Table of Contents

Chapter 12: A Session of Al-Ridha’ (a.s.)’s Debate With The Prominent Theologians From Among The Rhetoricians And The Various Religions

12-1 Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Ahmad al-Ilaqi - the jurisprudent from Qum - may God be pleased with him - narrated that Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Sadaqa al-Qumi quoted on the authority of Abu Amro ibn Muhammad ibn Umar ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Ansari al-Kajji, on the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad al-Nowafali al-Hashemi,

When Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) went to see Al-Ma’mun, Al-Ma’mun ordered Al-Fadhl ibn Sahl to summon the prominent theologians from among the rhetoricians and the religions such as al-Jaseliq (the Catholic Archbishop), the High Rabbi, the Hindu High Priest, followers of Zoroaster,1 Nestus the Roman medical scientist, and the rest of the

غَيْرُ الْمَبْرُوءِ وَلَوْ حُدَّ لَهُ وَرَاءٌ إِذاً حُدَّ لَهُ أَمَامٌ وَلَوِ الُْتمِسَ لَهُ الَّتمَامُ إِذاً لَزِمَهُ النُّقْصَانُ كَيْفَ يَسْتَحِقُّ الأَزَلَ مَنْ لا يَمْتَنِعُ مِنَ الْحَدَثِ وَكَيْفَ يُنْشِىُ الأَشْيَاءَ مَنْ لا يَمْتَنِعُ مِنَ الإِنْشَاءِ إِذاً لَقَامَتْ فِيهِ آيَةُ الْمَصْنُوعِ وَلَتَحَوَّلَ دَلِيلاً بَعْدَ مَا كَانَ مَدْلُولاً عَلَيْهِ لَيْسَ فِي مُحَالِ الْقَوْلِ حُجَّةٌ وَلا فِي الْمَسْأَلَةِ عَنْهُ جَوَابٌ وَلا فِي مَعْنَاهُ لَهُ تَعْظِيمٌ وَلا فِي إِبَانَتِهِ عَنِ الْخَلْقِ ضَيْمٌ إِلا بِامْتِنَاعِ الأَزَلِيِّ أَنْ يُثَنَّى وَمَا لا بَدْأَ لَهُ أَنْ يُبْدَأَ لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ كَذَبَ الْعَادِلُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَضَلُّوا ضَلالاً بَعِيداً وَخَسِرُوا خُسْرَاناً مُبِيناً وَصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِهِ الطَّاهِرِينَ.

12

بابُ ذكر مَجْلِسَ الرِّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ ‏مَعَ أَهْل الأَديان‏ وَأَصْحاب المَقالات فِي التَّوحِيد عِنْدَ الْمَأمُون‏

1 - حَدَّثَنا أَبُو مُحَمَّد جَعْفَرِ بْنِ عَلِىِّ بْنِ أحْمَد الفَقِيه القُمِّيّ ثُمَّ الإيلاقى رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قالَ: أَخْبَرنا مُحَمَّد الحَسَن بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِىِّ بْنِ صدقه القُمِّيّ قالَ: حَدَّثَني أَبُو عمرو مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عمر بْنِ عَبْد العَزِيز الأَنْصارِي الكَجِّيُّ قالَ: حَدَّثَني مَن سَمِعَ الحَسَن بْنِ مُحَمَّد النُّوفَلِيِّ ثُمَّ الهاشِمي يَقُولُ لَمَّا قَدِمَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُوسَى الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ عَلَى الْمَأْمُونِ أَمَرَ الْفَضْلَ بْنَ سَهْلٍ أَنْ يَجْمَعَ لَهُ أَصْحَابَ الْمَقَالاتِ مِثْلَ الْجَاثَلِيقِ وَرَأْسِ الْجَالُوتِ وَرُؤَسَاءِ الصَّابِئِينَ وَالْهِرْبِذِ الأَكْبَرِ وَأَصْحَابِ زَرْدَهُشْتَ وَنِسْطَاسَ الرُّومِيِّ وَالْمُتَكَلِّمِينَ لِيَسْمَعَ كَلامَـهُ

theologians in order to hear their words, and those of Al-Ridha’ (a.s.). Al-Fadhl ibn Sahl gathered them together (in Al-Ma’mun's palace), and then he informed Al-Ma’mun about the meeting. Al-Ma’mun granted them permission to enter and received them with hospitality and honor.

Then he presented before them what he intended to do by saying, “I have gathered you for (a.s.omething) good and want you to have a debate with my cousin from Medina, who will come to me. Come to me tomorrow morning. None of you should be absent.”

They said, “O Commander of the Faithful! We listen and obey you. God willing, we will be here first thing in the morning.”

Al-Nawfali said, “We were talking to Abil Hassan (a.s.) when Yasir - the servant who was in charge of serving Abil Hassan (a.s.) entered and told him, “O my master! Indeed the Commander of the Faithful expressed his greetings to you and said, May your brother be your ransom! Indeed the chief scientists, scholars from all religions and masters of speech from all nations have all gathered together here with me. Would you like to come to us and have a discussion with them? If you do not wish to do so, do not bother yourself. Even if you prefer, we do not mind coming to you. Then Abul Hassan said, “Express my greetings to him and tell him that I understand what you mean. God willing, I will come to you myself tomorrow morning.”

Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad al-Nawfali said, ‘When Yasir went out, the Imam (a.s.) turned to me and said, ‘O Nawfali! You are an Iraqi, and an Iraqi’s heart is not hard. So, what do think is your cousin’s intention in setting up a meeting between me and the pagans and scholars?”

Al-Nawfali answered, “May I be your ransom! He wants to test you, and wants to know how much knowledge you possess. He has, indeed, based his assumption on shaky grounds. By God, what he has set up is dangerous.”

The Imam (a.s.) asked, “And what has he set up?”

Al-Nawfali said, “The theologians and the heretics are different from the scholars. That is because a scholar does not deny the undeniable, whereas rhetoricians, theologians, and polytheists are people who deny things and try to prove what is not true. If you argue with them and tell them that God is One, they would say, 'Prove His Oneness’, and if you

وَكَلامَهُمْ فَجَمَعَهُمُ الْفَضْلُ بْنُ سَهْلٍ ثُمَّ أَعْلَمَ الْمَأْمُونَ بِاجْتَِماعِهِمْ فَقَالَ: أَدْخِلْهُمْ عَلَيَّ فَفَعَلَ فَرَحَّبَ بِهِمُ الْمَأْمُونُ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمْ إِنِّي إِنَّمَا جَمَعْتُكُمْ لِخَيْرٍ وَأَحْبَبْتُ أَنْ تُنَاظِرُوا ابْنَ عَمِّي هَذَا الْمَدَنِيَّ الْقَادِمَ عَلَيَّ فَإِذَا كَانَ بُكْرَةً فَاغْدُوا عَلَيَّ وَلا يَتَخَلَّفْ مِنْكُمْ أَحَدٌ فَقَالُوا: السَّمْعَ وَالطَّاعَةَ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نَحْنُ مُبْكِرُونَ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى.

قَالَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ النَّوْفَلِيُّ فَبَيْنَا نَحْنُ فِي حَدِيثٍ لَنَا عِنْدَ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ إِذْ دَخَلَ عَلَيْنَا يَاسِرٌ وَكَانَ يَتَوَلَّى أَمْرَ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَقَالَ: يَا سَيِّدِي إِنَّ أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُقْرِئُكَ السَّلامَ وَيَقُولُ فِدَاكَ أَخُوكَ إِنَّهُ اجْتَمَعَ إِلَيَّ أَصْحَابُ الْمَقَالاتِ وَأَهْلُ الأَدْيَانِ وَالْمُتَكَلِّمُونَ مِنْ جَمِيعِ الْمِلَلِ فَرَأْيُكَ فِي الْبُكُورِ عَلَيْنَا إِنْ أَحْبَبْتَ كَلامَهُمْ وَإِنْ كَرِهْتَ ذَلِكَ فَلا تَتَجَشَّمْ وَإِنْ أَحْبَبْتَ أَنْ نَصِيرَ إِلَيْكَ خَفَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَيْنَا فَقَالَ أَبُو الْحَسَنِ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: أَبْلِغْهُ السَّلامَ وَقُلْ لَهُ: قَدْ عَلِمْتُ مَا أَرَدْتَ وَأَنَا صَائِرٌ إِلَيْكَ بُكْرَةً إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى.

قَالَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ النَّوْفَلِيُّ: فَلَمَّا مَضَى يَاسِرٌ الْتَفَتَ إِلَيْنَا، ثُمَّ قَالَ لِي: يَا نَوْفَلِيُّ، أَنْتَ عِرَاقِيٌّ، وَرِقَّةُ الْعِرَاقِيِّ غَيْرُ غَلِيظَةٍ؛ فَمَا عِنْدَكَ فِي جَمْعِ ابْنِ عَمِّكَ عَلَيْنَا أَهْلَ الشِّرْكِ وَأَصْحَابَ الْمَقَالاتِ؟ فَقُلْتُ: جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ، يُرِيدُ الامْتِحَانَ وَيُحِبُّ أَنْ يَعْرِفَ مَا عِنْدَكَ، وَلَقَدْ بَنَى عَلَى أَسَاسٍ غَيْرِ وَثِيقِ الْبُنْيَانِ، وَبِئْسَ وَاللَّهِ مَا بَنَى. فَقَالَ لِي: وَمَا بِنَاؤُهُ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ؟ قُلْتُ: إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَلامِ وَالْبِدَعِ خِلافُ الْعُلَمَاءِ، وَذَلِكَ أَنَّ الْعَالِمَ لا يُنْكِرُ غَيْرَ الْمُنْكَرِ، وَأَصْحَابُ الْمَقَالاتِ وَالْمُتَكَلِّمُونَ وَأَهْلُ الشِّرْكِ أَصْحَابُ إِنْكَارٍ وَمُبَاهَتَةٍ؛ إِنِ احْتَجَجْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى وَاحِدٌ، قَالُوا صَحِّحْ وَحْدَانِيَّتَهُ، وَإِنْ قُلْتَ إِنَّ مُحَمَّداً رَسُولُ

say that Muhammad (a.s.) is the Messenger of God, they would say, 'Prove his Prophethood.' May I be your ransom! They confuse you and make you disprove your own proofs. They continue these false accusations until you back off.”

Al-Nawfali added, “Then the Imam (a.s.) smiled and told me, ‘O Al-Nawfali! Do you fear that they will disprove my argument?’”

Al-Nawfali said, ‘No, by God! I have never worried about you, and I hope that God willing, God will make you victorious over them!’

The Imam (a.s.) asked again, ‘O Nawfali! Would you like to know when Al-Ma’mun will feel regretful?’ He answered, ‘Yes.’ The Imam (a.s.) said, ‘When he (al-Ma’mun) hears me argue with the people of the Torah quoting their own Torah, with the people of the Gospel quoting their own Gospel, with the people of the Psalms quoting their own Psalms, with the Zoroastrians arguing in their Persian language, with the Romans in their own Latin, and with the rhetoricians using their very own rhetoric. So, if I close the avenues of argument in the face of each arguing party and disprove his claim, making him renounce his statement from its onset and referring to my own statement, then Al-Ma’mun will realize that he has not achieve what he aspires to achieve. It is then that he will feel regretful. And there is no strength save in the Highest, the Almighty God.’”

On the following day, Al-Fadhl ibn Sahl went in a hurry to see the Imam (a.s.) and told him, “May I be your ransom! Your cousin is waiting for you. The people have gathered together. When will you go to him?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “You go ahead. God willing, I will come to you.” Then he (a.s.) made ablutions for praying, drank something, ate some soup with us and we all left. Then we reached Al-Ma’mun’s palace. The meeting was full of people. Muhammad ibn Ja’far, some of the Talibites and the Hashemites, and the Commanders of the Army were amongst those present.

When Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) entered, Al-Ma’mun stood up. Muhammad ibn Ja’far and all the Hashemites who were present there stood up for him. The Imam and Al-Ma’mun sat down while all the people were still standing, until Al-Ma’mun ordered them to sit down. Al-Ma’mun talked to the Imam (a.s.) for a while. Then Al-Ma’mun turned to the Catholic

اللَّهِ‏ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ قَالُوا ثَبِّتْ رِسَالَتَهُ ثُمَّ يُبَاهِتُونَ الرَّجُلَ وَهُوَيُبْطِلُ عَلَيْهِمْ بِحُجَّتِهِ وَيُغَالِطُونَهُ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَ قَوْلَهُ فَاحْذَرْهُمْ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ. قَالَ: فَتَبَسَّمَ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا نَوْفَلِيُّ أَفَتَخَافُ أَنْ يَقْطَعُونِي عَلَى حُجَّتِي؟ قُلْتُ: لا وَاللَّهِ، مَا خِفْتُ عَلَيْكَ قَطُّ، وَإِنِّي لأرْجُو أَنْ يُظْفِرَكَ اللَّهُ بِهِمْ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى. فَقَالَ لِي: يَا نَوْفَلِيُّ أَتُحِبُّ أَنْ تَعْلَمَ مَتَى يَنْدَمُ الْمَأْمُونُ؟ قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ. قَالَ: إِذَا سَمِعَ احْتِجَاجِي عَلَى أَهْلِ التَّوْرَاةِ بِتَوْرَاتِهِمْ، وَعَلَى أَهْلِ الإِنْجِيلِ بِإِنْجِيلِهِمْ، وَعَلَى أَهْلِ الزَّبُورِ بِزَبُورِهِمْ، وَعَلَى الصَّابِئِينَ بِعِبْرَانِيَّتِهِمْ، وَعَلَى أَهْلِ الْهَرَابِذَةِ بِفَارِسِيَّتِهِمْ، وَعَلَى أَهْلِ الرُّومِ بِرُومِيَّتِهِمْ، وَعَلَى أَصْحَابِ الْمَقَالاتِ بِلُغَاتِهِمْ. فَإِذَا قَطَعْتُ كُلَّ صِنْفٍ وَدَحَضْتُ حُجَّتَهُ، وَتَرَكَ مَقَالَتَهُ وَرَجَعَ إِلَى قَوْلِي، عَلِمَ الْمَأْمُونُ أَنَّ الْمَوْضِعَ الَّذِي هُوَ بِسَبِيلِهِ لَيْسَ بِمُسْتَحِقٍّ لَهُ، فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ تَكُونُ النَّدَامَةُ مِنْهُ. وَلا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلا بِاللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ.

فَلَمَّا أَصْبَحْنَا أَتَانَا الْفَضْلُ بْنُ سَهْلٍ فَقَالَ لَهُ: جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ، ابْنُ عَمِّكَ يَنْتَظِرُكَ، وَقَدِ اجْتَمَعَ الْقَوْمُ. فَمَا رَأْيُكَ فِي إِتْيَانِهِ؟ فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: تَقَدَّمْنِي وَإِنِّي صَائِرٌ إِلَى نَاحِيَتِكُمْ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ.

ثُمَّ تَوَضَّأَ وُضُوءَهُ لِلصَّلاةِ وَشَرِبَ شَرْبَةَ سَوِيقٍ وَسَقَانَا مِنْهُ، ثُمَّ خَرَجَ وَخَرَجْنَا مَعَهُ حَتَّى دَخَلْنَا عَلَى الْمَأْمُونِ. فَإِذَا الَْمجْلِسُ غَاصٌّ بِأَهْلِهِ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ فِي جَمَاعَةِ الطَّالِبِيِّينَ وَالْهَاشِمِيِّينَ، وَالْقُوَّادُ حُضُورٌ، فَلَمَّا دَخَلَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَامَ الْمَأْمُونُ وَقَامَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ وَجَمِيعُ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ، فَمَا زَالُوا وُقُوفاً وَالرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ جَالِسٌ مَعَ الْمَأْمُونِ حَتَّى أَمَرَهُمْ بِالْجُلُوسِ فَجَلَسُوا. فَلَـمْ يَزَلِ الْمَأْمُونُ مُقْبِـلاً عَلَيْهِ يُحَدِّثُهُ سَـاعَةً. ثُمَّ الْتَفَــتَ إِلَى

Archbishop and said, “O Catholic Archbishop! This is my cousin Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja'far (a.s.). He is one of the children of (the Blessed Lady) Fatima (a.s.) - the daughter of our Prophet (S) - and Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). I would like you to have a debate with him and be fair with him.

