A physician attached to the court of al-Mansur once and asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (r.a) if he wanted to learn something in this field from him.
The Imam (r.a) said: ‘No. What I have is better than what you have.’ Then began a very interesting discourse, in which the Imam (r.a) asked the physician questions like these:
1. Why is the head covered with hair?
2. Why are there lines and wrinkles on the forehead?
3. Why are the eyes shaped like almonds?
4. Why has the nose been placed between the eyes?
5. Why are the hair and the nails without life (sensation)?
These questions moved from the head downwards, till Imam (r.a) ended by asking:
6. Why do the knees fold backwards, and why is the foot hollow on oneside?
To all these questions, the physician had only one reply: ‘I do not know.’
The Imam (r.a) said: ‘But I do know.’ Then he explained all the questions, showing the wisdom and power of Allah.
1. The hair is created over the head so that oil may reach inside, and heat may go out through it, and so that it may protect the head from heat and cold.
2. There are lines and wrinkles on the forehead so that sweat from the head does not reach the eyes, giving the person a chance to wipe it away.
3. The eyes are almond-shaped so as to make it easy to put medicine inside them and remove dirt from them. Had they been square or round, both would have been difficult.
4. The nose is put between the eyes as it helps to divide the light equally towards both eyes.
5. The hair and nails lack sensation to make it easier to cut and trim them. If there were life in them it would have hurt a person to cut them.
6. The knees fold backwards because human beings walk forward, and the foot is hollow to make movement easier.’