Yunus ibn Ya’qub, one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (PBUH), narrates the following story:

I was in the presence of Imam Sadiq (PBUH) when a man from Shaam/Syria came to him and said, “I am a man of Kalam (theology), Fiqh (laws), and Fara’iz (rules of inheritance) (1); I have come to debate your people.”

… The Imam told me, “Find out who is outside who could debate him and bring them in.” I then brought in Hamran ibn ’Ayan, Ahwal, Hisham ibn Salim, and Qays ibn Masir, who were all good in debating. After a while Hisham ibn al-Hakam came in. He had just grown a small beard, and all of us were older than him. The Imam made room for him and said, “He is our supporter with his heart, tongue and hands.”

The Imam then asked his companions to debate the man. Each of the companions debated the man in his own specific field. The Imam then asked the man from Syria to speak with Hisham ibn al-Hakam.

The man said, “O boy! Ask me about the Imamate (spiritual leadership) of this man.”

Hisham said, “Well! Is your Lord more protective of His people or are the people more protective of themselves?”

The man said, “Naturally it is My Lord Who is more protective of His creatures.”

Hisham then asked, “What then has He done to protect them?”

The Man said, “He has established His authority and guidance so that they would not differ and disunite and be united. It is the divine leader who keeps them in the correct path and reminds them of their duties towards Allah.”

Hisham asked, “Who is the authority and guide that He has established?”

The man said, “He is the Messenger of Allah.”

Hisham then asked, “Who is the Divine authority after the Messenger of Allah?”

The man replied, “It is the book of Allah and the Sunnah.”

Hisham then said, “Have the Book and Sunnah helped us today in removing our differences?”

The man said, “Yes, they have helped us.”

Hisham then asked, “Why then do we have differences among us? You have come all the way from Shaam to oppose and debate us.”

The man then remained quite. The Imam asked him, “Why don’t you speak?”

The man said, “If I were to say that we have no differences, I would be lying. Were I to say that the Book and Sunnah solves our differences, it would be invalid because they can be interpreted in so many ways. Were I to say that we do have differences and each claims to be the rightful party, then the Book and the Sunnah would have been proved to be of no help. However, I can ask the same question from him also.”

The Imam then said to the man from Shaam, “Ask him, and you will find him knowledgeable.”

The man from Shaam then turned to Hisham and asked, “Is your Lord more protective of His people or are the people protective of themselves?”

Hisham said, “It is My Lord Who is more protective of His creatures.”

The man then asked, “Has He then established for them a means that would remove their differences, unite them, remove their deviation and show them right from wrong?”

Hisham asked, “Do you mean during the time of the Messenger of Allah or at this time?”

The man from Shaam said, “At the time of the Messenger of Allah that means was the Messenger of Allah. Who is the (Divine) authority at this time?”

Hisham said, “(The Divine authority) at this time is the person sitting among us. To him people journey long distances to find answers to their questions. He tells us about the news of the heavens and the earth as he has inherited it from his father and grandfather.”

The man from Shaam said, “How would I know that?”

Hisham then said, “Ask him whatever you like.”

The man from Shaam said, “You have left no excuse for me, and I must ask.”

Imam Sadiq (PBUH) then said, “O man from Shaam, I can tell you how your journey was and how your road was.” Then the Imam proceeded to give him the more details about his journey.

The man agreed, acknowledged the details, and said, “At this time I testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger and that you are one of the executors of the will of the Messengers of Allah.”

(Reference: Usul al’Kafi, by Sheikh Kuleini, vol. 1, The Book of Hujjah, Hadith 4, with minor changes, selected from the translation by Muhammad Sarwar)

Roshd website gives its condolences on the 25th of Shawwal, the Martyrdom of Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (PBUH), to all Muslims, and especially you dear friend.

Footnote:

1- The issue of inheritance in Islam is one of the most complicated and difficult laws. Some of the rules regarding this issue are mentioned in the Holy Quran and the rest is pointed out in the Hadiths and narrations. The part which is found in the Holy Quran is called Fara’iz.