The Catholic Archbishop said, “O Commander of the Faithful! How can I argue with a man who argues with me using a Book which we have denied and a Prophet whom I do not believe in?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “O Christian! Will you accept it if I present proofs from your Gospel?”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “How could I reject what the Bible speaks about? I swear to God that I will accept it even if I dislike it.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “Ask whatever you wish to ask and receive your answer.”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “What is your opinion about the Prophethood of Jesus (a.s.) and his Book? Do you deny either one of them?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “I admit to the Prophethood of Jesus (a.s.), his Book, and what he advised his nation to do- which his disciples accepted. However, I reject the Prophethood of any Jesus who has not professed the Prophethood of Muhammad, his Book and what he (a.s.) advised his nation to do.”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “Aren't precepts proved through two just witnesses?”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “Yes.” The Catholic Archbishop said, “Therefore, name two witnesses other than the people of your own nation and ones whom Christianity does not reject to testify to the Prophethood of Muhammad. Likewise, ask us a similar thing from people other than our own nation.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Christian! Now you are speaking fairly. Do you accept a just person who was given preference (over others) by the Messiah - Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary?”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “Who is the just one? Name him for me.”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “What is your opinion of John al-Daylami?”

الْجَاثَلِيقِ فَقَالَ: يَا جَاثَلِيقُ هَذَا ابْنُ عَمِّي عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ وَهُوَمِنْ وُلْدِ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتِ نَبِيِّنَا، وَابْنُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ تُكَلِّمَهُ وَتُحَاجَّهُ وَتُنْصِفَهُ.

فَقَالَ الْجَاثَلِيقُ: يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كَيْفَ أُحَاجُّ رَجُلاً يَحْتَجُّ عَلَيَّ بِكِتَابٍ أَنَا مُنْكِرُهُ وَنَبِيٍّ لا أُومِنُ بِهِ؟

فَقَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ، فَإِنِ احْتَجَجْتُ عَلَيْكَ بِإِنْجِيلِكَ أَتُقِرُّ بِهِ؟

قَالَ الْجَاثَلِيقُ: وَهَلْ أَقْدِرُ عَلَى دَفْعِ مَا نَطَقَ بِهِ الإِنْجِيلُ؟ نَعَمْ وَاللَّهِ أُقِرُّ بِهِ عَلَى رَغْمِ أَنْفِي.

فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: سَلْ عَمَّا بَدَا لَكَ، وَاسْمَعِ الجَوَابَ.

فَقَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: مَا تَقُولُ فِي نُبُوَّةِ عِيسَى وَكِتَابِهِ؟ هَلْ تُنْكِرُ مِنْهُمَا شَيْئاً؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا: اَنَا مُقِرٌّ بِنُبُوَّةِ عِيسَى وَكِتَابِهِ وَمَا بَشَّرَ بِهِ أُمَّتَهُ وَأَقَرَّتْ بِهِ الْحَوارِيُّونَ، وَكَافِرٌ بِنُبُوَّةِ كُلِّ عِيسَى لَمْ يُقِرَّ بِنُبُوَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَبِكِتَابِهِ وَلَمْ يُبَشِّرْ بِهِ أُمَّتَهُ.

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: أَلَيْسَ إِنَّمَا نَقْطَعُ الأَحْكَامَ بِشَاهِدَيْ عَدْلٍ؟

قَالَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ : بَلَى.

قَالَ: فَأَقِمْ شَاهِدَيْنِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَهْلِ مِلَّتِكَ عَلَى نُبُوَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ (صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ) مِمَّنْ لاَ تُنْكِرُهُ النَّصْرَانِيَّةُ، وَسَلْنَا مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَهْلِ مِلَّتِنَا.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: اَلآنَ جِئْتَ بِالنَّصَفَةِ يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ. اَلاَ تَقْبَلُ مِنِّي العَدْلَ المُقَدَّمَ عِنْدَ المَسِيحِ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ؟

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: وَمَنْ هَذا العَدْلُ؟ سَمِّهِ لِي.

قَالَ: مَا تَقُولُ بِيُوحَنّا الدَّيْلَمِيِّ؟

The Catholic Archbishop said, “Bravo! Bravo!” You have mentioned the person loved the most by the Messiah.”

TheImam (a.s.) said, “Then I ask you to swear to and tell me whether or not the Bible says that John says, ‘The Messiah has informed me of the religion of Muhammad, the Arab, and has given me the glad tidings about him who will be (a Prophet) after him. Therefore, I gave the glad tidings of him to the disciples and they believed in him.’”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “John did quote this from the Messiah. He did give the glad tidings of a man who will be a Prophet, his Household and his Trustees. He has not clarified when this will happen and has not named them so that we may know who they are.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “If we bring someone here who can recite the Bible and he recites to you Muhammad's name, his Household, and his nation, will you believe in him?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “What a sound suggestion!”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) turned to Nestus the Roman and asked him, “Have you memorized the third Book of the Bible?”

He answered, “I have thoroughly memorized it.” Then the Imam (a.s.) addressed the Catholic Archbishop and said, “Can you recite the Bible?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “Yes, of course.”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “Then I will recite to you (a.s.ome verses from) the third Book. If Muhammad (a.s.), his Household, and his nation were mentioned in it, then bear witness! And if they have not been mentioned therein, then do not bear witness.” Then the Imam (a.s.) recited to him some of the verses of the third Book until he (a.s.) reached the reference to the Prophet (S). He stopped reading and said, “O Christian! I challenge you to swear by the Messiah and his mother. Have you realized that I have knowledge of the Bible?” He replied, “Yes.”

The Imam recited to him some verses from the third Book concerning the reference to the Prophet, his Household and his community. Then the Imam (a.s.) said, “O Christian! What do you think now? These are the words of Jesus: the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.). If you deny what the Bible says, then you will deny Moses (a.s.) and Jesus (a.s.). If you deny them, then it is incumbent (upon the people) to kill you since you have blasphemed against your Lord, your Prophet and your Book.”

قَالَ: بَخٍ بَخٍ، ذَكَرْتَ أَحَبَّ النّاسِ إلى المَسِيحِ.

قَالَ: فَأَقْسَمْتُ عَلَيْكَ هَلْ نَطَقَ الإنْجِيلُ أَنَّ يُوحَنّا قَالَ: إنمَّا المَسِيحُ أخْبَرَنِي بِدِينِ مُحَمَّدٍ العَرَبِيِّ وَبَشَّرَنِي بِهِ أَنَّهُ يَكُونُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ فَبَشَّرْتُ بِهِ الحَوَارِيِّينَ فَآمَنُوا بِهِ؟

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: قَدْ ذَكَرَ ذَلِكَ يُوحَنّا عَنِ المَسِيحِ وَبَشَّرَ بِنُبُوَّةِ رَجُلٍ وَبِأَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَوَصِيِّهِ وَلَمْ يُلَخِّصْ مَتى يَكُونُ ذَلِكَ، وَلَمْ تُسَمَّ لَنَا القَوْمُ فَنَعْرِفَهُمْ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَإنْ جِئْنَاكَ بِمَنْ يَقْرَأُ الإنْجِيلَ فَتَلا عَلَيْكَ ذِكْرَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَأُمَّتِهِ، أَتُؤْمِنُ بِهِ؟

قَالَ: سَديداً.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ لِنَسْطاسَ الرُّومِيِّ: كَيْفَ حِفْظُكَ لِلسِّفْرِ الثّالِثِ مِنَ الإنْجِيلِ؟

قَالَ: مَا أحْفَظَنِي لَهُ.

ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إلى رَأسِ الجَالُوتِ فَقَالَ: أَلَسْتَ تَقْرَأُ الإنْجِيلَ؟ قَالَ: بَلَى لَعَمْرِي.

قَالَ: فَخُذْ عَلَى السِّفْرِ، فَإنْ كَانَ فِيهِ ذِكْرُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَأُمَّتِهِ فَاشْهَدوا لِي، وَإنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِ ذِكْرُهُ فَلا تَشْهَدُوا لِي.

ثُمَّ قَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ السِّفْرَ الثَّالِثَ، حَتّى إذَا بَلَغَ ذِكْرَ النَّبِيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَقَفَ ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ إنّي أسْأَلُكَ بِحَقِّ المَسِيحِ وَأُمِّهِ، أَتَعْلَمُ أنّي عَالِمٌ بِالإنْجِيلِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ.

ثُمَّ تَلاَ عَلَيْنَا ذِكْرَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَأُمَّتِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: مَا تَقُولُ يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ؟ هَذَا قَوْلُ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَإنْ كَذَّبْتَ بِمَا يَنْطِقُ بِهِ الإنْجِيلُ فَقَدْ كَذَّبْتَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلامُ، وَمَتى أَنْكَرْتَ هَذَا الذِّكْرَ وَجَبَ عَلَيْكَ القَتْلُ لأَنَّكَ تَكُونُ قَدْ كَفَرْتَ بِرَبِّكَ وَنَبِيِّكَ وَبِكِتَابِكَ.

The Catholic Archbishop said, “I do not deny the clear things in the Bible, rather I profess them.”

The Imam (a.s.) asked others who were present, “Bear witness that he professed.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) told the Catholic Archbishop, “O Catholic Archbishop! Ask me any other questions that you wish to ask.”

The Catholic Archbishop asked, “What about the disciples of Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.)? How many were they? And tell me about the scholars of the Bible. How many were they?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “You have found the expert! As for (the number of) the disciples, they were twelve men. The best and the most learned of them was Aluqas (Luke). As for (the number of) Christian scholars, there were three men: John (Yohanna), ‘the greatest’, John at Qriqisiya, and John - the al-Daylami at Zijar, who made reference to the Prophet Muhammad (S). It is he who gave the good news to the nation of Jesus and the Children of Israel about the Prophet Muhammd.”2

The Imam (a.s.) added, “O Christian! By God, we believe in the Jesus who believed in Muhammad (a.s.). We have nothing against Jesus (a.s.) except for his weakness and the paucity of his fasting and prayer.”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “By God, you have corrupted your knowledge! Your affair has become weak! I thought that you were the most learned of the Muslims!”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) asked, “Why?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “Since you said that Jesus was weak with little fasting and praying, while Jesus never broke fasting by day and never slept at night. He always fasted during the day and prayed at night.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “For whom did he fast and pray?” The Catholic Archbishop did not answer, not knowing what to say.

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “I want to ask you a question.” The Catholic Archbishop said, “Ask. I will respond to you if I know the answer.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Why do you deny that Jesus (a.s.) gave life to the dead with the Honorable the Exalted God’s permission?”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “I denied that before, since whoever gives

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: لا أُنْكِرُ مَا قَدْ بَانَ لِي فِي الإنْجِيلِ، وَإنّي لَمُقِرٌّ بِهِ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: إشْهَدُوا عَلَى إقْرَارِهِ. ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا جَاثْلِيقُ، سَلْ عَمّا بَدا لَكَ.

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: أخْبِرْنِي عَنْ حَوَارِيِّي عِيسَى بْنِ مَرَيْمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ؛ كَمْ كَانَ عِدَّتَهُمْ؟ وَعَنْ عُلَمَاءِ الإنْجِيلِ؛ كَمْ كَانوا؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: عَلَى الْخَبِيرِ سَقَطْتَ! أمّا الحَوَارِيُّونَ فَكَانُوا اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ رَجُلاً، وَكَانَ أَعْلَمَهُمْ وَأَفْضَلَهُمْ ألُوقَا. وَأمّا عُلَمَاءُ النَّصَارَى فَكَانوا ثَلاثَةَ رِجَالٍ: يُوحَنّا الأَكْبَرُ بِأَجّ، وَيُوحَنّا بِقِرْقِيسِيا، وَيُوحَنّا الدَّيْلَمِيَّ بِرَجَازَ. وَعِنْدَهُ كَانَ ذِكْرُ النَّبِيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَذِكْرُ أهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَأُمَّتِهِ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي بَشَّرَ أُمَّةَ عِيسَى وَبَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ بِهِ.

ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ، وَاللهِ إنّا لَنُؤْمِنُ بِعِيسَى الَّذِي آمَنَ بِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَمَا نَنْقِمُ عَلَى عِيساكُمْ شَيْئاً إلاّ ضَعْفَهُ وَقِلَةَ صِيامِهِ وَصَلاتِهِ.

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: أفْسَدْتَ وَاللهِ عِلْمَكَ وَضَعَّفْتَ أمْرَكَ وَمَا كُنْتُ ظَنَنْتُ إلاّ أنَّكَ أعْلَمُ أهْلِ الإسْلاَمِ! قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: وَكَيْفَ ذَاكَ؟

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: مِنْ قَوْلِكَ أنَّ عِيسَى كَانَ ضَعِيفاً قَلِيلَ الصِّيَامِ قَلِيلَ الصَّلاَةِ؛ وَمَا أفْطَرَ عِيسَى يَوماً قَطُّ وَلاَ نَامَ بِلَيْلٍ قَطُّ وَمَا زَالَ صَائِمَ الدَّهْرِ وَقَائِمَ اللَّيْلِ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَلِمَنْ كَانَ يَصُومُ وَيُصَلِّي؟! قَالَ: فَخَرِسَ الجَاثْلِيقُ وَانْقَطَعَ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ، أَسْأَلُكَ عَنْ مَسْأَلَةٍ. قَالَ: سَلْ؛ فَإنْ كَانَ عِنْدِي عِلْمُهَا أَجَبْتُكَ. قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: مَا أَنْكَرْتَ أنَّ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ كَانَ يُحْيِي المَوْتَى بِإذْنِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ؟

قَالَ الجَــاثْلِيقُ: أنْكَـرْتُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَجْلِ أنَّ مَنْ أحْيَى المَوْتَى وَأبْرَأَ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ فَهُوَ

life to the dead and heals the blind and the leprous is a lord worthy of being worshipped.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Well. Indeed al-Yasa (Elija) did just as Jesus (a.s.) did. He walked on water, gave life to the dead, and healed the blind and the leprous. Why did his nation not adopt him as a Lord? Why did not anyone worship him as a god other than God?”

The Prophet Hezqeel (Ezekiel) (a.s.) did just what Jesus (a.s.) did. He gave life to thirty-five men sixty years after their death.” Then the Imam (a.s.) turned towards the Catholic Archbishop and told him, “O Catholic Archbishop! Have you found the following about some of the youth of the Children of Israel in the Torah? When Bukht Nasr (Nebuchadnezzar) invaded Jerusalem, he chose from amongst the Children of Israel who were enslaved and took them with him to go to Babylon. Then the Honorable the Exalted God dispatched al-Yasa' for them and he gave life to them. This (a.s.tatement) is in the Torah. No one but an atheist would deny it.”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “I have heard about this and know it.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “That is right.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) said, “O Jew! See if I read the following Book of the Torah properly.” The Imam (a.s.) then recited some of the verses from the Torah for us. The Jew who was surprised hearing how the Imam (a.s.) was reciting the Torah kept moving his body. He then faced the Christian and asked, “O Christian! Were these before Jesus (a.s.) or was Jesus (a.s.) before them?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “They were before him.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “(People from) the Quraysh (tribe) gathered around God's Messenger Muhammad (a.s.) and asked him to give life to their dead. He (a.s.) sent along Ali ibn Abi Talib with them and told him, “Go to the cemetery and loudly call the people about whom they have asked, Say, “O so-and-so, so-and-so, etc.” Tell them, “God’s Messenger Muhammad (a.s.) says, ‘Rise with the permission of the Honorable the Exalted God!’ Then they will all arise and brush off the dust from their heads.” The people from the Quraysh tribe walked towards them and asked them about their affairs. They told them that Muhammad was appointed as a Prophet. The people who had risen from the dead said, “We wish we had lived in his age and believed in him!”3 The Prophet healed the blind, the leprous and the insane. He spoke with the beasts, the birds, the jinn,

رَبٌّ مُسْتَحِقٌّ لأَنْ يُعْبَدَ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: فَإنَّ الْيَسَعَ قَدْ صَنَعَ مِثْلَ صُنْعِ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: مَشَى عَلَى المَاءِ وَأَحْيَى المَوْتَى وَأبْرَأَ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ، فَلَمْ تَتَّخِذْهُ أُمَّتُهُ رَبّاً، وَلَمْ يَعْبُدْهُ أَحَدٌ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. وَلَقَدْ صَنَعَ حِزْقِيلُ النَّبِيُّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ مِثْلَ مَا صَنَعَ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ فَأَحْيَا خَمْسَةً وَثَلاثِينَ ألْفِ رَجُلٍ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوْتِهِمْ بِسِتِّينَ سَنَةً.

ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إلى رَأسِ الجَالُوتِ فَقَالَ لَهُ: يَا رَأسَ الجَالُوتِ، أَتَجِدُ هَؤُلاءِ فِي شَبَابِ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ؟ إخْتَارَهْمْ بُخْتْ نُصَّرَ مِنْ سَبْيِ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلِ حِينَ غَزا بَيْتَ المَقْدِسِ، ثُمَّ انْصَرَفَ بِهِمْ إلى بَابِلَ فَأَرْسَلَهُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إلَيْهِمْ فَأحْيَاهُمْ. هَذا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ لاَ يَدْفَعُهُ إلاّ كَافِرٌ مِنْكُمْ. قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: قَدْ سَمِعْنَا بِهِ وَعَرَفْنَاهُ. قَالَ: صَدَقْتَ.

ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا يَهُودِيُّ، خُذْ عَلَى هَذا السِّفْرِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ.

فَتَلاَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ آيَاتٍ، فَأَقْبَلَ اليَهُودِيُّ يَتَرَجَّجُ لِقِرائَتِهِ وَيَتَعَجَّبُ! ثُمَّ أقْبَلَ عَلَى النَّصْرَانِيِّ فَقَالَ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ، أَفَهَؤُلاءِ كَانُوا قَبْلَ عِيسَى أَمْ عِيسَى كَانَ قَبْلَهُمْ؟

قَالَ: بَلْ كَانُوا قَبْلَهُ.

فَقَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: لَقَدِ اجْتَمَعَتْ قُرَيْشٌ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ فَسَأَلُوهُ أَنْ يُحْيِيَ لَهُمْ مَوْتَاهُمْ، فَوَجَّهَ مَعَهُمْ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أبِي طَالِبٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَقَالَ لَهُ: إذْهَبْ إلى الجَبّانَةِ، فَنَادِ بِأَسْمَاءِ هَؤُلاءِ الرَّهْطِ الَّذِينَ يَسْأَلُونَ عَنْهُمْ بِأَعْلَى صَوْتِكِ: يَا فُلانُ وَيَا فُلانُ وَيَا فُلانُ، يَقُولُ لَكُمْ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ) قُومُوا بِإذْنِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. فَقَامُوا يَنْفِضُونَ التُّرَابَ عَنْ رُؤوسِهِمْ. فَأَقْبَلَتْ قُرَيْشٌ يَسْأَلُونَهُمْ عَنْ أُمُورِهِمْ. ثُمَّ أخْبَرُوهُمْ أَنَّ مُحَمَّداً بُعِثَ نَبِيّاً، فَقَالُوا: وَدِدْنَا أنّا أدْرَكْنَاهُ فَنُؤْمِنَ بِهِ. وَلَقَدْ أبْرَأَ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ وَالمَجَانِينَ، وَكَلَّمَهُ البَهَائِمُ وَالطَّيْرُ وَالجِنُّ وَالشَّيَاطِينُ، وَلَمْ نَتَّخِذْهُ رَبّاً مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ،

and Satan. Still, we do not adopt him as a Lord other than God. We do not deny the nobilities of any of these Prophets. But you who have adopted Jesus (a.s.) as a Lord, so then is it permissible for you to adopt al-Yasa and Hizqeel as two Lords, for they did just as Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.) did - acts such as giving life to the dead and else?

Moreover, thousands of the Children of Israel left their homeland in fear of death due to plague. God made them die immediately. The people of the village built a fence around them, and left them there until their bones decayed. One of the Prophets of the Children of Israel passed by. He was amazed when he saw many decayed bones. The Honorable the Exalted God revealed to him, “Would you like Me to bring them to life so that you can admonish them?” The Prophet (S) said, “Yes, Lord!” Then the Honorable the Exalted God revealed to him, “Then call them.” He said, “O decayed bones! Rise with God’s permission.” They all rose while brushing off the dust from their heads.”

Also Abraham - the friend of God the Merciful (a.s.) - took the birds, cut them into pieces, and put each piece on a mountain top. He called out to them and they came towards him. Moses the son of Imran (a.s.) and seventy of his companions whom he had chosen went to the mountain. They told Moses (a.s.), “You have seen God, then show Him to us.” Moses (a.s.) told them, “I have not seen Him.” But they said, ‘…We shall never believe in thee until we see Allah manifestly…’4

A thunderbolt struck them, and burnt them all up. Only Moses (a.s.) survived. Moses (a.s.) said, “O my Lord! I chose seventy men from among the Children of Israel and brought them to the mountain. Shall I return by myself? How shall my people believe what I must tell them? ‘If it had been Thy will Thou couldst have destroyed, long before, both them and me: wouldst Thou destroy us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us?5 ’’

Then the Honorable the Exalted God gave life to them after their death. You cannot deny all these things which I have told you, for the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms of David and the Quran have mentioned them. If all those who gave life to the dead, healed the blind, the leprous and the mad were adopted as Lords other than God, then you should also adopt them as Lords. O Christian! What is your opinion?”

وَلَمْ نُنْكِرْ لأَحَدٍ مِنْ هَؤُلاءِ فَضْلَهُمْ. فَمَتى إتَّخَذْتُمْ عِيسَى رَبّاً جَازَ لَكُمْ أنْ تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَسَعَ وَحِزْقِيلَ رَبّاً، لأَنَّهُمَا قَدْ صَنَعَا مِثْلَ مَا صَنَعَ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ مِنْ إحْيَاءِ المَوْتَى وَغَيْرِهِ. وَإنَّ قَوْماً مِنْ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ خَرَجُوا مِنْ بِلاَدِهِمْ مِنَ الطّاعُونِ وَهُمْ أُلُوفٌ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ فَأَمَاتَهُمُ اللهُ فِي سَاعَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، فَعَمَدَ أَهْلُ تِلْكَ القَرْيَةِ فَحَظَرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَظِيرَةً فَلَمْ يَزالُوا فِيهَا حَتّى نَخِرَتْ عِظَامُهُمْ وَصَارُوا رَمِيماً. فَمَرَّ بِهِمْ نَبِيٌّ مِنْ أنْبِيَاءِ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ فَتَعَجَّبَ مِنْهُمْ وَمِنْ كَثْرَةِ العِظَامِ الْبَالِيَةِ، فَأَوْحَى اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إلَيْهِ: أَتُحِبُّ أَنْ أُحْيِيَهُمْ لَكَ فَتُنْذِرَهُمْ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ يَا رَبِّ.

فَأَوْحَى اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إلَيْهِ أنْ نَادِهِمْ. فَقَالَ: أيَّتُهَا العِظَامُ البَالِيَةُ، قُومِي بِإذْنِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. فَقَامُوا أحْيَاءَ أجْمَعِينَ يَنْفُضُونَ التُّرَابَ عَنْ رُؤوسِهِمْ.

ثُمَّ إنَّ إبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ حِينَ أخَذَ الطَّيْرَ فَقَطَّعَهُنَّ قِطَعاً، ثُمَّ وَضَعَ عَلَى كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِنْهُنَّ جُزْءاً، ثُمَّ نَادَاهُنَّ فَأَقْبَلْنَ سَعْياً إلَيْهِ.

ثُمَّ مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَأصْحَابُهُ السَّبْعُونَ الَّذِينَ اخْتَارَهُمْ؛ صَارُوا مَعَهُ إلى الجَبَلِ فَقَالُوا لَهُ: إنَّكَ قَدْ رَأَيْتَ اللهَ سُبْحَانُهُ، فَأَرِنَاهُ كَمَا رَأَيْتَهُ! فَقَالَ لَهُمْ: إنّي لَمْ أَرَهُ.

فَقَالُوا: لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتّى نَرَى اللهَ جَهْرَةً. فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ فَاحْتَرَقوا عَنْ آخِرِهِمْ، وَبَقِيَ مُوسَى وَحِيداً فَقَالَ: يَا رَبِّ إخْتَرْتُ سَبْعِينَ رَجُلاً مِنْ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ فَجِئْتُ بِهِمْ وَأرْجَعُ وَحْدِي! فَكَيْفَ يُصَدِّقُنِي قَوْمِي بِمَا أُخْبِرُهُمْ بِهِ؟ فَلَوْ شِئْتَ أَهْلَكْتَهُمْ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَإيَّايَ. أتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنّا؟ فَأحْيَاهُمُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوْتِهِمْ.

وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ لَكَ مِنْ هَذا لا تَقْدِرُ عَلَى دَفْعِهِ، لأَنَّ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالإنْجِيلَ وَالزَّبُورَ وَالفُرْقَانَ قَدْ نَطَقَتْ بِهِ, فَإنْ كَانَ كُلُّ مَنْ أحْيَى المَوْتَى وَأبْرَأَ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأبْرَصَ وَالمَجَانِينَ يُتَّخَذُ رَبّاً مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ فَاتَّخِذْ هَؤُلاءِ كُلَّهُمْ أرْباباً! مَا تَقُولُ يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ؟

The Catholic Archbishop said, “Yes. You are right. There is no god but God.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) turned towards the High Rabbi and told him, “O Jew! Turn to me. I swear to you by the Ten Commandments which were sent down to Moses (the son of Imran) to tell me whether or not there exists the following statement about the Prophet Muhammad and his nation in the Torah, “When the people of the last nation whose followers are the Rider of the Camel who extremely glorifies the Lord - new glorifications in new churches (implying mosques), then let the Children of Israel flee towards them and their dominion so that their hearts may be tranquil, since there will be swords in their hands with which they will take revenge on the unbelievers around the globe.” Is this not written in the Torah?” The High Rabbi said, “Yes, we have found that written in this manner.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) asked the Catholic Archbishop, “O Christian! How is your knowledge of the Book of Sha'ya?” He answered, “I know it letter by letter.” Then the Imam (a.s.) asked them both, “Do you know that the following statement is made by him?, ‘O people! I have seen the picture of the Rider of the Donkey. He was wearing gowns of light. And I have seen the Rider of the Camel - who is as bright as the moon.’” They answered, “Indeed Sha'ya did say that!”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Christian! Do you know that Jesus (a.s.) said, ‘I am going to my Lord and your Lord, and the Paraclete is coming who shall testify to my truth just as I testified for him, and he shall explain everything to you, and he shall be the one to expose all the sins of nations, and he shall be the one to smash down the pillars of unbelief?’” The Catholic Archbishop said, “We accept whatever you cite from the Bible.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “O Catholic Archbishop! Have you found this established in the Bible?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “Yes.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Catholic Archbishop! When you lost the first Bible, with whom did you find it?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “We only lost the Bible for one day. Then we found it fresh (in its original state). John and Matthew brought it back to us.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) asked him, “How little your knowledge of the Bible and its scholars is! If what you say is right, then why is there so much dispute amongst you with each other about the Bible? The reason is that there is

فَقَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: اَلقَوْلُ قَوْلُكَ، وَلا إلَهَ إلاّ اللهُ.

ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إلى رَأسِ الجَالُوتِ فَقَالَ: يَا يَهُودِيُّ، أقْبِلْ عَلَيَّ أسْأَلْكَ بِالعَشْرَةِ الآيَاتِ الَّتِي أُنْزِلَتْ عَلَى مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ. هَلْ تَجِدُ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ مَكْتُوباً بِنَبَأِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَأُمَّتِهِ: إذَا جَاءَتِ الأُمَّةُ الأَخِيرَةُ أتْبَاعُ رَاكِبِ البَعِيرِ يُسَبِّحُونَ الرَّبَّ جِدّاً جِدّاً تَسْبِيحاً جَدِيداً فِي الكَنَائِسِ الجُدُدِ، فَلْيَفْزَعْ بَنُو إسْرَائِيلَ إلَيْهِمْ وَإلى مَلِكِهِمْ لِتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُهُمْ فَإنَّ بِأيْدِيهِمْ سُيُوفاً يَنْتَقِمُونَ بِها مِنَ الأُمَمِ الكَافِرَةِ فِي أقْطَارِ الأَرْضِ. أهَكَذا هُوَ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ مَكْتُوبٌ؟ قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: نَعَمْ! إنَّا لَنَجِدُهُ كَذَلِكَ. ثُمَّ قَالَ لِلْجَاثْلِيقِ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ! كَيْفَ عِلْمُكَ بِكِتَابِ شَعْيا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ؟ قَالَ: أعْرِفُهُ حَرْفاً حَرْفاً.

قَالَ لَهُمَا: أتَعْرِفَانِ هَذا مِنْ كَلامِهِ يَا قَوْمُ: إنّي رَأَيْتُ صُورَةَ رَاكِبِ الحِمَارِ لابِساً جَلابِيبَ النُّورِ، وَرَأيْتُ رَاكِبَ البَعِيرِ ضَوؤهُ مِثْلَ ضَوْءِ القَمَرِ؟ فَقَالا: قَدْ قَالَ ذَلِكَ شَعْيا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ، هَلْ تَعْرِفُ فِي الإنْجِيلِ قَوْلَ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: إنّي ذَاهِبٌ إلى رَبِّكُمْ وَرَبّي، وَالبَارْقَلِيطا جَاءَ هُوَ الَّذِي يَشْهَدُ لِي بِالحَقِّ كَمَا شَهِدْتُ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي يُفَسِّرُ لَكُمْ كُلَّ شَيءٍ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ فَضَائِحَ الأُمَمِ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَكْسِرُ عَمُودَ الكُفْرِ؟

فَقَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: مَا ذَكَرْتَ شَيْئاً مِنَ الإنْجِيلِ إلاّ وَنَحْنُ مُقِرُّونَ بِهِ.

فَقَالَ: أتَجِدُ هَذا الإنْجِيلَ ثَابِتاً يَا جَاثْلِيقُ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا جَاثْلِيقُ، ألاَ تُخْبِرُنِي عَنِ الإنْجِيلِ الأَوَّلِ حِينَ افْتَقَدْتُمُوهُ عِنْدَ مَنْ وَجَدْتُمُوهُ، وَمَنْ وَضَعَ لَكُمْ هَذا الإنْجِيلَ؟

فَقَالَ لَهُ: مَا افْتَقَدْنَا الإنْجِيلَ إلاّ يَوْماً وَاحِداً حَتّى وَجَدْنَاهُ غَضّاً طَرِيّاً، فَأَخْرَجَهُ إلَيْنَا يُوحَنّا وَمَتّى. فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: مَا أَقَلَّ مَعْرِفَتَكَ بِسُنَنِ الإنْجِيلِ وَعُلَمَائِهِ! فَإنْ كَانَ هَذا كَمَا تَزْعُمُ، فَلِمَ اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِي الإنْجِيلِ؟ وَإنَّمــا وَقَـعَ الاخْتِلافُ فِي هَذا الإنْجِيلِ الَّذِي فِي

controversy lies in the Bible which is in your hands today. Had it been the same as the first Bible, there would no disputes over it. However, I will clarify this for you myself. Know that when the first Bible was lost, the Christians gathered around their scholars and said to them, ‘'Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.) has been killed, and we have lost the Bible. You are the scholars. What do you have?’ Luke, Mark and John told them, ‘We have memorized the Bible. Do not worry about it. Do not forsake the churches. We will recite each Gospel of the Bible for you on each Sunday until we put it all together.’ Then Luke, Mark, John and Matthew gathered together and put together this Bible after you had lost the first one. These four students were of the first students. Did you know that?”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “I did not know this before. Now I have learned it from you due to your noble knowledge of the Bible. I heard things which you knew from you - things which my heart testifies to be the truth. Therefore, I have gained a much better understanding.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “How do you consider what they bear witness to?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “I completely accept whatever they say is right and bear witness to it.” Then Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told Al-Ma’mun and those of his family and others who were present, “Be witnesses to this.” They said, “We witness to that.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) told the Catholic Archbishop, “I swear by the Son and his Mother6 to tell us whether you know that Matthew said the following, ‘The Messiah is the son of David, the son of Abraham, the son of Isaac, the son of Jacob, the son of Yehuda, the son of Khadrun.’ Mark said the following regarding the lineage of Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.), ‘He is God’s Word placed in the human body. So it turned into the human form.’ Moreover, Luke said, ‘Jesus the son of Mary and his mother were humans made of flesh and blood. Then the Holy Spirit entered into them.’ You also testify that Jesus had said the following about himself, ‘O disciples! I will tell you the truth. No one will ascend the heavens, except for him who descends therefrom, except for the Rider of the Camel - the Seal of the Prophets, for he will ascend the heavens and then will descend there from.’ What do you have to say about that?”

أيَادِيكُمُ الْيَوْمَ. فَلَوْ كَانَ عَلَى الْعَهْدِ الأَوَّلِ لَمْ تَخْتَلِفُوا فِيهِ، وَلَكِنِّي مُفِيدُكَ عِلْمَ ذَلِكَ؛ إعْلَمْ أنَّهُ لَمَّا افْتُقِدَ الإنْجِيلُ الأَوَّلُ اجْتَمَعَتِ النَّصَارَى إلى عُلَمَائِهِمْ فَقَالُوا لَهُمْ: قُتِلَ عِيسَى بْنُ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَافْتَقَدْنَا الإنْجِيلَ وَأنْتُمُ العُلَمَاءُ، فَمَا عِنْدَكُمْ؟

فَقَالَ لَهُمْ أَلُوقَا وَمَرْقَابُوسُ: إنَّ الإنْجِيلَ فِي صُدُورِنَا وَنَحْنُ نُخْرِجُهُ إلَيْكُمْ سِفْراً سِفْراً فِي كُلِّ أَحَدٍ، فَلا تَحْزَنُوا عَلَيْهِ، وَلا تُخْلُوا الكَنَائِسَ، فَإنّا سَنَتْلُوهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي كُلِّ أَحَدٍ سِفْراً سِفْراً حَتّى نَجْمَعَهُ كُلَّهُ. فَقَعَدَ أَلُوقَا وَمَرْقَابُوسُ وَيُوحَنّا وَمَتّى فَوَضَعُوا لَكُمْ هَذا الإنْجِيلَ بَعْدَ مَا افْتَقَدْتُمُ الإنْجِيلَ الأَوَّلَ. وَإنَّما كَانَ هَؤلاءِ الأَرَبَعَةُ تَلامِيذَ تَلامِيذِ الأَوَّلِينَ. أعَلِمْتَ ذَلِكَ؟ فَقَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: أمّا هَذا فَلَمْ أعْلَمْهُ، وَقَدْ عَلِمْتُهُ الآنَ، وَبَانَ لِي مِنْ فَضْلِ عِلْمِكَ بِالإنْجِيلِ وَسَمِعْتُ أشْيَاءَ مِمّا عَلِمْتُهُ، شَهِدَ قَلْبِي أنَّها حَقٌّ فَاسْتَزَدْتُ كَثِيراً مِنَ الفَهْمِ.

فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ : فَكَيْفَ شَهَادَةُ هَؤلاءِ عِنْدَكَ؟

قَالَ: جَائِزَةٌ! هَؤلاءِ عُلَمَاءُ الإنْجِيلِ، وَكُلُّ مَا شَهِدُوا بِهِ فَهُوَ حَقٌّ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ لِلْمَأمُونِ وَمَنْ حَضَرَهُ مِنْ أهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَمِنْ غَيْرِهِ: إشْهَدُوا عَلَيْهِ.

قَالوا: قَدْ شَهِدْنَا.

ثُمَّ قَالَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ لِلْجَاثْلِيقِ: بِحَقِّ الابْنِ وَأُمِّهِ، هَلْ تَعْلَمُ أنَّ مَتّى قَالَ إنَّ الْمَسِيحَ هُوَ ابْنُ دَاوُودَ بْنِ إبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ إسْحَاقَ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ بْنِ يَهُوذا بْنِ خَضْرونَ؟ وَقَالَ مَرْقَابُوسُ فِي نَسَبِ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ إنَّهُ كَلِمَةُ اللهِ أَحَلَّهَا فِي جَسَدِ الآدَمِيِّ فَصَارَتْ إنْساناً. وَقَالَ ألُوقَا إنَّ عِيسَى بْنَ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَأُمَّهُ كَانا إنْسَانَيْنِ مِنْ لَحْمٍ وَدَمٍ، فَدَخَلَ فِيهَا الرُّوحُ القُدُسُ. ثُمَّ إنَّكَ تَقُولُ مِنْ شَهَادَةِ عِيسَى عَلَى نَفْسِهِ: حَقّاً أقُولُ لَكُمْ يَا مَعْشَرَ الحَوَارِيِّينَ: إنَّهُ لاَ يَصْعَدُ إلى السَّمَاءِ إلاّ مَنْ نَزَلَ مِنْهَا إلاّ رَاكِبَ البَعِيرِ خَاتَمَ الأنْبِيَاءِ، فَإنَّهُ يَصْعَدُ إلى السَّمَاءِ وَيَنْزِلُ. فَمَا تَقُولُ فِي هَذا القَوْلِ؟

The Catholic Archbishop said, “These are the words of Jesus (a.s.). We do not deny them.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “If so, what do you say about the testimonies of Luke, Mark and Matthew regarding Jesus (a.s.) and the lineage they attributed to him?”

The Catholic Archbishop said, “They ascribed lies to Jesus (a.s.).”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O people! Did he not just bear witness that they (Luke, Mark and Matthew) are the Scholars of the Bible and that what they say is the truth?” The Catholic Archbishop said, “O Scholar of the Muslims! I would like you to excuse me from discussing about these men.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Fine. I will excuse you from that. O Christian! Ask me whatever you wish to ask.” The Catholic said, “Let someone else ask you questions. By Jesus (a.s.), I did not think that there was a scholar like you among the Muslims.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) turned towards the High Rabbi and said, “Will you ask me questions or should I ask?” The High Rabbi said, “I will ask. However, I will not accept any proofs from you except those from the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms of David, or the Scriptures of Abraham and Moses.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Do not accept any of my proofs unless they are from the Torah as expressed by Moses (a.s.) - the son of Imran (a.s.), the Bible as expressed by Jesus (a.s.): the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.), or the Psalms of David as expressed by David (a.s.).”

The High Rabbi said, “How can you prove the Prophethood of Muhammad (a.s.)?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Moses (a.s.) - the son of Imran, Jesus (a.s.) - the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.) and David (a.s.) - the Vicegerent of God on the Earth have testified to his Prophethood.”

The High Rabbi said, “Provide evidence of the testimony of Moses the son of Imran.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “O Jew! Do you know that Moses said the following to the Children of Israel, ‘A Prophet will come to you from among your brethren. Believe in him and obey him.’ Do you know that the Children of Israel have no brethren other than the Children of Ishmael? Do you know about the ties of kinship between Israel and Ishmael and the relationship that existed between them from the past

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: هَذا قَوْلُ عِيسَى لاَ نُنْكِرُهُ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَمَا تَقُولُ فِي شَهَادَةِ ألُوقا وَمَرْقَابُوسَ وَمتّى عَلَى عِيسَى وَمَا نَسَبُوهُ إلَيْهِ؟

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: كَذَبوا عَلَى عِيسَى.

فَقَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا قَوْمُ، ألَيْسَ قَدْ زَكَّاهُمْ وَشَهِدَ أنَّهُمْ عُلَمَاءُ الإنْجِيلِ وَقَوْلَهُمْ حَقٌّ.

فَقَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: يَا عَالِمَ المُسْلِمِينَ، أُحِبُّ أنْ تَعْفِيَنِي مِنْ أمْرِ هَؤلاءِ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَإنّا قَدْ فَعَلْنَا. سَلْ يَا نَصْرَانِيُّ عَمّا بَدَا لَكَ.

قَالَ الجَاثْلِيقُ: لِيَسْألْكَ غَيْرِي، فَلا وَحَقِّ الْمَسِيحِ مَا ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّ فِي عُلَمَاءِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِثْلَكَ.

فَالْتَفَتَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ إِلَى رَأْسِ الْجَالُوتِ فَقَالَ لَهُ: تَسْأَلُنِي أوْ أسْأَلُكَ؟

فَقَالَ: بَلْ أسْأَلُكَ، وَلَسْتُ أقْبَلُ مِنْكَ حُجَّةً إلاّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ أوْ مِنَ الإنْجِيلِ أوْ مِنْ زَبُورِ دَاوُودَ أوْ بِمَا فِي صُحُفِ إبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: لاَ تَقْبَلْ مِنّي حُجَّةً إلاّ بِمَا تَنْطِقُ بِهِ التَّوْرَاةُ عَلَى لِسَانِ مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ، وَالإنْجِيلُ عَلَى لِسَانِ عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ، وَالزَّبُورُ عَلَى لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ.

فَقَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: مِنْ أيْنَ تُثْبِتُ نُبُوَّةَ مُحَمَّدٍ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ)؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: شَهِدَ بِنُبُوَّتِهِ مُوسَى بْنُ عِمْرَانَ وَعِيسَى بْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَدَاوُودُ خَلِيفَةُ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي الأرْضِ. فَقَالَ لَهُ: ثَبِّتْ قَوْلَ مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ.

فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: هَلْ تَعْلَمُ يَا يَهُودِيُّ أنَّ مُوسَى أوْصَى بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ: إنَّهُ سَيَأتِيكُمْ نَبِيٌّ مِنْ إخْوَانِكُمْ. بِهِ فَصَدِّقُوا وَمِنْهُ فَاسْمَعُوا. فَهَلْ تَعْلَمُ أنَّ لِبَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ إخْوَةً غَيْرَ وُلْدِ إسْمَاعِيلَ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْرِفُ قَرَابَةَ إسْرَائِيلَ مِنْ إسْمَاعِيلَ وَالسَّبَبَ الَّذِي بَيْنَهُمَا

through Abraham (a.s.)?” The High Rabbi said, “These are the words of Moses. I do not deny them.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) asked him, “Has any Prophet other than Muhammad (a.s.) come from amongst the brethren of the Children of Israel?” He replied, “No.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Is this not correct in your opinion?” The High Rabbi said, “Yes, but I want you to prove its correctness from the Torah.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) asked him, “Do you deny that the Torah says the following to you? ‘There came light from Mount Sina. Light shined upon us from Mount Sa’eer and it became apparent to us from Mount Faran.’” The High Rabbi said, “I am familiar with these words, but I do not know what they mean.’”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “I will inform you about them. What is meant when it says ‘There came light from Mount Sina’ is a reference to the Blessed the Sublime God’s revelations to Moses (a.s.) on Mount Sina. And what is meant when it says, ‘Light shined upon us from Mount Sa’eer’ is a reference to the Mountain upon which the Honorable the Exalted God sent revelations to Jesus (a.s.) - the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.). Jesus (a.s.) was on that mountain. And what is meant when it says, ‘and it became apparent to us from Mount Faran’ is a reference to a mountain that is one day away from Mecca. As you and your friends said, the Prophet Sha'ya has said in the Torah that ‘I have seen the picture of the Rider of the Donkey. He was wearing gowns of light. And I have seen the Rider of the Camel - who is as bright as the moon.’ Who is the Rider of the Donkey? Who is the Rider of the Camel?” The High Rabbi said, “I do not know who they are.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “The Rider of the Donkey is Jesus (a.s.) and the Rider of the Camel is Muhammad (a.s.). Do you deny that this is from the Torah?” The High Rabbi said, “No, I do not deny that.”

Then Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Do you know the Prophet Hayquq (a.s.)?” The High Rabbi said, “Yes, I know him.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “He has said the following which your Book has also stated, ‘God brought down the Bay’an from Mount Faran. The heavens are filled with the glorification of Ahmad and his nation. He will carry his troops at sea just as he carries them on land. He will bring us a new Book after the destruction of the Holy House (in Jerusalem).’ Did you know this (a.s.tatement) and do you believe in it?” The High Rabbi said, “In fact, the Prophet Hayquq (a.s.) has said this. I will not deny his words.”

مِنْ قِبَلِ إبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ؟ فَقَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: هَذا قَوْلُ مُوسَى لاَ نَدْفَعُهُ. فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: هَلْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنْ إخْوَةِ بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ نَبِيٌّ غَيْرُ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ؟ قَالَ: لاَ. قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أوَلَيْسَ قَدْ صَحَّ هَذا عِنْدَكُمْ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ. وَلَكِنِّي أُحِبُّ أنْ تُصَحِّحَهُ إلَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ. فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: هَلْ تُنْكِرُ أنَّ التَّوْرَاةَ تَقُولُ لَكُمْ: جَاءَ النُّورُ مِنْ قِبَلِ طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ، وَأضَاءَ لَنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ سَاعِيرَ، وَاسْتَعْلَنَ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ فَارَانَ؟ قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: أعْرِفُ هَذِهِ الكَلِمَاتِ وَمَا أعْرِفُ تَفْسِيرَهَا.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أنَا أُخْبِرُكَ بِهِ: أمَّا قَوْلُهُ: جَاءَ النُّورُ مِنْ قِبَلِ طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ، فَذَلِكَ وَحْيُ اللهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى الَّذِي أنْزَلَهُ عَلَى جَبَلِ طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ. وَأمَّا قَوْلُهُ: وَأضَاءَ لَنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ سَاعِيرَ، فَهُوَ الجَبَلُ الَّذِي أوْحَى اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إلى عِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ. وَأمَّا قَوْلُهُ: وَاسْتَعْلَنَ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ جَبَلِ فَارَانَ، فَذَلِكَ جَبَلٌ مِنْ جِبَالِ مَكَّةَ، بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا يَوْمٌ.

وَقَالَ شَعْيَاءُ النَّبِيُّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فِي مَا تَقُولُ أنْتَ وَأصْحَابُكَ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ: رَأَيْتُ رَاكِبَيْنِ أضَاءَتْ لَهُمُ الأَرْضُ؛ أَحَدُهُمَا عَلَى حِمَارٍ وَالآخَرُ عَلَى جَمَلٍ. فَمَنْ رَاكِبُ الحِمَارِ وَمَنْ رَاكِبُ الجَمَلِ؟ قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: لا أعْرِفُهُمَا، فَخَبِّرْنِي بِهِمَا. قَالَ: أمَّا رَاكِبُ الحِمَارِ فَعِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ، وَأمَّا رَاكِبُ الجَمَلِ فَمُحَمَّدٌ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ. أتُنْكِرُ هَذَا مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ؟ قَالَ: لا، مَا أُنْكِرُهُ. ثُمَّ قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: هَلْ تَعْرِفُ حَيْقُوقَ النَّبِيَّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ، إنّي بِهِ لَعَارِفٌ.

قَالَ: فَإنَّهُ قَالَ، وَكِتَابُكُمْ يَنْطِقُ بِهِ: جَاءَ اللهُ تَعَالى بِالبَيَانِ مِنْ جَبَلِ فَارَانَ، وَامْتَلأَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ مِنْ تَسْبِيحِ أحْمَدَ وَأُمَّتِهِ. يَحْمِلُ خَيْلَهُ فِي البَحْرِ كَمَا يَحْمِلُ فِي البَرِّ، يَأتِينَا بِكِتَابٍ جَدِيدٍ بَعْدَ خَرَابِ بَيْتِ المَقْدِسِ. يَعْنِي بِالكِتَابِ، الفُرْقَانَ. أتَعْرِفُ هَذَا وَتُؤْمِنُ بِهِ؟

قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: قَدْ قَالَ ذَلِكَ حَيْقُوقُ النَّبِيُّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ، وَلا نُنْكِرُ قَوْلَهُ.

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “David said in his Psalms which you have also read, ‘O my God! Appoint him who will establish the Sunna (practice) after the cessation (of the Prophets).’ Did you know of any Prophet other than Muhammad (a.s.) who has established the Sunna after the cessation (of the Prophets)?”

The High Rabbi said, “This is what is said by David. We do not deny it. However, he meant Jesus by that, and it is his era that was the age of cessation.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “You are wrong. In fact, Jesus (a.s.) endorsed the Sunna (practices) of the Torah until God pulled him up to Himself. It is written in the Bible, ‘The son of pious woman will go, and the Paraclete7 will come after him. It is he who will preserve the bonds, explain everything to you, and testify to my truth just as I testified for him. I have brought you the examples, and he will bring you the interpretations.’ Do you believe that this statement is in the Bible?”

The High Rabbi said, “Yes.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “O the High Rabbi! I want to ask you about your Prophet Moses (a.s.). The High Rabbi said, “Ask.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “What is the evidence for the Prophethood of Moses?”

The Jew said, “He brought miracles which the Prophets before him had not brought.” The Imam (a.s.) asked, “Could you give me an example?” The High Rabbi replied, “He split the sea, turned the cane into a running serpent, cleaved the stones so that springs gushed forth from them, took out his hand shining white for the onlookers, and other signs the like of which other creatures were unable to bring.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “You are right. They are proofs of his Prophethood. He brought the like of which other creatures were unable to bring. Is it obligatory on you to believe in whoever claims Prophethood and performs something which all other creatures are unable to perform?”

The High Rabbi said, “No, since there is no one like Moses (a.s.) considering his position near his Lord and his closeness to Him. It is not incumbent upon us to profess the Prophethood of whoever claims it, unless he brings us miracles similar to those brought by Moses (a.s.).”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “Then how come you admit the Prophethood of the other Prophets who preceded Moses who did not split the sea; nor did

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَقَدْ قَالَ دَاوُودُ فِي زَبُورِهِ، وَأنْتَ تَقْرَأُهُ: اَللَّهُمَّ ابْعَثْ مُقِيمَ السُّنَّةِ بَعْدَ الفَتْرَةِ. فَهَلْ تَعْرِفُ نِبِيّاً أقَامَ السُّنَّةَ بَعْدَ الْفَتْرَةِ غَيْرَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ؟

قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: هَذَا قَوْلُ دَاوُودَ نَعْرِفُهُ وَلا نُنْكِرُ، وَلكِنْ عَنِيَ بِذَلِكَ عِيسَى، وَأيَّامُهُ هِيَ الْفَتْرَةُ. قَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: جَهِلْتَ! إنَّ عِيسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ لَمْ يُخَالِفِ السُّنَّةَ، وَكَانَ مُوافِقاً لِسُنَّةِ التَّوْرَاةِ حَتّى رَفَعَهُ اللهُ إلَيْهِ. وَفِي الإنْجِيلِ مَكْتُوبٌ: إنَّ ابْنَ البَرَّةِ ذَاهِبٌ، وَالبَارْقَلِيطا جَاءَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَحْفَظُ الآصَارَ، وَيُفَسِّرُ لَكُمْ كُلَّ شَيءٍ، وَيَشْهَدُ لِي كَمَا شَهِدْتُ لَهُ. أنَا جِئْتُكُمْ بِالأمْثَالِ وَهُوَ يَأتِيكُمْ بِالتَّأوِيلِ. أَتُؤْمِنُ بِهَذا فِي الإنْجِيلِ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ.

فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا رَأسَ الجَالُوتِ، أسْأَلُكَ عَنْ نَبِيِّكَ مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ. فَقَالَ: سَلْ. قَالَ: مَا الحُجَّةُ عَلَى أنَّ مُوسَى ثَبُتَتْ نُبُوَّتُهُ؟

قَالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: إنَّهُ جَاءَ بِمَا لَمْ يَجِئْ بِهِ أَحَدٌ مِنَ الأنْبِيَاءِ قَبْلَهُ.

قَالَ لَهُ: مِثْلُ مَاذا؟

قَالَ: مِثْلُ فَلْقِ البَحْرِ، وَقَلْبِهِ العَصَا حَيَّةً تَسْعَى، وَضَرْبِهِ الحَجَرَ فَانْفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ العُيُونُ، وَإخْراجِهِ يَدَهُ بَيْضَاءَ لِلنّاظِرِينَ. وَعَلامَاتُهُ لاَ يَقْدِرُ الخَلْقُ عَلَى مِثْلِهَا.

قَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: صَدَقْتَ فِي أنَّهُ كَانَتْ حُجَّتَهُ عَلَى نُبُوَّتِهِ أنَّهُ جَاءَ بِمَا لاَ يَقْدِرُ الخَلْقُ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ. أفَلَيْسَ كُلُّ مَنِ ادَّعَى أنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ ثُمَّ جَاءَ بِمَا لاَ يَقْدِرُ الخَلْقُ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ وَجَبَ عَلَيْكُمْ تَصْدِيقُهُ؟

قَالَ: لاَ. لأنَّ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ نَظِيرٌ، لِمَكَانِهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَقُرْبِهِ مِنْهُ. وَلاَ يَجِبُ عَلَيْنَا الإقْرَارُ بِنُبُوَّةِ مَنِ ادَّعَاهَا حَتّى يَأتِيَ مِنَ الأعْلامِ بِمِثْلِ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ مَوسَى.

فَقَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَكَيْفَ أقْرَرْتُمْ بِالأنْبِيَاءِ الَّذِينَ كَانوا قَبْلَ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَلَمْ

they cleave the stone so that twelve springs would gush forth from them; nor did they take their hands out shining white as Moses did; nor did they turn the cane into a running serpent.”

The Jew replied, “I told you that if they performed miracles as evidence for their Prophethood which all other creatures were unable to perform, and if they brought something the like of which Moses had brought or they followed what Moses had brought, then it is incumbent upon us to believe in them.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “O High Rabbi! What has prevented you from professing (the Prophethood of) Jesus (a.s.) - the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.)? Jesus (a.s.) brought the dead to life, healed the blind and the leprous, made birds formed of clay and breathed at them giving them life with God’s permission.”

The High Rabbi said, “It is said that he did that, but we did not see it.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Have you seen the miracles performed by Moses? Have you not received this news by way of Moses’s closest trustworthy companions who said he (a.s.) did them?” The High Rabbi said, “Yes. That is so.”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “Well. The news about the miracles of Jesus (a.s.) - the son of (the Blessed Lady) Mary (a.s.) have reached you in a similar fashion. Why then did you acknowledge Moses (a.s.) and believe in him, but you did not believe in Jesus?” The High Rabbi did not answer. Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “The same is true about Muhammad (a.s.) and his miracles. The same is true about any other Prophet appointed by God. One of the miracles of Muhammad (a.s.) was that he was a poor hired shepherd. He had not been taught anything. He did not go to any teachers. However, the Quran which he (a.s.) brought contains the stories of the Prophets (a.s.) and the associated news letter by letter. It has narrated the news of the past and the things to come in the future all the way up until the Resurrection Day. The Quran provided information about what they did in hiding or in their homes. He brought innumerable miracles.” The High Rabbi said, “Neither the account about Jesus nor that about Muhammad are considered correct by us. It is not permissible to admit their Prophethood through what is not correct.”

يَفْلُقُوا البَحْرَ وَلَمْ يُفَجِّرُوا مِنَ الحَجَرِ اثْنَي عَشَرَةَ عَيْناً وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوا أيْدِيَهُمْ مِثْلَ إخْرَاجِ مُوسَى يَدَهُ بَيْضَاءَ وَلَمْ يَقْلِبُوا العَصَا حَيَّةً تَسْعَى؟

قَالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: قَدْ خَبَّرْتُكَ أنَّهُ مَتَى مَا جَاؤوا عَلَى نُبُوَّتِهِمْ مِنَ الآيَاتِ بِمَا لاَ يَقْدِرُ الخَلْقُ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ، وَلَوْ جَاؤوا بِمَا يَجِئُ بِهِ مُوسَى أوْ كَانَ عَلَى غَيْرِ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَى وَجَبَ تَصْدِيقُهُمْ.

قَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا رَأسَ الجَالُوتِ، فَمَا يَمْنَعُكَ مِنَ الإقْرَارِ بِعِيسَى بْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَقَدْ كَانَ يُحْيِي المَوْتَى وَيُبْرِءُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ وَيَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينَ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ ثُمَّ يَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْراً بِإذْنِ اللهِ تَعَالى؟

قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: يُقَالُ إنَّهُ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ، وَلَمْ نَشْهَدْهُ!

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أرَأَيْتَ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَى مِنَ الآيَاتِ؟ أشَاهَدْتَهُ؟ ألَيْسَ إنَّمَا جَاءَتِ الأخْبَارُ مِنْ ثِقَاتِ أصْحَابِ مُوسَى أنَّهُ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ؟ قَالَ: بَلَى.

قَالَ: فَكَذلِكَ أيْضاً. أتَتْكُمُ الأخْبَارُ المُتَوَاتِرَةُ بِمَا فَعَلَ عِيسَى بْنُ مَرْيَمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ. فَكَيْفَ صَدَّقْتُمْ بِمُوسَى وَلَمْ تُصَدِّقوا بِعِيسَى؟

فَلَمْ يَحْرَ جَواباً. قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: وَكَذلِكَ أمْرُ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَمَا جَاءَ بِهِ، وَأَمْرُ كُلِّ نَبِيٍّ بَعَثَهُ اللهُ. وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أنَّهُ كَانَ يَتِيماً فَقِيراً رَاعِياً أجِيراً، لَمْ يَتَعَلَّمْ كِتَاباً وَلَمْ يَخْتَلِفْ إلَى مُعَلِّمٍ. ثُمَّ جَاءَ بِالقُرْآنِ الَّذِي فِيهِ قَصَصُ الأنْبِيَاءِ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ وَأخْبَارُهُمْ حَرْفاً حَرْفاً، وَأخْبَارُ مَنْ مَضَى وَمَنْ بَقِيَ إلى يَوْمِ القِيَامَةِ. ثُمَّ كَانَ يُخْبِرُهُمْ بِأَسْرَارِهِمْ وَمَا يَعْمَلُونَ فِي بُيُوتِهِمْ، وَجَاءَ بِآيَاتٍ كَثِيرَةٍ لاَ تُحْصَى.

قَالَ رَأسُ الجَالُوتِ: لَمْ يَصِحَّ عِنْدَنَا خَبَرُ عِيسَى وَلا خَبَرُ مُحَمَّدٍ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ). وَلاَ يَجُوزُ لَنَا أنْ نُقِرَّ لَهُمَا بِمَا لاَ يَصِحُّ.

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Has the witness who testified for Jesus and Muhammad then given false testimony?” The High Rabbi did not answer him.

Then the Imam (a.s.) called the Zoroastrian High Priest. Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “Let me know about Zoroaster who considered himself to be a Prophet. What is your proof of his Prophethood?” The Zoroastrian High Priest said, “He had miracles which no one ever had before him. Of course, I have not seen him, but the stories of our ancestors tell us that he made legitimate for us things which others had not made legitimate. Therefore, we follow him.”

The Imam (a.s.) asked, “You believed in the stories which came to you about him, so you followed him, didn't you?” He replied, “Yes.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “This is the case with all other nations. Stories came to them about what the Prophets had accomplished, and what Moses (a.s.), Jesus (a.s.), and Muhammad (a.s.) had all brought to them. So why didn’t you believe in any of these Prophets, having believed in Zoroaster through the stories that came to you about him saying that he brought forth what others did not?” The Zoroastrian High Priest froze in place.

Then Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O people! If any of you is opposed to Islam and wants to ask me any questions, then let him ask me without any shame.” Imran As-Sa’bee who was an expert in theology stood up and said, “O Scholar of the people. I would not have asked you any questions if you had not invited me to ask. I have been to Kufa, Basra, Syria and Algeria. There I have met many theologians. However, none of them has been able to establish for me the proof that there is One who has no second other than Him and that He remains to be One Being. Will you permit me to ask you this question?” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “If Imran As-Sab’ee is present among the people here, it must be you.” He said, “Yes. This is me.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “O Imran! Ask. But I advise you to be fair. Avoid vain talk and nonsense.” Imran said, “My Master! By God, I just want you to prove something which I can adhere to for me. Then I need not seek anything else.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “Ask whatever you wish to ask.” The crowds moved closer to Imran and crowded in on him. Imran As-Sa’bee asked, “Let me know of the first thing and what it created.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “You asked. Now try to understand. As for the One, He has always been One Being. He has neither limits nor does He

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَالشَّاهِدُ الَّذِي شَهِدَ لِعِيسَى وَلِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ شَاهِدُ زُورٍ! فَلَمْ يَحْرَ جَوَاباً. ثُمَّ دَعَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ بِالْهِرْبِذِ الأكْبَرِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أخْبِرْنِي عَنْ زُرَدِهشْتَ الَّذِي تَزْعَمُ أنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ؛ مَا حُجَّتُكَ عَلَى نُبُوَّتِهِ؟

قَالَ: إنَّهُ أتَى بِمَا لَمْ يَأتِنَا أَحَدٌ قَبْلَهُ وَلَمْ نَشْهَدْهُ، وَلكِنَّ الأخْبَارَ مِنْ أسْلاَفِنَا وَرَدَتْ عَلَيْنَا بِأنَّهُ أَحَلَّ لَنَا مَا لَمْ يُحِلَّهُ غَيْرُهُ فَاتَّبَعْنَاهُ. قَالَ: أفَلَيْسَ إنَّمَا أَتَتْكُمُ الأخْبَارُ فَاتَّبَعْتُمُوهُ؟

قَالَ: بَلَى. قَالَ: فَكَذلِكَ سَائِرَ الأُمَمِ السَّالِفَةِ؛ أَتَتْهُمُ الأخْبَارُ بِمَا أتَى بِهِ النَّبِيُّونَ وَأتَى بِهِ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمُحَمَّدُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ. فَمَا عُذْرُكُمْ فِي تَرْكِ الإقْرَارِ لَهُمْ، إذْ كُنْتُمْ إنَّمَا أقْرَرْتُمْ بِزُرَدِهشِتَ مِنْ قِبَلِ الأَخْبَارِ المُتَوَاتِرَةِ بِأنَّهُ جَاءَ بِمَا لَمْ يَجِئْ بِهِ غَيْرُهُ؟

فَانْقَطَعَ الْهِرْبِذُ مَكَانَهُ. فَقَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: يَا قَوْمُ، إنْ كَانَ فِيكُمْ أَحَدٌ يُخَالِفُ الإِسْلامَ وَأَرَادَ أَنْ يَسْأَلَ فَلْيَسْأَلْ غَيْرَ مُحْتَشِمٍ.

فَقَامَ إِلَيْهِ عِمْرَانُ الصَّابِي، وَكَانَ وَاحِداً فِي الْمُتَكَلِّمِينَ فَقَالَ: يَا عَالِمَ النَّاسِ، لَوْ لا أَنَّكَ دَعَوْتَ إِلَى مَسْأَلَتِكَ لَمْ أُقْدِمْ عَلَيْكَ بِالْمَسَائِلِ، فَلَقَدْ دَخَلْتُ الْكُوفَةَ وَالْبَصْرَةَ وَالشَّامَ وَالْجَزِيرَةَ وَلَقِيتُ الْمُتَكَلِّمِينَ فَلَمْ أَقَعْ عَلَى أَحَدٍ يُثْبِتُ لِي وَاحِداً لَيْسَ غَيْرُهُ قَائِماً بِوَحْدَانِيَّتِهِ، أَفَتَأْذَنُ أَنْ أَسْأَلَكَ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا: إِنْ كَانَ فِي الْجَمَاعَةِ عِمْرَانُ الصَّابِي فَأَنْتَ هُوَ. قَالَ: أَنَا هُوَ.

قَالَ: سَلْ يَا عِمْرَانُ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِالنَّصَفَةِ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَالْخَطَلَ وَالْجَوْرَ.

فَقَالَ: وَاللَّهِ يَا سَيِّدِي مَا أُرِيدُ إِلا أَنْ تُثْبِتَ لِي شَيْئاً أَتَعَلَّقُ بِهِ فَلا أَجُوزُهُ. قَالَ: سَلْ عَمَّا بَدَا لَكَ. فَازْدَحَمَ النَّاسُ وَانْضَمَّ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ.

فَقَالَ عِمْرَانُ الصَّابِيُّ: أخْبِرْنِي عَنِ الكَائِنِ الأَوَّلِ وَعَمَّا خَلَقَ.

فَقَالَ لَهُ: سَأَلْتَ فَافْهَمْ. أمَّا الْوَاحِدُ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ وَاحِداً كَائِناً لاَ شَيءَ مَعَهُ بِلاَ حُدِودٍ وَأعْرَاضٍ،

have transient qualities. He will always remain so. Then unprecedentedly He created a different creature with transient qualities and various different limits. He neither placed it in anything, nor did He limit it by anything. He neither created it like anything, nor did He create other thing like it. He then created the creatures in various shapes: pure and impure, different and alike, with various colors, flavors and tastes. He did not create them out of a need for them, nor did He create them to attain a higher rank. He did not sense any increase or decrease in Himself due to this Creation. O Imran! Do you understand this?” Imran said, “By God, yes my Master!”

The Imam (a.s.) added, “O Imran! Know that if He had created what He created since He needed them, He would have only created things by which He could fulfill His need. In that case, it would have been better for Him to create several times more than what He created, since the more the helpers were, the more powerful their master would be. O Imran! In that case, His need would be a never-ending one. The more He created, the more newer needs appeared for Him. That is why we say that He did not create the creatures out of need. Through Creation He transfers the needs of some of them to others. And He makes some of them nobler than others without any need of the nobler one or without wanting to take any revenge against those whom He had debased. That is how He has created.”

Imran asked, “Master! Was the Being known to Himself by His Own Self?” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “It is the case that knowledge of something is required to distinguish it from other things, and to prove its existence through what it is negated about it. However, there was nothing else there to oppose Him to make it necessary to negate. Since there was only Him there was no need to establish limits. O Imran! Do you understand?”

Imran said, “Yes, by God, my Master! Then tell me, by what means did He come to know what He knew. Was it done by conscience or by something else?” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “If it had been that His Knowledge was acquired by conscience, can’t we then establish any limits for that conscience where Knowledge ends?” Imran answered, “There is no way out.” The Imam (a.s.) then asked him, “Then what is that conscience?” Imran could not provide any answer.

وَلاَ يَزَالُ كَذلِكَ، ثُمَّ خَلَقَ خَلْقاً مُبْتَدِعاً مُخْتَلِفاً بِأعْرَاضٍ وَحُدُودٍ مُخْتَلِفَةٍ، لاَ فِي شَيءٍ أقَامَهُ وَلاَ فِي شيءٍ حَدَّهُ وَلاَ عَلَى شَيءٍ حَذَاهُ وَمَثَّلَهُ لَهُ. فَجَعَلَ الْخَلْقَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ صَفْوَةً وَغَيْرَ صَفْوَةٍ وَاخْتِلاَفاً وَائْتِلاَفاً وَألْوَاناً وَذَوْقاً وَطَعْماً، لا لِحَاجَةٍ كَانَتْ مِنْهُ إلى ذَلِكَ وَلا لِفَضْلِ مَنْزِلَةٍ لَمْ يَبْلُغْهَا إلاَّ بِهِ، وَلا أرَى لِنَفْسِهِ فِيمَا خَلَقَ زِيَادَةً وَلا نُقْصَاناً. تَعْقِلُ هَذا يَا عِمْرَانُ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ وَ اللهِ يَا سَيِّدِي.

