The following are some questions, which Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Rida (AS) was asked by different people and his answers to them.
Q. Is man helpless in his actions that Allah compels him to do whatever He wants?
A. Allah is Just. How is it possible that He should compel one to do something and then punish him for it?
Q. Is man completely free in his actions?
A. How is it possible that Allah should create the people and remove His law from over them completely, leaving all their affairs to them? Neither has Allah made the people absolutely helpless nor gave them free will. Rather it is an affair between the two (extremes).
Q.What does this tradition mean, 'The reward of saying: LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH (There is no god but Allah) is equal to that of looking at the face of Allah? Does the Almighty have a face or a shape?
A. It is infidelity to attribute shape or face to Allah. The faces of Allah are in fact His prophets and their legatees through whom ones attention is guided to Allah. That is why they are the face of Allah. Looking at their faces carries great rewards and to remain deprived of their visitation (Ziyaaraat) causes loss.
Q. What does this tradition mean that the believers in Paradise would sit in their homes and continue to see their Lord?
A. The Almighty has bestowed superiority to Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (p.b.u.h) over all the prophets. He ordained his obedience as His obedience, his allegiance as His allegiance and his visitation as His visitation. Thus he (p.b.u.h) said, 'One who visited me in my lifetime or after I pass away, he has (as though) visited Allah. Thus the tradition means that the believers in Paradise would be seeing the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h).
Q. Are the Paradise and Hell already created?
A. Indeed they are already created. Those who say that they are not created are not from us. Rather they deny us and are the deniers of our Wilayah (Mastership)…the Almighty Allah says: 'This is that very Hell that the people used to deny, the inmates of Hell will go about in it in boiling water'.
Q. Why are men allowed four wives and women are prohibited more than one husband?
A. If a woman has more than one husband it would not be determined whose seed it was and in such circumstances it would be impossible to prove the paternity of the child. But in case of multiple wives, this danger is absent. In addition to this, men are allowed four wives because in comparison to men, the population and births of females is much more than that of males.
Q. Why is fornication made unlawful?
A. Because the lineage is broken. The inheritance goes away. The woman does not know by whom she has become pregnant and neither the child knows who its father is.
* Abstracted from Akhlaaq al-Aimma (AS) by Maulana Sayyid Zafar Hasan Amrohi