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Another Session of Imam al-Ridha’ (a.s.) and Al-Ma’mun

Source: Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 1


Another Session of Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) and Al-Ma’mun Along With People From Different Nations, and The Rhetoricians, as well as Imam Al-Ridha’’s Answers To Muhammad Ibn Al-Jahm Regarding The Immaculateness Of The Prophets
14-1 Ahmad ibn Ziyad ibn Ja’far al-Hamadani - may God be pleased with him, Al-Husayn ibn Ibrahim ibn Ahmad ibn Hisham al-Mokattib and Ali ibn Abdullahb al-Warraq -may God be pleased with them- narrated that Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashem quoted on the authority of Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad al-Barmaki on the authority of Abul Salt al-Harawi, “When Al-Ma’mun gathered together the rhetoricians and men of religions from the Jews, the Christians, the Magi, the Sabians1, and other scholars around Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (a.s.), each person stood up to ask a question, got a firm answer, and received such an answer that he got quiet as if they had put a stone in his mouth. Then Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Jahm stood up and asked, “O son of the Prophet of God! Do you believe in the Immaculateness of the Prophets?”
“Yes,” replied the Imam (a.s.). He said, “Then what do you have to say about the following verses? what do you have to say about what the Honorable the Exalted God said, ‘... Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced’2, and about what the Honorable the Exalted God said, ’And remember Thun-nun (Yunus-Jonah), when he departed in wrath: He imagined that We had no power over him!…’3, and about what the Honorable the Exalted God told Joseph (a.s.), ‘And (with passion) did she desire him, and he would have desired her…’4, and about what the Honorable the Exalted God told David (a.s.), ‘…and David gathered that We had tried him…’5, and about what the Sublime (God) told His Prophet Muhammad (S), ’…But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest…’6
Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “O Ali! Woe be to you! Fear God. Do not ascribe transgressions to the Prophets, and do not interpret God's Book according to your own opinion. Indeed the Honorable the Exalted God said, ‘…but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge…’7 And regarding His Words about Adam, ‘…Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced’8 it must be noted that the Honorable the Exalted God created Adam as His Proof on Earth, and as His Successor in the towns. However, God had not created Adam for Paradise and Adam’s act of disobedience occurred in Paradise, not on the Earth. Adam’s being Immaculate was a must for him to fully implement the Decrees of God. Once he was sent down to the Earth as God’s Proof and Successor, he was Immaculate according to what the Honorable the Exalted God said, “God did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people.”9 And regarding the Honorable the Exalted God’s words, ‘And remember Thun-noon (Jonah), when he departed in wrath: He imagined that We had no power over him!…’10
Here what is meant by ‘imagine’ is ‘to be sure.’ That means “We will not restrict his sustenance.” Have you not heard the Honorable the Exalted God’s words, ‘But when He trieth him, restricting his subsistence for him…’11 This means God will restrict his sustenance. Had Yunus thought that God had no power over him, he would certainly have turned into an atheist.
And regarding what the Honorable the Exalted God said about Joseph, ‘And (with passion) did she desire him, and he would have desired her…’ This means that he (a.s.) got upset and decided that if she tries to force him to commit sin, he would try to kill her. Then God changed his mind and turned him away from killing her and all shameful deeds. This is what is meant by the Honorable the Exalted God’s words, ‘…thus (did We order) that We might turn away from him (all) evil and shameful deeds…’12 meaning killing and adultery.
The Imam (a.s.) said, “And regarding David (a.s.), what do the people on your side say about him? Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Jahm said, “They say that David (a.s.) was in his praying niche when Satan appeared in front of him in the form of a very beautiful bird. David (a.s.) stopped praying and stood up to go catch the bird. The bird left the room and went into the courtyard. Then it flew up to the top of the house. David climbed up to the roof looking for it. Then the bird flew into the house of Uryah ibn Hannan. David followed the bird with his eyes, and suddenly saw Uryah's wife who was making major ritual ablutions. Once he looked at her, he fell in love with her. As for Uryah, he had been sent to a battle. David wrote to his commander, “Place Uryah in front of the coffin.” Thus he was placed in front of it. Uryah defeated the pagans. That was hard on David, so he wrote to his commander again and ordered him to place Uryah ahead of the coffin. Then Uryah was placed ahead of it and was killed. Then David married his wife.”
The narrator added, “Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) hit himself on the forehead and said, ‘From God we are, and unto Him is our return! You have ascribed neglecting prayers and going out and looking for the bird’s tracks, fornication and killing to one of the Prophet’s of God.’” Ali ibn Al-Jahm said, “O son of the Prophet of God! Then what was his sin?”
The Imam(a.s.) said, “Woe be to you! David thought that the Honorable the Exalted God had not created anyone more learned than himself.