قَالَ: وَاعْلَمْ يَا عِمْرَانُ أنَّهُ لَوْ كَانَ خَلَقَ مَا خَلَقَ لِحَاجَةٍ لَمْ يَخْلُقْ إلاَّ مَنْ يَسْتَعِينُ بِهِ عَلَى حَاجَتِهِ، وَلَكَانَ يَنْبَغِي أنْ يَخْلُقَ أضْعَافَ مَا خَلَقَ لأَنَّ الأَعْوَانَ كُلَّمَا كَثُرُوا كَانَ صَاحِبُهُمْ أقْوَى. وَالحَاجَةُ يَا عِمْرَانُ لاَ يَسَعُهَا لأنَّهُ كَانَ لَمْ يُحْدِثْ مِنَ الخَلْقِ شَيْئاً إلاّ حَدَثَتْ بِهِ حَاجَةٌ أُخْرَى. وَلِذَلِكَ أقُولُ: لَمْ يَخْلُقِ الخَلْقَ لِحَاجَةٍ وَلكِنْ نَقَلَ بِالخَلْقِ الحَوَائِجَ بَعْضَهُمْ إلى بَعْضٍ، وَفَضَّلَ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ بِلاَ حَاجَةٍ مِنْهُ إلى فَضْلٍ وَلاَ نِقْمَةٍ مِنْهُ عَلَى مَنْ أذَلَّ. فَلِهذَا خَلَقَ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، هَلْ كَانَ الكَائِنُ مَعْلُوماً فِي نَفْسِهِ عِنْدَ نَفْسِهِ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: إنَّما يَكُونُ المَعْلَمَةُ بِالشَّيءِ لِنَفْيِ خِلاَفِهِ وَلِيَكُونَ الشَّيءُ نَفْسُهُ بِمَا نُفِيَ عَنْهُ مَوْجُوداً، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ هُناكَ شَيءٌ يُخَالِفُهُ فَتَدْعُوهُ الحَاجَةُ إلى نَفْيِ ذَلِكَ الشَّيءِ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ بِتَحْدِيدِ مَا عَلِمَ مِنْهَا. أفَهِمْتَ يَا عِمْرَانُ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ وَاللهِ. سَيِّدِي فَأخْبِرْنِي بِأيِّ شَيءٍ عَلِمَ مَا عَلِمَ. أبِضَمِيرٍ أمْ بِغَيْرِ ذَلِكَ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أرَأَيْتَ إذَا عَلِمَ بِضَمِيرٍ هَلْ يَجِدُ بُدّاً مِنْ أنْ يَجْعَلَ لِذَلِكَ الضَّمِيرِ حَدّاً تَنْتَهِي إلَيْهِ المَعْرِفَةُ؟ قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: لاَ بُدَّ مِنْ ذَلِكَ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَمَا ذَلِكَ الضَّمِيرُ؟ فَانْقَطَعَ وَلَمْ يَحْرَ جَوَاباً.

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Never mind. O Imran! If I now ask you about that conscience and whether you can recognize it through another conscience, and you answer if the affirmative, have you not then disproved your own statement and claim? O Imran! Is it not more proper for you to know that the One cannot be described by a conscience? And that the most that can be said about Him is that He has done something, or created something?

He is not such that one can conceive any directions or parts for Him as can be imagined for the creatures and their parts. Understand this and base your proper knowledge on it.”

Imran asked, “O my Master! Can you let me know what are the types of limits for His creatures? What is the meaning and what are the varieties of His creatures?”

The Imam (a.s.) said, “You asked. Now understand. In fact, there are six types of limits for His creatures. These are the tangibles; the weighable; the seeable; those that have no weight - that is spirit; those that are seeable but are without any weight, are untouchable, intangible, colorless, and tasteless; and the measurable that are the widths, the forms, width and height. Included amongst them are deeds and movements which make things, act upon them, change them from one state to another, increase them, or reduce them. As for deeds and movements, they pass by since they have no more time than that which is ordained for their need. Whenever a deed is finished and the movement is stopped it ends, but its effects remain just like talking which ends but its effect remains.”

Imran said, “O my Master! Will you let me know about the Creator? If He is One, there is nothing other than Him and there is nothing with Him, has He not changed (His Essence) through creating the creatures?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) told him, “He is Eternal. The Honorable the Exalted does not change due to creating the creatures. However, the creatures change through the changes which He exerts upon them.”

Imran asked, “O my Master! With what have we recognized Him?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “With something other than Him.” Imran asked, “What is something other than Him?” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “His Volition, His Name, His Attribute, and the like which are all originated, created and managed (by Him).”

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: لا بَأسَ إنْ سَأَلْتُكَ عَنِ الضَّمِيرِ نَفْسِهِ، تَعْرِفُهُ بِضَمِيرٍ آخَرَ؟ فَإنْ قُلْتَ نَعَمْ، أفْسَدْتَ عَلَيْكَ قَوْلَكَ وَدَعْوَاكَ يَا عِمْرَانُ. ألَيْسَ يَنْبَغِي أنْ تَعْلَمَ أنَّ الوَاحِدَ لَيْسَ يُوصَفُ بِضَمِيرٍ وَلَيْسَ يُقَالُ لَهُ أكْثَرَ مِنْ فِعْلٍ وَعَمَلٍ وَصُنْعٍ، وَلَيْسَ يُتَوَهَّمُ مِنْهُ مَذاهِبُ وَتَجْزِيَةٍ كَمَذَاهِبِ المَخْلُوقِينَ وَتَجْزِيَتِهِمْ؟ فَاعْقِلْ ذَلِكَ وَابْنِ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَلِمْتَ صَواباً.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، ألاَ تُخْبِرُنِي حُدُودَ خَلْقِهِ كَيْفَ هِيَ؟ وَمَا مَعَانِيهَا؟ وَعَلَى كَمْ نَوْعٍ يَكُونُ؟

قَالَ: قَدْ سَأَلْتَ فَاعْلَمْ أنَّ حُدُودَ خَلْقِهِ عَلَى سِتَّةِ أنْوَاعٍ: مَلْمُوسٍ وَمَوْزُونٍ وَمَنْظُورٍ إلَيْهِ وَمَا لاَ ذَوْقَ لَهُ وَهُوَ الرُّوحُ وَمِنْها مَنْظُورٌ إلَيْهِ وَلَيْسَ لَهُ وَزْنٌ وَلاَ لَمْسٌ وَلاَ حِسٌّ وَلاَ لَوْنٌ وَلاَ ذَوْقٌ وَالتَّقْدِيرُ وَالأعْرَاضُ وَالصُّوَرُ وَالطُّولُ وَالْعَرْضُ، وَمِنْهَا العَمَلُ وَالحَرَكَاتُ الَّتِي تَصْنَعُ الأشْيَاءَ وَتَعْمَلُهَا وَتُغَيِّرُهَا مِنْ حَالٍ إلى حَالٍ وَتَزِيدُهَا وَتُنْقِصُهَا. فَأمّا الأعْمَالُ وَالحَرَكَاتُ فَإنَّهَا تَنْطَلِقُ لأَنَّهُ لا وَقْتَ لَها أكْثَرَ مِنْ قَدْرِ مَا يُحْتَاجُ إلَيْهِ. فَإذَا فَرَغَ مِنَ الشَّيءِ انْطَلَقَ بِالحَرَكَةِ وَبَقِيَ الأَثَرُ وَيَجْرِي مَجْرَى الكَلاَمِ، يَذْهَبُ وَيَبْقَى أثَرُهُ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، ألاَ تُخْبِرُنِي عَنِ الخَالِقِ إذَا كَانَ وَاحِداً لاَ شَيءَ غَيْرَهُ وَلاَ شَيْءَ مَعَهُ؟ ألَيْسَ قَدْ تَغَيَّرَ بِخَلْقِهِ الخَلْقُ؟

قَالَ لَهُ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: قَدِيمٌ لَمْ يَتَغَيَّرْ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِخَلْقِهِ الخَلْقُ وَلكِنَّ الخَلْقَ يَتَغَيَّرُ بِتَغَيُّرِهِ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي فَبِأَيِّ شَيْءٍ عَرَفْنَاهُ؟

قَالَ: بِغَيْرِهِ.

قَالَ: فَأيُّ شَيءٍ غَيْرُهُ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: مَشِيَّتُهُ وَاسْمُهُ وَصِفَتُهُ وَمَا أشْبَهَ ذَلِكَ، وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ مُحْدَثٌ مَخْلُوقٌ مُدَبَّرٌ.

Imran said, “O my Master! Then what is He?” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “He is Light. That means that He guides His creatures from among the people of the heavens and the Earth. You have no rights incumbent upon me more than my professing His Unity to you.”

Imran said, “O my Master! Was He not silent before creating the creatures and then He spoke?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Silence does not exist unless there is some utterance before it. An example of this is that it is not said that the lamp is silent and does not utter; nor is it said that the lamp shines implying that it wants to do something to us. The light shining from the lamp is not considered to be the act of the lamp. It is not something separate from the lamp. Therefore, when it is illuminating us we say that it was lit for us by which we found our way around. Through this example you can find what you are after and become enlightened in your affairs.”

Imran said, “O my Master! I thought that the Ever-Being is changed in His own Essence by His action of creating the creatures.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Imran! What you said that the Ever-Being will change in one or another way (by acting) and that this change will affect His own Essence, and thereby changes Him. O Imran! Have you ever seen that the changes in fire change it? Have you ever seen heat burn itself? Have you ever seen an eye see itself?” Imran said, “No I have not. O my Master! Will you let me know whether He is in the creatures or the creatures are in Him?” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Imran! He is Exalted and above all that. He is not in the creatures; nor are the creatures in Him. He is High above that. I will teach you what you do not know. There is no strength save in God. Tell me about the mirror: are you in it or is it in you? O Imran! If neither one of you is in the other, then by what thing do you reason that you can see your own reflection in it?”

Imran said, “Through the light between me and the mirror.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Can you see more of that light in the mirror than what you see in your own eyes?”

He answered, “Yes.” Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Then show it to us!” It was then that the man was too baffled to say a word. The Imam (a.s.) said, “I do not see the light, except leading you and the mirror to come to know each other without being in either one of you. There are many other such

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، فَأيُّ شَيءٍ هُوَ؟ قَالَ: هُوَ نُورٌ بِمَعْنَى أنَّهُ هَادٍ خَلْقَهُ مِنْ أهْلِ السَّمَاءِ وَأهْلِ الأرْضِ، وَلَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَى أكْثَرَ مِنْ تَوْحِيدِي إيَّاهُ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، ألَيْسَ قَدْ كَانَ سَاكِتاً قَبْلَ الخَلْقِ لاَ يَنْطِقُ ثُمَّ نَطَقَ؟ قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: لاَ يَكُونُ السُّكُوتُ إلاّ عَنْ نَطْقٍ قَبْلَهُ. وَالمَثَلُ فِي ذَلِكَ أنَّهُ لاَ يُقَالُ لِلسِّرَاجِ هُوَ سَاكِتٌ لاَ يَنْطِقُ، وَلا يُقَالُ إنَّ السِّرَاجَ لَيُضِيءُ فِيمَا يُرِيدُ أنْ يَفْعَلَ بِنَا لأَنَّ الضَّوْءَ مِنَ السِّرَاجِ لَيْسَ بِفِعْلٍ مِنْهُ وَلا كَوْنٍ، وَإنَّما هُوَ لَيْسَ شَيءٌ غَيْرُهُ فَلَمّا اسْتَضَاءَ لَنَا قُلْنَا قَدْ أضَاءَ لَنَا حَتّى اسْتَضَأْنَا بِهِ. فَبِهَذا تَسْتَبْصِرُ أمْرَكَ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، فَإنَّ الَّذِي كَانَ عِنْدِي أنَّ الكَائِنَ قَدْ تَغَيَّرَ فِي فِعْلِهِ عَنْ حَالِهِ بِخَلْقِهِ الخَلْقَ. قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أحَلْتَ يَا عِمْرَانُ فِي قَوْلِكَ أنَّ الكَائِنَ يَتَغَيَّرُ فِي وَجْهٍ مِنَ الوُجُوهِ حَتّى يُصِيبَ الذَّاتَ مِنْهُ مَا يُغَيِّرُهُ. يَا عِمْرَانُ، هَلْ تَجِدُ النَّارَ تُغَيِّرُهَا تَغَيُّرُ نَفْسِهَا؟ وَهَلْ تَجِدُ الحَرَارَةَ تُحْرِقُ نَفْسَهَا؟ أوْ هَلْ رَأيْتَ بَصِيراً قَطُّ رَأى بَصَرَهُ؟

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: لَمْ أَرَ هَذَا إلاَّ أنْ تُخْبِرَنِي يَا سَيِّدِي أهُوَ فِي الخَلْقِ أمِ الخَلْقُ فِيهِ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أَجَلْ يَا عِمْرَانُ، لَيْسَ هُوَ فِي الخَلْقِ وَلاَ الخَلْقُ فِيهِ. تَعَالى عَنْ ذَلِكَ وَسَاءَ عِلْمُكَ مَا تَعْرِفُهُ، وَلاَ قُوَّةَ الاّ بِاللهِ. أخْبِرْنِي عَنِ المِرْآةِ أنْتَ فِيهَا أمْ هِيَ فِيكَ؟ فَإنْ كَانَ لَيْسَ وَاحِدٌ مِنْكُمَا فِي صَاحِبِهِ فَبِأَيِّ شَيْءٍ إسْتَدْلَلْتَ بِهَا عَلَى نَفْسِكَ يَا عِمْرَانُ؟

قَالَ: بِضَوْءٍ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهَا.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: هَلْ تَرَى مِنْ ذَلِكَ الضَّوْءِ فِي المِرْآةِ أكْثَرَ مِمّا تَرَاهُ فِي عَيْنِكَ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: فَأَرِنَاهُ.

فَلَمْ يَحْرَ جَوَابـاً. قَالَ: فَلا أرَى النُّورَ إلاّ وَقَدْ دَلَّكَ وَدَلَّ المِرْآةَ عَلَى أنْفُسِكُمَا مِنْ غَيْرِ أنْ

examples which the ignorant simply cannot comprehend. God is the highest such example.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) turned to Al-Ma’mun and told him, “Now it is time to pray.”

Imran said, “O my Master! Do not interrupt my questions since I am feeling inclined towards you in my heart.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “We will pray and come back.”

Then the Imam (a.s.) stood up. Al-Ma’mun got up, too. Then Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) prayed inside and the people prayed outside led by Muhammad ibn Ja’far. Then the Imam (a.s.) came out, returned to the meeting, called out to Imran and said, “O Imran! Ask your questions.”

Imran said, “O my Master! Will you let me know whether the Unity of the Honorable the Exalted God is perceived through reality or through description?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Certainly, God is the Only Initiator, and the first Ever-Being. He has always been One without anything to accompany Him. He is One and there are no seconds for Him. He is neither definite nor indefinite. He is neither decisive nor allegorical. He is neither mentioned nor forgotten. He is not a thing such that a name of things can fit Him. There is no time for the beginning of His Being. And there is no time until which only He will last. He has not been standing upon anything else, nor will He be standing upon anything. There is nothing up until which He is. There is nothing on which He leans. He had all these attributes before creating anything when there was nothing but Him. Whatever you attribute to Him will be originated attributes which are only means for understanding Him, which anyone possessing understanding can comprehend.

Know that innovation, volition, and will have the same meaning with different names. His foremost innovation, will and volition were the letters which He established as the origin of everything, the evidence for all perceived things, and the separator for all vague things. Everything was separated by these letters: things such as the name of right and wrong, action and object, meaning and meaningless. All affairs were run based on them. He did not establish any limited meaning for them other than what they were themselves when He originated the letters. He did

يَكُونَ فِي وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمَا. وَلِهَذَا أمْثَالٌ كَثِيرَةٌ غَيْرُ هَذَا، لاَ يَجِدُ الجَاهِلُ فِيهَا مَقَالاً. وَللهِ المَثَلُ الأَعْلَى.

ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إلى المَأمُونِ فَقَالَ: الصَّلاَةُ قَدْ حَضَرَتْ.

فَقَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، لا تَقْطَعْ عَلَيَّ مَسْأَلَتِي فَقَدْ رَقَّ قَلْبِي.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: نُصَلِّي وَنَعُودُ.

فَنَهَضَ، وَنَهَضَ الْمَأْمُونُ. فَصَلَّى الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ دَاخِلاً، وَصَلَّى النَّاسُ خَارِجاً خَلْفَ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ. ثُمَّ خَرَجَا فَعَادَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ إِلَى مَجْلِسِهِ وَدَعَا بِعِمْرَانَ فَقَالَ: سَلْ يَا عِمْرَانُ.

