Chapter on Contingency of the Universe and Proof of the Existence of its Creator

Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ya'qub has narrated from Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashim from his father, from al-Hassan ibn Ibrahim from Yunus ibn 'Abd al-Rahman from Ali ibn Mansur who narrated the following.

"Hisham ibn al-Hakam has reported that in Egypt there lived a heretic who had heard about Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) a great deal. He traveled to Madina to debate the Imam but he missed to find the Imam therein.

He was told that the Imam has traveled to the city of Makkah. He then left for Makkah and we were with the Imam (a.s.) when we came across him during our performing Tawaf (the seven times walking around the Ka'bah). The man's name was 'Abdul Malik also called abu 'Abdallah as his Kunyah in Arabic. He touched Imam abu 'Abdallah's shoulder with his shoulder as he walked along. The Imam asked him, "What is your name?" It is 'Abdul Malik (meaning slave of the King).

" The man replied. "What is your Kunyah?" The Imam (a.s.) asked. "It is abu 'Abdallah (meaning father of slave of Allah)." He replied. The Imam then asked, "Who is this king whose slave you are?

Is he of the earthly kings or of the heavenly ones? Tell us about your son. Is he a slave of the Lord of the heavens or a slave of the Lord of the earth? Say whatever you may it will be against you."

Hisham has said that I asked him (the heretic man), "Why do you not answer?" The man seemed to dislike my words. The Imam (a.s.) then told him, "Meet us when we finish our Tawaf (walking around the Ka'bah)." The heretic man came to the Imam (a.s) later and sat in front of the Imam (a.s.) and we were all gathered around him.

The Imam (a.s.) then asked him, "Do you know that the earth has an underside and an upperside?" The man replied, "Yes, I know it." The Imam then asked, "Have you gone in the underside of the earth?" The man replied, "No, I have not gone there."

The Imam (a.s.) then asked, "Do you know what is therein?" He said, "I do not know but I guess there is nothing therein." The Imam (a.s.) then said, "Guessing is weakness. Why do you not acquire certainty?" The Imam (a.s.) then asked, "Have you climbed up into the sky?"

The man replied, "No, I have not done so." The Imam (a.s.) then asked, "Do you know what is up there?" He replied, "No, I do not know." The Imam (a.s.) said, "It is very strange. Without reaching the East or West, without going under the earth or climbing up the sky and not even have crossed anything to know what is behind you deny what is in them. Does any man of reason deny what he does not know?"

The heretic man then said, "No one has ever come up with such statements to me as you have." The Imam (a.s.) then said, "So you are uncertain about Him. Perhaps He is or may be He does not exist." The heretic man then said, "Perhaps He is." The Imam then said, "O man, one who does not know has no authority over the one who knows. 

O Egyptian brethren, listen carefully. We have no doubts in the existence of Allah (God). Think about the sun, the moon, the day and the nights follow each other and do not miss their turns or become confused. They each have its place and do not have any choice.

If they had any other choice they would not come back again. If they had a choice the day would not end with night and the night would not end in the day. They are forced to continue, O Egyptian brethren, I swear byAllah (God). The One who has forced them is stronger then them and greater.

What people speak of and you guess it is (dahr) motionless time if it was so, then when it would take them away it would not return them and if time have returned them then why it is not taking them away?

These things, O Egyptian brethren, are compelled. Why the sky is up high and why the earth is low? Why the sky does not fall down on earth? Why the earth does not flow one layer over the other and the two do not stick to each other and why those on it do not stick to it?"

The man then said, "God their Lord has made them to hold together." Hisham has said, "He professed belief in God in the presence of Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.)." "Humran then said to the Imam, "May Allah take my soul in service for your cause, if heretics profess belief in Allah (God) before you it is because the unbelievers converted to faith because of your father." 

