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Imam Jafar al-Sadiq's [a] Contribution to the Sciences

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq's [a] Contribution to the Sciences

Author:
Publisher: www.al-islam.org
English

Alhassanain (p) Network for Islamic Heritage and Thought

ImamJafar al-Sadiq's [a] contribution to the sciences

Authors(s):Hasnain Suchedina

www.alhassanain.org/english

Table of Contents

[Introduction] 3

Birth and Early Childhood 4

Saviour of Shi'ism 5

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Abu Shakir 7

Rotation of the Earth round the Sun 16

Theory of the Four Elements 17

Origin of the Universe 18

Contribution in Physics 19

Contribution in Literature 20

Composition of the Human Body 21

Discovery of Hydrogen 22

Theory of Light 23

Theory of transfer of Disease by Rays 24

Theory of Matter and Anti-Matter 25

Theory of the Light of the Stars 26

Pollution of Environment 27

Science and Philosophy 28

Good Advice for Mothers 29

Note 30

[Introduction]

Below are extracts from the book “The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher - ImamJa’far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq (a.s .)”

This book is a translation of “Maghze Mutafakkir Jehan Shi’a ”, the famous Persian book, which has been published four times in Tehran. The Persian book is itself a translation from a French thesis published by The Research Committee of Strasbourg, France, about the contributions made by ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) to science, philosophy, literature andirfan (gnosticism ). 'Kaukab ‘AliMirza ' did the English translation from Persian.

Members of this research committee have done a wonderful job and deserve gratitude from all those who love the Imam. However, these learned scholars failed to find worldly sources of the Imam's knowledge and therefore indulged in wild speculations and guesswork to conclude on how a human being could know the kind of knowledge and revelations that the Imam had said during his life, 1400 years ago.

Birth and Early Childhood

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq was born in Medina on the 17 of Rabiul-Awwal in the year of 82Hijra . His father was the 5th Imam MuhammadBaqir (a.s .) and his mother was UmmFarwa . It is said thatJa’far as-Sadiq was born circumcised.

Contrary to the Western belief, theShi’as firmlybelieve that ImamJa’far as-Sadiq hadIlm -e-Ladunni or 'God given Knowledge'. TheShi’as believe that a man's subconscious mind is quite different from his conscious mind. It is the treasure house of knowledge of mankind and of the world. Modern science lends support to this theory.

Biological studies have gradually proved that every group of cells in the human body knows whatever is knowable from the beginning of the world till today. TheShi’as contend that when someone is chosen as a Prophet or as an Imam, the curtain which hangs between the conscious and subconscious mind, is lifted and he can make use of the knowledge which is stored in his subconscious mind.

Saviour ofShi'ism

When ImamJa’far as-Sadiq was still in his infancy some people following the example of the Christians spread the belief that the Holy Prophet, ‘Aliibn Abi Talib and the Imams had two natures - the nature of man and the nature of God. They were partly human and partly divine. This belief posed a great danger to their sect. The Imam fought against this thought and savedShi'ism from disintegration. Herealised that it would create differences, split the people into factions, weaken theShi’a movement and finally destroy it totally.

The Imam knew the history of the Christians. He knew the origin of the Orthodox and Catholic churches and the main cause of differences among Christians and their division into so many sects. In reply to those who propagated that idea, he said that all of them were human beings and had no essence or elements of God in them. But they were God's mostfavoured servants and were chosen by Him to lead and guide mankind. He announced that anyone who believed or confessed that they had an essence of God in them willbe believing in many gods and would not remain amuwahid (monotheist). They would become amushrik (polytheist).

Another great danger threatening Islam was Monasticism which the Muslims wanted to adopt from the Christians. The Imam fought against that tendency and saved Muslims from a great catastrophe.

In the first half of the 2nd centuryHijra , many Muslim sects were inclined to borrow Monasticism from the Christians and introduce it in Islam. They believed that one should give up worldly life and spend his time in seclusion and prayers. The leaders of those sects had arranged some solitary places where they and their followers could go and spend their lives in prayers. Some of them said that in Islam there was nothing better thanSalaat (ritual prayer), while others said that fasting was better than prayers and if someone had withdrawn from the world he should fast everyday throughout his life and think of nothing but Allah.Shi’as also, like others,were also attracted to Monasticism. This philosophy appealed to those who did not want to work and earn their own living.

