Ibn al-Sikït's Questions
Abu Yusuf Ya'qub b. Ishaq al-Dawraqi, better known as Ibn al-Sikït, was a great scholar in the time of the Imam. He came to Imam al-Reza, peace be on him, and asked him the following questions:
"Why did Allah send Mu`sa` with a white hand, 'Isa` with miraculous medicine, and Mohammed with miraculous speech and oratory?"
The Imam answered him about the reason for these things, saying: "Allah sent Mu`sa` (with the white hand) because sorcery dominated the (minds) of the people of his time, so he brought them from Allah something which they never had, nor could they bring about anything like it, thus rendering their sorcery void and proving his argument against them.
"Allah sent 'Isa` with medicine during a period of time when chronic diseases became widespread, and the people were in dire need of cure, so he ('Isa`) brought them from Allah something which they never had, bring the dead back to life, healing the blind and the leprous with Allah's permission, proving his argument against them.
"Allah sent Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, with speech and oratory during the time when speech and oratory dominated (the minds of) the people. 1 So he (Mohammed) brought them from Allah warnings and precepts through which he could disprove their statements and proved his argument against them."
Ibn al-Sikït admired the Ima`m's knowledge and said: "By Allah, I have never seen anyone like you! What is the argument against people these days, then?"
The Ima`m answered him: "Reason. Through it can you come to know who tells the truth about Allah, so you believe in him, and who tells lies about Allah, so you disbelieve in him."
"This, by Allah, is the (right) answer," declared Ibn al-Sikït.
Allah created reason and made it argument over man. Reason brings about mercy to man when he obeys it, and it brings about unhappiness to him when he disobeys it. Through reason we can distinguish the truthful from the untruthful, the true from the untrue.