One of the greatest Islamic saint of the 8th century, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS) who is also highly respected by both Shia and Sunni Muslims for his great Islamic scholarship, pious character, and academic contributions described wisdom in creation on many creatures and natural phenomenon including creation of humans, animals, birds, insects, plants, child development, earth, sky, storms, earth quacks, floods and diseases.
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS) was also an astronomer, alchemist, Imam, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, writer, philosopher, physician, physicist and scientist. He was also a teacher of the famous chemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) and the founder of the Sunni sect, Abu Hanifa.
In the following subsections, we will present excerpts from Imam Ja’far’s four long lectures given to his student Mufaddal. R1
Mufaddal Ibn Umar writes that one day after the evening prayers, I sat between the pulpit and the sepulcher of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), contemplating on the exalted excellences with which Allah (swt) had endowed our holy prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w) and that Muslims have not yet realized the full importance of having such a great prophet sent by God to them.
While I was absorbed in these thoughts, there arrived Ibne-Abi Al-Auja, an atheistic pagan, and took his seat within my hearing distance. A comrade of his followed him and sat near him. A conversation started between Ibne-Abi Al-Auja and his comrade:
Ibne-Abi Al-Auja: “The occupant of this sepulcher has attained the highest level of respect and honor.”
Comrade: “He was a philosopher who made a mighty claim supported by miracles that confounded common sense. The wise and the sage tried in vain to refute his mind-penetrating message.
When his mission got accepted by the cultured, the erudite and the learned, the rest of the population followed in droves. As a result, wherever the call to his prophethood reached, his name began to be called out in the places of worships along with the name of the Almighty Allah.
This practice of calling for daily prayers is carried out five times a day without any distinction of sea and land, mountain or plain. His name became associated with that of Allah’s (s.w.t) with the object of perpetuating his memory, and to keep his mission dynamic.”
Ibne-Abi Al-Auja: “Leave aside the mention of Muhammad (saw) about whom my reason is astounded, and my thoughts are bewildered.
Let us talk about the reality of the basis of the people’s acceptance of the faith of Muhammad (saw) – the belief in the Sustainer of the universe. Is there such a Being or not?”
Then Al-Auja referred to the genesis and the creation of the vast assortment of the universe.
Al-Auja made the preposterous claim that no one had created them, and there exists no Creator, nor Designer, nor Renovator. The universe had been by itself in existence and will continue to exist as such ad infinitum.
I was outraged to hear this and said to Al-Auja, "O disbeliever! Do you reject the faith in Allah (swt) by totally denying the existence of Him, who created you in such comeliness, transforming you from one state to another, till you arrived at your present form?
Had you just considered about your own self, and had you pondered clearly and truthfully, you would have recognized in your own soul such obvious proofs of the existence of the Almighty Allah, the signs of His All comprehending sustenance, and the evidence of His boundless workmanship.”
Ibne-Abi Al-Auja: "We would discuss this issue if you can marshal well founded convincing arguments, which we will admit, otherwise you have no right to interfere without any knowledge of the issue.
If you are a companion of Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (a.s.), it does not behoove you to talk in this manner, for his is not this mode of address, nor does he argue with us in such impropriety. He has heard more of our words than you have done, but he has never used any impropriety, nor has he ever retorted aggressively.
Ja’far is very forbearing, dignified, reasonable and of mature intellect. He is never harsh or touchy. He listens to our talk very attentively. He invites our arguments, so much so that when we have exhausted our armory and we think to have silenced him, Imam Ja’far , with a brief response, stultifies all our reasoning and dumbfounds us, so that we are left without a counter argument. If you are one of his companions, then talk to us in the same way."
At this, I came out dejected and thoughtful because of their disbelief in Allah (swt), and the consequent tribulation of Islam and its followers, because of their disbelief in Allah, and their presumption of the meaninglessness of this universe.
I went to see to my master, Imam Ja’afar Al Sadiq (a.s.). Upon seeing me dejected, he asked me the reason thereof. I informed him about the conversation of those atheists and the way I had tried to rebut their arguments.
The Imam told me: “Come the next day when I would disclose the immense ingenuity of the Almighty Creator manifested in this entire universe comprising the animals, the birds, the insects, and all living beings whether of the animal or the vegetable kingdom, trees bearing fruits or trite and fruitless ones, the edible and non-edible vegetables.
Such a description of ingenuity would be an eye-opener for those who would welcome divine guidance, a solace for the believers, and confounding for the heretics.”
I eagerly awaited my meeting with the Imam to come to him the next morning.
Please see the next article in this series: Wisdom in Nature
1. Tradition of Mufaddal, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (A.S.): Reported by his companion Mufaddal ibn Umar al Jaufi