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The Question - Answer Session in the Royal Court

The Bani Abbasi were sure that the Imam (A.S) was no match to the crafty Kazi. However, they wanted the whole world to see the young Imam humiliated. By their insistence, Mamoon arranged for a full court session and invited 900 scholars to be present to watch the Imam being tested.

The Court was fully decorated for the occasion. Irnam (A.S) was offered a place to the right of Mamoon.

Kazi Yahya, beaming with arrogance, turned to Mamoon, seeking formal permission to begin testing the Imam (A.S).

Mamoon advised him to seek the permission from Imam (A.S) himself Kazi Yahya Bin Aksam addressed the Imam saying, "May I ask you a question?"

The Imam replied. Yes, go ahead."

Yahya then paused his question "What fine does a person have to pay if he hunts while he is still in 'Ihram" (If one is in 'Ihram" of pilgrimage to Mecca, he is forbidden from doing 25 things one of them being hunting).

Yahya had a reason for asking this question. In his wisdom, he thought that however clever the child may be in Islamic "FIQH", his knowledge would be limited to matters of "Salat", fasting etc.;

the child would hardly know matters on "Hajj" as this act is performed but once in a year or once in life time. Yahya was proved wrong. The Imam politely but firml replied, "Your question has no answer, because it is totally incomplete."

This reply sent chill in die spine of Yahya and every one present in the Court.

The Imam continued, "You have to tell me if this "Muhrim" (The one who is wearing the special garment for performing pilgrimage when entering Mecca) killed the animal in "HILL" (in the non-forbidden area) or "HARAM" (the forbidden area)?

Did he do this act in ignorance, by mistake or purposely? Was the "MUHR1M' a free person or a slave, young or old, an experienced hunter or an inexperienced or: Was the animal which was hunted a bird or a mammal, small or large? Was the hunter repentant or non-repentant? Was the hunting done in day light or at night? Was the hunter in the Ihram of 'Hajj' or "Umra"?"

After the Imam had re-stated question, everyone in the Court knew that Yahya did not know the answer! There was a complete silence: Yahya wished he was never born!

Mamoon turned to his courtiers and said, "Didn't I tell you that this young man's knowledge is supreme and unmatchable?" He then requested the Imam (A.S.) to reply the question as none knew the answer.

In reply the Imam said, "If the 'Muhrim' hunted in "Hill" a large bird he would have to give Kaffara ('pay' as a fine) by sacrificing a sheep; if this act was done at "Haram" the "Kaffara would be two sheep.

If the bird hunted was small and killed at "Hill" the "Kaffara" would be a lamb that had stopped taking milk. The similar bird if hunted at "Haram" would call for a Kaffara of a lamb and monetary value of a small bird.

"As for wild animals at "Hill", if a wild, as was killed the "Kaffara" would be a cow. If an ostrich was killed, the "Kaffara" would be a camel. If a deer was hunted, the fine would be a sheep. If the hunting was in the "Haram" the Kaffara would be double, to be offered in Mecca.

"If the hunting was done in the Ihram of "HAJJ" the sacrifice would be done at Meena, if the Ihram was for "Umra" the sacrifices would be offered at Mecca."

The Imam's reply was such that even his worst enemies admitted that he was not an ordinary child but one gifted with special qualities by Allah.

The Imam (A.S.) now inquired from Yahya if he was willing to answer his question. Yahya replied meekly, "Yes ask me whatever you want. If I know the answers I will tell you, if not I will request you to answers it yourself".

The Imam's question proved too hard for Yahya. If a scholar like Yahya Bin Aksam could not reply the Imam's question, who else could? The Imam (A.S.) replied it himself.

The Ban Abbasi who had come to the Court to Humiliate the Imam (A.S.) were themselves humbled. They could do nothing but bow down their heads in front of the Imam (A.S.).

Adapted from the book: "Biography Of Imam Muhammad Bin Ali (A.S.) - Al-Taqi" by: "M. Dungersi Ph.D"

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