At the beginning of the 2nd centuryHijra Muslims were attracted not only to Monasticism, but they also wanted to follow another Christian practice which was Baptism.

The Imam opposed Baptism among Muslims just as he had opposed Monasticism. He told theMuslims : “We have customs which werepractised by non-Muslims before Islam, but the Prophet of Allah approved them and thus they became part of Muslim customs and traditions. Although the Holy Quran has praised and exalted Christ andhim mother Mary, it is not permissible for us to follow Christian customs and traditions.”

Another Christian practice, which was being followed by the Muslims, was celibacy. Considering it as a means of purification of the soul many Muslims did not marry. Addressing the Muslims, the Imamsaid : “ Do not follow the example of Christians. Celibacy is against the Commandments of Allah and tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).

Not only it hurts a man intellectually and spiritually, it endangers the Muslim nation as a whole. It would reduce the number of Muslims. If celibacy was useful, the Holy Prophet of Allah would not have married at all. Since our Prophet himself married, it is the duty of every Muslim to follow his example and get married so that he may save himself from intellectual and spiritual degeneration and also help increase the Muslim population.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) and AbuShakir

Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) was one of the most patient and tolerant teachers of his time. He used to take his classes every day. After his lectures he would listen and reply to the objections of his critics. He had asked his critics, who attended his classes, not to interrupt him during his lectures. They were quite free to ask him any question or raise any objection after the classes were over.

Once AbuShakir , one of his opponents, said to him: “Would you allow me to say something and ask some questions?”

“Yes, you can”, replied ImamJa’far as-Sadiq .

Said AbuShakir : “Is it not a myth that there is Allah? You want people to believe in a thing which does not exist. If there was Allah, we could have felt his existence through our senses. You may say that we can feel His presence by the help of our inner senses, but our inner senses also depend upon our five outer senses. We cannot conjure up an image of anything in which some of our senses were not involved. We cannot conjure up the picture of a person whom we have not met; recall to our memory his voice if we have not heard him and feel the touch of his hand by our inner senses if we have never taken his hand in our hand.”

“You may say that we can perceive the presence of Allah by our intelligence and not through our inner or outer senses. But our intelligence also needs the assistance of our five outer senses, without which it cannot function. We cannot make any reasoning or come to any conclusion without the help of our senses.

By your imagination you have created a being, which is of your own image. Since you see, talk, hear, work and rest, He also does exactly what you do.”

“You do not show Him to anyone. To maintain your hold on the people you say that He cannot be seen. You also say that He was not born from the womb of a woman. He does not procreate and that He would not die. I have heard that there is an idol in India, which is hidden behind a curtain and is not allowed to be seen by the Hindu devotees. The custodians of the idol say that it is out of mercy that their god does not appear before them, because whoever casts his eyes onit, would instantly die.”

“Your Allah is also like the veiled god of the Hindus. It is out of His mercy that He does not appear before us. If he does, we shall surely die. You say that the universe was created by Allah, who did not talk to anyone, except to the Prophet of Islam. As a matter of fact the universe came by itself. Does anyone create the grass, which grows in the field? Does it not grow and get green by itself? Does anyone create the ants and the mosquitoes? Do they not come out by themselves?”

“I must tell you, who claims to be a scholar and the successor of the Prophet, that among all the stories, which circulate among the people, none is more absurd and baseless than the story of Allah, who cannot be seen. There are many baseless stories, but they, at least, depict real life and present before us the people and personalities, who may themselves be fictitious, but their acts and deeds are like those of real human beings. We can see them.

They eat, they drink, they talk, they sleep and they love. When we read these fictitious stories, we enjoy them. We know that they are false, but we see in them the faces of men and women, who are like us. The people mentioned in the stories might not have existed, but our common sense accepts existence of such people in the world. However, when we cannot see, feel or touch your Allah, our logic and reasoning, which depend upon our senses, do not accept his existence.”

l know that some people, who have been deceived by you, believe in your invisible Allah, but you cannot deceive me and make me believe in Him. I worship God, who is made of wood and stone.Although my God does not talk, but I can see him with my eyes and touch him with my hands.”

