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Unes Ebn Ya'qoob said: "I was in Imam Saadeq's(Peace Be Upon Him) presence, when a man from Shaam (in Syria) arrived."

He said to the Imam (PBUH): "I am knowledgeable about Kalaam (systematic theology), religious Jurisprudence and religious duties. I'm here to debate with your companions."

"Are your words from the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon him& His Progeny) or from yourself?" Imam Saadeq (PBUH) asked.

"It's from both the Prophet and I." said the man.

The Imam (PBUH): "So you're the Prophet's (PBUH&HP) partner!"

The man: "No."

The Imam (PBUH): "Have you received any Revelations (Communications) from Allah, the Glorified?"

The man: "No."

The Imam (PBUH): "In the same manner that you obligate yourself to obey the Prophet (PBUH&HP), do you also obligate yourself to obey yourself too?"

"No." the man replied.

The Imam (PBUH) turned to me and said: "Unes Ebn Ya'qoob! This man has already condemned himself before the start of the debate!"

Then the Imam (PBUH) said: "O' Unes! if you knew how, you could have debated with him."

"I am sorry, alas!" I said "But I have heard that you've forbidden Kalaam; and that you've said, 'Woe on to the adherents to Kalaam who say: … This is right, and that is wrong! This will not be! We understand this, and we don't understand that ...'"

"Woe on to those who leave my words and go after their desires." Said the Imam (PBUH). [i.e. those who consider some reasoning and logics -which are different from that of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and his Allah-Chosen AhlulBayt (PBUT), being the top creations of the All-Knowing Allah whose obedience has been commanded by Allah- above their (PBUT) teachings and therefore, accept or reject matters based upon such logic; those people are only following their desires and not Allah's wishes! Qur'an 28:50 "… And they only follow their desires; and who is more erring than he who follows his desires without any guidance from Allah? Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."; Qur'an 45:23 "Have you then considered him who takes his desire for his god … ."]

Then the Imam (PBUH) told me: "Go out and invite all Experts in theology whom you can find."

I invited Hamraan Ebn A'yan, Ahwal, and Heshaam Ebn Saalem who knew Kalaam very well. And also Qais Ebn Maaser whom I thought was the best; he had learned theology from Imam Ali son of Hossain (Peace Be Upon Them). We all went to the Imam's tent which stood near the mountain close to the Ka'bah, where he was staying for a few days before the Hajj ceremonies.

Then the Imam (PBUH) saw a Camel rushing towards us, "Swear by the Lord of Ka'bah, that is Heshaam." The Imam (PBUH) said.

We thought that the Imam (PBUH) meant Heshaam son of Aqeel whom the Imam liked a lot. But he was Heshaam son of Hakam who was at the beginning of his youth. We were all older than him. The Imam (PBUH) made room for him and said: "Heshaam is our (the AhlulBayt's) helper with his heart, tongue and hands."

"O' Hamraan! Start debating with the man." The Imam (PBUH) requested. … Hamraan achieved victory.

"Ahwal Taaqi! you start now." Said the Imam (PBUH). … Ahwal also achieved victory.

"O' Heshaam Ebn Saalem! Now you start debating." The Imam (PBUH) continued. ... But neither achieved victory over the other.

Then the Imam (PBUH) asked Qais Maaser to enter the debate. … The Imam had a smile on his face. The man was caught.

"Now start to discuss with this young man, Heshaam Ebn Hakam." The Imam (PBUH) said to the man.

"I'm ready." The man said, and while pointing to the Imam, he continued: "Talk to me about this person's Imamat."

Heshaam got so angry (because of the Man's rudeness towards the Imam -PBUH-) in a way that he was shaking.

Heshaam turned to the man and said: "Is your Lord Allah more benevolent and caring, to His created beings, or the creations to themselves?"

"Of course my Lord is more benevolent." said the man.

Heshaam: "What has He (Allah) done for the people in His Benevolence?"

The man: "He appointed a Hojjat (Proof), so that they wouldn't disperse and care for each other; and to resolve their differences, and to teach them the laws of Allah."

Heshaam: "Who is he?"

The Man: "Mohammad the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him."

Heshaam: "And after the Messenger (PBUH&HP)?"

The man: "The Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah (doings and sayings) of the Prophet."

"Are Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah enough today for settlement of disagreements?" Heshaam asked.

The man: "Yes."

"Then why do you and we, have disagreements, and you have come all the way from Shaam to debate us?" asked Heshaam.

The man said nothing. "Why aren't you saying something?" Imam Saadeq (PBUH) questioned the man.

