How to debate! Explicit guidelines by Imam Ahmed Alhasan as

Imam Ahmed Alhasan a.s said:

(I wanted to advise you regarding the debates or dialogues with the ones who oppose us, please I ask you to not reject them; because through that we make the Da’wa reach the maximum possible number [of people]. And please I ask you to deal with the people and with your guests with good manners, especially with those who come to you and speak with good manners even if they were Wahabis, for you do not know perhaps Allah will do something later, how would you know for whom Allah has written guidance and for whom He has written misguidance.

Also, please I ask you to organize the debates and prepare for them, specify the topics of discussion, then prepare for them completely, and prepare your sources and your Hadiths which you would need with their sources)

[The Ansari author then says:] Then I asked him regarding the first debates that were suggested between the Ansar of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s) and the Wahabis, so he (a.s) said:

(It is better that the first debate be about the Successorship of Allah in His Land, and you pose by it the Law of knowing the Hujjah (the Proof of Allah). And there are two evidences/proofs:

Firstly: Rational Evidence
And that is that He (swt) is the Absolute Wise and He never goes against Wisdom, thus, He must appoint the most knowledgeable one and command [people] to follow him. Then give the example of a ship or a factory [1]____________________________________________________
[1] Revise the law of knowing the Hujjah (the law of knowing the proof of Allah) and you shall find in it the example of the factory and the ship.
**Please look at the very bottom of this page to find this example of the ship and factory mentioned by the Imam a.s
Secondly:
The verses about the First Caliph (First Successor) [Adam a.s]

And before the debate starts they must give you time to explain the Da’wa even if [just a] general . And you have to focus on the Will of the Messenger (sawas), and the proof from Qur’an [Surat Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) verse 180] [2] that He must have left a will, because they are Sunnis and not Shia, so they will not accept any narrations from the book of the Shia. But if the Will is the only narration that proves that the Messenger of Allah Muhamamd (sawas) did not go against the Muhkam (clear/precise verses) of the Qur’an then they will have to accept it(the will). Because denying it would be saying that the Messenger of Allah (sawas) went against the Qur’an, and far away is he from that.
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[2]And this is Allah’s The Exalted saying: {Prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he leaves a will [is that he should make] a bequest for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable – a duty upon the God-Fearing} [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:180]

They will say to you the following: that they went out [away from the prophet] and that he commanded them that they should do such and such, such as “Take out the polytheists” [3] , so you get the text from the Sunni books, you shall find that he (sawas) also commanded them of three things before they went out, but they count [only] two and the narrator says that he forgot the third one, and [the third one] is the Wilayah of Ali (a.s) and his Successorship to the Messenger of Allah (sawas). So when they refused a book/a writing which their guidance exists in it until the Day of Resurrection he (sawas) commanded them verbally of that which has their guidance after him immediately.
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[3] Bihar Al-Anwar: volume 30 page 530. Sahih Bukhari volume 4, page 31. And this is the text of the Hadith according to Al-Bukhari: (Ibn Ayneyya said to us, that Suleiman Al-Ahwal said that Sa’id ibn Jubayr said, that Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with both of them said:
Ibn Abbas said: (“Thursday! And how tragic that Thursday was!” Then he cried [so hard], then he said: “The pain of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him became severe, so he said: Come to me and I shall write you a book (a writing) after which you will never go astray” So they fought, and it is not permissible to fight at [the presence] of a prophet. So they said: “what is the matter with him? Is he talking no sense (delirious), question him” So they started responding to him. So he said: “Leave me alone, for that which I am in is better than that which you are calling me towards” And he commanded them of three [matters] and said: “Take out the polytheists from the Arab Peninsula, show respect to all foreign delegates in the same way that I used to” and I forgot what the third [command] was)
Anyway, indeed the will is obligatory, and [so is] having witnesses upon it so that the rights do not get lost. So when some of them rejected it, indeed the Messenger of Allah (sawas) wrote it for those who would accept it other than them. And the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) have transferred it from Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) to Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s), and it has been documented in the books of the Shia [4]
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[4] Revise: Ghaybat Al-Toosi page 150 and page 111. Mukhtasar Basa’ir Al-Darajat:159. Bihar Al-Anwar volume 36 page 261
Anyway, please I ask you to exhaust yourself so much and to not go to them with your hands empty of evidences/proofs. Look into everything and prepare the Hadiths (the narrations/traditions) and their sources. Look into the narrations of the Sunnis, especially that you have probably wasted what passed from your life in researching things that do not do any good. Now atone for that by revising the narrations and the proofs from the books of the Sunni and Shia.

