Imam al-Rida's (a) Debate with Jathliq

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and then al-Ma'mun turned to the Catholicos (Jathliq) and said to him: "O Catholicos, this is my cousin Ali b. Musa b. Ja'far. He is on of the children of Fatima, daughter of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and of Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him. I would like you to debate with him on theology, argue with him, and show justice toward him." ثمّ التفت إلى الجاثليق فقال: يا جاثليق، هذا ابن عمي علي بن موسى بن جعفر وهو من ولد فاطمة بنت نبينا وابن علي بن أبي طالب (صلوات الله عليهم) فأحبّ أن تكلمه أو تحاجّه وتنصفه.
The Catholicos said: "O Commander of the faithful, how can I argue with a man who argue with me through a Book which we have denied and a Prophet whom I do not believe?" فقال الجاثليق: يا أمير المؤمنين كيف أحاج رجلاً يحتج عليّ بكتابٍ أنا منكره ونبي لا أومن به؟
Imam answered him saying: "O Christian, if I give proof from your Gospel, will you admit it?" فقال له الرضا عليه السلام: يا نصراني فإن احتججت عليك بإنجيلك أتقرّ به؟
The Catholicos said: "Can l repel what the Bible speaks about? yes, by Allah, I will admit it." قال الجاثليق: وهل أقدر على رفع ما نطق الإنجيل؟! نعم والله أقرّ به على رغم أنفي.
The Imam said: "Question (me) whatever you desire and hear (my) answers." فقال له الرضا عليه السلام: سل عما بدا لك واسمع الجواب.
The Catholicos said: "What is your view of the prophethood of Jesus Christ (Isa) and his Book? Do you deny anything of them?" فقال الجاثليق: ما تقول في نبوّة عيسى وكتابه هل تنكر منهما شيئا؟
Imam al-Rida: "I admit the prophethood of Jesus Christ and his Book, of what he brought good news to his community, and the disciples admitted it. And deny the prophethood of a Jesus who does not admit the prophethood of Muhammad and His Book and does not bring good news of them to his community." الرضا عليه السلام: أنا مقر بنبوة عيسى وكتابه وما بّشر به أمته وأقرّت به الحواريون وكافر بنبوة كل عيسى لم يقرّ بنبوة محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وبكتابه ولم يبشر به أمته.
The Catholicos said: "Aren't precepts proved through two just witnesses?" قال الجاثليق: أليس إنّما نقطع الأحكام بشاهدي عدل؟
He said: "Yes". قال عليه السلام: بلى.
He said: "Therefore, name two witnesses from other than the people of your religion and from among those whom the Christians do not deny, that they might (confirm) the prophethood of Muhammad. And ask us for the like of that from among other than the people of our religion." قال: فأقم شاهدين من غير أهل ملّتك عليّ بنبوة محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ممن لا تنكره النصرانية وسلنا مثل ذلك من غير أهل ملتنا.
The Imam said: "Now, you have brought justice. Do you not accept from me the just one who was given preference (over the others) by Jesus, son of Mary (al-Masih b. Maryam)?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: الآن جئت بالنصفة ـ يا نصراني ـ ألا تقبل مني العدل المقدم عند المسيح عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام؟
The Catholicos said: "Who is the just one? Name him for me." قال الجاثليق: ومن هذا العدل؟ سمّه لي.
The Imam said: "What is your view of John (Yuhanna al-Daylami)?" قال: ما تقول يوحنا الديلمي؟
"Bravo! Bravo!" retortedaid the Catholicos, "You have mentioned the most lovable of the people to Jesus." قال: بخٍ بخٍ، ذكرت أحبّ الناس إلى المسيح.
Imam al-Rida asked him: "I challenge you to swear (by Allah), does the Bible say that John says: Verily Jesus has told me of the religion of Muhammad, the Arab, given me good news of him, he will be (a prophet) after him, so I (John) gave good news of him to the disciples and they believed him." قال: فأقسمت عليك هل نطق الإنجيل أنّ يوحنا قال: "إنما المسيح أخبرني بدين محمد العربي وبشرني به أنه يكون من بعده فبشرت به الحواريين فآمِنوا به"؟
he said: ... "John did not name him for us, that we may recognize him." قال الجاثليق: قد ذكر ذلك يوحنا عن المسيح وبشر بنبوة رجل و بأهل بيته ووصيه ولم يلخص متى يكون ذلك؟ ولم تُسمِّ لنا القوم فنعرفهم.
