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Read The Story – Abu Hanifah ra (Find Suitable Word Meanings in The Vocabulary List)

There once was a time when great scholars of Islam were held in high esteem in the hearts and minds of men. Even powerful kings and rulers were humbled in their presence. These were men who were blessed by Allah with magnificent intelligence and piety. They spent their lives serving the religion of Allah and guiding mankind.

One of the greatest of these wonderful men was Nu’man bin Thabit. Because of his piety and goodness, wherever he went people would call out, “Here comes Abu Hanifah, the Father of Righteousness and True Religion.” And so Nu’man came to be known as Abu Hanifah.

Abu Hanifah’s [rh] knowledge of Islam was so great that people from all over the world would come to learn at his feet. Even the mightiest Khalifs chose to follow his teachings and the great Muslim empires of the past were ruled as Abu Hanifah [rh] instructed. Today most Muslims of the world call themselves Hanafi  because of their pride and joy that their great-great grandparents were taught by the famous Abu Hanifah [rh], Nu’man bin Thabit.

Now, once, during the time of Imam Abu Hanifah [r], there lived a boatman who did not believe in Allah. In fact he did not believe in any god whatsoever. He was an athiest. The boatman had heard of the great Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] and thought it a good idea to question him about the existence of Allah.

“If Abu Hanifah can give me no good answer, and if he fails in proving to me that Allah exists, then I will win many Muslims over to my godless way,” he thought to himself. “Everyone will see how right I am and how wrong these foolish Muslims are in believing in something they cannot see. That will be a great achievement, I reckon.”

And so he went searching for the Imam. It was not difficult at all as the great Imam would often teach in the grand masjid of the city.

As the boatman entered he called out in a bold voice, “O Abu Hanifah! I challenge you to a debate. I will prove to all that the god you call Allah does not exist.”

“I gladly accept the challenge.” replied Imam Abu Hanifah [rh]. “When and where do you wish to have this debate, dear sir?”

Now how do you think you would respond to such a challenge? How would you prove that Allah does indeed exist?

Anyway, the day, date and time were fixed. All the people of the town were invited to attend too.

At long last the day of the great debate came and hundreds of people gathered to hear Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] debate the boatman who claimed that there was no god and creator of the universe. Among the crowd were pious Muslims, Christians and Jews too. But there were also hypocrites, enemies of Islam who only pretended to be Muslim but who, in reality, also did not believe in Allah. They were hoping that the Imam would be defeated in the debate and that the Muslims be disgraced.

The boatman arrived on time and excitement filled the air. But where was Imam Abu Hanifah [rh]? It was not like him to be late. The minutes passed by and slowly the minutes turned to hours. Everyone was very anxious. Could it be that the great Imam could not meet the challenge? Could it be that the boatman was right? Could it be that there was no god and creator of the universe? Did the great Imam come to realize this and was he now too afraid to admit it?

“There he is!” someone shouted from the back. “The Imam has arrived at last.”

Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] came walking briskly down the path. He seemed to be somewhat out of breath. “What could have happened?” the people wondered. It was very late indeed and the boatman too demanded to know why he kept them waiting.

“Why are you so late?” the boatman shouted out, somewhat annoyed. “You will not believe what just happened to me,” Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] replied, “While on my way I passed through the dense forests between my village and the city and there I witnessed a very strange thing. Now, as you all know, a deep river passes through the forest and there was no way I could get across as all the boats had already departed.”

“As I sat there leaning against this gigantic tree wondering what to do next, I heard this rumbling sound coming from the tree. I stood back and all of a sudden the tree fell over onto its side. The branches simply fell off leaving the strong bark. It was amazing because what happened next, you simply will not believe. All by itself, the tree began to split into perfectly sized planks. But that’s not all! The planks came together, all of their own, to form a perfectly constructed boat. It was incredible!”

“The boat then moved, by itself I tell you, along the ground and into the river. I jumped into it. I must admit, I was worried because the river was flowing very rapidly. The water was tumbling and crashing all around, but the boat navigated the rough waters all by itself, like an expert boatsman. I was brought safely to the other bank of the river. But what is even more amazing is that the boat continued to take men across the river from one shore to the other, all by itself. I stood there in amazement watching this wonderful spectacle and that is why I am so late. Now do you believe me?”

There was dead silence. “Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!” the boatman burst into laughter. “Haa! Haa! Hee! Hee! Haw! Haw! Haaaaa!” the boatman simply could not control himself.

“I would never have thought that a great man of knowledge, such as yourself, could speak such utter nonsense.” the boatman said. “In fact, it is a blatant lie. How can a tree turn into planks; the planks then turn into a boat; and the boat then carry passengers across a dangerous river all by itself. It is simply impossible. There must have been someone doing all of this. Perhaps you were unable to see who it was, but it could not have happened all by itself.”

Everyone was quite confused by now. What was going on? Did they not come to hear a debate about the existence of Allah? Did Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] not accept the challenge to prove to all that Allah does indeed exist?

The Imam smiled broadly. “Exactly!” He shouted out.

“What do you mean?” the boatman wanted to know.

“Well, if you think that what I said was unbelievable then it is nothing compared to what you witness every day all around you! The earth, the sky, the moon, the sun, the stars, this garden, the colorful flowers, these sweet fruits, the mountains, the trees, the animals and the people – have all these simply happened by themselves without a maker?”

Imam Abu Hanifah [rh] continued, saying, “If it is a lie to say that the tree transforms itself into planks all by itself; the planks then take the shape of a boat; and the boat then carries passengers across a dangerous river, again all by itself, then it would be a greater lie to say that the earth, the sun, the moon, fruits, flowers, animals and human beings all come to be by themselves without any maker!”

The boatman stood there dumbfounded. What was he to say? There was simply no answer but to accept the truth that there is indeed a god and a creator of the universe and that He is Allah, the One and Only.

Vocabulary

Humbled

Presence

Magnificent

Righteousness

Empire

Instructed

Atheist

Existence

Achievement

Reckon

Bold

Debate

Respond

Attend

Hypocrites

Disgraced

Anxious

Briskly

Demanded

Annoyed

Dense

Witnessed

Departed

Leaning

Gigantic

Rumbling

Bark

Amazing

Constructed

Incredible

Rapidly

Navigated

Continued

Spectacle

Utter

Nonsense

Blatant

Unable

Challenge

Dumbfounded

Indeed

Universe