“You say that the God whom I have made from my own hands is not worthy of being worshipped, while you ask the people to worship Allah, you have created by your imagination. You deceive innocent people by saying that your imaginary Allah has created the universe, but I do not deceive anyone. No one created the universe. There was no need of any god to create it. It came by itself. God cannot create anything. He is himself our creation. I created him by my hand and you by your imagination.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) did not say a word during the long tirade of AbuShakir . Sometimes his students, who were present, wanted to intervene but he asked them to remain quiet. When AbuShakir stopped his lengthy discourse, the Imam asked him, if he had anything more to say.

Retorted AbuShakir : “By introducing your invisible Allah to the people, you want to acquire wealth and position and have a respectable, comfortable and luxurious life. These are my last words. I do not want to say anything more.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) said: “l would like to start with the last part of your speech. Your accusations that I want money, position and a comfortable life would have been justified if I was living like a caliph. You have seen today that I have eaten a few morsels of bread only and nothing else. I invite you to my house to see for yourself what I will have for dinner and how I live.”

“AbuShakir , if I wanted to acquire wealth and have a good life, as you say, I was not obliged to teach and preach to get rich. I would have earned money and got rich by my knowledge of chemistry. Another way to get rich was to do business. I have more knowledge' about foreign markets than any merchant in Medina. I know what goods are produced in different countries and where to sell them for profit. I also know how to bring them here to reduce the cost of transport. Our merchants import goods only from Syria, Iraq, Egypt and some other Arab countries. They do not know what goods are available inIsphahan , Rasht andRome, otherwise they would have imported them and sold them with profit.”

“AbuShakir , you have said that I ask the people to worship Allah to deceive them and to get rich. I must tell you that I have never taken anything from anyone, except some fruits as presents. One of my friends sends to me every year fresh dates from his garden and another some pomegranates fromTaif . I accept these presents so that they may not get offended.”

“I have heard, O AbuShakir , that your father was a pearl merchant. Perhaps you may have some knowledge about pearls. But I know all about pearls and precious stones. I can also appraise their market value. If I wanted to get rich I would have worked as ajeweller . Can you test andrecognise a precious stone? Do you know how many kinds of rubies and emeralds there are in the world?”

“I know nothing about them”, replied AbuShakir .

“Do you know how many kinds of diamonds there are and whatcolours they have?” asked ImamJa’far as-Sadiq .

“I do not know”, replied AbuShakir .

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq said: “I am not a jeweler, but I know all about the pearls and precious stones. I also know where they come from. All jewelers must know about gems, what I know, but few of them know their sources.”

“Do you know what makes a diamond shine?”

“I never was a diamond merchant, nor was my father. How can I know why diamonds shine?; replied AbuShakir .

Said the Imam: “Diamonds are obtained from the beds of rivers and streams. Rough diamonds are cut by experts. This is the cut of a diamond, which gives it its brilliance. Those who are experts in cutting diamonds are trained from the childhood in the profession of their fathers and forefathers. Cutting a diamond is a very delicate and difficult art. A diamond is cut only by a diamond.”

“AbuShakir , I have said all this simply to show to you that if I wanted to accumulate wealth, I could have done so by making use of my knowledge about jewels. I have replied to your accusations and now I shall deal with your objections.”

“AbuShakir , you have said that I have fabricated stories and ask the people to worship Allah, who cannot be seen. You refuse to acknowledge existence of Allah, because He cannot be seen. Can you see inside your own body?”

Replied AbuShakir : “No, I cannot.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq said: “If you could have seen what is inside you, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah, who cannot be seen.”

AbuShakir asked: “What is the relationship between seeing within one's own body and the existence of your unseen Allah?”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) replied: “You have said just now that a thing, which cannot be seen, touched, tasted or heard, does not exist.”

AbuShakir said: “Yes, I have said that and I believe it is true.”

Ja’far as-Sadiq asked: “Do you hear the sound of the movement of blood in your body?”

Said AbuShakir : “No, I do not. But does blood move in the body?

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) said: “Yes, it does. It makes a full circuit of your body. If the circulation of blood stops for a few minutes you will die.”

AbuShakir said: “I cannot believe that blood circulates in the body.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq said: “It is your ignorance, which does not let you believe that your blood circulates in your body, and the same ignorance does not let you believe in the existence of Allah, Who cannot be seen.”

Then the Imam asked AbuShakir whether he has seen the tiny living beings, which Allah has created in his body.

Ja’far as-Sadiq continued: “It is because of these small creatures and their wonderful work that you are kept alive. They are so small that you cannot see them. Since you are a slave of your senses, you do not know about their existence. If you increase your knowledge and decrease your ignorance, you will come to know that these small beings in your body are as large in number as the particles of sand in the desert. These small creatures are born in your body, multiply in your body, work in your body and die in your body. But you never see them, touch them, taste them or hear them in your life time.”

“It is true that one who knows himself knows his Allah. If you had known yourself and had the knowledge of what is going on inside your body, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah, without seeing Him.”

Pointing his finger to a huge stone he said: “AbuShakir , do you see the stone, which is in the foot of that portico? To you it seems lifeless and motionless, because you do not see the brisk motion, which is inside the stone. Again it is lack of knowledge or your ignorance, which would not let you believe that there is motion inside the stone. The time will come whenthe learned people would see the motion which is in the stone.”

Continued the Imam: “AbuShakir , you have said that everything in the universe came by itself and has no Creator. You think that the grass in the field grows and gets green by itself.

You must know that the grass cannot grow without seeds and seeds would not germinate without moisture in the soil and there would be no moisture if no rain falls. The rain does not fall by itself. First the watervapours rise and gather above in the atmosphere in the form of clouds. The winds bring the clouds. Then the watervapours condense and fall down as rain drops. The rain must also fall at the righttime, otherwise no grass will grow and become green.

Take the seeds of ten kinds of herbs and put them in a closed jar, which has sufficient water, but no air. Would they germinate? No, in addition to water, seeds need air also. It is possible to grow grass, herbs and fruits in hot houses, when it is very cold, provided there is sufficient air. Without the presence of air no grass willgr!ow in the fields and get green. If there is no air, all plants and animals, including human beings, would die.”

“AbuShakir , do you see the air, on which your very existence depends. You only feel it when it moves. Can you refuse to believe in the existence of air? Can you deny that to grow and get green the grass needs many things like seeds, soil, water, air, a suitable climate and above all a strong managing power, which may co-ordinate the action of these differentelements. That Managing and Coordinating Power is Allah.”

“You say that everything comes by itself because you are not a scientist. No scientist would ever say that. All scientists and all scholars believe in the existence of a creator, albeit, they may call Him by different names. Even those, who do not believe in Allah, believe in a Creative Force.”

“AbuShakir , it is not because of one's knowledge, but it is due to his ignorance that he does not believe in Allah. When a wise man thinks ofhimself , he finds that his own body needs a controller so that all its organs and systems may function properly. He thenrealises that this vast universe also needs a controller or supervisor so that it may run smoothly.”

“You said just now that both of us create our own gods - you by your hands and I by my imagination. But there is a big difference between your god and my Allah. Your god did not exist before you made him out of wood or stone, but my Allah was there before I could think about Him. I do not create my Allah by my hands or by my brain. What I do is to know Him better and think of His Greatness. When you see a mountain you try to know more about it. It is not creating the mountain by imagination. That mountain was there before you saw it and it would be there when you are gone.”

'You cannot know much about the mountain because of your limited knowledge. The more your knowledge grows, the more you will learn about it. It is impossible for you to find out when and how that mountain came into being and when it would disappear. You cannot find out what minerals are there inside or underneath the mountain and what is their benefit to mankind.”

“Do you know that the stones, out of which you make youridols came into being thousands of years ago and shall exist for thousands of years more. These stones have come here from a distant place. They could travel that long journey because different parts of the earth are always moving, but this movement is so slow that you do not feel it. There is nothing in the universe, which is not in motion. Rest or motionlessness is meaningless. We are not at rest even when we are sleeping. We are in motion because the earth is in motion. Besides, we have a motion inside our own bodies.”

“AbuShakir , if you had any knowledge about the piece of stone, out of which you carve an idol, you would not have denied the existence of Allah and said that I have created Him by my imagination. You do not know what a stone is and how it came into being. Today you can handle it as you like and cut it into any shape or form, but there was a time when it was in liquid state. Gradually it cooled down and Allah solidified it. In the beginning it was quite brittle and would have broken into pieces in your hand like a piece of glass.”