The Imam asked him: "If we bring you someone who recites the Bible and recites to you Muhammad's name, his Household, and his community, then will you believe him?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: فإن جئناك بمن يقرأ الإنجيل فتلا عليك ذكر محمد و أهل بيته وأمته أتؤمن به؟
"A sound suggestion," the Catholicos answered. قال: سديداً.
The Imam turned to Nestus, the Roman, and asked Him: "Have you memorized the third Book of the Bible?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: لنسطاس الرومي: كيف حفظك للسفر الثالث الإنجيل.
"I have thoroughly memorized it," was the answer. قال: ما احفظني له.
The Imam addressed the Exilarch (Ra's al-Jalut), saying: "Don't you recite the Bible?" ثم التفت إلى رأس الجالوت فقال: ألست تقرأ الإنجيل؟
"Yes," he said. قال: بلى لعمْري.
The Imam said: "Therefore (I will) recite to you (some verses from) the third Book. If Muhammad, his Household, and his community has been mentioned in it, then bear witness to me? If they have not been mentioned wherein, then do not bear witness to me." قال: فخذ على السفر فإن كان فيه ذكر محمد وأهل بيته وأمته فاشهدوا لي، وإن لم يكن فيه ذكره فلا تشهدوا لي.
The Imam recited to him some verses from the third Book. When he reached the reference to the Prophet, he turned to the Catholicos and asked him: "I challenge you to swear by Jesus and his mother, did you know that I had knowledge of the Bible?" ثم قرأ عليه السلام السفر الثالث حتى بلغ ذكر النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وقف ثم قال: يا نصراني، إني أسألك بحق المسيح وأمه: أتعلم أني عالم بالإنجيل؟
"Yes," came the answer. قال: نعم.
The Imam recited to him some verses from the third Book concerning the reference to the Prophet, his Household, and his community. Then he asked him: "What is your view? This is the statement of Jesus, son of Mary. If you deny what the Bible says, then you will deny Moses and Jesus. If you deny them, then it is obligatory (on people) to kill you, for you have denied your Lord, your Prophet, and your Book." ثم تلا علينا ذكر محمد وأهل بيته وأمته، ثم قال: ما تقول يا نصراني، هذا قول عيسى مريم عليه السلام، فإن كذّبت بما ينطق به الإنجيل فقد كذّبت موسى وعيسى مريم (عليهما السلام) ومتى أنكرت هذا الذكر وجب عليك القتل لأنك تكون قد كفرت بربك ونبيك وبكتابك.
The Catholicos said: "I do not deny the clear things in the Bible; rather I admit them." قال الجاثليق: لا أنكر ما قد بان لي في الإنجيل إنّي لمقرّ به.
The Imam said: ... قال الرضا عليه السلام: اشهدوا على إقراره.
then he said: "O Catholicos, ask me whatever you desire." ثم قال: يا جاثليق سل عما بدا لك.
The Catholicos said: "Tell me about the disciples of Jesus, son of Mary: How many were they? (Tell me) about the scholars of the Bible: How many were they?" قال الجاثليق: أخبرني عن حواري عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام كم كان عدتهم؟ وعن علماء الإنجيل كم كانوا؟
The Imam said: "You have found the expert! As for (the number of) the disciples, they were twelve men. The best and the most learned of them was Luke. As for (the number of) the scholars of the Christians, it was three men: John, the elder, John (in Circesium), and John of Dailam, who had the reference to the Prophet, and his Household; it is he who gave good news to the community of Jesus and the children of Israel of him (the Prophet)." قال الرضا عليه السلام: على الخبير سقطت أمّا الحواريون فكانوا اثنى عشر رجلا وكان أعلمهم وأفضلهم ألوقا وأما علماء النصارى فكانوا ثلاثة رجال يوحنا الأكبر باج ويوحنا بقرقيسيا ويوحنا الديلمي برجاز وعنده كان ذكر النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وذكر أهل بيته وأمّته وهو الذي بشّر أمة عيسى وبني إسرائيل به.
