A WISE YOUNG MUSLIM BOY
by Nadeem Abdul Hamid
years ago, during the time of the Tâbi’în (the generation of Muslims
after the Sahâbah), Baghdâd was a great city of Islam. In fact, it was
the capital of the Islamic Empire and, because of the great number of scholars
who lived there, it was the center of Islamic knowledge. One day, the ruler of
Rome at the time sent an envoy to Baghdâd with three challenges for the
Muslims. When the messenger reached the city, he informed the khalîfah
that he had three questions which he challenged the Muslims to answer.
khalîfah gathered together all the scholars of the city and the Roman
messenger climbed upon a high platform and said, “I have come with three
questions. If you answer them, then I will leave with you a great amount of
wealth which I have brought from the king of Rome.” As for the questions, they
“What was there before Allâh?”
great assembly of people were silent. (Can you think of answers to these
questions?) In the midst of these brilliant scholars and students of Islam was a
man looking on with his young son. “O my dear father! I will answer him and
silence him!” said the youth. So the boy sought the permission of the khalîfah
to give the answers and he was given the permission to do so.
Roman addressed the young Muslim and repeated his first question, “What was
there before Allâh?”
boy asked, “Do you know how to count?”
said the man.
count down from ten!” So the Roman counted down, “ten, nine, eight …”
until he reached “one” and he stopped counting.
what comes before ‘one’?” asked the boy.
is nothing before one- that is it!” said the man.
then, if there obviously is nothing before the arithmetic ‘one’, then how do
you expect that there should be anything before the One who is Absolute Truth,
All-Eternal, Everlasting- the First, the Last, the Manifest, the Hidden?”
the man was surprised by this direct answer which he could not dispute. So he
asked, “Then tell me, in which direction is Allâh facing?”
a candle and light it,” said the boy, “and tell me in which direction the
flame is facing.”
the flame is just light- it spreads in each of the four directions, North,
South, East and West. It does not face any one direction only,” said the man
boy cried, “Then if this physical light spreads in all four directions such
that you cannot tell me which way it faces, then what do you expect of the Nűr-us-Samâwâti-wal-‘Ard:
Allâh- the Light of the Heavens and the Earth!? Light upon Light, Allâh
faces all directions at all times.”
Roman was stupified and astounded that here was a young child answering his
challenges in such a way that he could not argue against the proofs. So, he
desperately wanted to try his final question. But before doing so, the boy said,
You are the one who is asking the questions and I am the one who is giving the
answer to these challenges. It is only fair that you should come down to where I
am standing and that I should go up where you are right now, in order that the
answers may be heard as clearly as the questions.”
seemed reasonable to the Roman, so he came down from where he was standing and
the boy ascended the platform. Then the man repeated his final challenge,
“Tell me, what is Allâh doing at this moment?”
boy proudly answered, “At this moment, when Allâh found upon this high
platform a liar and mocker of Islam, He caused him to descend and brought him
low. And as for the one who believed in the Oneness of Allâh, He raised him up
and established the Truth. Every day He exercises (His universal) power (Surah
55 ar-Rahmân, Verse 29).”
Roman had nothing to say except to leave and return back to his country,
defeated. Meanwhile, this young boy grew up to become one of the most famous
scholars of Islam. Allâh, the Exalted, blessed him with special wisdom and
knowledge of the deen. His name was Abu Hanîfah (rahmatullâh
‘alayhi- Allâh have mercy on him) and he is known today as Imâm-e-A’zam,
the Great Imâm and scholar of Islam. May Allâh shower some of His Mercy in the
same way upon our Muslim children who are growing up today. Âmeen.
[(Adapted into English from Manâqib Abî Hanîfah written by Imâm Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad al-Makki (d. 568 Hijri). Dar al-Kitâb al-‘Arabiy, Beirut, 1981/1401H.]
Published: January 2000?
Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756