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Jafar As-Sadiq and Jaber Ibn Hayyan

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1 Jafar As-Sadiq and Jaber Ibn Hayyan
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Reference: The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher, Jafar As-Sadiq

2 Imam encouraged discussions
Imam Sadiq was the first Muslim scholar who encouraged debates and discussions on different subjects between himself and his students and among students themselves. During later periods this became a normal practice in all Muslim schools particularly in the Shia schools.

3 Jaber ibn Hayyan One of his students was Jaber ibn-Hayyan. He is known in the West as ‘Geber’. Jaber studied from Imam Sadiq (as) and later went on to become a prominent Shia scientist. Jaber is more popularly referred to as the ‘father of chemistry’. The name Algebra is also derived from the name of Jaber.

4 Everything is in motion
Jaber ibn Hayyan used to have long discussions with his teacher. One day when the Imam was teaching philosophy, the Imam said that everything in the universe is in motion. Jaber asked: “Are you sure that everything in the universe is in motion?” “Yes I am sure.” replied Imam Sadiq.

5 Sound Jaber asked: “Does the sound have motion?”
Imam said: “Yes it has. But the speed of sound is slower than the speed of light. You see from a distance the sledge of an ironsmith falling on his anvil and hear the sound afterwards. It is because light waves, which travel faster, reach your eyes first and then the slow moving sound waves afterwards.”

6 Speed of sound Jaber asked: “Can you tell me the speed of sound?”
Imam Sadiq replied: “Archimedes, the Greek philosopher, who measured the speed of sound, said that if a man is 400 zira (1 zira=40 inches) away from the source of sound, he would hear it after 8 seconds. The greater the distance, the longer it will take to reach him.”

7 Allah is everywhere Jaber said: “According to the theory of Archmides it would take thousands of years for the prophets to hear the voice of Allah, who is on the other side of the 7th sky.” Imam replied: “O Jaber, it has been said that He is beyond the 7th sky to impress upon the common people the Greatness of Allah, otherwise, He is everywhere. When he wanted to talk to his prophets, He was so near that His voice was heard immediately and clearly.” Imam said: “Even if he was beyond the 7th sky His prophets would have heard Him immediately, since His voice is not like the voice of his creatures. Allah, who created the universe only by saying ‘Let it be’ had no problem communicating with His Prophets.”

8 Universe created in 6 stages
Jaber asked: “Was the universe created in an instant? It is said that it was created in 6 days.” Imam Sadiq replied: “The universe was created, but was transformed into its present form in a very long time. In the beginning it was certainly not as it is today. The 6 days of Allah, mentioned in the Quran, are not like our 6 days. The universe came into its present form in 6 stages or 6 periods.”

9 Allah is in everything Jaber asked: “When you say that Allah is everywhere, it means that He is in everything. Therefore, those who say that Allah and his creations are one, are correct? In other words, if we believe that He is everything, we must admit that every plant, animal, stone and star is Allah.” Imam said: “You are wrong. Allah is in the plants, animals, stones and stars, but they are not Allah. Just as the oil and the wick are in the lamp to produce light, but they are not the lamp.”

10 No one has the power of Allah
“If it true that everything is Allah, then everything must have the power of Allah. Can those who claim that everything is Allah produce only by saying, “Let it be” even one grain of sand or create from a drop of liquid a human being?”

11 Analogy of Islamic principles
The discussion then moved on. Imam Sadiq said: “O Jaber, do you see the drawing on the wall? It is a well drawn beautiful geometrical figure. You get pleasure from looking at it. Not because you have the knowledge of mathematics and can appreciate its flawless geometry. But even children will be delighted to see it.” “The basic principles of Islam are in the same category.”

12 Common people cannot understand the logic of Islamic rules
Jaber understood and said “Common people do not understand the truth of our religious principles and do not know they are perfect. That is why I persuade them to educate themselves, and increase their knowledge.”

13 Scientific theories are for scientists
Then Jaber asked: “Was it not better if the rationale behind Islamic principles was explained in simple terms ?” Imam replied: “Scientists and philosophers have to prove their theories by reason and logic so that they may be accepted by other scientists and philosophers.” “They are not concerned with common people, who cannot and will not understand them.”

14 Islamic principles are for all
“However, religion is different from science and philosophy.” “Doctrines of our religion were communicated in simple terms so that they could be understood by everyone. But it was not explained why they were sent.” “Allah had chosen our Prophet to spread Islam among all people. It was not sent for the intellectuals only, who would not have accepted anything, which was not proved by logic.”

15 Acquiring knowledge leads to understanding
“Our Prophet expressed the doctrines of religion simply so that they could be understood by all, but he did not give the reasons as to why they are imposed as then the common people would not have understood them.” “Those who have brains can find out themselves why theses principles are formulated.” “But development of brain depends upon the acquisition of knowledge.” “Thus, those who wish to understand the reasoning behind Islamic principles need to acquire knowledge as this will develop their brain.” “But those who cannot understand them, should believe in them and follow them faithfully. That will be sufficient for their salvation.”

16 Everyone cannot acquire sufficient knowledge
“It requires strong determination, persevance and hard work to acquire sufficient knowledge in order to find out the need for following the rules of Islam.” “Common people cannot afford to that. They have to work, earn their living and support their families. They can thus engage themselves in trade and agriculture and learn only the fundamental and secondary rules of Islam.”

17 Talk to people according to their intelligence
Imam said: “Your concept of heaven and hell is quite different from that of an illiterate person.” “If you try to explain to him what you understand by these terms, you will confuse him and make his faith shaky.” “That is why it is better to talk to people according to their intelligence.”

18 Imam Ali invented Arabic grammar
“When the Quran was sent, there was a possibility that common people may misunderstand the meaning of the verses if they did not read them correctly. That is why my grandfather, Ali ibn Abi Talib invented Arabic grammer.”

19 Importance of following the Imams
Jaber said: “It is a pity that many people do not understand the purpose, need and necessity of following Islamic doctrines and do not understand the deeper meaning of Quranic verses.” Imam Sadiq said: “This is the case with every religion. Only a limited number of people understood quite well the laws of their religion. These people became the leaders of religion and the rest had to obey them.” “The religion of Islam is similar. Only a handful of people understand the Quran. They are the leaders (Imams) of the Muslims.”

20 Rasikhuna fil Ilm Regarding the mutashabihat verses, Allah swt in verse 3:7 has said: And none knows its interpretation, save only God and those firmly rooted in knowledge (rasikhuna fil Ilm) They are none other than the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt. It is narrated that Imam Sadiq said: “We are the rasikhuna fil ilm and we know the tawil.” [Tafsir Nur Thaqalain]

21 Quran and Ahlul Bayt In the well known Hadith Thaqlain, the Prophet said: “Whoso remains attached to the Quran and my Ahlul Bayt will never go astray because these two weighty things will never be separated from each other until they reach me at the spring of Kauthar.” And: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate. Allah Almighty says that we should enter the house through the gates. So whoever wishes to seek knowledge should come through the door.”

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