The Imam added, saying: "By Allah, we believe in Jesus who believed in Muhammad. We have nothing against your Jesus except his weakness and the paucity of his fasting and prayer." ثم قال له: يا نصراني والله إنا لنؤمن بعيسى الذي آمن بمحمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وما ننقم على عيساكم شيئا ضعفه وقله صيامه وصلاته.
The Catholicos said: "By Allah, you have corrupted your knowledge! Your affair has become weak! I thought that you were the most learned of the Muslims!" قال الجاثليق: أفسدت ـ والله ـ علمك وضعّفت أمرك، وما كنت ظننت إلا أنك أعلم أهل الإسلام.
The Imam said: "Why?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: وكيف ذاك؟
The Catholicos said: "Because of your statement (which is) that Jesus was weak with little fasting and praying, (while) Jesus never broke fasting by day and never slept by night. He always fasted by day and prayed by night." قال الجاثليق: من قولك: إن عيسى كان ضعيفاً قليل الصيام قليل الصلاة. وما أفطر عيسى يوماً قط ولا نام بليل قط وما زال صائم الدهر وقائم الليل.
He asked the Catholicos: "For whom did he (Jesus) fast and pray?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: فلمن كان يصوم ويصلى؟!
The Catholicos did not answer, not knowing what to say. فخرس الجاثليق وانقطع.
The Imam said: "I want to ask you a question." قال الرضا عليه السلام: يا نصراني أسئلك عن مسألة.
"Ask," said the Catholicos, "I will answer you if I have knowledge of it." قال: سل فإن كان عندي علمها أجبتك.
The Imam asked: "Why do you deny that Jesus gave life to the dead with Allah's permission?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: ما أنكرت أنّ عيسى عليه السلام كان يحيى الموتى بإذن الله (عز وجل)؟
The Catholicos answered: "I deny that because the one who gives life to the dead, heals the blind and the leprous is a lord worthy of being served." قال الجاثليق: أنكرت ذلك من أجل أن من أحيى الموتى وأبرء الأكمه والأبرص فهو رب مستحق لأن يعبد.
The Imam said: "Indeed al-Yasa' (Elisha) did just as Jesus did: he walked on the water, gave life to the dead, healed the blind and the leprous. Why did his community not adopt him as a lord? Why did not anyone serve him (as a god) other than Allah? and indeed Ezekiel (Hizqil) did just as Jesus did, gave life to thirty-five thousand men sixty years after their death." قال الرضا عليه السلام: فإن إليسع قد صنع مثل صنع عيسى عليه السلام:: مشى على الماء وأحيى الموتى وأبرء الأكمه والأبرص، فلم تتخذه أمته رباً ولم يعبده أحد من دون الله (عز وجل)، ولقد صنع حزقيل النبي عليه السلام مثل ما صنع عيسى بن مريم فأحيا خمسة وثلاثين ألف رجل من بعد موتهم بستين سنة.
Then Imam turned to Exilarch and said to him: "O Exilarch, do you find in the Torah that these (men) were among the youths of the children of Israel whom Nebuchadnezzar (Bukhtunnasr) chose from among the children of Israel when he invaded Jerusalem, that he took them and headed for Babylon, and that Allah, the Great and Almighty, dispatched him for them and he gave life to them. This (statement) is in the Torah. None denies it except an unbeliever." ثم التفت إلى رأس الجالوت فقال له: يا رأس الجالوت، أتجد هؤلاء في شباب بني إسرائيل في التوراة اختارهم بخت نصر من سبى بني إسرائيل حين غزا بيت المقدس ثم انصرف بهم إلى بابل فأرسله الله (عز وجل) إليهم فأحياهم. هذا في التوراة لا يدفعه إلا كافر منكم.
