Basra is a big city and the main port of Iraq. It is situated at the mouth of river Euphrates.
There, in a big mosque, people used to assemble to discuss various subjects on Islamic rules and laws. A famous learned priest/clergyman by name Amr Bin Ubeid was once preaching on the subject of Imamate (An Islamic term referring to "leadership" of Imams who followed Prophet Muhammad (saw) in leadership of Islam, according to Shi'a belief). He was surrounded by a big crowd of people who were asking various questions on the subject. Suddenly, a young and intelligent student of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) by name of Hesham, entered the gathering and sat down in the first row. He addressed the priest saying that he was a stranger and would like to ask some questions. On getting the permission to do so, he asked the following:
Hesham: First, Sir! May I please know if you have eyes?
Amr: Young Boy! Is this a question to ask?
Hesham: Whatever it may be, this is my question to which I shall appreciate your answer.
Amr: Alright! You are at liberty to ask, even though it is a foolish question.
Hesham: As I have already asked, Sir, may I please know if you have eyes?
Amr: Yes, I have.
Hesham: For what use are they?
Amr: With eyes, I can see faces of people and color of various things.
According to a verse (2:124) of Holy Quran, Imamate is a station that was granted to prophet Ibrahim al-Khalil (pbuh) after that great test, trial by Kalimat (words). According to traditions that are consecutively narrated (mutawatir) and which both Shi'a and Sunnis have related, this station was also placed in the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Hesham: And you have a nose also?
Amr: Yes. I do have one.
Hesham: What is its function?
Amr: I smell the scent and odor by it.
Hesham: And do you have a mouth?
Amr: Yes I do have.
Hesham: For what use is it?
Amr: I can talk to people or taste food and drink with it.
Hesham: Do you have ears?
Amr: Yes, I have two ears.
Hesham: What is their function?
Amr: I can hear voices by them.
Hesham: And do you have a mind?
Amr: Almighty has bestowed me with that also.
Hesham: What is its use?
Amr: With that I am able to distinguish things whatever is felt by the other senses like hands, eyes, ears, nose, tongue etc. In case of a difference, I am able to solve with its help. In case of a doubt, I can dispel with it and be sure.
Hesham: So, does it mean that despite being sound and healthy, all these organs cannot function independently without the help of the mind.
Amr: No, No! None of the organs can function independently without the help of the mind.
Hesham: Why is it so? After all, the organs are perfect and strong enough to differentiate between things?
Amr: Young Boy! When any organ has some doubt about a thing, which it smells, sees or tastes, it brings the matter to the mind and it is the mind, which confirms the truth and removes the doubt.
Hesham: So, from what you have said, do you want me to understand that God Almighty has created and designed the mind to guide the organs and remove doubts?
Amr: Yes! It is so.
Hesham: So the mind is a necessity, otherwise the organs could not work independently.
Hesham: Please Sir! Proclaim your opinion with fairness and justice on this point also. If the Almighty has not left the organs of man's body without the guidance of the mind, how is it possible that Almighty God could leave millions of His creatures without an IMAM to guide and solve their problems arising out of doubts and conflicts? Should not our common sense accept this fact?
On hearing this logic argument, and having no answer to give, Amr Bin Ubeid kept silent and went into deep thinking.
Hesham was a deeply learned person and one of the closest companions of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) from whom he had obtained his knowledge.
Justifying Evil Acts in the light of Holy Quran and Islamic Teachings
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) had heard that an old man had become famous for his piety. One day, he saw him surrounded by a large crowd. A little later, the man came out of the crowd and distancing himself from them, proceeded alone, whereupon Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) began to follow him. After a short time, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) observed that he had stopped near a bakery from where he stealthily picked up two loaves of bread. After a short distance, he stopped at a fruit store, picking up two pomegranates in the same manner and once again continued on his way.
As he walked further, the old man approached a sick person, handed over the loaves and fruits to him and was about to move on when Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) came up to him and said, "I have witnessed something greatly astonishing from you", and then proceeded to narrate the acts, which he had witnessed.
The old man said, "I suppose you are Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS)."
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) replied in the affirmative.
The man continued, "It is really unfortunate that in spite of being of the progeny of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) You do not seem to know anything."
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) asked, "What act of ignorance have you noticed from me?"
The man said, "But do you not know that God has said in the Holy Quran "Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it and whoever brings an evil deed, he shall be recompensed only with the like of it".
On this basis, since I have stolen two fruits and two loaves of bread, I have four sins in my account, but on the other hand, since I have given it in the way of God, I have earned forty good deeds. Reducing four from forty, I still have thirty-six good deeds in my account; a pity that you possess no knowledge of such computations!"
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) explained to him, "But have you not heard this verse of the Holy Quran, which says: "Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil)". [5:27] You have earned four sins by stealing those four items and four more sins for giving them to someone else without the permission of the owners, so you have collected eight sins but not a single good deed."
Later, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (AS) said to his companions, "With such interpretations and justifications, not only do they mislead themselves, but others as well."
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