I hope that each one who participate in a debate with Sunnis would be aware of and look into their books and what their books include. Always pay attention that during debates, the one who is debating you would try to escape if he was cornered in a certain matter, so you always focus on every point until it gets discussed completely, and if he wanted to move [to another point] then say to him and declare infront of everyone: that point has been counted in our interest and the proof has been set upon him, and his escape and his movement to another point does not free him from being bound to what we have made him bound to and to the proof that we have set upon him.

Don’t make your target to win the debate [only], rather, make your target to clarify the truth for the people. So put a plan for clarifying the truth for the people in the best ways possible. And put into your consideration whom are you addressing, so if they were Sunnis then the way of addressing them would be different; because they do not bind to what is in the book of Shia for example. And if you have any question then I am at your service.

Also: during debating them focus on the example of the rebuttal of the confusion about the posed proof.
For example, say to them: “Here it is, the proof from your books, that Umar attacked the house of Al-Zahraa’ (a.s) and burned the door of her house” They would say to you: “How is that possible?! And where is the bravery of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, and how did he accept that Al-Zahraa’ (a.s) be hit and break her rib?!”

So focus here, what did they do?
First of all: They did not reject the proof with another proof that would invalidate it, thus, they have confirmed the proof and admitted the matter in the beginning; because they brought forth a confusion regarding it but they did not invalidate it by an opposing proof. Meaning, if they had a proof that would invalidate [your proof] they would have mentioned it. But since they did not pose another proof that would invalidate [your proof] then they became bound to [your] proof and they admitted it, while they are in the stage of lifting the confusions from the proof by posing confusions about it.

Focus here, by doing that you will embarrass them; because the fact that they pose the confusion means that they admit the proof, and the fact that they pose the confusion means that they do not have a proof to invalidate [yours], the fact that they pose the confusion means that they are in the stage of clarifying the proof and lifting confusions from it.

Secondly, what I have mentioned to you is invalidating the confusion by an example, because most people understand the example, and the example is the closest thing to them; because comparison is easy for them, so this confusion is invalidated by this example of Summayyah the mother of Ammar. So if the confusion [that they posed] is applied to Ali (a.s) then this confusion must be applied to the Messenger of Allah (sawas) [as well]. And as it is well known, Summayyah was killed and she is from among the people of Paradise as it is well known too. And the Messenger of Allah have testified for her [5]. And according to the Messenger of Allah (sawas) there is no difference between his wife and daughter or any other Muslim woman; because he is the father of the nation and everyone with him and between his hands are equal.
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[5] For the Messenger (sawas) said: (Be Patient O family of Yassir for yout place is Paradise) – Bihar Al-Anwar volume 18 page 210. Kinz Al-Umal volume 11 page 728

 
As for [the way of] invalidating the conusion about the Messenger of Allah (sawas) and Ali (a.s) [it is by saying that] they are servants who work by the command of Allah, and they are not like the general people who triumph for themselves/stand up for themselves.

Another example: Asya the wife of Pharaoh, isn’t she from the best women of Paradise? [6]So why did Moses (a.s) leave Pharaoh and his soldiers torture her…etc
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[6] The Prophet (sawas) said: “The best women of the people of Paradise are four: Mariam (Mary) daughter of Imran, Fatima daughter of Muhammad, Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, and Asya daughter of Muzahim the wife of Pharaoh”– Kashf Al-Ghummah volume 2 page 77

 
What is important is that the picture has been delivered generally. The one who got bound by the evidence/proof always tries to escape in order to create a confusion about the proof/evidence [that you provided]

For example, I found someone who says: If the sun was Muhammad [7], then how does Abraham say that he does not like those who set, does this mean that he does not like Muhamamd (sawas)?
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[7] The interpretation that the sun means the Messenger of Allah (sawas) has been narrated many times in the traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s). From those traditions: Abu Baseer narrated from Abu Abdullah (a.s): He said: I asked him (a.s) about the words of Allah: {By the sun and its brightness}, so he (a.s) said: “The sun is the Messenger of Allah (sawas), through him Allah has made His religion bright/clear to the people[/color]” I said: {and the moon when it follows it}. He said: “That is the Prince of the Believers (a.s)……)” – Bihar Al-Anwar volume 24 page 70.
And Ibn Abbas said: The Messenger of Allah (sawas) said: “The example of me among you is the example of the sun, and the example of Ali is the example of the moon. So if the sun is absent be guided by the moon”– Bihar Al-Anwar volume 24 page 76

 
And that is the most ugly thing that I have heard, for he interpreted the sun to mean this sun. So if he directs the same question to himself, and according to his own interpretation, then how does Abraham (a.s) say that he does not like the sun?! What is the guilt of the sun?! And what evil does the sun have in order for Abraham (a.s) to not like it?!!

