A lesson concerning debates

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Ibn al-Mubarak said, “The people of Kufah debated me concerning intoxicants. I said to them that they were impermissible. So they denounced that and mentioned names from among the Tabi`un, such as Ibrahim (al-Nakha`i) and his likes. They said, ‘Did they meet Allah having drunk something impermissible?’

So I said to them in refutation, ‘Do not mention names when debating. But if you refuse, then what do you say about `Ata’, Tawus and their likes among the people of Hijaz?’ They said, ‘[Freedom of] choice.’

So I said, ‘Then what do you say about buying a dirham for two dirhams?’ They said, ‘Impermissible.’

So I said to them, ‘Will they meet Allah having eaten something impermissible? When debating, leave off mentioning names!’”

[Masa’il al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal wa Ishaq bin Rahawayah, Riwayah Ishaq bin Mansur al-Kawsaj (#3537)]

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