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A discourse between Imam Jafar (as) and Abu Shakir

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1 A discourse between Imam Jafar (as) and Abu Shakir
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Reference: The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher, Jafar As-Sadiq

2 Imam Sadiq: The patient teacher
Imam Sadiq (as) was one of the most patient and tolerant teachers of his time. After his lectures he used to listen and reply to all his critics. Usually he finished his lectures before Zohar but sometimes if a discussion started between him and his opponents, he would offer his prayers on the college campus.

3 Abu Shakir’s objections
Once Abu Shakir, one of his opponents, said to the Imam: “Would you allow me to ask some questions?” “Yes you can.” replied the Imam. Said Abu Shakir: “Is it not a myth that there is Allah? You want people to believe in something we cannot see. We cannot hear him and cannot touch him or feel him from our five outer senses.” Abu Shakir continued, “You cannot decieve me and make me believe in Him. I worship idols made of wood and stone. Although my God does not talk, but I can see him with my eyes and touch him with my hands.” Some of the Imam’s students wanted to intervene but he asked them to remain quiet and he let Abu Shakir continue. When Abu Shakir stopped, the Imam asked if he had anything more to say. Abu Shakir retorted, “By introducing your invisible Allah, you want to acquire wealth and position. I do not want to say anything more.”

4 Imam Sadiq’s reply and discourse
Imam Sadiq said, “I would like to start with the last part of your speech. Your accusations that I want money and position would be justified if I was living like a caliph. I invite you to my house to see for yourself how I live. If I wanted wealth, I would not be teaching and preaching. I can easily make money by making use of my vast knowledge of chemistry. I have more knowledge of foreign markets than any trader. I know where I can buy cheap goods from and where to sell them for profits.”

5 Imam then said, “I have replied to your accusations and will now deal with your objections.”
“You refuse Allah’s existence because he cannot be seen. Can you see inside your own body?” Abu Shakir replied, “No, I cannot.” Imam said, “You just said that something which cannot be seen, touched, tasted or heard does not exist.” Abu Shakir: “Yes, and I believe what I said is true.”

6 Imam: “Can you hear the sound of the movement of blood in your body?”
Abu Shakir, “No, I do not. But does blood move in the body??” Imam: “The blood circulates throughout the body. You will die if the circulation stops.” Abu Shakir: “I cannot believe that blood circulates in the body!” Imam said: “This is because of your ignorance. And it is the same ignorance that does not let you believe in Allah, Who cannot be seen.” Imam then said: “Do you know there are tiny living beings (germs) which cannot be seen but they keep us alive. These creatures live inside our body, multiply in the body and die in the body. But you cannot see them, touch them, taste them or hear them in your life time.”

7 Imam said: “Abu Shakir, do you see the air, on which your very existence depends?”
“It is not because of one’s knowledge, but it is due to his ignorance that he does not believe in Allah!” “When a wise man thinks of himself, he finds that his own body needs a controller so that his organs and systems may function properly. He then realises that the universe also needs a controller or supervisor so that it may run smoothly.” Imam continued, “Abu Shakir, there is a big difference between your god and my Allah. Your god did not exist before you created him out of wood and stone. But my Allah was there before I could even think about Him!”

8 Imam then asked, “Abu Shakir, tell me sincerely to whom you will turn for help if you are in trouble? Do you hope your idol that you made yourself will help you? Can it cure you when you are sick; save you from mishaps and calamities; save you from starvation and help pay your debts?” Abu Shakir, “I have no such expectations from the stone, but I think there is something inside the stone which will help me. I cannot help worshipping it!” Imam enquired, “What is inside the stone? Is it also stone?” Abu Shakir, “I do not know what it is. But it cannot help me if it is also stone.”

9 Imam: “What is inside the stone and is not stone and can help when you are in trouble is Allah.”
Abu Shakir then went quiet and finally asked, “Is Allah inside the stone?” Imam said, “He is everywhere.” Abu Shakir: “I cannot believe that a thing can be everywhere and yet cannot be seen.” Imam replied, “Do you know that the air is everywhere but cannot be seen.”

10 Imam continued, “You just admitted that your instinct tells you that there is something inside the stone that is not stone, which can help you. That something is Allah. Your instinct tells you that you cannot live without Allah and without worshipping Him.” Abu Shakir said, “It is true. I cannot live without worshipping idols.” Imam patiently said, “Do not say idols. Say Allah.”

11 Imam Sadiq then said, “Every living being worships Allah instinctively
Imam Sadiq then said, “Every living being worships Allah instinctively. Even animals cannot live without worshipping Him. We cannot ask them and they cannot tell us that they worship Allah, but their well regulated and orderly life is a sufficient proof that they worship Him.” “I do not say that animals believe and worship Allah like we do. But there is no doubt that they obey the laws made by their Creator faithfully. If they were not obedient to their Creator, they could not live such an orderly life.” “For eg, the Chilchila (a migratory bird) returns after covering a distance of thousands of miles, it builds its nest at the same place, where it built it last spring. It would not be possible for such small birds to have such an organised life if they did not obey the laws and worship Him.” “Even plants obey the laws of Allah. Out of 150 species of plants, which are further subdivided into hundreds of sub-species, you will not find even one plant, which has a disorganised life.”

12 Imam continued, “Not only animals and plants obey and worship Allah but even the lifeless objects also worship Him. If they did not worship Him, they would not have followed the laws made by Him. As a result, their atoms would have broken apart and they would have been destroyed.” “Abu Shakir if there was no Allah, there would have been no universe and no you and me. Everything in the universe obeys his laws., which will last for ever.” When Imam Sadiq (as) finished his discourse, Abu Shakir fell into a deep reverie as if he was greatly inspired. Imam asked, “Do you now believe that Allah, who cannot be seen, does exist and what you worship is the unseen Allah?” Abu Shakir replied, “I am not yet convinced. But now I am full of doubts about idol worship and my faith!” Imam remarked, “The doubt about idol worship is the beginning of the worship of Allah.”

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