Asked AbuShakir : “Was it in a liquid condition before?”

“Yes, it was”, repliedJa’far asSadiq (a.s .)

AbuShakir burst into a peal of laughter. One of the students ofJa’far as-Sadiq got angry and was about to say something when he was stopped by his teacher.

AbuShakir said: “I am laughing because you say that the stones are made of water.”

Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) replied: “I did not say that the stones are made of water. What I had said was that in the beginning they were in a liquid state.”

AbuShakir said: “What difference does it make. The liquid and water are the same things.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq replied: “There are many liquids which are not water. Milk and vinegar are liquids, but they are not water, although they havea water content in them. In the beginning the stones were liquid like water and they flowed like water. Gradually they cooled down and became hard so that you could cut them and make them into idols. The same hard stones will turn into liquid, if they are heated.”

Said AbuShakir : “When I go home I will check the truth of your statement. I will put the stone in the fireplace and see if it turns into liquid or not.”

Said the Imam: “You cannot liquefy stone in your fireplace. Can you liquefy a piece of iron at home? A very high temperature is required to turn solid stone into liquid.”

“Do yourealise how you could make the idols out of stones? It was Allah, who made the stones. It was He Who created you and gave you the hands with the unique fingers, which enabled you to handle tools and chisel out the idols from the stones. Again it was He who gave you power and intelligence, which you used in making the idols.”

“AbuShakir , do you think that the mountains are only heaps of stones? The Great Allah has created them to serve some very useful purpose. They were not created so that you may take stones and turn them into idols. Wherever there is a mountain there is flowing water. Rain and snow which fall on the mountain tops produce streams of fresh water. These streams combine together to form big rivers, which irrigate farms and fields. The people who live in the valleys, through which the rivers flow, are assured of constant supply of water.People who can afford it, go to the mountains during the summer season to escape the heat of the plains.”

“The mountains work as a great bulwark and protect towns and villages, which are in their valleys from the devastation and destruction of hurricanes. Green mountains provide good grazing grounds for sheep. When scorching heat burns the pastures down in the plains and no fodder is left, the shepherds take their flocks of sheep to the mountains and stay there till the end of summer. Mountains are also habitats of birds and animals, some of which are a good source of food for those, who live there. Even the mountains, which are not green, are not without some use. If the people try, they may discover in them mines of metals and minerals which are useful for mankind.”

“AbuShakir , I am too small and too weak to create Allah with my brain. It is He, who has created my brain, so that I may think of Him and know Him - my Creator. He was there before I came into being and He would be there when I am no more. I do not mean that I would be totally destroyed. Nothing in the universe is totally destroyed. Everything is subject to change. It is only Allah, Who does not change.”

“AbuShakir , please tell me sincerely to whom will you turn for help when you are in trouble? Do you hope that the idol you carve out of stone can come to yoursuccour ? Can it cure you when you are sick; save you from mishaps and calamities; save you from starvation and help you pay your debts?”

AbuShakir replied: “I have no such expectations from the stone, but, I think there is something inside the stone, which will help me. Moreover, I cannot help worshipping it.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq enquired: “What is inside the stone? Is it also stone?”

“I do not know what it is. But it cannot help me if it is also stone,” replied AbuShakir .

Said ImamJa’far as-Sadiq : “AbuShakir , what is inside the stone and is not stone and can help when you are in trouble is, Allah.”

AbuShakir pondered over the subject for a while and then said: “Is Allah, who cannot be seen, inside the stone?”

The Imam replied: “He is everywhere.”

AbuShakir said: “I cannot believe that a thing may be everywhere but remain unseen.”

The Imam said: “Do you know that the air is everywhere but cannot be seen?”

Said AbuShakir : “Although I cannot see the air, I can, at least, feel it when it moves. But I can neither see your Allah nor feel his presence.”

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq said: “You do not feel the presence of air when it is not moving. The air is only a creation of Allah. He is everywhere, but you cannot see Him or feel His presence by your senses. You have admitted just now that although you do not see it, but your instinct or your soul tells you that there is something inside the stone, andis not the stone, which can help you. That something is Allah. Your instinct also tells you that you cannot live without Allah and without worshipping Him.”

