Intellectual Accomplishments of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) - Part III
Reply To The Question Of An Atheist
An atheist came to Imam (a.s) and posed many questions. We present here the Imam's replies to some of these questions:
Atheist: Please tell me why your God has allowed His enemy, the Satan to have power over His creatures. He takes them away from the path of guidance and putting them into doubts, makes them deny God?
Imam: It is true that Satan is the enemy of God, but his enmity is in no way harmful to God. Fear and risk is with regard to the enemy from whom there is possibility of some harm. Allah had created Satan like the other creatures for His worship. Thus he remained busy in worship with the angels. But at the time of prostrating before Adam (a.s) his vanity overcame him and he disobeyed the command of Allah. The result was that he was taken out from the ranks of the angels and thrown to the earth. So, he is the enemy of human beings but only to the extent that he can create evil doubts and misguided suggestions; and apart from this he does not have any kind of power. As for his misguidance, to counter this, the Almighty has bestowed intellect, with which man can confront Satan.
Atheist: Is it permitted to prostrate before anyone except Allah?
Atheist: Then what about prostrating before Adam?
Imam: Prostration done under command of Allah is prostration for Allah only.
Atheist: Is it permitted to find defects in the creation of Allah? Is there some hidden wisdom behind whatever Allah has created?
Imam: There is no defect in the creation of Allah. Whatever He has created is having hidden wisdom behind it.
Atheist: Then why Muslims spoil the creation of Allah by performing circumcision?
Imam: This is your misunderstanding. Circumcision does not give rise to defect in the creation of Allah; neither does it introduce any defect in His divinity. Circumcision is a Sunnat (recommended act) of Allah. Just like the cutting of the umbilical cord of the newborn is necessary and if it is left uncut it would cause harm. In the same way cutting of hair and trimming of nails are recommended acts of Allah. It would be detestable (Makruh) to leave these things alone. If He had desired He would have created such a face that does not require trimming and cutting and they would not have overgrown.
There are some animals that have to be necessarily be castrated though Allah created them as males by His practical wisdom. Could He not have created them castrated?
Atheist: Tell me, why the Ghusl Janabat is made compulsory? Why should there be a ritual bath after a permissible and legal action?
Imam: The impurity of Janabat is also like the impurity of menstruation. During sexual intercourse there is intense activity inside the body, due to which a liquid is ejected making the whole body smelly. Ghusl is very much needed to remove this.
Atheist: What in your opinion is closer to Islam? The Magian religion (of fire-worshippers) or the pre-Islamic Arabian faith?
Imam: The pre-Islamic Arabian faith is nearer. The Magians deny all the prophets. Apart from this, the Magians never perform Ghusl Janabat, while Arabs did it. Ghusl of Janabat is a practice of the prophets. The Magians did not practice circumcision, while the Arabs did it, and the first to establish this custom was Prophet Ibrahim, the Khalil (friend) of Allah. The Magians do not bathe and shroud their dead, while Arabs do so.
The Magians threw away their dead on the mountains and forests while Arabs buried them. The burial of the dead is in practice since the time of Prophet Adam (a.s). The Magians marry their mothers, sisters and daughters, while the Arabs consider it absolutely prohibited. The Magians were deniers of the House of Allah while Arabs honored it and called it, "The house of Allah". They agreed that Injeel and Taurat were heavenly books and sometimes they even sought solution of some problems from the People of the Book.
Atheist: The Magians say that marriage between siblings is the practice of Prophet Adam (a.s) as he used to perform it?
Imam: They are liars. It never happened thus. All right, they allege thus regarding marriage with sisters but what do they say about marrying mothers and daughters?
Atheist: Wine is a very enjoyable thing, why religion has prohibited it?
Imam: Wine is the root cause of all evils. The imbiber of wine loses intelligence completely. He does not recognize God. He begins to perform all kinds of evil deeds. He is in complete control of Satan who steers him in whichever direction he likes, so much so that he makes him prostrate to the idols.
Atheist: Why is the blood of the slaughtered animal prohibited?
Imam: Consumption of blood causes hard-heartedness and evil nature. It makes the heart merciless, the body filthy and bad smelling and the complexion discolored. It causes leprosy.
Atheist: Why is the slaughtered animal made lawful and the dead unlawful?
Imam: There is a great difference between the two. The slaughtered animal is slaughtered by uttering the name of God, which is considered best in all religions. Since the blood of the animal that dies on its own does not flow out, and it remains inside it, it flesh becomes heavy and detestable.
Atheist: Fish is not slaughtered, therefore it also becomes carrion.
Imam: There is very less blood in it. Its slaughtering is that you take it out from the water and it dies. In the same way there is not enough blood in the locust that it should be needed to slaughter it.
Atheist: Is there weighing of the deeds in the Balance (Meezan) on the Day of Judgment?
Imam: Action is not a corporeal thing that it can be weighed and weighing is done when the quantity is not known. Allah is cognizant of the weight and quantity of every thing. There is no need for Him to weigh anything.
Atheist: Then what is Meezan?
Imam: It is the Justice of Allah.
Atheist: Then what does the Quranic term: "His balance would be heavy" denotes?
Imam: It is the enforcement of the deeds.
Atheist: It is said that the people of Paradise would consume food but no excrement would be ejected from them. Is it possible?
Imam: Their victuals would be so subtle and fine that there would not be any trace of waste matter in them. A slight perspiration would come to them and their stomachs shall be emptied. Then they would again begin to feel hungry.
Atheist: It is said that the Houries would be dressed in seventy raiments but their skin, rather the cores of their bones would be visible. How is it possible?
Imam: This is due to the delicacy of their clothes and bodies. Just like something is dropped in crystal clear water. It would be visible even under the layers of water.
Atheist: How would the people of Paradise enjoy the pleasures and comforts when their relatives and friends would not be with them? Their remembrance would spoil their pleasure.
Imam: The Almighty would remove their remembrance from their hearts.
Discussion With A Physician
One day, the Imam was in the gathering of Caliph Mansur. At that time a physician was reading from a book of medicine. After he finished he addressed the Imam, "Even you are in need of this knowledge." Imam said, "We are not in need of it. What we know is much better than what you know." "How?" asked he.
Imam said, "We cure the diseases caused by cold, through hot medicines and diseases of heat, through cold medicines. In the same way we cure diseases of dryness, by wet medicines and diseases of wetness by dry medicines. Then in all those matters we have absolute confidence in the Almighty God. Apart from this we act upon the divine command that avoidance of harmful things is the actual cure. It is a must for everyone to observe the diet he is accustomed to."
Hearing these statements of the Imam, the Physician said, "You are right, this is actual science of medicine." Then he asked, "What is your opinion regarding the sneeze?" Imam replied, "Though apparently it comes out through the nose, actually it comes out from all over the body. Have you not observed that the whole body shakes during a sneeze? Remember! The person who sneezes, is assured of health for seven days."
The Physician asked, "What do you say about rice?"
"It widens the intestines and it is beneficial in piles," replied the Imam.
"What is your opinion about grapes and raisins?"
"They strengthen the muscles of the body, maintain the strength in the eyes, and the heart remains healthy."
"What things are harmful to the body?"
"Firstly, dry and smelly meat, secondly, taking a bath on a full stomach. Thirdly, copulating with an aged woman. Sometimes, these even cause the death of man."
"Please inform us about some cure."
"Wash the hands thoroughly after eating and rub them over the eyes."
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