Comprehending the Great Names of Allah is not even for some great companions (1)

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عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ حَنْظَلَةَ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِاَبِي جَعْفَرٍؑ اِنِّي اَظُنُّ اَنَّ لِي عِنْدَكَ مَنْزَلَةً قَالَ اَجَلْ قَالَ قُلْتُ فَاِنَّ لِي اِلَيْكَ حَاجَةً قَالَ وَ مَا هِيَ قُلْتُ تُعَلِّمُنِي الِاسْمَ الْاَعْظَمَ قَالَ وَ تُطِيقُهُ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَادْخُلِ الْبَيْتَ قَالَ فَدَخَلَ الْبَيْتَ فَوَضَعَ اَبُو جَعْفَرٍؑ يَدَهُ عَلَى الْاَرْضِ فَاَظْلَمَ الْبَيْتُ فَاَرْعَدَتْ فَرَائِصُ عُمَرَ فَقَالَ مَا تَقُولُ اُعَلِّمُكَ فَقَالَ لَا قَالَ فَرَفَعَ يَدَهُ فَرَجَعَ الْبَيْتُ كَمَا كَانَ 

Umar Ibn Hanzalah reports, “I said to Imam Abu Jafar (al-Baqer a.s.), ‘I think I have some importance in front of you?’

He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Yes’.

I requested, ‘So, I have a need.’

He (peace be upon him) asked, ‘What is it?’

I pleaded, ‘Teach me the Greatest Name’.

He (peace be upon him) asked, ‘Do you have the strength (to bear it)?’

I answered, ‘Yes’.

He (peace be upon him) ordered, ‘So, enter the room’. He entered the room.

Then, Imam Abu Jafar (peace be upon him) placed his hand on the earth and the whole room became dark. Umar started shivering due to fear.

Imam (peace be upon him) asked, ‘What do you say? Should I still teach you?’

He answered, ‘No’.

Imam (peace be upon him) lifted his hand and the room returned to its original state.


1)    Umar Ibn Hanzalah was a good companion of Imam al-Baqer (peace be upon him). But even he was not eligible to learn the Great Names of Allah.

2)    When Imam (peace be upon him) asked whether he had the power to bear it, Ibn Hanzalah should have left the decision to Imam (peace be upon him), who knows the best.


1.    Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 210, H. 1

2.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 27, p. 27, H. 6

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