قَالَ: يَا سَيِّدِي، ألاَ تُخْبِرُنِي عَنِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، هَلْ يُوَحَّدُ بِحَقِيقَةٍ أوْ يُوَحَّدُ بِوَصْفٍ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: إنَّ اللهَ المُبْدِئَ الوَاحِدَ الكَائِنَ الأَوَّلَ لَمْ يَزَلْ وَاحِداً لاَ شَيْءَ مَعَهُ، فَرْداً لاَ ثَانِيَ مَعَهُ، لاَ مَعْلُوماً وَلاَ مَجْهُولاً، وَلا مُحْكَماً وَلا مُتَشَابِهاً، وَلا مَذْكُوراً وَلاَ مَنْسِيّاً، وَلا شَيْئاً يَقَعُ عَلَيْهِ اسْمُ شَيْءٍ مِنَ الأشْيَاءِ غَيْرِهِ، وَلا مِنْ وَقْتٍ كَانَ وَلا إلى وَقْتٍ يَكُونُ، وَلا بِشَيْءٍ قَامَ وَلا إلى شَيْءٍ يَقُومُ، وَلا إلى شَيْءٍ اِسْتَنَدَ وَلا فِي شَيْءٍ اِسْتَكَنَّ. وَذَلِكَ كُلُّهُ قَبْلَ الخَلْقِ إذْ لاَ شَيْءَ غَيْرُهُ، وَمَا أوْقَعْتُ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الكُلِّ فَهِيَ صِفَاتٌ مُحْدَثَةٌ وَتَرْجَمَةٌ يَفْهَمُ بِهَا مَنْ فَهِمَ.

وَاعْلَمْ أنَّ الإبْدَاعَ وَالمَشِيئَةَ وَالإرَادَةَ مَعْنَاهَا وَاحِدٌ وَأسْمَاؤها ثَلاثَةٌ. وَكَانَ أوَّلَ إبْدَاعِهِ وَإرَادَتِهِ وَمَشِيَّتِهِ الحُرُوفُ الَّتِي جَعَلَهَا أصْلاً لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَدَلِيلاً عَلَى كُلِّ مَدْرَكٍ وَفَاصِلاً لِكُلِّ مُشْكِلٍ. وَبِتِلْكَ الحُرُوفِ تَفْرِيقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مِنِ اسْمٍ حَقٍّ وَبَاطِلٍ أوْ فِعْلٍ أوْ مَفْعُولٍ أوْ مَعْنىً أوْ غَيْرِ مَعْنى. وَعَلَيْهَا اجْتَمَعَتِ الأُمُورُ كُلُّهَا وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ لِلْحُرُوفِ فِي إبْدَاعِهِ لَهَا مَعْنًى غَيْـرَ

not establish for them any existence other than themselves since they were originated via innovation. Here Light is God’s first deed: The deed of God who is the Light of the heavens and the Earth Himself. It was through that deed which the letters became action. It is the letters upon which speech is based. Expressions are all from the Honorable the Exalted God who taught them to His creatures. There are thirty-three letters. Twenty-eight of them are the letters on which the Arabic language is based. Twenty-two of the twenty-eight letters show the letters of the Assyrian and Hebrew languages. Five of them were separated and are in the rest of the languages of non-Arabs in the regions. These are the five letters which were separated from the twenty-eight letters. Therefore, there are thirty-three letters. It is not permissible to mention more about them than what we have mentioned regarding these five letters which were separated. He then established the letters after counting them and numbering them as His own deed. An example of this is in the Honorable the Exalted God’s words, ‘We but say the word, ‘Be’, and it is.’8

Here ‘be’ refers to God’s Creation, and ‘what is created’ refers to the creature. Thus the first Creation by the Honorable the Exalted God was innovation which has neither any weight nor any movement. It is neither heard nor does it have any color. It is intangible. And the second thing that was created are the letters which neither have any weight nor any color. They are neither heard nor described. They are not seeable. The third creature includes all the various kinds of things which are perceptible, tangible, tasteable, and seeable. The Blessed the Sublime God existed before innovation as there has been nothing before the Honorable the Exalted God, and nothing with him. Innovation was created before the letters were created, and the letters do not indicate anything other than themselves.”

Al-Ma’mun asked, “How come they do not indicate anything other than themselves?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Surely, the Blessed the Sublime God never combines any of them together unless to mean something. When He combines several letters together, say four, five, and six or more, He uses them to originate a new meaning which did not exist before.”

Imran asked, “How can we understand this better?”

أنْفُسِهَا تَتَنَاهَى وَلا وُجُودَ لَهَا لأَنَّهَا مُبْدَعَةٌ بِالإبْدَاعِ. وَالنُّورُ فِي هَذَا المَوْضِعِ أوَّلُ فِعْلِ اللهِ الَّذِي هُوَ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضِ، وَالْحُرُوفُ هِيَ الْمَفْعُولُ بِذَلِكَ الْفِعْلِ وَهِيَ الْحُرُوفُ الَّتِي عَلَيْهَا مَدَارُ الْكَلاَمِ، وَالْعِبَادَاتُ كُلُّهَا مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَلَّمَهَا خَلْقَهُ، وَهِيَ ثَلاَثَةٌ وَثَلاَثُونَ حَرْفاً؛ فَمِنْهَا ثَمَانِيَةٌ وَعِشْرُونَ حَرْفاً تَدُلُّ عَلَى لُغَاتِ الْعَرَبِيَّةِ وَمِنَ الثَّمَانِيَةِ وَالْعِشْرِينَ اثْنَانِ وَعِشْرُونَ حَرْفاً تَدُلُّ عَلَى لُغَاتِ السَّرْيَانِيَّةِ وَالعِبْرَانِيَّةِ، وَمِنْهَا خَمْسَةُ أحْرُفٍ مُتَحَرِّفَةٍ فِي سَائِرِ اللُّغَاتِ مِنَ العَجَمِ وَالأقَالِيمِ.

وَاللُّغَاتُ كُلُّهَا هِيَ خَمْسَةُ أحْرُفٍ تَحَرَّفَتْ مِنَ الثَّمَانِيَةِ وَالعِشْرِينَ حَرْفاً مِنَ اللُّغَاتِ فَصَارَتِ الْحُرُوفُ ثَلاَثَةً وَثَلاَثِينَ حَرْفاً. فَأمّا الْخَمْسَةُ الْمُخْتَلِفَةُ فَـ: (ي) (ت) (ج) (ح) (خ) لاَ يَجُوزُ ذِكْرُهَا أكْثَرَ مِمَّا ذَكَرْنَاهُ. ثُمَّ جَعَلَ الْحُرُوفَ بَعْدَ إحْصَائِها وَإحْكَامِ عِدَّتِهَا فِعْلاً مِنْهُ، كَقَوْلِهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: ( كُنْ فَيَكُونُ) وَكُنْ مِنْهُ صُنِعَ وَمَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْمَصْنُوعُ، فَالْخَلْقُ الأَوَّلُ مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ الإبْدَاعُ لاَ وَزْنٌ لَهُ وَلاَ حَرَكَةٌ وَلاَ سَمْعٌ وَلاَ لَوْنٌ وَلاَ حِسٌّ. وَالْخَلْقُ الثَّانِي الْحُرُوفُ لاَ وَزْنٌ لَهَا وَلاَ لَوْنٌ، وَهِيَ مَسْمُوعَةٌ مَوْصُوفَةٌ غَيْرُ مَنْظُورٍ إلَيْهَا. وَالْخَلْقُ الثَّالِثُ مَا كَانَ مِنَ الأنْوَاعِ كُلِّهَا مَحْسُوساً مَلْمُوساً ذَا ذَوْقٍ مَنْظُوراً إلَيْهِ.

وَاللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالى سَابِقٌ لِلإبْدَاعِ لأَنَّهُ لَيْسَ قَبْلَهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ شَيْءٌ وَلا كَانَ مَعَهُ شَيءٌ، وَالإبْدَاعُ سَابِقٌ لِلْحُرُوفِ وَالْحُرُوفُ لاَ تَدُلُّ عَلَى غَيْرِ نَفْسِهَا.

قَالَ الْمَأمُونُ: وَكَيْفَ لاَ تَدُلُّ عَلَى غَيْرِ أنْفُسِهَا؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: لأَنَّ اللهَ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالى لاَ يَجْمَعُ مِنْهَا شَيْئاً لِغَيْرِ مَعْنىً أبَداً؛ فَإذَا ألَّفَ مِنْهَا أحْرُفاً أرْبَعَةً أوْ خَمْسَةً أوْ سِتَّةً أوْ أكْثَرَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ أوْ أقَلَّ لَمْ يُؤَلِّفْهَا بِغَيْرِ مَعْنى وَلَمْ يَكُنْ إلاَّ لِمَعْنى مُحْدَثٍ لَمْ يَكُنْ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ شَيءٌ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: فَكَيْفَ لَنَا بِمَعْرِفَةِ ذَلِكَ؟

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “This is how it can be understood. When you only want to refer to the letters and not anything else, you mention them one by one and say, a b c d e f g etc. Here you find no meaning in them other than themselves. But when you put several letters together you construct names and attributes for a meaning which you have in mind. They will now demonstrate the meaning for which they were intended. Did you understand this?”

Imran said, “Yes.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Know that an attribute cannot be without what it describes. Also a name cannot be without a meaning. A limit cannot be without a limited. All attributes and names indicate perfection and existence. They do not indicate encompassment, as the limits do. Limits make squares, make triangles, and make hexagons. Indeed the recognition of the Honorable the Exalted God is perceived by attributes and names, not by limits such as length, width, smallness, largeness, color, weight, and the like. No such limits are applicable to the Exalted the All-Holy God, so that His creatures could recognize Him by recognizing themselves. This is certain as I said, but the Honorable the Exalted God’s attributes prove Him. He can be understood through His Names. We can argue about His Existence by referring to the existence of His creatures. A true seeker does not need to see Him with his own eyes, or hear Him with his own ears, or touch Him with his own hands, or encompass Him with his own heart. Were it not the case that His attributes proved Him - Exalted is His Praise - and His Names denoted Him, it was not possible for the taught knowledge of the creatures to perceive Him. Then the creatures would have worshipped His Names and Attributes instead of His Meaning. Were it any different, the Only Worshipped One would have been other than God since God’s Names and Attributes are other than Him. Imran! Did you understand?” Imran said, “Yes, my Master. Please tell me more.”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “Beware of the sayings of the ignorant people from among those whose hearts are blind and are at a loss - those who claim that the Exalted the All-Holy God is present in the Hereafter for the Reckoning concerning rewards and punishments, but He is not present in this world for the acts of obedience and hope. If it were that the Honorable the Exalted God’s presence was a source of His being

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أمَّا الْمَعْرِفَةُ فَوَجْهُ ذَلِكَ وَبَيَانُهُ أنَّـكَ تَذْكُرُ الْحُرُوفَ إذَا لَمْ تُرِدْ بِهَـا غَيْرَ نَفْسِهَا ذَكَرْتَهَا فَرْداً فَقُلْتَ: (ألف) (باء) (تاء) (ثاء) (جيم) (حاء) (خاء)… حِتّى تَأتِيَ عَلَى آخِرِهَا فَلَمْ تَجِدْ لَهَا مَعْنَىً غَيْرَ أنْفُسِهَا، وَإذَا ألَّفْتَهَا وَجَمَعْتَ مِنْهَا أحْرُفاً وَجَعَلْتَها اسْماً وَصِفَةً لِمَعْنىً ما طَلَبْتَ وَوَجْهٍ مَا عَنَيْتَ، كَانَتْ دَلِيلَهُ عَلَى مَعَانِيهَا دَاعِيَةً إلى الْمَوْصُوفِ بِهَا. أفَهِمْتَهُ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: وَاعْلَمْ أنَّهُ لاَ يَكُونُ صِفَةٌ لِغَيْرِ مَوْصُوفٍ وَلا اسْمٌ لِغَيْرِ مَعْنى وَلا حَدٌّ لِغَيْرِ مَحْدُودٍ. وَالصِّفَاتُ وَالأسْمَاءُ كُلُّهَا تَدُلُّ عَلَى الْكَمَالِ وَالوُجُودِ، وَلا تَدُلُّ عَلَى الإحَاطَةِ كَمَا تَدُلُّ الحُدُودُ الَّتِي هِيَ التَّرْبِيعُ وَالتَّثْلِيثُ وَالتَّسْدِيسُ، لأنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ تُدْرَكُ مَعْرِفَتُهُ بِالصِّفَاتِ وَالأسْمَاءِ ولاَ تُدْرَكُ بِالتَّحْدِيدِ بِالطُّولِ وَالعَرْضِ وِالقِلَّةِ وَالكَثْرَةِ وَاللَّوْنِ وَالوَزْنِ وَمَا أشْبَهَ ذَلِكَ. وَلَيْسَ يَحِلُّ باللهِ تَقَدَّسَ شَيءٌ مِنْ ذَلِكَ حَتّى يَعْرِفَهُ خَلْقُهُ بِمَعْرِفَتِهِمْ أنْفُسَهُمْ بِالضَّرُورَةِ الَّتِي ذَكَرْنَا، وَلَكِنْ يُدَلُّ عَلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِصِفَاتِهِ وَيُدْرَكُ بِأسْمَائِهِ وَيُسْتَدَلُّ عَلَيْهِ بِخَلْقِهِ. لاَ يَحْتَاجُ فِي ذَلِكَ الطَّالِبُ الْمُرْتَادُ إلى رُؤيَةِ عَيْنٍ وَلا اسْتِماعِ أُذُنٍ وَلا لَمْسِ كَفٍّ وَلا إحَاطَةٍ بِقَلْبٍ؛ وَلَوْ كَانَتْ صِفَاتُهُ جَلَّ ثَنَاؤهُ لاَ تَدِلُّ عَلَيْهِ وَأسْمَاؤهُ لا تَدْعُو إلَيْهِ وَالْمَعْلَمَةُ مِنَ الخَلْقِ لاَ تُدْرِكُهُ لِمَعْنَاهُ، كَانَتِ العِبَادَةُ مِنَ الخَلْقِ لأسْمَائِهِ وَصِفَاتِهِ دُونَ مَعْنَاهُ. فَلَوْلا أنَّ ذَلِكَ كَذَلِكَ لَكَانَ الْمَعْبُودُ الْمُوَحَّدُ غَيْرَ اللهِ، لأنَّ صَفَاتِهِ وَأسْمَائَهُ غَيْرُهُ. أفَهِمْتَ؟

قَالَ: نَعَمْ يَا سَيِّدِي، زِدْنِي.

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: إيَّاكَ وَقَوْلَ الجُهَّالِ مِنْ أهْلِ العَمَى وَالضَّلالِ الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أنَّ اللهَ جَلَّ وَتَقَدَّسَ مَوْجُودٌ فِي الآخِرَةِ لِلْحِسَابِ فِي الثَّوَابِ وَالعِقَابِ، وَلَيْسَ بِمَوْجُودٍ فِي الدُّنْيَا لِلطَّاعَةِ وَالرَّجَاءِ! وَلَوْ كَانَ فِي الوُجُودِ للهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ نَقْصٌ وَاهْتِضَامٌ لَمْ يُوجَدْ فِي الآخِـرَةِ

defective in this world, He would not be present in the Hereafter either. However, these people have gone astray, have become blind, and deaf toward the truth regarding what they do not know. That is according to the Words of the Honorable the Exalted God, ‘But those who were blind in this world, will be blind in the Hereafter, and most astray from the Path.’9

What is meant by blindness here is blindness regarding existing realities. Intellectuals know that reasoning about what exists in the Hereafter is only possible through what exists in this world. Whoever tries to adopt knowledge of that world based upon his own personal views, and seek its existence or tries to perceive it through his own soul, and not through anything else would only get more distant from the facts about that world. That is because the Honorable the Exalted God has entrusted the knowledge of that world to an especial group of people who think, know and understand.”

Imran asked, “Is innovation a created being or not?” Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) answered, “It is a still Creation which cannot be perceived through stillness. It is a created being since it has been created. And it is the Sublime God who has originated it. Thus it has become a creature. In other words, there only exist the Honorable the Exalted God and His creatures. There exists no third thing in between, and there is no third thing other than them. Whatever the Honorable the Exalted God creates does not disobey from being His creature. What is created is either still, moving, different, harmonious, known, or ambiguous. Whatever is bounded is the Honorable the Exalted God’s creature.

Moreover, know that all the things which the senses find for you are meanings perceived by the senses, and every sense demonstrates what the Honorable the Exalted God has placed in its perception, and the heart understands all of that. Know that the One who is Ever-Standing without any ordination or bounds created creatures ordained by bounds and ordination. What He created were two creatures: the ordination and the ordained. Neither one had any color, weight or taste. He established one as the means of perceiving the other and made them such that they could be perceived on their own. He did not create anything which could stand alone relying only on itself so as to provide a means for arguing about and proving His own existence.

