As mentioned in one of my comments in article "Ptosis Evaluation", I'd like to share a story written by Umar Muhammad Noor (Imam at Assyafaah Darul Hadith, Singapore) in his article Semua Ilmu Penting which I read in the latest issue of magazine Solusi #16, page 28-29
Here is the story:
There was an "ahli hadith" named al-Hafiz* Abu Bakar Ahmad bin Ibrahim al-Isma'ili from Jurjan (died 371 H), a great scholar (ulama) who was very knowledgable in fields of Hadith and Fiqh. He was very negative against Ahli Kalam because he hated Ilmu Kalam* and those who studied Ilmu Kalam. Due to this hatred, he'd never interested to study Ilmu Kalam until something happened to him.
One day, when Abu Bakar al-Isma'ili was performing sunat prayer in a mosque, he'd overheard two men discussing about Ilmu Kalam. As he hated it very much, he hastened to finish his prayer in order to leave the place immediately. But there was one point in the discussion that resided in his memory, when one of the two mens said:
"Actually the teaching of Syiah Ismailiyyah is very stupid. Any ulama doesn't need to give dalil while debating with followers of Syiah Ismailiyyah. We just need to ask them 'why?', then they won't be able to answer anything back."
Not so long after that, there was a group of Syiah Ismailiyyah followers making an open confession regarding their apostasy (murtad) and told the Sultan about it by letter, saying that they won't accept Islam unless that Muslims can prove the truth of Islam in a debate. The Sultan had to select one of his citizens as a representative for Muslims to be debating against the representative from the Syiah Ismailiyyah.
The Syiah Ismailiyyah's representative requested the Sultan to choose Abu Bakar al-Hafiz to be the Muslim's representative as he knew that Abu Bakar al-Hafiz was only knowledgeble in Hadith but knew nothing about Ilmu Kalam; and unfortunately the Sultan agreed. This selection made other ulamas worried since they knew that Abu Bakar al-Hafiz would lose the debate as he was unknowledgeable in Ilmu Kalam.
For Abu Bakar al-Hafiz, he knew that Ilmu Kalam was not his field of expertise but he couldn't refuse from being the representative of Muslims because it was a Sultan's order. This made him regretted himself for not studying anything about Ilmu Kalam. This time only he realized the importance of studying Ilmu Kalam as it can be used as an agrument in such debate to defend our sacred religion of Islam.
But Allah is always by our side. Abu Bakar al-Hafiz suddenly remembered the saying about Syiah Ismailiyyah that he overheard in a mosque the other day, and this gave him strength to face the representative of Syiah Ismailiyyah. During the debate session, the Syiah's representative enthusiastically and confidently explained the content of Syiah Ismailiyyah teaching. When it was the turn for Abu Bakar al-Hafiz to speak, can u guess what he said?
Yeah, he only said "Why?" but the representative couldn't answer anything to defend his strayed teaching. So, the Muslims won the debate by the hand of Abu Bakar al-Hafiz and of course, with the help of Allah. Abu Bakar al-Hafiz was very grateful to Allah for helping him in that critical situation and since then, he was so motivated to learn Ilmu Kalam. What I wanna stress here is not the stupidity of Syiah Ismailiyyah but particularly the importance of mastering a wide range of knowledge. You can think of other moral values from this story by yourself.
:: wallahu a'lam ::
* al-Hafiz adalah gelaran terhormat bagi ahli hadis yang telah menghafal hadis pada kuantiti tertentu, manakala mereka yang menghafal al-Quran pula sepatutnya digelar al-Muqri. Tapi di Malaysia, kita dah terbiasa menggunakan gelaran al-Hafiz untuk mereka yang menghafal Quran.
* Ilmu Kalam secara ringkasnya ialah ilmu yang membahas ajaran-ajaran dasar bagi sesuatu agama, termasuk ajaran-ajaran agama lain.