(Original post by Tpos)
The Christian and the questions
It is related that a Christian king sent a trustworthy person to Baghdad with a large amount of money. The king set him a task to ask the Muslims three questions and if they are able to answer them correctly then he could leave the money with them.
He arrived at Baghdad and informed the Khaliph of his quest. The Khaliph responded to the challenge by gathering the best Ulama (learned religious people). The Christian climbed the pulpit and addressed them, ‘ if you are able to answer my questions then the money is yours, if not I will return as I came.’ He then proceeded to ask the questions.
‘What came before Allah’
‘ Which direction is Allah’s face’
‘ What is He (Allah) doing now?’
The ulama were dumbstruck. They had no idea on how to begin answering these questions because no one had ever asked them before. Imam Abu Hanifa, who at the time was a child ( 14, 15) was also at the gathering accompanied by his father. He asked his father’s permission to speak but was told to remain quiet. In his eagerness to defend Islam he stood up and asked the permission of the Khliph to answer the questions.
Abu Hanifa (ra) was given permission and asked the Christian. ‘Are you the questioner or the one questioned?’
The Christian replied; ‘The questioner.’
‘Then you should be standing in my place and I sitting in yours.’ Replied Abu Hanifa.
The Christian; ‘What came before Allah?’
Abu Hanifa (ra); ‘ Do you know how to count?’
The Christian; ‘Yes’
The Christian then began to count 1,2,3…..
It was at this point that Abu Hanifa interrupted the Christian.
Abu Hanifa (ra); ‘What comes before 1?’
The Christian; ‘The numbers begin with 1, there is nothing before 1’
Abu Hanifa; ‘If there is nothing before this metaphorical 1 then how can there be anything before the Real 1. As for your second question,
‘In which direction is Allah’s face?’
Abu Hanifa(ra); ‘When you light a candle in front of you, which direction does it face, towards the right, left?’
The Christian; ‘That is light is equal in all four directions’
Abu Hanifa(ra); ‘So if metaphoric light is in all four directions, then the light of the heavens is more worthy in the same line (meaning if someday cannot work out the direction of the face of the candle, which is a creation, then how can we work out the direction of the face of the Creator, as He is limitless)
Imam Abu Hanifa(ra) moved onto the answer the third and final question.
Abu Hanifa (ra); ‘As for your third question, what is Allah doing right now?’
When He found an assimilator like yourself on the pulpit he made him descend and when he found a monotheist like myself standing on the ground, He made him sit on the pulpit.’
It was at this point the humiliated Christian made a quick exit leaving the money behind.