AbuShakir said: “It is true. I cannot live without worshipping idols.”

Said ImamJa’far as-Sadiq : “Do not say idols. Say Allah. It is He, Who is worthy of worship.just like you everyone is obliged to worship Him. One, who does not worshipAllah has no guide and no guardian. He is just like one, who cannot see, cannot hear, cannot feel and cannot think. He does not know where to go and on whom to depend when in trouble. Worshipping Allah is a part of living. Every living being worships Him instinctively. Even the animals cannot live without worshipping Him. We cannot ask them and they cannot tell us that they worship Allah, but their well regulated and orderly life is sufficient proof that they worship Him.

“I do not say that the animals believe in Allah and worship Him just as we do. But there is no doubt that they obey the laws made by their Creator faithfully, which means they worship Him. If they were not obedient to their Creator, they could not have such an orderly and regulated life.”

“We see that just before the advent of spring the titmouse (a kind of small bird) always comes at the same time and sings, as if to give us the tiding of the new season. The itinerary of these migratory birds is so regulated and their schedule so fixed that even if the last days of winter are still cold, their arrival is not delayed for more than a few days. WhenChilchila (a migratory bird) returns after covering a distance of thousands of miles, it builds its nest at the same place, where it had built it last spring. Was it possible for these small birds to have such a wellorganised life if they did not obey the laws of Allah and worship Him?”

“AbuShakir , even the plants obey the laws made by Allah faithfully and worship Him. Out of 150 species of plants, which are further divided into hundreds of sub-species you will not find even one plant, which has adisorganised and disorderly life.”

“AbuShakir , just like us the plants alsodo not see their Creator, but they worship Him by obeying His laws instinctively.”

“I know that you will not accept, or perhaps you do not understand, what I say. A man must have sufficient knowledge to understand complicated problems.”

“AbuShakir , not only animals by their animal instinct and plants by their plant instinct obey Allah and worship Him, the lifeless and inanimate objects also, with whatever instinct they have, obey Allah and worship Him. If they did not worship Him, they would not have followed the laws made by Him. As a result, their atoms would have broken apart and they would have been destroyed.”

“The light which comes from the sun also worships Allah by obeying his laws, which are very stringent and exact. It comes into being by the combination of two opposite forces. These forces also obey the laws of Allah and worship Him, otherwise they cannot produce light.”

“AbuShakir , if there was no Allah there would have been no universe and no you and me. The sentence, “There is no Allah', is meaningless. The existence of Allah is a must. If attention of Allah is diverted, even for a moment from the affairs of the universe to something else, it would break up. Everything in the universe obeys His laws, which are permanent and eternal. Because of His absolute wisdom and knowledge, He could make such wonderful laws, which will lastfor ever . Each and every law, made by Him serves some special and useful purpose.”

When the Imam concluded his discourse, AbuShakir fell into a deep reverie as if he was greatly inspired.

ImamJa’far as-Sadiq asked: “Do you now believe that Allah, who cannot be seen, does exist and what you worship is the unseen Allah?”

AbuShakir replied: “I am not yet convinced. I am in a quandary. I am full of doubts and misgivings about my faith and my convictions.”

Ja’far as-Sadiq remarked: “The doubt about idol worship is the beginning of the worship of Allah.”

Revelations of ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) knew that the Muslim world would be flooded with books of the philosophers of Greece and Alexandria and that the Muslims would blindly accept everything they had written as the Gospel truth. Thus, many of the false and fallacious theories would catch their imagination, corrupt their minds, and keep them under total darkness for centuries, which is actually what had happened in the past. For example the theory of Ptolemy that the earth is the centre of the universe and the sun, the planet and the stars rotate around it was generally accepted by the Muslims as true.

The two Imams explained to their students who were to spread their teachings among the Muslims the theories of those philosophers, pointed out their mistakes and presented their own correct theories. Similarly they taught them physics, chemistry, geography etc prior to the translation of these subjects fromIndian ,Greek and Persian into Arabic. Because they were Imams (representatives of Allah on Earth) they had the knowledge of the theories of Greek philosophers and others.