The man who had just professed belief in Allah requested Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) to allow him to become one of his students. The Imam then asked Hisham to teach him. Hisham taught him well and he became a teacher for the people in Syria and Egypt. His purification was very well and the Imam (a.s.) became happy with him."

H 210, Ch. 1, h 2

A number of our people have narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from Muhammad ibn Ali from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn abu Hashim from Ahmad ibn Muhsin al-Maythami who said that I was with abu Mansur al-Mutatbbib who said the following.

"One of my friends has said that he was with ibn abu al-'Awja' and 'Abdallah ibn al- Muqaffa' in the holy Mosque of Makkah and ibn al-Muqaffa' said, "Do you see these creatures, pointing towards the location where people walk seven times around the Kabah'?

Of all these no one deserves to be called a human being accept that Shaikh sitting there, meaning thereby Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.). The rest is garble and beasts." Upon this ibn abu al-'Awja' said, "For what reason do you call him a human being and not the rest?" Ibn alMuqaffa' then replied, "Because I saw with him what I did not see with the others."

Ibn abu al-"Awja' then said, "We must test your claim." Ibn al-Muqaffa' then said, "I advise you not to do so lest you will lose whatever faith you have. Ibn abu al-'Awja' then said, "I do not think that is what you mean. I think you are afraid of failing to substantiate what you have just said about this man." Ibn al-Muqaffa' then said, "If that is what you think then go to him and protect yourself as much as you can.

Be strong as much as you can so you are not harnnessed and note all points against and in your favor. Ibn abu al-'Awja' then left and ibn al-Muqaffa' and I remained there. When ibn abu al-'Awja' returned he said, "Woe is you, O ibn al- Muqaffa'.

This is not a human being even though he lives in this world. He is a spiritual being but appears in the form of man whenever he wants the out world and turns into a spiritual being whenever he wants the inner world. That is the way he is." Ibn al-Muqaffa' then asked, "How does that happen?" Ibn abu al-'Awja' then said, "I sat near him and when everyone had gone he turned to me and said, "If it is the way they (people walking around the Ka'bah) say, which is true then they are saved and you are destroyed. If it is the way you say it is, which is not so then you and they are all equal." I then asked, "May Allah be kind to you.

What is it that we say and what is it that they say? We all say the same thing." He said, "How can what you say be equal to what they say? They say that they will have a return, a day of receiving their rewards and penalties. They believe in a religion which says that in the heavens is the Lord and that they are habitable while you say that they are in ruins and there is nothing in them.

"Ibn abu al-'Awja' has said, "I then found the opportunity to speak and I asked, "What then keeps this Lord, if it is true the way they say that He exists, from appearing to His creatures and call them to His worship so that no two people would oppose each other? Why is He hiding from them and has only sent messengers? If He would have been in direct contact with them it would have been more helpful to have faith in Him." He then responded, "Woe is you, how someone who is already shown His power within you is hiding from you?

He brought you up. You did not even exist. He made you grow when you were so small. He gave you strength and power when you were so weak and will make you weak again after being strong. He make you sick after being healthy and can give you good health after suffering sickness. He can make you happy after you experience anger and make you angry after being happy. He can make you sad after your joy and give you joy after sadness.

He can give love after your experiencing hatred and hatred after enjoying love. He can give you determination after your uncertainty and uncertainty after having determination. He can give you strong desires after your experiencing dislike and dislike after having strong desires. He can give you willingness after experiencing fear and concerns and fear after having strong willingness.

He can give you hope after despair and despair after having a great deal of hope. He can give you good remembrance of what you had no idea and remove what you may have had as a belief." He kept reminding and counting for me the effects of His power within my soul that I could not deny and I begin to have a feeling that all that is between me and him will all appear in the open."

From the same source the following is narrated from a number of our people in a Marfu' manner as additional statements to the above discourse of ibn abu al-'Awja' with Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.). That abu al-'Awja' came the next day to the meeting of the Imam and sat down quietly. The Imam (a.s.) said to him, "Would you like to review the issues we discussed yesterday?" He replied, "I did intend to do so, O son of the messenger of Allah."

The Imam then said, "It is strange that one who does not believe in Allah acknowledges the existence of the messenger of Allah." He replied, "It is only the habit that made me say so." The 'Alim (the Imam) then asked, "What is it that keeps you quite?" He replied, "It is your excellence and awesome spiritual ability that hold my tongue back from speaking. 

I have seen many scholars and have debated many theologians but I never experienced such an awesome feeling from them as I feel in your presence." The Imam then said, " It may happen. I would like to open this session with a question to you. The Imam turned to him and asked, "Are you created or uncreated?" 'Abdul Karim ibn abu al-'Awja' answered, " I am uncreated." The 'Alim then asked him, "Describe for us then, how you might have been if you were created." 

'Abdal Karim remained quiet and confused and began to scribble scrabble with a piece of wood, saying, long, wide, deep, short, moving and motionless all these are the qualities of His creatures." The 'Alim (Imam) then said, "If you do not know anything other than these as the qualities of the creation then consider yourself a creature because that is what you find within yourself that take place and come into existence."

'Abdal Karim then said, "You have asked me a question that no one before had ever asked and no one ever would ask afterwards." Abu 'Abdallah then said, "It is fine. I noticed that you did not ask any thing in the time past but how would you know that you will not ask any thing in future? Besides, O 'Abdal Karim, what you said is against your notion that from the beginning all things are equal. How then you made them before and after?

The Imam then said, "O 'Abdal Karim let me explain it for you. Suppose if you had a bag with you full of pearls and someone asked you, "Is there a Dinar in your bag?" You then denied and said, "No, there is no Dinar in my bag." The person then said, "Alright, then describe for me the qualities of the Dinar but you had no knowledge of the qualities of the Dinar.

Could you deny the existence of the Dinar that was from the bag but you did not know about it?" he replied, "No, I would not deny." The Imam then said, "The world is bigger, taller and wider than a bag. Perhaps in the world there is a creature as such that you do not know in whose case you would not be able to tell the qualities of the created from the non-created." 'Abdal Karim remained quiet but some of his people agreed to accept Islam and a few of them remained.

He came again to the meeting of the Imam on the third day and said, "I like to reverse the question." The Imam replied, "Ask whatever you like." He then asked, "What is the proof that bodies did not exist and then they came into existence?" The Imam then said, "I have not seen anything small or large that on adding to it something of the same size would not make it bigger and in this there is a change and transformation from the first condition. If it, however, would have been eternal, there would have been no changing and transformation.

What may cease to exist or change it may come into existence and may get destroyed, thus, with its existence after its none existence is entering into the state of coming into being and as being eternal this will take it into nothingness but the two qualities of being eternal and nothingness and the qualities of a contingent and something without a beginning in one thing do come together."

'Abdal Karim then said, "Suppose, I noticed that with a view to the two conditions you mentioned you considered it a proof of their contingency. If, however, things would remain small, despite the addition, then how would you prove their contingency?" The 'Alim then said, "We speak of this universe that is already there.

Were we to take it away and place another universe in its place nothingness would have, certainly, been a stronger proof of its contingency than its removal and its replacing with a different one. I, however, will answer you according to your assumption. If things would still remain small but it would certainly come into one's thinking that whenever something like it added to another thing it then would be bigger.

The fact that it can change is proof of its becoming temporal and in its changing condition is proof of its contingency. There is nothing beyond it for you, O 'Abdal Karim. 'Abdal Karim had nothing else to say.

Next year he met the Imam (a.s.) in Makkah again and people from his followers said that 'Abdal Karim has become a Muslim. The Imam told him that 'Abdal Karim was blind in this matter and would not become a Muslim. When he saw the 'Alim he said, "My master, my chief!" The 'Alim then asked him, "What brings you here?" He then replied, "It is the habits of the body and the traditions of the town to see what craziness makes them shave and throw pebbles." The 'Alim said, "It seems that you still live in your arrogance and misguidance, O 'Abdal Karim."

He began to speak but the Imam said, "Disputation during Hajj is not permissible. The Imam freed his gown from the hand of the heretic man and said, "If it is the way you say and it is not true, then we as well as you are all saved. However, if it is the way we say and it is true we are saved but you are destroyed." 'Abdal Karim then turned to his people saying, "I feel pain in my heart. Take me back. They took him away and he died.

H 211, Ch. 1, h 3

Muhammad ibn Ja'far al-Asadi has narrated from Muhammad ibn Esma'il al-Barmaki al-Razi from al-Husayn ibn al-Hassan ibn Bard al-Daynuri from Muhammad ibn Ali from Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah al-Khurasani the an employee of Imam al-Rida (a.s.) who has said the following.

"An atheist man came to Imam abu al-Hassan (a.s.) while group of people was present there. The Imam (a.s.) said to him, "Consider, if what you say would be true which is not true, in such case, we all will be equal. Our fasting, prayers, giving charity and belief will not harm us." The man remained quite. 

The Imam then said, "If what we say would be true, which, in fact, is true then you will be the one facing your destruction and we will be saved." The man then said, "Please help me learn where is He and how is He?" The Imam then said, "What is the matter with you? What you say is not right. He is the 'where' of 'where' but without 'where'. He is the 'how' of 'how' without 'how'. He can not be defined with 'how' and 'where' and can not be comprehended with the senses or compared with anything." 

The man then asked, "Tell me then when was He?" The Imam replied, "You tell me, when He was not there so that I would tell when He was there?" The man then asked, "What is the proof for His existence?"

The Imam said, "When I look at my body I find that I can not do any addition or alteration to it such as width and breadth or remove its sufferings and attract all its interests. I then come to understand that for this establishment there must be a founder and then I acknowledge His existence. Besides, I see all the orbiting planets and stars, the creation of the clouds and driving of the winds, the paths of the sun, the moon, the stars and other things of the marvelous clear signs I come to believe that there is One who has designed and created all such wonderful things"

H 212, Ch. 1, h 4

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Khaffaf or from his father from Muhammad ibn Ishaq who has said the following. "'Abdallah al-Daysani asked Hisham ibn al-Hakam, 'Do you have a God?'" He replied, "Yes, I have a God." He then asked, "Is He powerful?" Hisham then replied, "Yes, He is powerful and the most powerful One."

The man then asked, "Can He fit the whole world inside an egg without any change in the size of either one?" Hisham then said, "Give me a little time." The man said, "I give you one whole year and he left." Hisham then went to see Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) for an Answer. After asking permission that he was granted Hisham explained, "Al-Daysani asked me a question today and I see no one except Allah and yourself to answer it." 

The Imam then asked, "What is the question?" Hisham restated the question that al-Daysani had asked. The Imam then said, "O Hisham, how many are your senses?" He replied, "They are five." The Imam then asked, "Which one is the smallest?" He replied, "The seeing sense." The Imam then asked, "How big is its size?" He replied, "It is about the size of the pupil or smaller."

The Imam then said, "O Hisham, look in front of you and above you and then tell me what you have seen." Hisham then replied, "I can see the sky, the earth, the houses, the buildings, the land, the mountains and the water canals." The Imam then said, "The One who has been able to fit all that you can see in a pupil or even a smaller thing is also able to fit the whole world in side an egg without any change in the size of any one of them.

Hisham bowed down and kissed the feet, the hands and the head of the Imam (a.s.) saying, "This is enough for me O descendant of the holy Prophet and then left for his home. The next day al-Daysani met him and said, "I have come just to say greetings to you and not for an answer to my question" Hisham then said, "Even if you may have come for an answer it is ready." Al-Daysani then left to meet Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) and after asking permission for a meeting which was granted he sat down and said, "O Ja'far ibn Muhammad, "Guide me to my Lord."