The Exilarch said: "We have heard of it and recognized it." قال رأس الجالوت: قد سمعنا به وعرفناه.
Then The Imam said: "O Jew ... ثم قال: يا يهودي خذ على هذا السفر من التوراة فتلا عليه السلام علينا من التوراة آيات فأقبل اليهودي يترجج لقرائته ويتعجب!
Then the Imam turned to the Catholicos and asked him: "Were these (prophets) before Jesus or was he before them?" ثم أقبل على النصراني فقال: يا نصراني أفهؤلاء كانوا قبل عيسى أم عيسى كان قبلهم؟
"Rather they were before him," was the answer. قال: بل كانوا قبله.
Then Imam said: "Quraysh gathered around Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and asked him to give life to their dead. He sent with them Ali b. Abi Talib and said to him: Go to the cemetery and call out at the top of you voice to the people about whom they have asked: So-and-so, so-and-so, Muhammad Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, say to you: Rise with the permission of Allah, the Great and Almighty! They rose and dusted off their heads. Quraysh walked toward them and asked them about their affairs, and then they told them that Muhammad was appointed as a prophet. They (the people who rose from the dead) said: 'We would that we knew him and believed in him!' فقال الرضا عليه السلام: لقد اجتمعت قريش على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم فسألوه: أن يُحيي لهم موتاهم فوجه معهم علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام فقال له: "اذهب إلى الجبّانه فنادي بأسماء هؤلاء الرهط الذين يسألون عنهم بأعلى صوتك: يا فلان ويا فلان ويا فلان يقول لكم محمد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم: "قوموا بإذن الله (عز وجل) ". فقاموا ينفضون التراب عن رؤوسهم، فأقبلت قريش تسألهم عن أمورهم، ثم أخبروهم أنّ محمداً بُعث نبياً فقالوا: وددنا أنا أدركناه فنؤمن به.
He (the Prophet) healed the blind, the leprous, and the mad. The beasts, the birds, the jinn, and Satan spoke to him, but we did not adopt him as a lord other than Allah. We do not deny the favor of any of these (prophets). If you have adopted Jesus as a lord, then it is permissible for you to adopt Elisha and Ezekiel as two lords, for they did just as Jesus, son of Mary did such as giving life to the dead. ولقد أبرأ الأكمه والأبرص والمجانين وكلّمه البهائم والطير والجن والشياطين، ولم نتخذه رباً من دون الله (عز وجل) ولم ننكر لأحد من هؤلاء فضلهم، فمتى اتخذتم عيسى رباً جاز لكم أن تتخذوا إليسع و حزقيل رباً؟! لأنّهما قد صنعا مثل ما صنع عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام من إحياء الموتى وغيره.
Then a group of the children of Israel left their own homeland in thousands out of fear of death of plague. Allah made them die within one hour. The people of the village fenced them, and they remained wherein until their bones became decayed. One of the prophets of the children of Israel passed by them; he was amazed when he saw their many decayed bones. Allah revealed to him: 'Would you like (Me) to bring them to life and you warn them?

"'Yes,' was the answer. "Allah revealed to him that he should call them out, and he said: 'Decayed bones, rise with Allah's permission.' All of them rose and dusted off their heads.

وأن قوماً من بني إسرائيل خرجوا من بلادهم من الطاعون وهم ألوف حذر الموت، فأماتهم الله في ساعة واحدة، فعمد أهل تلك القرية فحظروا عليهم حظيرة، فلم يزالوا فيها حتى نخرت عظامهم وصاروا رميماً، فمر بهم نبي من أنبياء بني إسرائيل فتعجب منهم ومن كثره العظام الباليه، فأوحى الله (عز وجل) إليه: "أتحب أن أحييهم لك فتنذرهم؟ " قال: نعم يا رب. فأوحى الله (عز وجل) إليه: أنْ نادِهم. فقال: أيتها العظام البالية، قومي بإذن الله (عز وجل). فقاموا أحياء أجمعون ينفضون التراب عن رؤوسهم.
