Abu Hanifah and Bahlul
Imam Abu Hanifah, of course, believed that man does nothing by his own will and power. In spite of the logical discourse of Imam Musa al-Kazim, he did not charge his belief. Once his theory led to a tragi comic event.
Bahlul means wise and chief. It was the name of a famous companion of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq who lived up to the last days of Imam 'Ali an Naqi and saw Imam Hasan al 'Askari also. As a twist of fate, he is commonly referred to as Bahlul 'Majnun' (Bahlul, the lunatic). This is so because he pretended to be insane in order to save himself from the responsibilities of judgeship offered him by the Caliph Harun ar Rashid. However, wise as he was, he took advantage of his supposed lunacy and always censured great people of his time (including the kings) for their short comings.
Once he heard Imam Abu Hanifah (who lived in Kufa) telling his disciples that, "I have heard three things from Imam Ja'far as Sadiq which I think are wrong." The disciples asked what those things were. Imam Abu Hanifah said:
"First of all, Imam Ja'far as Sadiq says that Allah cannot be seen. But it is wrong. If a thing does exist, then it must be seen. Secondly, he says that Satan will be punished in Hell. But it is absurd. Because Satan was created from fire: how can fire do any harm to a thing or person made of fire? Thirdly, he says that a man's action is done by his will and power, and that he is responsible for it. But it is wrong because all the actions of man are done by Allah's will and power, and Allah is, actually, responsible for it."
The disciples' applaud had just begun when Bahlul took a lump of clay and sent it hurtling towards Abu Hanifah. It hit him on the forehead, he cried in anguish and pain. The disciples caught Bahlul, and Abu Hanifah took him to the judge.
The judge heard the complaint and asked Bahlul whether the allegation was true.
Bahlul: "O Judge! Imam Abu Hanifah alleges that he is suffering from a searing pain in his head because of the clay which hit him. But I think he is lying. I cannot believe him until I see the pain."
Abu Hanifah: "You really are mad! How can I show you the pain? Has anybody ever seen a pain?
" Bahlul: "But, O Judge, he was just teaching his disciples that if a thing does exist, then it must be seen. As he cannot show the pain, I submit that according to his own belief, he is not suffering from any pain at all"
Abu Hanifah: "Oh! my head is splitting because of the pain."
Bahlul: "O Judge, there is another matter which I just remembered. He was also telling his disciples that as Satan is made of fire, the fire of Hell cannot do him any harm. Now man is made of clay, as the Qur'an says, and it was a lump of clay which hit him: I wonder how can he claim that a lump of clay did harm to a man made of clay?"
Abu Hanifah: "O Judge! Bahlul wants to go scotfree by his verbosity. Please, take my revenge from him. "
Bahlul: "O Judge, I think Imam Abu Hanifah has very wrongfully brought me in this court. He was just teaching his disciples that all the actions of man are done by Allah, and that Allah is responsible for those actions. Now, why did he bring me here? If he really is suffering from the effect of that lump of clay, he should file suit against Allah who did hit him with that clay. Why should a poor harmless person like me be brought to the court. When all I am supposed to do was in fact done by Allah?"
The judge acquitted Bahlul.
The Justice of God
By: Sayyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi