The debates of Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq (pbuh) with Abi Hanifa

* Ibn Shabrama came with Abi Hanifa to Imam Sadiq (pbuh). Imam (pbuh) told Ibn Shabrama: who is with you?

Ibn Shabrama: a man with keen thinking of religion.

Imam (pbuh) : might he be that who thinks that he can use measures and comparison in religion?

Ibn Shabrama: yes.

Then Imam (pbuh) look at Abi Hanifa and said: what is your name?

Abi Hanifa: Al-Noman.

Imam (pbuh): O Noman, did you measure your head?

He: and how could I?

Imam (pbuh): do you know why is there cataract in the eyes, bitteness in the ears, coldness in the nose, and wetness in the lips?

Abi Hanifa denied any knowledge of that. Then Imam (pbuh) asked him more: do you know a phrase that start with infidelity and ends with faith?

Abi Hanifa: No. then he asked Imam Sadiq (pbuh) to clarify to him all these.

Then Imam (pbuh) said: my father told me, that my grandfather the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: out of merit of Allah and generosity, He made cataract for humans in his eyes so that it would catch the dirt, and He made bitterness in the ears as a veil from bugs. Since if one enters a headed towards the brain, it would taste the bitterness and leave. And He made coldness in the nose so that one can inhale, and if it weren’t like that, the brain would rotten. And He made the lips wet so that it would feel pleasure in tasting food.

Then Abi Hanifa told Imam Sadiq (pbuh): tell about the phrase that starts with infidelity and ends with faith.

Imam (pbuh) :Infidelity is when a servant says : “there is no God” and faith is when he continues “But Allah”

Then Imam told Abi Hanifa not to use his own measures in religion and said : O Abi Hanifa, my father told me that my grandfather the Messenger of Allah said: the 1st one to use his own measures in religion was Ibless when Allah told him to prostrate to Adam. Iblees said : I’m better than him, you created me from fire, and created him from clay.

Abi Hanifa met Imam Sadiq (pbuh) another time and Imam asked him: do you know what is the punishment of breaking the 4 incisors of a deer?

Abi Hanifa: O son of Messenger of Allah, I don’t know?

Imam (pbuh): don’t you know that the deer has only 2 incisors.

A third time, he met Imam Sadiq (pbuh) and Imam (pbuh) asked him about few issues in Islam and he didn’t answer it. Among the questions were: which is greater in the eye of Allah, Murder of fornication?

He: Murder.

Imam (pbuh): then why did Allah accepted 2 witnesses for murder and yet 4 for fornication.

Then Imam asked Abi Hanifa: which is better, prayer of fasting?

He: prayer is better.

Imam (pbuh): then according to your measures, after the menstrual cycle, a women should pray what she have missed of prayer, and don’t fast what she have missed of days. But Allah obligated fasting the missing days and not praying.

Then Imam asked: what is more dirty, urine or semen?

He: urine.

Imam (pbuh): then according to your measures, one should shower (Ghusul) after urination because it is more dirty, and not after ejecting semen. And Allah obligated the Ghusul after semen and not urine.

Then Imam (pbuh) said: tell me your opinion about if a man had a slave, and he and his slave married at the same night, then both traveled and let their women in the same house, and both women gave birth to boys. Then the house fell on the two women and killed them and the two boys stayed alive. In you opinion, who is the owner and who is the owned, and who is the inheritor and who is the inherited?

Abi Hanifa declared that he is incapable to solve such issue and said : I have limits (in knowledge).

And here Imam Sadiq (pbuh) asked another question: what is your opinion about a blind man who put off an eye of another man, and cut off the hand of another, what would be his punishment?

Abi Hanifa: I am man with knowledge of the messages of prophets.

Then Imam (pbuh) asked him: then tell me about the saying of Allah when He sent Moussa and Haroun to Pharoa {he might remember or fear}. Do you think that “might” here is about doubt.

He: yes.

Imam (pbuh): are you saying that Allah doubted when he said “might”

He: I don’t know.

Then Imam (pbuh) said: you claim that you have knowledge of the Book of Allah, and you are not of who inherited it (its knowledge). You claim that you are a man of measures and comparison, and the 1st to use measures was Ibless (may Allah damn him) as Islam wasn’t built on measures and comparison. You claim that you have your own opinion, and the only right opinion is only to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and what else is false. For that Allah said {judge between them as Allah showed you} and Allah didn’t say that to any one else. You claim that you are a man of limits, and whom it descended upon him is more worthy to have its knowledge than you. You claim that you have knowledge of the messages of prophets, and the last of the prophets is have more knowledge of it than you. And if people wouldn’t say that he came to the son of the messenger of Allah, and he asked him nothing. I wouldn’t have asked you a thing. So compare and measure as you want if you can.

And so Abi Hanifa told Imam Sadiq (pbuh): I will not speak of any opinion or measure in religion after this.

