Who Was Imam Muhammad Taqi Al-Jawad? (2)
Mamun got a cushion placed by his side for Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) The seat of Yahya bin Aktham was opposite to that of the Imam (AS). There was pin-drop silence. The entire gathering was all eyes and ears keenly waiting for the discussion to begin. The silence was broken when Yahya asked Mamun: “Your majesty, may I put a query to Abu Jafar regarding an issue?” Mamun told him to seek permission from the Imam (AS) himself.
Yahya now turned to the Imam (AS) and permitted him to ask whatever he wanted and Imam (AS) gave his assent and permitted him to ask whatever he wanted to. The question put by Yahya was: “What is the verdict of the Shariat about a person who hunts after having put on the sacred garment (Ahram) of pilgrimage?” The question shows that Yahya had no idea whatsoever of the extent of knowledge possessed by the Imam (AS).
Blinded by his pride in his own knowledge, he, foolishly, was under the impression that that young child might, at the most, be conversant with the commonly known directions regarding the prayers and fasts but the intricate questions related to Haj and the atonement prescribed for deeds prohibited during pilgrimage while wearing the sacred garment must be beyond his knowledge.
In reply to Yahya's question, the Imam (AS) analyzed the problem from various angles in such a manner that even before he could say anything about the main question, Yahya along with the entire audience had full perception of the depth of his knowledge possessed by him. Not only Yahya himself realized that he was overmatched but the entire gathering also saw his discomfiture. In reply, the Imam (AS) observed: “Your question was incomplete and vague.
It is necessary to know whether the hunted prey was within the precincts of the holy Kaaba (Haram) or outside it, the hunter was cognizant or ignorant of the implications of his deed, whether he killed the prey deliberately or it was killed by mistake, whether he was a free man or a slave, major or minor, he did it for the first time or had also done it in the past, whether the prey was a bird or other animal, whether it was small or big, whether the offender was insistent on what he had done or was repentant for it, whether he did the hunting in the night or clandestinely or in the daylight and publicly, the sacred garment worn by him was for Umrah (unscheduled pilgrimage) or for Haj? As long as the various aspects of the question are not explained no definite answer to it can be given.'
In spite of all the deficiencies that Yahya might have had, he was still somewhat conversant with the various points of Islamic jurisprudence. The Imam's (AS) impressive ramification of the question raised by him convinced him that it would not be easy for him to face him. The signs of despair were writ so large on his face that the audience could not help noticing them. He was now completely worried and did not utter a word in reply.
Mamum, realizing Yahya's condition, thought that it was I of no use to talk to him and, therefore, he himself requested the p Imam (AS) to explain the edicts of Shariat in respect of all the aspects of the matter described by him for the benefit of all of them. The Imam (AS) accordingly described in detail the various edicts with reference to the different aspects of the case. Dumbfounded Yahya just continued to gaze at the Imam (AS) in bewilderment. Mamun also was bent upon carrying the whole affair to its utmost extent. Therefore, he requested the Imam to put some question to Yahya also, as he might consider proper.
By way of courtesy, the Imam (AS) asked Yahva if he could put some questions to him as well. Yahya was no longer under any delusion with regard to himself. He had fully realized his own position with respect to that of the Imam (AS). Consequently, now his mode of addressing the Imam (AS) had altogether changed. He said: “Your venerable self may ask as you may deem proper I shall try to reply if I can, or else I shall find it out from you own self.” The Imam (AS) accordingly put a question to him in reply to which Yahya openly admitted his inability and helplessness. Thereupon the Imam explained the question himself.
Mamun was jubilant and his stand was fully vindicated.. Addressing the gathering he said: “You now witness what I have been saying all along, namely, that this is the household that has been chosen to be the repository of knowledge by the Providence. Nobody can compete even with its children.” The entire gathering was full of fervor and was unanimous in admitting that the opinion held by Mamun was absolutely correct and, further, that Abu Jafar Muhammad Bin Ali (AS) surely had no parallel. Mamun did not brook any delay whatsoever and immediately gave his daughter Ummul Fazl in matrimony to Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS).
The wordings of the oration usually recited before the Nikah in Shiite marriage ceremonies is the same as was read out by Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) on his marriage. It has since been retained to this day by way of reminiscence of the happy event. As a mark of rejoicing on the marriage, Mamun exhibited extreme generosity. Money was distributed in charity in hundreds of thousands among the poor and the indigent. It was also given away lavishly and in abundance in the form of rewards and grants to all of his subjects.
Return Journey to Medina
Imam Muhammad Taqi (AS) stayed in Baghdad for about a year after his marriage. Thereafter, Mamun bid adieu to Ummul Fazl along with the Imam with all preparations and paraphernalia. The Imam (AS) finally returned to Medina.