Text:Debate of Imam al-Rida (a) with the Zoroastrian Scholar

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After taking Imam al-Rida (a) to Khorasan, al-Ma'mun held debates between him and the prominent figures of other religions and denominations for his own purposes. The debate cited below is between Imam al-Rida (a) and the senior Zoroastrian figure present in one of the debates.

In this conversation, the Zoroastrian figure appeals to reports about Zarathustra's miracles transmitted to us by earlier people as evidence for his prophethood. The Imam (a) employs the same evidence to prove the prophethood of the prophets after Zarathustra, and the Zoroastrian figure cannot reply to the Imam's (a) argument.

The Debate

In a debate held by al-Ma'mun between Imam al-Rida (a) and the heads of religions and denominations,

The Imam (a) asked Zoroastrians about their evidence for the prophethood of Zarathustra. He told Hirbidh the Great: What is your reason for Zarathustra's prophethood? فقال له الرضا عليه السلام: أخبرني عن زردهشت الذي تزعم أنه نبي، ما حجتك على نبوّته؟
Hirbidh replied: he had miracles which were never displayed by anyone before him. Of course, we have not seen him, but we have reports from earlier people to the effect that he permitted us to do things which were not permitted before. Thus, we follow him. قال: إنّه أتى بما لم يأتنا أحد قبله، ولم نشهده ولكن الأخبار من أسلافنا وردت علينا بأنّه أحلّ لنا ما لم يحلّه غيره فاتبعناه.
The Imam (a) said: So, you follow him because of the reports you have received. قال عليه السلام: أفليس إنما أتتكم الأخبار فاتبعتموه؟
Hirbidh replied: Yes. It is true. قال: بلى
The Imam (a) said: Other previous nations are the same. They heard reports about the miracles of prophets—Moses (a), Jesus (a), and Muhammad (s). So, what is your excuse for not believing in these prophets, while you have believed in Zarathustra only because of numerous, assuring reports about miracles he had which nobody else had displayed? قال عليه السلام: فكذلك سائر الأمم السالفة أتتهم الأخبار بما أتى به النبيون وأتى به موسى بن عمران و عيسى بن مريم و لمحمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، فما عذركم في ترك الإقرار لهم؟ إذ كنتم إنما أقررتم بزردهشت من قبل الأخبار المتواترة بأنه جاء بما لم يجئ به غيره
Hirbidh could not reply فانقطع الهربذ مكانه

.[1]

Notes

  1. Tabrisi, al-Ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 424

References

  • Tabrisi, Ahmad b. 'Ali al-. Al-Ihtijaj. Ed. Muhammad Baqir Musawi Khirsan. Mashhad: Nashr al-Murtada, 1403 AH.