The man: "If I say that we have no differences, I am not saying the truth; and if I say that today Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet are enough to resolve our disagreements, I'm definitely wrong, because our understanding and interpretations of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet are quite different; and if in spite of our discrepancies, both of us claim that we are right, then that means Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet have not been able to settle our arguments! But this type of reasoning is not in my favor and against Heshaam! But I can ask the same question from Heshaam."

The Imam (PBUH) said: "Ask Heshaam, and you'll discover his overflowing knowledge."

"Who is more benevolent to the creations, their Creator or themselves?" The man asked Heshaam.

Heshaam: "Certainly Allah is more benevolent."

The man: "Has Allah selected any person to unite people, and to change their irregularities to regularities , and to explain the Truth and falsehood for them?"

Heshaam: "During our Prophet's (PBUH&HP) life time, or now?"

The man: "During our Prophet's time, that person certainly was the Prophet himself, but who is that person now?"

Heshaam: "This great man who is sitting here (pointing to Imam Saadeq -PBUH-). In order to gain knowledge about the Heavens and the Earth, people come from all over the world to see him, he who has inherited the Knowledge from his fathers."

The man: "How could I be sure?"

Heshaam: "Ask him whatever you wish."

The man: "You left me no excuse. I shall ask."

The Imam -PBUH- [with his Allah-Bestowed Knowledge] read the man's mind and knew what he wanted to ask. "Now I answer what you have not asked but wish to ask." The Imam said to the man.

Then the Imam (PBUH) expressed all the details of the man's trip from Shaam to there.

The man said with excitement and enthusiasm: "Yes yes you are right. That is it. Swear by Allah I embrace Islam."

"No, instead, say that now you have Eemaan (Belief)!1 [because the man had already accepted Islam] Accepting is before believing. With acceptance of Islam, people inherit from and Marry each other and … [follow the rules of the Religion], but with Eemaan (True Belief) they will receive Spiritual and Eternal rewards." The Imam continued "you believed in Allah and the Messenger before, but you were a Moslem who didn't have Spiritual and Eternal rewards for your worshipping, but now that you have accepted my leadership of Islam [i.e. the recognition of the Imamat (Divinely Ordained Leadership) of the 'Imam of the time' 2] Allah will give you rewards for your worships."

The man: "You have said the absolute Truth, I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah; I bear witness that you are his Allah-Chosen Successor."

Imam Saadeq (PBUH) turned to Hamraan and said: "You follow Ahaadith; you speak relevantly; you reach the Truth."

Then Imam (PBUH) turned to Heshaam Ebn Saalem and said: "You look for Hadith; you want to speak the Truth; but you can't recognize it."

Imam (PBUH) told Ahwal: "You syllogize too much, therefore you go out of the discussion; you refute false with another false, thus the false is emphasized more."

After that, Imam (PBUH) said to Qais: "You try to speak in a way to get closer to the Prophet's Ahaadith but you tend to get further; you mix the Truth with falsehood; while a little of the Truth is more effective than a lot of falsehood." The Imam continued: "Ahwal and you jump from one subject to another, while you are well skilled."

I thought for sure that the Imam will tell Heshaam as he told them, but he said: "You do not fall on your feet; rather you fly before you reach the ground. (as soon as you feel that you are being defeated, you save yourself quickly.) A person like you should talk to people and show them the right way. Keep yourself from committing any offence, and then, Allah-Willing, our Intercession will follow."


1- Qur'an 49:14 "The A'raab say: we have Believed (have Eemaan, True Faith and Belief); say: you do not have Eemaan and rather say that you have Islam, and the Eemaan has not yet entered your hearts; and if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish aught of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

Qur'an 4:65 "But no! by your Lord! they have not Believed (do not have Eemaan) until they make you (the Prophet) a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any straits whatsoever in their hearts and souls as to what you have decreed, and submit with absolute submission."

Hadn't the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) from the Yawm-O-Ddaar to Ghadir and … -based on Qur'an and Allah's Command- repeatedly ordained the obedience of the AhlulBayt (PBUT)?

2- The Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) -in which he (PBUH&HP) has clearly declared that any one dying without recognizing, obeying, pledging his allegiance, … to the Imam of his time, has actually died a death of Jaaheliyat (pre-Islam Ignorance)- not only has been narrated in the most authentic Shi'ah documents, but also in many Sunni sources such as: Mosnad Ahmad Hanbal, Mosnad Abu Daawood. Tabaqaat Kobra of Mohammad Sa'd, Al Me'yaar wal Mowaazenah of Abu Ja'far Eskaafi, … .

O' the Exalted and Glorified above all Glorifications! O' Allah! We implore You with all our existence, to bestow upon us the celestial opportunities to submit our hearts, tongues and hands in the Path of the 'Imam of our time', Your beloved Mahdi -whose Path is Your Specified and Ordained Path- before, during and after his Ever-Anticipated Appearance … .