Tuesday, 1 May 2012
The Atheist & the Egg
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from al-Kafi; Book 3.
‘Abdullah ad-Disani, an atheist had a dialogue with Shaykh Hisham ibn Hakam (r.a.). ‘Abdullah asked Hisham, “Do you believe in God?” Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) replied in the affirmative.
ad-Disani asked, “Is He Almighty?”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) said, “Yes, He is Almighty and All-Powerful.”
ad-Disani asked, “Can He Put the whole world inside an egg without enlarging the size of the egg or diminishing the volume of the world?”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) could not give an answer and replied, “Give me some time to think over it.”
ad-Disani said, “I give you one whole year”, and left.
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) went to see Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) in a hurry and said, “O Son of the Prophet, ad-Disani has put a challenging question to me and as regards its answer, I cannot rely on anyone except Allah (s.w.t.) or you.”
Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) asked, “What was the question?” Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) related the question of ad-Disani. Imam Ja’far (q.s.) then asked, “O Hisham! How many sense-organs do you have?”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) replied, “Five.”
Imam Ja’far (q.s.) asked, “Which one is the smallest among them?”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) replied, “The pupil of the eye.”
Imam Ja’far (q.s.) further asked, “What is the size of the pupil of the eye?”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) replied, “About the size of a grain of lentil or a part of it.”
Imam Ja’far (q.s.) then asked, “Now look around and tell me what you see.”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) said, “I see the sky, the earth, the houses, the spacious mansions, the mountains and the rivers...”
Imam Ja’far (q.s.) said, “The One Who Can Put all you see inside a grain of lentil or a part of the same can also insert the entire world inside an egg without enlarging the size of the egg or diminishing the size of the world.”
On hearing this, Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) was overjoyed and fell down on his face performing a prostration and kissed the hands, feet and forehead of the Imam (q.s.) and said, “O Son of the Prophet (q.s.), this answer will be sufficient for me.”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) returned to his place. The very next day ad-Disani came to see Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) and said, “O Hisham, I have just come to greet you and have not come for an answer to my question.”
Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) replied confidently, “Even so, here is the answer to your question.” Shaykh Hisham (r.a.) then told him what Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) had said in answer to his question.
ad-Disani then went to see the Imam (q.s.) and requested an audience with him. Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) granted his request. Addressing the Imam (q.s.) ad-Disani requested, “O Ja’far, son of Muhammad! Show me the way to my God.”
Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) asked him his name. ad-Disani left abruptly without answering. His friends asked him, “Why did you not tell your name?”
‘Abdullah ad-Disani replied, “If I had told him my name – ‘Abdullah – he would have said, ‘Who is this One whose servant are you.’” ‘‘Abdullah’ means ‘Servant of Allah.’
His friends said, “Go to see the Imam again and request him to guide you to your God without asking your name.”
ad-Disani went to see the Imam (q.s.) again and said, “O Ja’far, son of Muhammad, guide me to my God but do not ask my name.”
The Imam (q.s.) told him to sit down and relax. ad-Disani did so. Perchance a young boy was playing nearby and had an egg in his hand. Addressing the young boy, the Imam (q.s.) said, “Let me have this egg for a while.” The boy handed over the egg to the Imam (q.s.). Addressing ad-Disani, the Imam (q.s.) said, “This is a protected castle. It has a hard covering and beneath the hard covering there is a fine covering and beneath that fine covering there is liquid gold and molten silver. Neither the molten silver intermingles with the liquid gold nor do the liquid gold merges into the molten silver and both remain as they are. Nothing comes out of it to divulge the secret of its precision and nothing enters in it to control the internal balance. No one knows if the final product will be a male or a female. All of a sudden it splits and results in a peacock like multicolored offspring. Do you not see a Supreme Power behind all this?”
ad-Disani remained engrossed in deep thought and then exclaimed, “I bear witness that there is no god but God and that He is One and has no partners and that Prophet Muhammad is His bondman and His apostle and I also bear witness that you are a divinely ordained imam and the proof of His existence and I hereby disown all my previous misconceptions.”