Dealing with traditions in which one lacks understanding

Dawud ibn Farqad wrote in a letter to Imam Rida (a.s.):“We ask you about the knowledge that has been passed down to us from your fathers and grandfathers. They differed in it for us. How do you deal with the differences about it? When we refer to you, there is already difference about it.”

نسألك عن العلم المنقول إلينا عن آبائك وأجدادك قد اختلفوا علينا فيه كيف العمل به على اختلافه إذا نرد إليك فقد اختلف فيه

Imam Rida (a.s.) replied: “That which you know, that it is our saying, you adhere to it and that what you do not know, leave it to us.”

ما علمتم أنه قولنا فالزموه وما لم تعلموا فردوه إلينا

[Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Vol. 2, page 241]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said : “Our sayings are difficult, tiresome, clear, wise, rough, noble, generous. If you hear something of it, to which your hearts are softened, then take it upon yourselves and praise God for it, and if you do not bear it and do not succeed, then leave it to the knowledgeable Imam (a.s.) from the family of Muhammad (s.a.), because the wretched one is only the one who says: “By God, it is not true.”

إن حديثنا صعب مستصعب أجرد ذكوان وعر شريف كريم فإذا سمعتم منه شيئا ولانت له قلوبكم فاحتملوه واحمدوا الله عليه، وإن لم تحتملوه ولم تطيقوه فردوه إلي الإمام العالم من آل محمد عليهم السلام فإنما الشقي الهالك الذي يقول: والله ما كان هذا

[Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, vol. 2, p. 192.]

Abu Basir reports from one of the two Imams, Sadiq (a.s.) and Baqir (a.s.): “Do not declare any statement as a lie, that a Murji’ brings to you and also not from a Qadari and also not from a Khariji, who attributes it to us, because you do not know. Perhaps there is some truth in it, whereupon you declare God over His Throne to be a liar.”

لا تكذبوا بحديث آتاكم مرجئي ولا قدري ولا خارجي نسبه إلينا فإنكم لا تدرون لعله شئ من الحق فتكذبوا الله عز وجل فوق عرشه

[Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Vol. 2, page 187 – 188]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Leave it to us [let it be our matter], because if you declare it to be a lie, then you declare us to be liars.”

رده إلينا فإنك إن كذبت فإنما تكذبنا

[Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, volume 2, page 187]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: “Our saying is difficult, tiresome. No one believes in it except a near angel or a sent prophet or a believer whose heart is tested by God for faith. If your hearts recognize it, accept it, and the one your hearts reject, leave it to us [let it be our matter].”

حديثنا صعب مستصعب لا يؤمن به إلا ملك مقرب، أو نبي مرسل، أو مؤمن امتحن الله قلبه للإيمان، فما عرفت قلوبكم فخذوه، وما أنكرت فردوه إلينا

[Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Vol. 2, page 191]

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