أبَداً. وَلكِنَّ القَوْمَ تَاهوا وَعَمُوا وَصَمُّوا عَنِ الحَقِّ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَعْلَمُونَ. وَقَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: (وَمَنْ كَانَ فِي هَذِهِ أعْمَى فَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ أعْمَى وَأضَلُّ سَبِيلاً) يَعْني أعْمَى عَنِ الحَقَائِقِ الْمَوْجُودَةِ. وَقَدْ عَلِمَ ذَووا الألْبَابِ أنَّ الاسْتِدْلالَ عَلَى مَا هُنَاكَ لاَ يَكُونُ إلاَّ بِمَا هَا هُنَا، وَمَنْ أخَذَ عِلْمَ ذَلِكَ بِرَأيِهِ وَطَلَبَ وُجُودَهُ وَإدْراكَهُ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ دُونَ غَيْرِهَا لَمْ يَزْدَدْ مِنْ عِلْمِ ذَلِكَ إلاَّ بُعْداً، لأنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ جَعَلَ عِلْمَ ذَلِكَ خَاصَّةً عِنْدَ قَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ وَيَعْلَمُونَ وَيَفْهَمُونَ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، ألاَ تُخْبِرُنِي عَنِ الإبْدَاعِ، أخَلْقٌ هُوَ أمْ غَيْرُ خَلْقٍ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: بَلْ خَلْقٌ سَاكِنٌ لاَ يُدْرَكُ بِالسُّكُونِ، وَإنَّمَا صَارَ خَلْقاً لأنَّهُ شَيءٌ مُحْدَثٌ، وَاللهُ تَعَالى الَّذِي أحْدَثَهُ فَصَارَ خَلْقاً لَهُ. وَإنَّما هُوَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَخَلْقُهُ لاَ ثَالِثَ بَيْنَهُمَا وَلاَ ثَالِثَ غَيْرَهُمَا. فَمَا خَلَقَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَمْ يَعْدُ أنْ يَكُونَ خَلْقَهُ وَيَكُونَ الخَلْقُ سَاكِناً وَمُتَحَرِّكاً وَمُخْتَلِفاً وَمُؤْتَلِفاً وَمَعْلُوماً وَمُتَشَابِهاً، وَكُلُّ مَا وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ حَدٌّ فَهُوَ خَلْقُ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.

وَاعْلَمْ أنَّ كُلَّ مَا أوْجَدَتْكَ الحَوَاسُّ فَهُوَ مَعْنىً مُدْرِكٌ لِلْحَوَاسِّ، وَكُلُّ حَاسَّةٍ تَدُلُّ عَلَى مَا جَعَلَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَها فِي إدْرَاكِهَا وَالفَهْمِ مِنَ القَلْبِ بِجَمِيعِ ذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ. وَاعْلَمْ أنَّ الوَاحِدَ الَّذِي هُوَ قَائِمٌ بِغَيْرِ تَقْدِيرٍ وَلاَ تَحْدِيدٍ خَلَقَ خَلْقاً مُقَدَّراً بِتَحْدِيدٍ وَتَقْدِيرٍ، وَكَانَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ خَلْقَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ: التَّقْدِيرَ وَالمُقَدَّرَ، وَلَيْسَ فِي كُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا لَوْنٌ وَلاَ وَزْنٌ وَلاَ ذَوْقٌ، فَجَعَلَ أحَدَهُمَا يُدْرَكُ بِالآخَرِ وَجَعَلَهُمَا مُدْرِكَيْنِ بِنَفْسِهِمَا وَلَمْ يَخْلُقْ شَيْئاً فَرْداً قَائِماً بِنَفْسِهِ دُونَ غَيْرِهِ لِلَّذِي أرَادَ مِنَ الدَّلالَةِ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَإثْبَاتِ وُجُودِهِ.

Thus the Blessed the Sublime God is One and Only. There is no second one to support Him in order to enable Him to stand, or to assist Him or protect Him. However, the creatures support one another through the permission and will of the Sublime God. People have differences of opinion over this subject to the extent that they have gone astray, become perplexed, and seek salvation from darkness by means of darkness through describing the Sublime God using their own qualities. In this way, they have become very far away from the truth. Had they described the Honorable the Exalted God using His own Attributes, and described the creatures with the qualities of the creatures, they would have spoken through understanding and certitude and would not have come up with so many differences of opinion over Him. Since they sought that which would perplex them, and get entrapped, they became confused. God guides whomever He wills to the straight path.”

Imran said, “O my Master! I bear witness that He is just as you have described. However, I still have one more question to ask.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “Ask whatever you wish to ask.”

Imran said, “I want to ask you what the All-Wise (God) is contained in. Has anything encompassed Him? Does He change from one state to another state? Is He in need of anything?”

Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Imran! I will tell you, so understand

Whom you have questioned about. He is the most ambiguous issues which the creatures face. As for those who are deficient in understanding, they do not recognize Him. As for those who are just and can reason, they are not incapable of understanding Him. First of all, if He had created the creatures due to needing them, then it would be proper to say that He changes His Location to the location of what He creates because of His need for them. However, the Honorable the Exalted God has not created anything out of need. He is always stable. Neither is He on something, or something is on Him. However, it is the creatures which hold each other, enter into one another, and leave one another. As for the Great and All-Holy God, He holds all of that by His Might. He does not enter anything and does not leave anything. Its preservation does not tire Him, nor is He incapable of holding it. None of the creatures knows how that is, except for the Honorable the Exalted God and His Messengers, the People who know His Secrets, those who

فَاللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالى فَرْدٌ وَاحِدٌ لاَ ثَانِيَ مَعَهُ يُقَيِّمُهُ وَلا يَعْضُدُهُ وَلا يُكِنُّهُ، وَالخَلْقُ يُمْسِكُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضاً بِإذْنِ اللهِ تَعَالى وَمَشِيئَتِهِ، وَإنَّمَا اخْتَلَفَ النَّاسُ فِي هَذا البَابِ حَتّى تَاهوا وَتَحَيَّرُوا وَطَلَبُوا الخَلاصَ مِنَ الظُّلْمَةِ بِالظُّلْمَةِ فِي وَصْفِهِمُ اللهَ تَعَالى بِصِفَةِ أنْفُسِهِمْ فَازْدادُوا مِنَ الحَقِّ بُعْداً. وَلَوْ وَصَفُوا اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِصِفَاتِهِ وَوَصَفُوا الْمَخْلُوقِينَ بِصِفَاتِهِمْ لَقَالُوا بِالْفَهْمِ وَالْيَقِينِ وَلَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا. فَلَمَّا طَلَبُوا مِنْ ذَلِكَ مَا تَحَيَّرُوا فِيهِ ارْتَكَبُوا. وَاللهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إلى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ.

قَالَ عِمْرَانُ: يَا سَيِّدِي، أشْهَدُ أنَّهُ كَمَا وَصَفْتَ، وَلَكِنْ بَقِيَتْ لِي مَسْأَلَةٌ.

قَالَ: سَلْ عَمّا أرَدْتَ.

قَالَ: أسْألُكَ عَنِ الحَكِيمِ؛ فِي أيِّ شَيْءٍ هُوَ؟ وَهَلْ يُحِيطُ بِهِ شَيْءٌ؟ وَهَلْ يَتَحَوَّلُ مِنْ شَيءٍ إلى شَيءٍ؟ أوْ بِهِ حَاجَةٌ إلى شَيءٍ؟

قَالَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: أُخْبِرُكَ يَا عِمْرَانُ فَاعْقِلْ مَا سَأَلْتَ عَنْهُ، فَإنَّهُ مِنْ أغْمَضِ مَا يَرِدُ عَلَى الخَلْقِ فِي مَسَائِلِهِمْ، وَلَيْسَ يَفْهَمُ المُتَفَاوِتُ عَقْلُهُ العَازِبُ حِلْمُهُ وَلا يَعْجَزُ عَنْ فَهْمِهِ أولُوا العَقْلِ المُنْصِفُونَ. أمَّا تَأوِيلُ ذَلِكَ فَلَوْ كَانَ خَلَقَ مَا خَلَقَ لِحَاجَةٍ مِنْهُ لَجَازَ لِقَائِلٍ أنْ يَقُولَ يَتَحَوَّلُ إلى مَا خَلَقَ لِحَاجَتِهِ إلى ذَلِكَ؛ وَلَكِنَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَمْ يَخْلُقْ شَيْئاً لِحَاجَةٍ وَلَمْ يَزَلْ ثَابِتاً لاَ في شَيءٍ وَلا عَلَى شَيءٍ.

إنَّ الخَلْقَ يُمْسِكُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضاً وَيَدْخُلُ بَعْضُهُ في بَعْضٍ وَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ، وَاللهُ جَلَّ وَتَقَدَّسَ بِقُدْرَتِهِ يُمْسِكُ ذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ وَلَيْسَ يَدْخُلُ في شَيءٍ وَلا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ وَلا يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُ وَلا يَعْجَزُ عَنْ إمْسَاكِهِ وَلا يَعْرِفُ أحَدٌ مِنَ الخَلْقِ كَيْفَ ذَلِكَ إلاَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَمَنْ أطْـلَعَهُ عَلَيْهِ مِـنْ

run the Affairs, and His Guardians who carry out His Laws. God Himself has informed them about it. In fact, His command is like the twinkling of an eye. If He wills a thing, He only says to it be, ‘We but say the word, ‘Be’, and it is.’10 according to His intent and will. Nothing that He has created is closer to Him than any other thing. O Imran! Have you understood?” Imran said, “Yes, my Master. I understood. I bear witness that the Sublime God is as you described Him to be, He is One. I also witness that Muhammad (a.s.) - his servant - is appointed to guide and lead to the right religion.” He then faced the Qibla and fell into prostration.

Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad al-Nawfali said, “When the other rhetoricians heard what Imran al-Sabee - who was very hard to defeat in arguments and no one had ever defeated him before in arguments - none of them dared approach Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), and they asked him no more questions. Slowly the sun set. Then Al-Ma’mun and Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) stood up, went inside and the people left.

I was sitting along with some of my friends when Muhammad ibn Ja'far called me in. I went to see him.

He told me, “O Nawfali! Did you see what your friend (the Imam (a.s.)) did?” Al-Nawfali replied, “By God! No. I did not think that Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) could plumb such depths. I did not know that him in this way. He never spoke about theology in Medina and theologians never gathered around him.” I said, “The pilgrims come to him and ask him about the lawful and the unlawful and he answers them. Sometimes rhetoricians come to him and argue with him, and he plunges into theology.”

Muhammad ibn Ja’far said, “O Aba Muhammad! I fear that this man (i.e. Al-Ma’mun) will envy him, poison him or injure him. So advise him to refrain from these things.”

Al-Nawfali added, “I said, ‘He will not listen to me. This man (Al-Ma’mun) only wants to test him to see whether he possesses any of the knowledge of his forefathers (a.s.).’

He told me, “Tell him that his uncle does not like him to do such things and wishes him to quit doing these things.” When we returned to Al-Ridha’’s (a.s.) house I related to the Imam (a.s.) the message from his uncle. Then the Imam (a.s.) smiled and said, “May God protect my uncle. I know

رُسُلِهِ وَأهْلِ سِرِّهِ وَالمُسْتَحْفَظِينَ لأمْرِهِ وَخُزَّانِهِ القَائِمِينَ بِشَرِيعَتِهِ.

وَإنَّمَا أمْرُهُ كَلَمْحِ البَصَرِ أوْ هُوَ أقْرَبُ. إذَا شَاءَ شَيْئاً فَإنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ (كُنْ فَيَكُونُ) بِمَشِيئَتِهِ وَإرَادَتِهِ. وَلا شَيْءَ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ أقْرَبُ إلَيْهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَلا شَيْءَ أبْعَدُ مِنْهُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ. أَفَهِمْتَ يَا عِمْرَانُ؟

قَالَ نَعَمْ يَا سَيِّدِي، قَدْ فَهِمْتُ. وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا وَصَفْتَ وَوَحَّدْتَ، وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُهُ الْمَبْعُوثُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ.

ثُمَّ خَرَّ سَاجِداً نَحْوَالْقِبْلَةِ وَأَسْلَمَ.

قَالَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ النَّوْفَلِيُّ: فَلَمَّا نَظَرَ الْمُتَكَلِّمُونَ إِلَى كَلامِ عِمْرَانَ الصَّابِي، وَكَانَ جَدِلاً لَمْ يَقْطَعْهُ عَنْ حُجَّتِهِ أَحَدٌ قَطُّ، لَمْ يَدْنُ مِنَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُمْ وَلَمْ يَسْأَلُوهُ عَنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ. وَأَمْسَيْنَا فَنَهَضَ الْمَأْمُونُ وَالرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَدَخَلا وَانْصَرَفَ النَّاسُ.

وَكُنْتُ مَعَ جَمَاعَةٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا إِذْ بَعَثَ إِلَيَّ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ فَأَتَيْتُهُ فَقَالَ لِي: يَا نَوْفَلِيُّ أَمَا رَأَيْتَ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ صَدِيقُكَ لا وَاللَّهِ مَا ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّ عَلِيَّ بْنَ مُوسَى خَاضَ فِي شَيْ‏ءٍ مِنْ هَذَا قَطُّ وَلا عَرَفْنَاهُ بِهِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْمَدِينَةِ أَوْ يَجْتَمِعُ إِلَيْهِ أَصْحَابُ الْكَلامِ قُلْتُ قَدْ كَانَ الْحَاجُّ يَأْتُونَهُ فَيَسْأَلُونَهُ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ مِنْ حَلالِهِمْ وَحَرَامِهِمْ فَيُجِيبُهُمْ وَرُبَّمَا كَلَّمَ مَنْ يَأْتِيهِ يُحَاجُّهُ فَقَالَ: مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ يَا بَا مُحَمَّدٍ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَحْسُدَهُ هَذَا الرَّجُلُ فَيَسُمَّهُ أَوْ يَفْعَلَ بِهِ بَلِيَّةً فَأَشِرْ عَلَيْهِ بِالإِمْسَاكِ عَنْ هَذِهِ الأَشْيَاءِ قُلْتُ إِذاً لا يَقْبَلُ مِنِّي وَمَا أَرَادَ الرَّجُلُ إِلا امْتِحَانَهُ لِيَعْلَمَ هَلْ عِنْدَهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ مِنْ عُلُومِ آبَائِهِ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَقَالَ لِي: قُلْ لَهُ: إِنَّ عَمَّكَ قَدْ كَرِهَ هَذَا الْبَابَ وَأَحَبَّ أَنْ تُمْسِكَ عَنْ هَذِهِ الأَشْيَاءِ لِخِصَالٍ شَتَّى فَلَمَّا انْقَلَبْتُ إِلَى مَنْزِلِ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ أَخْبَرْتُهُ بِمَا كَانَ مِنْ عَمِّهِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ فَتَبَسَّمَ‏ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ ثُمَّ

him well. Why is he upset? O servant! Go to Imran al-Sa’ebi and bring him here.”

I said, “May I be your ransom! I know where he is. He is with some of the Shiite brethren.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “Don’t worry. Take a horse for him to ride on and bring him here.” I went and brought Imran. The Imam (a.s.) welcomed him and asked for a robe of honor which he (a.s.) put on Imran. The Imam also gave him a horse and asked for ten-thousand Dinars which he (a.s.) donated to Imran.

Imran said, “May I be your ransom! You have followed in the footsteps of your grandfather - the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).” The Imam (a.s.) said, “We prefer this.” Then the Imam (a.s.) ordered dinner and had me sit on his right side and had Imran sit on his left side. After eating dinner, the Imam (a.s.) told Imran, “Go now and come back in the morning. Then I will give you food from Medina.”

From then on many people came to Imran to have a debate. He used to respond to their arguments and disprove them until they left. Al-Ma’mun granted him ten thousand Dirhams. Al-Fadhl gave him some money, too. Then he appointed him as the director over the alms in (the city of) Balkh where he attained much good.

  • 1. He was one of the disciples of a Prophet. It was said that he was sent to the children of Israel by a Prophet.
  • 2. “Jesus, seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk in the law of God, went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer, and when day was come he descended from the mountain, and chose twelve, whom he called apostles, among whom is Judas, who was slain upon the cross. Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother, fishermen; Barnabas, who wrote this, with Matthew the publican, who sat at the receipt of custom; John and James, sons of Zebedee; Thaddaeus and Judas; Bartholomew and Philip; James, and Judas Iscariot the traitor.” [The Gospel of Barnabas, 14, Forty Days of Fasting and 12 Apostles.]
  • 3. This is referring to a miracle of God’s Prophet (S) which has not been mentioned elsewhere. Thus it may be that this part of this tradition has been manipulated and is unreliable.God knows best.
  • 4. Qur’an, 2:55
  • 5. Qur’an, 7:155
  • 6. Jesus (a.s.) and Saint Mary (a.s.)
  • 7. Paraclete: intercessor, advocate. Here it refers to the Prophet Muhammad (S).
  • 8. Qur’an, 16:40
  • 9. Qur’an, 17:72
  • 10. Qur’an, 16:40