Then Abraham (Ibrahim), Allah's bosom friend, took the birds, cut them into pieces, and put each piece on a mountain. He called them out and they came toward him walking. ثم إبراهيم خليل الرحمن عليه السلام حين أخذ الطير فقطعهن قطعاً ثم وضع على كل جبل منهن جزءً ثم ناداهن فأقبلن سعياً إليه.
Then Moses, son of Amram and his seventy companions whom he chose. They went with him to the mountain and said to him: 'You have seen Allah, then make us see Him.'

'I have not seen Him,' he said to them. They said: 'We will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly. The thunderbolt overtook them, and all of them burnt. Only Moses remained (alive).' He (Moses) said: 'My Lord! I chose seventy men from among the children of Israel and brought them (to the mountain). Shall I return by myself? How shall my people believe what I will tell them about? If only You willed and perished them along with me before! Shall you perish us due to what the foolish did? "So Allah, the Great and Almighty, gave life to them after their death.

ثم موسى بن عمران عليه السلام وأصحابه السبعون الذين اختارهم، صاروا معه إلى الجبل فقالوا له: إنك قد رأيت الله سبحانه: فأرناه كما رأيته. فقال: لهم: إنى لم أره. فقالوا: لن نؤمن حتى نرى الله جهره، فأخذتهم الصاعقة فاحترقوا عن آخرهم، وبقى موسى وحيداً فقال: يا رب، اخترت سبعين رجلا من بني إسرائيل فجئت بهم وأرجع وحدي ! فكيف يصدّقني قومي بما أخبرهم به؟! ﴿ ـلَوْ شِئْتَ أَهْلَكْتَهُمْ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَإِيَّايَ أَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَّا﴾[2]؟ فأحياهم الله (عز وجل) من بعد موتهم.
You cannot deny all these things which I have mentioned to you, for the Torah, the Bible, the Pslams (Zabur), the Furqan (Qur'an) have mentioned them. If all those who gave life to the dead, healed the blind, the leprous, and the mad were adopted as lords other than Allah, than you adopt them as lords. What is your view, O Jew?" وكل شيء ذكرته لك من هذا لا تقدر على دفعه؛ لأنّ التوراة و الإنجيل و الزبور و الفرقان قد نطقت به، فإن كان كل من أحيى الموتى وأبرأ الأكمه والأبرص والمجانين يُتخذ رباً من دون الله (عزّ وجل) فاتخذ هؤلاء كلهم أربابا ما تقول يا يهودي؟!.
The Catholicos said: "My view agrees with yours, and there is no god but Allah." فقال الجاثليق: القول قولك، ولا إله إلا الله.
The Imam turned to the Exilarch and said to him: "Turn to me; I want to ask you about the ten verses which were sent down to Moses, son of Amram. Have you found written in the Torah the news of Muhammad and his community, (which says): When the last community and the followers of the Rider of the Camel (who) glorify the Lord very, very (much), (with) a new glorification in the new churches (he meant the mosques), then let the children of Israel flee toward them and their dominion, that their hearts may be tranquil, for there will in there hands swords with which they will take vengeance on the unbelieving communities in the regions of the earth. In this manner it has been written in the Torah?" ثم التفت إلى رأس الجالوت فقال: يا يهودي، أقبِل عليّ أسألك بالعشر آيات التي أُنزلت على موسى بن عمران عليه السلام هل تجد في التوراة مكتوبا بنبأ محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وأمته إذا جاءت الأمة الأخيرة أتباع راكب البعير يسبّحون الرب جداً جداً تسبيحاً جديداً في الكنائس الجدد فليفرغ بنو إسرائيل إليهم وإلى ملكهم؛ لتطمئن قلوبهم، فإن بأيديهم سيوفاً ينتقمون بها من الأمم الكافرة في أقطار الأرض. أهكذا هو في التوراة مكتوب؟
The Exilarch said: "Yes, we have found that (written) in this manner." قال رأس الجالوت: نعم إنا لنجده كذلك.
Then Imam turned to the Catholicos and asked him: "What about your knowledge of the Book of Isaiah?" ثم قال للجاثليق: يا نصراني، كيف علمك بكتاب شعيا عليه السلام؟
"I know it letter for letter," was the answer. قال: أعرفه حرفا حرفاً.
