Punishment for the Denial of Prophethood
Kulaini has reported in ‘Kafi’ on the authority of Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A) that Hazrat Ali (A) was once sitting in the Juma Mosque of Kufa when four persons were presented to him as prisoners with the crime that they were taking food during day time although they knew it that that was the Holy month of Ramzan.
Hazrat Ali (A) talked to them as follows:
“Did you take your food during day knowing that it was the month of Ramzan ?”
”Are You Jews ?”
“What religion do you, then, belong to ?”
“We are Muslims, Sir.”
“Then you must be travellers ?”
“No, Sir, we are the residents of this very city.”
“Then you must be suffering from certain diseases of which others might not be aware, but you might be knowing them well ? as the Holy Quran says :
“A man knows about himself and when a disease befalls him he knows it.”
“Thank God, we are not suffering from any disease what.soever,” replied the prisoners.
Hearing this Hazrat Ali (A) smiled and asked the prisoners.
“Do you believe in the Unity of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad (SA)” ?
The prisoners replied “We believe in the Unity of God, but we do not believe in Muhammad (SA) as a Prophet of God; we rather believe that Muhammad (SA) was only an Arab, who had invited people to gather round him.”
Hazrat Ali (A) then said to them “If you denied the Prophethood of Muhammad (SA) after calling yourselves Muslims, I shall kill you all.”
To this they replied: “You may do whatever you like.” Thereafter, no way out was left for Hazrat Ali (A) except killing them for the crime of apostasy. But he killed them by smoke gradually i.e., putting them in a covered ditch blocked on all the four corners except a hole to a similar ditch wherein they were put and through which smoke was passing to their ditch from the adjacent one where a fire was buring and putting the question to them as to whether they agreed for penitence for their crime of apostasy. But the prisoners were adamant enough not to agree to penitence with the result that all died without a word till they breathed their last.
When the news of the above incident spread to other cities a group of Jews came from Medina to Kufa and requested for audience with Hazrat Ali (A) and it was duly granted.
When they were presented to Hazrat Ali (A), they said to him:
“Sir, we have heard that have invented a punishment for killing people which is against all the tents of Islam as well as those of Christianity and the religion of the Jews. We have, therefore, came to ask you, Sir, whether it is true or not.”
Thereafter, they waited for an answer from Hazrat Ali (A) and it came as follows :-
“It put you on oath by the signs which were shown to Hazrat Musa (A) (Moses) and by the one who does not need any thing but is the whole and sole monarch of the Day of Judgement i.e., Allah to say as to after departure of Moses (A) a group of people was no brought to Yoosha bin Noon with the accusation that they believed in the Unity of God, but they had denied the Prophethood of Moses (A), although they had accepted him as a Prophet earlier and to whether the latter had not awarded the same punishment to them as have awarded to these so called Muslims now ?”
All the Jews then said with one voice: “We now believe that you know the Secrets of Moses (A).” Thereafter their leader took out a document from under his cloak and showed to Hazrat Ali (A).
After Hazrat Ali (A) had gone through the document he began weeping bitterly. The leader of the Jews asked him as to whether he could read Hebrew being an Arab, Hazrat Ali (A) replied in the affirmative and told his (Hazrat Ali AS) own name was written in the document and that was the reason of his shedding tears.
The Grand Jew requested Hazrat Ali (A) to show where his name was written in the document. Hazrat Ali (A) showed him his name and told him Elia stood for Ali in Hebrew language.
Thereafter, the Grand Jew together with his folks recited the Kalma and became Muslims. (Biharul Anwar, vol. 9. p. 492).