Story No. 447 – Imam Hassan Askari (as) and philosopher Ishaq al-Kindi:
Our 11th Imam, Imam Hassan Askari (as) lived a short life of 28 years. In this short life, Imam Hassan Askari (as) had to endure great sufferings at the hands of the Abbasid Caliphs. But in spite of all that suffering and confinement in Samarra, Iraq, many students benefited from his God gifted knowledge and later became scholars in their fields. Imam Hassan Askari (as) discussed with agnostics of that age many times about the existence of God and the reasons for the necessity of the Prophets and Imams and many atheists changed their minds and converted to Islam.
One of those was Ishaq al-Kindi. This man was a great philosopher of Iraq. He collected such verses of Noble Qur’an whose meanings were apparently contradictory, in a book called as “self-contradictions”. He wanted to prove thereby that it was not the word of Almighty Allah (SWT).
When the news reached Imam Hassan Askari (as), he waited for an opportunity to refute him. One day, by chance some of his disciples (students) came to Imam Hassan Askari (as).
Imam Hassan Askari (as) asked them: “Is there anyone among you who can stop Ishaq al-Kindi from wasting his time in this useless effort fighting the Noble Qur’an?” The students said: “Sir, we are his students: how can we object to his teaching?” Imam Hassan Askari (as) urged that they could at least convey to their teacher what he had to tell them. They replied that they would be ready to cooperate as much as they could in that respect.
Imam Hassan Askari (as) then recited a few verses from the Noble Qur’an, which the philosopher Ishaq al-Kindi thought as contradictory of one another. Imam Hassan Askari (as) then explained to them thus: “Your teacher thinks that some of the words in these verses have only one meaning. But according to the Arabic language, these words have other meanings too which, when taken into consideration, indicate no contradiction in the overall meaning. Thus, your teacher is not justified for basing his objections and claim of contradictions on the premises of the ‘wrong meaning’ he himself selects such verses”. Imam Hassan Askari (as) then put up some examples of such words before them so clearly that the students conceived the whole discussion and the precedents of more than one meaning.
When these students visited Ishaq al-Kindi and after routine talk, reproduced the disputed points, he was surprised. He was a fair-minded scholar and he listened to his students’ explanations. Then he said: “What you have argued is beyond your capacity: tell me truly who has taught you these points?” The students said that it was their own reflection, but when he insisted that they could never have conceived those points, they admitted that, it was explained to them by Abu Muhammad Imam Hassan Askari (as). The teacher said: “Yes: this level of knowledge is the heritage of that House and only that House Ahlul Bayt (as)”. Then he asked the students to set fire to all such works of his.
Ishaq al-Kindi was not alone in benefiting from Imam Hassan Askari (as). Several high-ranking scholars benefited from his ocean of knowledge. There were a host of others who later developed into leading scientists, jurisprudents, exegetes, theologians and masters of different fields when they came into contact with Imam Hassan Askari (as).