The Imam addressed the Catholicos and the Exilarch and said to them: "Do you know that this (statement) is of his speech: O People, I have seen the picture of the Rider of the Donkey. He was wearing the gowns of light. And I have seen that the light of the Rider of the camel is like that of the moon." قال لهما: أتعرفان هذا من كلامه: "يا قوم، إنّي رأيت صورة راكب الحمار لابساً جلابيب النور، ورأيت راكب البعير ضوء مثل ضوء القمر"؟
They began saying: "Isaiah did say that!" فقالا: قد قال ذلك شعيا عليه السلام.
The Imam turned to the Catholicos and asked him: "Did you know that Jesus said: 'I am going to my Lord and your Lord, and the Paraclete is coming who shall testify to my truth just as I testified for him, and he shall explain everything to you, and he shall be the one to expose all the sins of nations, and he shall be the one to smash the pillar of unbelief.'?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: يا نصراني، هل تعرف في الإنجيل قول عيسى عليه السلام: "إنّي ذاهب إلى ربكم وربي والبار قليطا جاء، هو الذي يشهد لي بالحق كما شهدت، وهو الذي يفسر لكم كل شيء، وهو الذي يبدأ فضائح الأمم، وهو الذي يكسر عمود الكفر".
The Catholicos became said: "We admit all what you have just quoted of the Bible." فقال الجاثليق: ما ذكرت شيئا من الإنجيل إلا ونحن مقرّون به.
Then The Imam said: "Have you found that established in the Bible?" فقال: أتجد هذا الإنجيل ثابتا يا جاثليق؟
"Yes," came the answer. قال: نعم.
The Imam asked: "O Catholicos, could you tell me about the first Bible, how you lost then found it, and who put your existing Bible together?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: يا جاثليق، ألا تخبرني عن الإنجيل الأول حين افتقدتموه عند من وجدتموه ومن وضع لكم هذا الإنجيل؟
The Catholicos said: "We did not lose the Bible except for one single day then we found it fresh; John and Matthew brought it back to us." فقال له: ما افتقدنا الإنجيل إلا يوماً واحدا حتى وجدناه غضا طريا فأخرجه إلينا يوحنا ومتى
The Imam answered him, saying: "How little your knowledge of the Bible and its scholars is! If such is your claim, then why do you dispute with each other about the Bible? Rather, controversy has always revolved around the Bible which is in your hands today. Had it been the same as the first one, you would not have thus dispute (with one another) about it, but I shall inform you of such controversy myself: Be informed that when the first Bible was lost, the Christians gathered around their scholars and said to them: 'Jesus son of Mary has been killed, and we do not know where the Bible is. You are the scholars; so, what do you have with you?' فقال له الرضا عليه السلام: ما أقل معرفتك بسنن الإنجيل وعلمائه؟! فإن كان هذا كما تزعم! فلم اختلفتم في الإنجيل وإنما وقع الاختلاف في هذا الإنجيل الذي في أياديكم اليوم فلو كان على العهد الأول لم تختلفوا فيه ولكني مفيدك علم ذلك اعلم أنه لما افتقد الإنجيل الأول اجتمعت النصارى إلى علمائهم فقالوا لهم: "قتل عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام وافتقدنا الإنجيل وأنتم العلماء فما عندكم؟
"Luke and Mark said to them: 'We have learned the Bible by heart; so, do not grieve in its regard, and do not forsake the churches, for we shall recite to you one Gospel after another on each Sunday till we put it all together.'" فقال لهم الوقا ومر قابوس: إنّ الإنجيل في صدورنا ونحن نخرجه إليكم سفراً سفراً في كل أحد فلا تحزنوا عليه ولا تخلوا الكنائس فإنا سنتلوه عليكم في كل أحد سفراً سفراً حتى نجمعه كله.
