Imam Taqi (as): Answering Fiqh Questions is Not Easy

Life of Imam Al-Jawad

Mamun al-Rashid son of Harun al-Rashid called the young 9th Imam, Imam Taqi (as) to Baghdad from Medina...

Mamun al-Rashid son of Harun al-Rashid called the young 9th Imam, Imam Taqi (as) to Baghdad from Medina and offered his daughter. This infuriated his family (Abbasid). To prove to them the excellence of Imam Taqi (as) even at a young age of Twelve year, he arranged a meeting between Imam Taqi (as) and the most learned of men at that time - Yahya ibn Aaktham, the Chief Justice of the Abbasid Empire.

It was a grand occasion with some 900 other scholars present. The court was full of people from near and far everyone wanted to see what the outcome would be.

Yahya asked the first question which was: What would be the kaffara of a person in Ihram who hunted and killed his prey?
Imam Taqi (as) answered that he would have to be given a lot more detail before he could even begin to answer the question.

For example:

Was the person in Ihram Baligh or not?
Was the person a free man or a slave?
Did he know the laws of Sharia on hunting or not?
Was his Ihram for Hajj or Umra?
Did he hunt intentionally or not?
Was this the first time or one of many?
Did the person in Ihram hunt inside the Haram of the Holy Kaaba or outside.
Did he hunt in the day or at night?
Was the prey big or small?
Was the prey a bird or an animal?
Was the person repentant or not?

Yahya was shocked and did not know what to say.

Mamun al-Rashid asked Imam Taqi (as) to answer, Yahya's question for all of the above conditions, which Imam Taqi (as) did.

It was then Imam Taqi (as) to ask Yahya a question, which he did and Yahya could not answer; so Imam Taqi (as) again gave the answer.

Mamun al-Rashid's joy knew no bounds. What he had asserted came true. Addressing the audience he said, "Did I not tell you that the people of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet have been gifted by Allah (SWT) with limitless knowledge? None can cope with even the children of this elevated House."

Mamun al-Rashid took the opportunity to offer his daughter Ummul Fazl to Imam Taqi (as). Imam Taqi (as) read his own Nikah (the khutba of which is used today) with the Mehr of 500 dirhams. Imam Taqi (as) wrote a letter to Mamun al-Rashid that he would also give Ummul Fazl Mehr from the wealth of The World to Come (Aakhira). This was in the form of 10 supplications which were for fulfilling any hajaat (desires). Thus his title is Al-Jawad (the generous one).

Moral: To answer a fiqh question is not as easy as you may think; this is why Ulema spend years of their lives learning and researching. And why we have to do Taqlid of a Marja (Just like we take the advice of a doctor, when we are ill, we should take the advice of a Marja in religious affairs).

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