The momentous intellectual awakening of Muslims witnessed in the second century of theHijra was not due to Hellenic or other foreign influences, as some Western historians have recorded. It was this result of the untiring and ceaseless efforts made by the members of the Prophet's family to bring about that golden age of knowledge.

Among all the Abbasid caliphs, only al-Mamun was interested in knowledge. The rest were only interested in accumulationon wealth, worldly pleasures and satisfaction of carnal desires. A halo of glory and grandeur has been placed round the head ofHarun by the historians and story tellers. He was nothing but a tyrant and a despot.

The Abbasid caliph al-Mansur was well aware of the popularity of the Living Imam - ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .). It is reported on the authority ofMufazzal binUmar that al-Mansur wanted to kill the Imam. He called him many times with this intent, but when he saw him, he was filled with fear and could not carry out his vicious plan. Instead, he placed the Imam under house arrest for long periods of time. He eventually poisoned him secretly.

This was the end of the Medina Academy which was founded by the Imam. To destroy the influence of the Imam in the field of Religion, al-Mansur and his successors encouraged sectarianism. Many new schools of Islamic Jurisprudence appeared in that period and were fully supported by them. Since the leaders of these new sects had the backing of the government, their ideologies spread and the number of their adherents increased.

On the other hand those who followed the teachings of the Imam were systematically persecuted by the Abbasid caliphs. However, as al-Mansur could not still find in the Muslim world anyone who could rival the Imam in physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and other sciences, he spent large sums of money and imported books from different countries on scientific subjects. They were translated in to Arabic, and taught in schools and colleges.

Gradually the names of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy became a household name and their scientific and philosophical theories captured the imagination and dominated the thoughts of the Muslims for centuries. That scheme proved so successful that in the course of time, Muslims totally forgot about the scientific achievements of the Imam and the important discoveries made by him.

As a result the world lost more than a thousand years of knowledge as the science introduced by the Imam was only discovered by common man in the 19th century onwards. And the credit of this discovery also went to the person who discovered it recently. Little does the world know that they were all made known by the Imam 14 hundred yearsago. Learned scholars from Europe started studying Islamic literature from the beginning of the 17th century.

Rotation of the Earth round the Sun

At the age of 11, the Imam refuted the theory that the sun, moon and the planets rotated around the earth. He said that the sun, during its course round the earth, passes through the 12 constellations in one year and remains in each constellation for 30 days, so why does it then disappear from sight during the night. It should remain visible in each constellation for 30 days. Ptolemy1 theory said that the sun has two movements. One of its movements is that it crosses the sign of the zodiac and goes round the earth in one year and the other movement is that it goes round the earth in one night and one day, as a result of which we see it rise in the east and set in the west.

Aristotle was a great thinker and philosopher. His books,Arganan and Physics, are the most precious literary treasures of mankind, but his theory that the earth is stationary and the sun and stars rotate around it, delayed the progress of the science of Astronomy and kept mankind in the darkness of ignorance for 1800 years.

The Imam remarked that those two movements were not compatible. When the sun had to pass through the sign of the zodiac in one year and stay in each constellation for 30 days how could it change its course and go round the earth in 24 hours?

He also announced that the earth rotated around its own axis. The great scholar Poincare who lived in the 20th century made fun of this theory. When such a scholar could refuse to believe this, how could people in the 1st and 2nd century of theHijra believe in the theory of theImam. The rotation of the earth on its own axis could be proved by observation only. When astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, and directed their telescope towards the earth they observed that it was rotating slowly on its axis.

Some people might say that it was only by guesswork that ImamJa’far as-Sadiq (a.s .) said that the earth rotates on its own axis. Sometimes it happens that guesswork proves to be correct. But the question arises as to why no one else had guessed that for such a long time. This proves that he knew the laws ofastro -physics which enabled him to make that discovery. If he had not known those laws, it would have been impossible for him to discover the rotation of the earth on its axis. This discovery could not have been accidental. One must know the cause to know its effect.

Tragically, for reasons stated above, the real credit of discovery of the movement of the earth round the sun was given to Copernicus who was an astronomer and mathematician, in the 15th Century. The theory of the earth rotation around its own axis went to Galileo who discovered the telescope.