The Imam then asked, "What is your name?" He then left without answering the Imam and his people asked him, "Why did you not answer the Imam?" He replied, "Were I to tell him that it is 'Abdallah he would then ask that who is this Lord whose slave are you?" They then said, "Return to him and ask him to guide you to your Lord without asking your name." He then returned back to the Imam and asked, "O Ja'far ibn Muhammad, "Guide me to my Lord but do not ask my name." 

The Imam asked him to sit down. A young boy, son of the Imam was there playing with an egg in his hand and the Imam asked, "Fetch me the egg O young man. The boy gave the egg to the Imam who said, "O Daysani, this is a secure castle. It has a thicker outer shell and inside of it there is much finer shell inside of which there is liquid gold and flowing silver.

The liquid gold does not mix with the flowing silver nor does the flowing silver mix the liquid gold. Such is its condition no expert comes out therefrom to find out what is beneficial to it to report back all about it nor any corrupting agent enters therein so that its problems would be reported. No one knows if it is created for a male or a female. It will burst out with colors of a peacock. Do you think there is someone to design and manage it?

Al-Daysani thought quietly and said, "I testify that there is no god but Allah Who is the only Lord and has no partner. I testify that Muhammad (s.a) is His servant and messenger and that you are the Imam and an authority from Allah over his creatures and I repent because of previous beliefs."

H 213, Ch. 1, h 5

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from 'Abbass ibn 'Amr al-Faqimi from Hisham ibn al-Hakam in the narration about the atheist who came to Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) and the Imam had explained to him the following.

"You assume that there are two eternal and powerful powers (who control the universe) or that both are weak or only one of them is weak and the other is powerful. If they both are powerful why then neither one ever makes an effort to remove the other one so only one would become in control of the universe? 

If you would assume that one is powerful and the other is weak then it is proof that there is only one, as we believe because the weakness of the other is so apparent. Besides, if you would say that they are two then they either agree with each other in all matters or disagree in the same way. 

Since we see the creation works in an organized manner, the orbiting objects continue to do so, the organization is one, the day, the night, the sun and the moon all show that the organization is valid and correct. The harmony in the matter shows that the organizer is One. If your claim of two would involve you to believe that there must be a gap in between to show two things and in that case, the gap will become a third one and eternal.

Thus, it will involve you in three and this will involve to say what you said about the two where you needed to have a gap and in this case it will become five and so on indefinite in number and multiplicity."

Hisham has said that of the questions of the atheist from Imam abu 'Abdallah one was that what is the evidence of His existence? The Imam (a.s.) answered, "The existence of the effects (activities) show that someone has produced those effects and activities. Consider, when you see a well constructed building you learn that there is someone, who has built it even if you have not seen the builder with your own eyes." The atheist then asked, "What is it then?" The Imam replied, "He is something but different from all things.

I repeat my statement that speaks about Him as a thing. He is a thing in the sense of the reality of things except that He does not have a body and form. He does not have a feeling (like our sense of feeling) or touching and He does not comprehend with the five senses (as we do). Imaginations can not comprehend Him and the timeless (Dahr) times does not reduce Him and the times do not change Him."

H 214, Ch. 1, h 6

Muhammad ibn Ya'qub has said that a number of our people have narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Barqi from his father, from Ali ibn al-Ni'man, from ibn Maskan, from Dawud ibn Farqad from abu Sa'id al-Zuhri from Imam abu Ja'far (a.s.) who said the following. "For the people of understanding as proof of the existence of the Allah it is enough that He has created all things and has kept them full under His control.

It is enough proof that He is the Most powerful king. It is enough proof that His Majesty is manifest everywhere. That His light is the Most bright that His testimony is the Most truthful. There is enough proof of His existence in what the people speak and what the messengers have brought and what he has revealed to people as proof of His Own existence."