The Imam added, saying: "Luke, Mark, John, and Matthew put this Bible of yours after you had lost the first (original) one. These four men were students of the early (disciples); are you aware of that?" فقعد الوقا ومر قابوس ويوحنا ومتى فوضعوا لكم هذا الإنجيل بعد ما افتقدتم الإنجيل الأول وإنما كان هؤلاء الأربعة تلاميذ تلاميذ الأولين أعلمت ذلك؟
The Catholicos said: "This I did not know and now I have learned from you things with which I was familiar and to which my heart testifies to be the truth. I have, therefore, gained a better understanding." فقال الجاثليق: أما هذا فلم أعلمه وقد علمته الآن وبان لي من فضل علمك بالإنجيل وسمعت أشياء مما علمته، شهد قلبي أنها حق فاستزدت كثيراً من الفهم.
... فقال له الرضا عليه السلام: فكيف شهادة هؤلاء عندك؟
... قال: جائزة هؤلاء علماء الإنجيلوكلما شهدوا به فهو حق.
The Imam turned to al-Ma'mun and those who were present from among his family and others than them and said: "Bear witness to what he has just said." قال الرضا عليه السلام للمأمون ومن حضره من أهل بيته ومن غيره: اشهدوا عليه.
"We testify," they said. قالوا: قد شهدنا.
The Imam addressed the Catholicos, saying: "I challenge you to swear by the son and his mother whether you know if Matthew had said concerning the lineage of Jesus: 'The Messiah is son of David, son of Abraham, son of Isaac, son of Jacob, son of Yehuda, son of Khadrun,

and that Mark said about the lineage of Jesus that he was the word of Allah which he placed in the human body, so it became human, and that Luke said that Jesus son of Mary and his mother were humans of flesh and blood, so the Holy Spirit entered into them.' Then you testify that Jesus had himself said the following about his creation: 'I will tell you the truth: None ascends the heavens except him who descends therefrom except the Rider of the Camel, the seal of the prophets, for he shall ascend to the heavens then shall he descend.’ What do you say about that?"

ثم قال عليه السلام للجاثليق: بحق الابن وأمه، هل تعلم أن متّى قال: "إن المسيح هو ابن داود بن إبراهيم بن إسحاق بن يعقوب (يهوذا) بن خضرون". فقال مرقابوس في نسبه عيسى مريم عليه السلام: "إنه كلمه الله أحلّها في جسد الآدمي فصارت إنساناً". وقال الوقا: إنّ عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام وأمّه كانا إنسانين من لحم ودم فدخل فيها الروح القدس. ثم إنك تقول من شهادة عيسى على نفسه: "حقا أقول لكم ـ يا معشر الحواريين ـ إنه لا يصعد إلى السماء إلا من نزل منها، إلا راكب البعير خاتم الأنبياء فإنه يصعد إلى السماء وينزل".

فما تقول في هذا القول؟

He said: "This is the speech of Jesus, and we do not deny it." قال الجاثليق: هذا قول عيسى لا ننكره.
The Imam said to him: "If so, what do you say about the testimony of Luke, Mark, and Matthew with regard to Jesus and what they had attributed to him?" قال الرضا عليه السلام: فما تقول في شهادة ألوقا ومرقابوس ومتّى على عيسى وما نسبوه إليه؟
"They lied about him," was the answer. قال الجاثليق: كذبوا على عيسى.
The Imam said: "People, has he not (a moment ago) testified to their truthfulness and said that they were the scholars of the Bible and what they said is the truth?" فقال الرضا عليه السلام: يا قوم أليس قد زكّاهم وشهد أنهم علماء الإنجيل وقولهم حق؟!
he said: "Scholar of the Muslims, I would like you to excuse me from discussing these men." فقال الجاثليق: يا عالم المسلمين، أحب أن تعفيني من أمر هؤلاء.
The Imam excused him, and then he said to him: "Question me whatever you desire." قال الرضا عليه السلام: فإنا قد فعلنا، سل ـ يا نصراني ـ عما بدا لك.
he said: "Let someone other than me ask you. By Allah, I did not think that there was a scholar like you among the Muslims." قال الجاثليق: ليسألك غيري، فلا ـ وحق المسيح ـ ما ظننت أن في علماء المسلمين مثلك