So if he had directed the question to himself he would have answered himself; that he (Abraham a.s) does not like that the sun be an Absolute Lord and an Absolute God, because he (a.s) before he said “I do not like” he said: “This is my Lord”. So what Abraham (a.s) does not like is not that which is being pointed towards, rather [what he a.s does not like] is what he considered it to be, meaning that [he does not like that] this is an Absolute Lord.

But they have been blinded by envy so much so that they ended up almost not being able to use their minds, so they ended up creating confusions regarding matters that their answers are clear if they return them back to themselves.

Also make your target the Shia and not only Sunnis; because a lot of the Shia will hear the debate. So please I ask you to be fully prepared in the debate. First establish/confirm the law, the law of knowing the Hujjah (the Proof of Allah) and make them bind to it, and the Will (along with the judgment of the Qur’an and that there exists no other will except this one and that the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) have carried it from their father the Messenger of Allah sawas)

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The example of the Ship and the Factory:

Imam Ahmed Alhasan a.s said:

“This is the final speech regarding the clarification of the right of Ali (a.s) and the Imams and Mahdis from his sons (a.s) and it is in extreme summary:

If a man owns a ship or a factory or any place where there are people working, is not he supposed to appoint a captain for the ship or a manager for the factory or a commander for those people, if he did not do so, and the ship sank or the factory was destroyed or any damage occurred, then would not that be an act of foolishness and lack of wisdom? Or if he appointed someone but not the most knowledgeable or capable one for the position, and then there was shortage in the productivity of the factory or anything urgent occurred which caused the sinking of the ship because of his ignorance about the law of how to run a factory or how to handle an emergency, then would not that be an act of foolishness and lack of wisdom? Is not it necessary and wise to choose the most knowledgeable or to provide the chosen one with knowledge needed in order that he can be the most efficient and capable one to command the ship and get it to the shore safely and to achieve the best results for the factory?
And if we assume that this person appointed someone for the ship or for the factory and that appointed person was the most knowledgeable and capable for such position, but the owner did not command those workers to obey the appointed one, and everyone acted upon his own desires, since they were not commanded to obey that leader, and then a damage was done because that leader did not command people, would not that be foolishness and lack of wisdom?! And what is the point of appointing the most knowledgeable and capable one if at the end people were not ordered to obey him?!

I do not think any sane person would say something else apart from the following:“A leader must be appointed and he must possess or be provided with all the knowledge he needs and people must be commanded to obey him”

And this is mentioned in the Qur’an, for with the first caliph of Allah on earth this law was put, and it is the law of how to recognize Allah’s caliph and Hujja over his servants, it is the law to recognize Allah, because by recognizing Allah’s Hujja, Allah is known, so the appointing of the Imam and leader and Allah’s caliph is in the verse 30 Chapter 2, which says:

{When your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a Caliph (Successor) on earth.” They said “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.}

And the fact that this caliph is the most knowledgeable is in the verse 31 from the same Chapter, which says:

{And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”}

And the command to obey that caliph is in the verse 29 from Chapter 15, which says:

{When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down to him in prostration”}

Also whoever refers to the Torah and the Gospels will find many provisions which match exactly with the Qur’anic verse about the statement that the law to recognize Allah’s caliph or the law to recognize Allah is those three things I indicated. So who is the executor of the Prophet (sawas) and who is the most knowledgeable after the Prophet of Allah and who was the one that the Prophet of Allah commanded the people by Allah’s command to obey? There must be a person, who possesses those three things, otherwise whoever says there is not, is accusing Allah of lack of Wisdom. I ask, who? And I leave the answer to those I ask, hoping that people do justice to themselves by giving the right answer”– Excerpt from The Sermon Of Friday by Imam Ahmed Alhssan (a.s)

From the book With The Righteous Servant – Part 1

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