Therefore, the Honorable the Exalted God sent two angels towards him who climbed up the walls of the prayer niche and said, ‘…Fear not: we are two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other: Decide now between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, but guide us to the even Path. This man is my brother: He has nine and ninety ewes, and I have (but) one: Yet he says, 'commit her to my care,' and is (moreover) harsh to me in speech.’13
Then David turned to the one against whom a claim was made and said, ‘He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (a.s.ingle) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes…’14 He did not turn to the claimant to ask him for any evidence. Thus, this was just a fault in the way he judged, not a fault in the way you think about it. Have you ever heard that the Honorable the Exalted God said, ‘O David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth: so judge thou between men in truth (and justice): Nor follow thou the lusts (of thy heart), for they will mislead thee from the Path of Allah. for those who wander astray from the Path of Allah, is a Penalty Grievous, for that they forget the Day of Account.’15
He said, “O son of the Prophet of God! What was behind the story of Uryah?”
Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “When a woman’s husband died or got killed during the time of David (a.s.), she never married again. The first man who was permitted to marry a widow whose husband was killed was David (a.s.). He married Uryah’s wife when after Uryah’s wife got killed and after her waiting period was over. This was what was hard on the people regarding Uryah.”
And regarding Muhammad (a.s.) and the Honorable the Exalted God’s words, ‘But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah…’16
The Honorable the Exalted God had already informed His Prophet (S) about the names of his wives in this world, and the names of his wives in the Hereafter, and that they will be the mothers of the believers. One of them was called Zaynab - the daughter of Jahsh who was married to Zayd ibn Haritha at that time. The Prophet (S) kept her name a secret to himself and did not say anything fearing that the hypocrites might say that Muhammad considers a married woman to be his own wife and one of the mothers of the believers. He (a.s.) feared what the hypocrites might say. The Honorable the Exalted God said, “But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah…”17 meaning in himself. And the Honorable the Exalted God has not taken charge of marrying off any of His creatures Himself except for the marriage of Eve with Adam, and Zaynab with God’s Prophet (S) as He said, ‘…Then when Zayd had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee.’18 So did We join (the Blessed Lady) Fatima (a.s.) in marriage to Ali (a.s.). The narrator added, “Then Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Jahm cried and said, ‘O son of the Prophet of God! I turn to the Honorable the Exalted God in repentance and from now on will never say anything about the Prophets of God (a.s.) other that what you have mentioned.’”
1. Sabians, Mandaeans or Mandeans, a small religious sect in Iran and S Iraq, who maintain an ancient belief resembling that of Gnosticism and that of the Parsis. They are also known as Christians of St. John, Nasoraeans, Sabians, and Subbi. A few Mandaeans survive, some near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, others in the area of Shushtar, Iran, and in cities of Asia Minor. Their customs and writings indicate early Christian, perhaps pre-Christian, origin. Their system of astrology resembles those of ancient Babylonia and the cults of the Magi in the last centuries B.C. Their emanation system and their dualism suggest a Gnostic origin, but unlike the Gnostics, they abhor asceticism and emphasize fertility. Although some of their practices were influenced by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, they reject all three. The Mandaeans respect St. John the Baptist because of his baptizing, since their principal concern is ritual cleanliness and their chief rite is frequent baptism. The custom, which antedated the baptisms of St. John, stems from the belief that living water is the principle of life. They have a communion sacrament, which is offered for the remembrance of the dead and resembles Parsi ritual meals. The origin of the Mandaeans is not known; it is conjectured that they came from a mountainous region N of Babylonia and Persia, where they settled in ancient times; however, more recent scholarship places their origin in Palestine or Syria. Their chief holy book, the Ginza Rba, like their other books, is a compendium of cosmology, cosmogony, prayers, legends, and rituals, written at various times and often contradictory. The sect is diminishing because younger members tend to apostatize.
2. Qur’an, 20:121
3. Qur’an, 21:87
4. Qur’an, 12:24
5. " (David) said, "He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (a.s.ingle) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes: truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are they?"...and David gathered that We had tried him: he asked forgiveness of his Lord, fell down, bowing (in prostration), and turned (to Allah in repentance)." Qur’an, Sa’d 38:24
6. Qur’an, 33:37
7. Qur’an, 3:7
8. Qur’an, 20:121
9. Qur’an,, 3:33
10. Qur’an, 21:87
11. Qur’an, 89:16
12. Qur’an, 12:24
13. Qur’an, 38:22-23
14. Qur’an, 38:24
15. Qur’an, 38:26
16. Qur’an, 33:37
17. Qur’an, 33:37
18. Ibid.

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