The boy stood quietly and watched. He then decided that he would challenge the man. He walked up and told the man, "I will accept your challenge".
The man laughed at the boy and ridiculed the Muslims even more by saying, "A ten-year-old boy challenges me. Is this all you people have to offer!"
But the boy patiently reiterated his stance. He would challenge the man, and with Allah`s help and guidance, he would put this to an end. The man finally accepted.
The entire city gathered around a small "hill" where open addresses were usually made. The man climbed to the top, and in a loud voice asked his first question.
"What is your God doing right now?"
The small boy thought for a little while and then told the man to climb down the hill and to allow him to go up in order to address the question.
The man says "What? You want me to come down?"
The boy says, "Yes. I need to reply, right?"
The man made his way down and the small boy, age 10, with his little feet made his way up.
This small child`s reply was "Oh Allah Almighty! You be my witness in front of all these people. You have just willed that a Kafir is brought down to a low level and that a Muslim be brought to a high level!"
The crowd cheered and screamed "Takbir"...."Allah-hu-Akbar!!!"
The man was humiliated, but he boldly asked his Second question... "What existed before your God?"
The small child thought and thought.
Then he asked the man to count backward. "Count from 10 backward."
The man counted..."10, 9 ,8 , 7 , 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,0"
The boy asked, "What comes before 0 ?"
The man: "I don`t know...nothing."
The boy: "Exactly. Nothing was before Allah, for He is eternal and absolute."
The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-Akbar!!!!"
The man, now completely frustrated, asked his final question. "In which direction is your Allah facing?"
The boy thought and thought.
He then asked for a candle. A candle was brought to him. The blessed child handed it to the man and asked him to light it.
The man did so and remarked, "What is this supposed to prove?"
The young boy asked, "In which direction is light from the candle going?"
The man responded, "It is going in all directions."
The boy: "You have answered your own question. Allah`s light (noor) goes in all directions. He is everywhere. There is nowhere that He cannot be found.
"The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-Akbar!!!"
The man was so impressed and so moved by the boy`s knowledge and spirituality, that he embraced Islam and became a student of the young boy.
So ended the debate.
Who was the young boy?
The young boy was one of our leaders and one of the greatest scholars, Imam Abu Hanîfa (May Allah bless him).
[Adapted into English from "Manâqib Abî Hanîfah" written by Imâm Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad al-Makki (d. 568 Hijri). Dar al - Kitâb al-'Arabiy, Beirut, 1981/1401H.]