Imam Jaafar Sadiq (pbuh) replied: No, love of leadership will not abandon you, as it didn’t with those before you. (1)


Another debate with Abi Hanifa

* Imam Sadiq’s (pbuh) debate with Abi Hanifa about pleading Allah in the name of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh): Sheikh Karajiki once said: it was mentioned that once Abi Hanifa ate with Imam Jaa’far Bin Mohammad Al-Sadiq (pbuh). When Imam (pbuh) finished he raised his hands and said: Gratitude and praise is to Allah, Lord of all Realms. O Allah, this is from you and your Messenger (pbuh). Then Abi Hanifa said: O Aba Abdellah, are you claiming a partner for Allah? Imam (pbuh) said: how dare you? It is that Allah says in his book: {If only they had been content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them, and had said, "Sufficient unto us is Allah. Allah will soon give us of His bounty and his Messenger}And He said {they didn’t hold grudge, until Allah and His Messenger had made them rich out of Their merit}Then Abi Hanifa said : By Allah, as if I didn’t read this in Quraan before, or never heard of it until now.Then, the Imam (pbuh) said : Indeed, you read it and heard of it, but Allah revealed this verse that talks about you and people like you {Or they have veils on their hearts} and {No, but what they gained had blocked their hearts (2)


Another debate with Abi Hanifa

* Allama Al-Majlisi said that he found a letter written by some righteous men reporting from the 1st Martyr that he said: Abi Hanifa Al-Noman, bin Thabit once came to a barber to cut his hair. So the barber told him: turn right, face Qibla and say “in the name of Allah” and so he learned three things that he didn’t have before. And Abi Hanifa said: are you a slave or a free man?

Barber: a slave.

Abi Hanifa: of whom?

Barber: of Jaa’far Bin Mohammad Al-Alawi (pbuh)

Abi Hanifa: is he present or abscent?

Barber: present.

Then Abi Hanifa went to the door and asked permission to enter to Imam, and permission was denied. Then people came from Kufa city and asked permission to enter and permission was granted. And so he enterned with them. When he entered and reached Imam Sadiq (pbuh) he said: O son of the Messenger of Allah, If you had sent to people of Kufa to forbid them from cursing the companions of the Messenger of Allah Mohammad (pbuh). For that I left there and there were more that 10,000 of them who curse.

Imam (pbuh): they will not listen to me and obey me.

Abi Hanifa: and who wouldn’t listen to you or obey you, and you are the son of the Messenger of Allah?

Imam (pbuh): you are of those who didn’t listen to me or obey me. You entered my home without my permission, and sat without my order, and talked with other than my opinion, and I’ve been told that you speak of measures and comparison in Islam.

Abi Hanifa: yes, I speak of it.

Imam (pbuh): O Noman, how dare you ? the 1st one to use measures and comparison in Islam was Iblees, when Allah told him to prostrate to Adam. So Iblees said :{you created me from fire, and you created him from clay}. Which is greater, Murder or Fornication?

Abi Hanifa: Murder.

Imam (pbuh): then why Allah made two witnesses for murder, and yet 4 for fornication? Can this be compared?

Abi Hanifa: No.

Imam (pbuh) : which is greater, urine or semen?

Abi Hanifa: urine.

Imam (pbuh): then why Allah ordered only wodoo’ after urine, and ordered Ghusul (special shower) after semen? Can this be compared?

Abi Hanifa: No.

Imam (pbuh): which is greater, Prayer of Fasting?

Abu Hanifa: prayer.

Imam (pbuh): then why Allah ordered women to fast what she had missed of days during her menstrual cycle, and don’t pray what she had missed? can this be compared?

Abi Hanifa: No

Imam (pbuh): who is weaker, man or woman?

Abi Hanifa: man.

Imam (pbuh): then why did Allah gave two shares for man and only one share for woman? Can this be compared ?

Abi Hanifa: No

Imam (pbuh): why did Allah punishes who steals only 10 Dirhams by cutting his hand off, and yet if a man cuts another mans hand, the he must pay 5000 Dirhams. Can this be compared?

Abi Hanifa: No.

Imam (pbuh): I’ve been told that you explain Allah’s saying {you will be asked about the blessings} that blessings are the tasty food and the cold water on a hot summer day.

Abi Hanifa: yes.

Imam (pbuh): if a man invited you and fed you good food, and cold water. Then he showed off with it. What would you about him?

Abi Hanifa: Stingy.

Imam (pbuh) : is Allah stingy?

Abi Hanifa: then what is it?

Imam (pbuh): Loving us AL Mohammad (pbut) (3)


(1) Bihar Al-Anwar vol.2 p.287, Al-Ihtijaj vol.2 p.360

(2) Wasa'il Al-Shia vol.24 p.351, Kanz Al-Fawa'id vol.2 p.36, Al-Bihar vol.10 p.216

(3) Al-Ihtijaj vol.2 p360, Al-Bihar vol.10 p.220