‘Cock and Bull Story!’

Imam Abu Hanifa’s response to an Atheist

Al-Ahmadiyya, July 1979 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 16)

There used to be an atheist living at the time of Imam Abu Hanifa. The atheist would preach his views that God did not create the world and everything came into being by itself. Some people thought it was a good idea to arrange a public debate between the Imam and the atheist.

The date, time and the place were fixed.

At the appointed time the atheist arrived with his party and a large crowd assembled to hear the debate.  But there was no sign of the Imam. As the time passed by, his followers began to worry. The atheist and his friends seemed very pleased. As more time passed they started saying:

“We knew the Imam dare not come and have a debate with our leader.”

The Muslims became more worried, when suddenly they saw the Imam strolling towards them. At long last he was there.

“What kept you so you long?”

asked the atheist.

“Well,”

said the Imam,

“you know I live far from this place and I have to cross a river on my way. I could not find any boat.”

“What happened then?”

enquired the atheist.

Everybody listened in a great hush.

“I kept on waiting on the other side of the river. I waited and waited,”

said the Imam.

“There was no sign of a boat. I just didn’t know what to do. There were some trees nearby. Suddenly, with a strong gush of wind they fell in the river and split into boards of different sizes and to my amazement they joined them­selves together in the shape of a boat. And that boat by itself moved towards me and stopped. When I stepped inside, it started moving again by itself and brought me to the other bank. And that is why I am so late.”

The atheist laughed and said,

“You want us to believe in that cock and bull story? Are you in your senses, Imam?”

“Yes I am,”

said Imam Abu Hanifa,

“but are you not one who thinks that all this world has come into existence by itself?”

The debate ended.

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