exists, we should be able to see according to him [Abu Hanifa]. That's one thing I don't understand.

The second thing I don't understand is that he [Imam as-Sadiq] said: 'the human being is responsible for his actions'. How is that so when Allah attributes all the actions to Himself, everything is attributed to Allah. So how is it possible that we are responsible for our actions? And the third thing he [Imam as-Sadiq] said is that Iblees will be punished in the Hellfire. How could it be for something that is made of fire to be punished in the fire? Here are three things I have failed to understand [Abu Hanifa].

It is said that Bahlul was around in the neighbourhood when he [Abu Hanifa]said this in the vicinity. So what Bahlul did after hearing him is, he took some clay, he gathered it, and then he threw it at imam Abu Hanifa. It hits him in the head and he started bleeding. So then he [Abu Hanifa] said, arrest him. So they arrested Bahlul and they brought him before the judge. He [the judge] said Bahlul what have you done? He [Bahlul]said, what? He [the judge] said, well what did you just do to Imam Abu Hanifa? He [Bahlul] said, well he asked three questions and I answered them. He said, how so?

He [Bahlul] said, first of all his question was, how is it possible that we are responsible for our actions? So if we're not responsible, Allah is responsible for our actions. Why are you guys punishing me for throwing a clay at him? Go after Allah. Why are you punishing me? Allah made me pick up this clay and throw it at him. Why do you punish me, then?

Second thing he's saying, how could Iblees, he's made of fire and he gets punished in fire. Well, he is a human, made of clay. So how could clay hurt a human who is made up of clay? And the third, he's saying that, how could we not see Allah when He exists? Allah exists, but we cannot see Him, how is that possible? Well, he [Abu Hanifa] claims that he has pain. I don't see his pain, and therefore he doesn't have any pain. It does not exist.

And the judge laughed and said: 'Bahlul go away, just go away'. So this is with the matter that Allah has given the human being the free will with regards to his actions. He is responsible for his actions.