Debate with Yahya bin Aksam

Mamoon had heard a lot about Imam Mohammad Taqi’s(a.s) excellence. The information was testified after First meeting with Ma’moon(accursed). Thus as soon as he came to the court, he declared that he was going to give his daughter, Ummul Fadhl to him in marriage. A wave of anger and sorrow passed through the Abbasides that before this he had made Imam Ali Reza (a.s) as his son-in-law and again the mistake was being repeated. People objected against the decision in restrained manner; that even if he has decided the matter, he should arrange for the education and training of the boy and after that he should perform the marriage, otherwise it would create a scandal that the king married his daughter to a young uneducated boy and it would prove to be very shameful to the regime.

Mamun said: I cannot reverse my decision and this boy is not uneducated. His name is Muhammad and he is more knowledgeable than your scholars. If you don’t believe it, test
him now, and you will realize his knowledge and excellence.
People thought it was a good opportunity to defame the Hashemites; so they called Yahya bin Aksam who the most learned of the scholars and the Chief Qadi of that time, to debate with Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s) and to make his academic position public. As soon as Yahya arrived, he asked permission to pose a question and inquired about the most difficult topic of penalties (Kaffarah); that what is the penalty of one who hunts in the Ihram? Imam (a.s.) replied: Your question is incomplete; you should first complete the question and only then it would be answered. He asked: What is the deficiency in the question? He replied: There are 22 possibilities in this matter:
1- Whether the hunt took place inside the sanctuary or outside?
2- Was the hunter aware of the law or not?
3- Whether he did it intentionally or it was by mistake?
4- Whether the hunter was a free man or a slave?
5- Whether the hunter was mature or immature?
6- Did he hunt the first time or he had done it before also?
7- Whether he hunted a bird or some other creature?
8- Whether the hunted animal was small or big?
9- Whether the hunter regretted his act or he was adamant on
10- Whether the hunt was performed at night or during the
11- Whether the hunter was wearing Ihram for Hajj or Umrah?
Which of the possibilities have you asked about?
Yahya was bewildered and Mamun expressed the desire to recite the sermon of marriage. Imam (a.s) recited the sermon and he was married to Ummul Fadhl. All those who attended the ceremony were presented gifts from the regime and the gathering had almost dispersed when Mamun asked the Imam to reply to those questions as well for public benefit. Imam (a.s) said:
A) If he hunted outside the sanctuary wearing Ihram, and the hunt is a bird and it is large as well, the penalty is one goat.
B) If the same is done within the limits of the sanctuary, the penalty is two goats.
C) If the bird was small, the penalty is a young one of a ram who has been weaned.
D) If this took place in the sanctuary, he should pay the cost of the bird and also one sheep.
E) If the hunt is a quadruped; if it is a wild ass, the penalty is a cow and if it is an ostrich, the penalty is a camel. If it is a deer, the penalty is a goat.
F) If the same hunt is done inside the sanctuary, the penalty is double.
G) If the Ihram is Umrah the penalties would have to be taken to the Kaaba and the slaughter will be done in Mecca and if the Ihram is of Hajj the slaughter would be done in Mina.
H) There is no difference whether the person is aware of the unlawfulness or not – all have to pay the penalty.
I) If it is done intentionally, in addition to penalty one would also be committing a sin; and if it is done unintentionally there is no sin in it.
J) The penalty of the free person will be payable by himself and the penalty of the slave would have to be paid by the master as the slave is also considered a property of the master.
K) The penalty is applicable to one who is mature and the immature do not have to pay any penalty.
L) One who regrets the act will be saved from the punishment of the hereafter and one who is blatant will have to face that chastisement as well.
After that Mamun said to Yahya: Your questions have been answered; now Abu Ja’far will ask you a question and you will have to reply. Yahya who was unable to give the details of his own question; how he could have replied to Imam’s question? But he was compelled to accept under royal pressure and Imam (a.s) asked: Who is that woman, who was unlawful on man in the morning and then she became lawful; again she became unlawful at the time of Noon and then again she became lawful at the time of Asr; then at the time of Maghrib she became unlawful and became lawful at Isha; she again became unlawful at midnight and again became lawful in the morning?
Yahya was baffled at this question and compelled to confess his helplessness. At last he asked the Imam to reply. Imam (a.s) said: She was a slave girl who was unlawful for all, except the master. Then he bought her and she became lawful for him; then he emancipated her and she became unlawful the second time; then he married her and she became lawful; after that when he recited the formula of Zihar and declared her to be like his mother, she again became unlawful for him; then he gave penalty (Kaffarah) and she became lawful once more. Then he gave her divorce and she became unlawful; when he took her back, she became lawful for him.In this way the same woman became lawful for a man four times and unlawful four times. And it is not a puzzle; it is a clear problem of Islamic law and it requires mastery on the subject, the glory which Almighty Allah has bestowed only on the family of prophethood.


Sawaiqul Mohriqa, Pg. 122;

 Nurul Absar, Pg. 142; 

Sharh Irshad,Pg. 176; 

Rawaihul Mustafa, Pg. 191; 

Tarikh Aaimma, Pg. 485;
Sawaneh Muhammad Taqi (a.s.), Pg. 6; Muntahiul Aamaal


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