Musa Mubarqa (brother of Imam Hadi (PBUH)) narrates that: I met Yahya bin Aktham in the public court and he asked me a number of questions. I then went to my brother Ali bin Mohammad (PBUH) and we had a conversation in which he advised me and addressed to me several admonitions that made me aware and obedient to him. So I said to him, “May I be sacrificed for you! Son of Aktham has written to me and asked me various questions and sought their answers.” The Imam (PBUH) smiled and said,” Did you answer him?” I answered, “No, as I did not know the answers.” The Imam (PBUH) asked,“ What were they?” I answered, “He asked the following questions:
1. Regarding Allah’s (SWT) saying (in the Holy Quran (27, 40)): “The one who had knowledge (Aasif ibn Barkhiya) from the Book said (to Solomon), ‘I can bring it (the throne of Bilqis from far) to you before you even blink your eye’, was the Prophet (Solomon) in need of the knowledge of Aasif (as in he could not bring the throne of Bilqis himself)?
2. Regarding Allah’s (SWT) saying (in the Holy Quran (12, 100)): “He (Joseph) raised his parents on the throne and they feel in prostration before him”, did Jacob and his sons who were Prophets prostrate for Joseph?
3. Regarding Allah’s (SWT) saying (in the Holy Quran (10, 94)): “If you have any doubt about what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book…”, who is addressed in this verse? If it is the Prophet (PBUH&HP), he then was doubtful about what was revealed to him. If it addressed someone else, then whom was the Book revealed to? Was it revealed to a person other than the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)?
4. Why is Fajr prayers recited loudly; while it is among day prayers whereas reciting loudly is prescribed for night prayers?”
Musa also asked several other questions of Yahya regarding Islamic jurisprudence and history.
Then, Imam Hadi (PBUH) said,” Write down the answer”. Musa asked,” What should I write?” Imam (PBUH) answered,” Write as I say:
“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. May Allah (SWT) guide you to the right. I have received your questions through which you want to test us out of your obstinacy so that you may criticize us if you find a fault in our response. May Allah (SWT) reward you according to your intention. We have answered your questions in details (in this letter). Lend your ears, open your mind, and engage your heart for receiving our answer, as the argument is complete on you. Peace.
1. You asked about Allah’s (SWT) saying: “The one who had knowledge from the Book said…,” that person was Aasif bin Barkhiya. Solomon (PBUH) was not in need of the knowledge of Aasif; but (through this) he wanted to introduce Aasif ibn Barkhiya as his successor to his nation that included people and Jinn. The knowledge of Aasif was from Solomon’s (PBUH) knowledge that he delivered to his successor according to Allah’s (SWT) instructions so that the nation would not disagree about his succession. This was similar to the case of Solomon (PBUH) who had received this knowledge during the lifetime of David (PBUH), so that his succession to David became apparent and (by doing so) the argument on people would be complete.
2. As for the prostration of Jacob (PBUH) and his sons, it was out of their obedience to Allah (SWT), and love for Joseph (PBUH); It was similar to the angels’ prostration towards Adam (PBUH), which was not intended to Adam (PBUH) personally; rather it was due to their obedience to Allah (SWT) and expression of love to Adam (PBUH). Thus, Jacob (PBUH) and his sons including Joseph prostrated to thank Allah (SWT) for their reunion. Do you not see that at that very time, Joseph (PBUH) showed his gratitude to Allah (SWT) by saying:” My Lord! You have given me kingdom and taught me the meaning of narrations?”
3. Regarding Allah’s (SWT) saying: “If you have any doubt about what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book” the addressee in this Verse was the Prophet (PBUH&HP) (himself). He, however, had no doubt about what was revealed to him; but the ignorant ones used to say:” why has God not appointed one of His angels as a Prophet, as there is no difference between the Prophet and us in terms of need for food, drink, and walking in marts”. Consequently, Allah (SWT) revealed to His Prophet: “Ask those who read the Book, in the attendance of those ignorant ones, whether God had appointed a Prophet before you who did not eat food or walk in marts. You are like them (the previous Prophets) in this regards.
And verily He said, “If you have any doubt”; while there was no doubt (in the Prophet’s heart); (in fact) it was mentioned out of fairness. Similarly, He said (in Verse 54 of Chapter 3 of the Holy Quran):” Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves to earnestly pray and ask for the curse of Allah on the liars”. If He had said:” Ask for (the curse of Allah) on you”, they would not have agreed with this offer. Allah (SWT) already knew that the Prophet would convey the messages perfectly and that he would not be a liar. (In this verse), the Prophet (PBUH&HP) had no doubt about what was revealed to him and that he whatever he said was the truth, but he wanted to treat them with fairness (and not accuse them of lying in the beginning).
4. As for reciting the Fajr Prayer loudly, it is because the Prophet (PBUH&HP) used to offer that prayer (at the beginning of its time) before daybreak. It therefore should be reckoned with the night prayers.
So Imam Hadi (PBUH) answered the jurisprudential and historical questions of Yahya similarly.
(The above is a selection taken from “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, by Abu Muhammad Harrani)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 3rd of Rajab, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the leader of guidance and Imam of purity, Imam Ali ibn Muammad al-Hadi (PBUH).