Stories of Bohlool


Author(s): N/A

Translator(s): Kubra Jafri

Category: Kids Corner Companions

Topic Tags: Imam musa kadhim Companions

Person Tags: Bahlool


A biography and stories from the life of Bahlool, the companion of the 7th Imam (a), who in order to hide his love for the Imam acted as if he was insane.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

This book is dedicated to the memory of my father, Syed Qasim Hasan Jafri, who inspired me to translate the original work, which was in Urdu.

Kubra Jafri

A Little About Bahlool

Bahlool was born in Kufa and his real name is Wahab bin Amr. Haroun Rashid feared for the safety of his Khalifate and kingdom from the 7th Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.); therefore, he tried to destroy the Imam. Haroun thought of a trick by which he could kill the Holy Imam.

He put the blame of rebellion upon the Imam and demanded a judicial decree from the pious people of his time--which included Bahlool. Everyone gave the decree except Bahlool, who opposed the decision. He immediately went to the Imam and informed him of the circumstances, and asked for advice and guidance. Then and there the Imam told him to act insanely.

Because of the situation, Bahlool acted insanely by the Imam's order. By doing this, he was saved from Haroun's punishment. Now, without any fear of danger, and in amusing ways, Bahlool protected himself from tyrannies. He insulted the notorious Khalifa and his courtiers just by

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talking. Nevertheless, people acknowledged his superior wisdom and excellence. Even today many of his stories are narrated in assemblies and teach the listeners valuable lessons.

According to a more popular tradition, some of the Holy Imam's companions and special friends came to him because the Khalifa was angry with them, and asked him for advice. The Imam answered with the sole letter (jim) ; all of them understood that that was it and asked no further questions.

Each person understood the Holy Imam's advice in his own different way. One person took (jim) to mean (jala watan) --exile. Another thought of (jabl) --mountain. Bahlool took it to mean (jinoon) --insanity. This is how all of the Imam's companions were saved from calamity.

Before becoming insane, Bahlool lived a life of influence and power, but after obeying the Imam's order, he turned his face away from the majesty and splendor of the world. In reality, he became crazy over Allah. He dressed in rags, preferred desolate places over Haroun's palaces, lived on a bite of stale bread. He did not accept favors from or depend upon Haroun or those like him. Bahlool considered himself better than the Khalifa and his courtiers because of his way of life.

(A Poem)

Those with kingly temperaments deserve respect from

the chiefs of the kingdom.

This is a ragged king whose slaves are great and powerful

kings like Jamsheed and Khaqan.

Today he overlooked the goodness of this world, tomorrow

he will not even give importance to Paradise.

Don't look scornfully at these

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beggars with no shoes on their feet!

They are dearer to wisdom than eyes which shed tears from

fear of Allah.

If Adam sold Paradise for two grains of wheat, then truly know

that these people will not buy it for even one grain.

Bahlool was sincerely devoted to Allah; he was an intelligent and virtuous scholar. He was the master of the mind and manners; he spoke with the best of answers ready on his lips; he protected his faith and the Shariah. Bahlool became insane at the Imam's command for the love of Ahlul Bayt, and so he could enforce the rights of which they had been wronged.

There was no other way for Bahlool to protect his life. For example, Haroun told his vizier, Yahya bin Khalid Barmaki, that listening to the words of Imam Jafar Sadiq's student Hisham bin Hikam --who proved Imam Musa Kazim's Imamate-- was more dangerous to him than 100,000 swords. Haroun said, “Even then it amazes me that Hisham is alive and I am in power.”

Haroun planned to kill Hisham. Hisham learned of this and fled from Kufa, and hid in a friend's house, but after a short while he died.

Bahlool and the Khalifa's Food

It is said that Haroun Rashid sent some food to Bahlool. His servant brought the food to Bahlool, put it in front of him, and said, “This is the Khalifa's special food, he has sent it to you to eat.”

Bahlool placed the food in front of the dog that was sitting in

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the ruins of the place. The servant screamed, “Why did you give the Khalifa's food to the dog!”

Bahlool said, “Be quiet! If the dog hears that the Khalifa sent this food, it won't eat it either.”

Bahlool Sits on Haroun Rashid's Throne

One day Bahlool arrived at Haroun's palace and saw that the throne was empty. There was no one to stop him, so he unhesitatingly and fearlessly went and sat in Haroun's place. When the court slaves saw this, they immediately started whipping him and took him off the throne. Bahlool started crying. Haroun came and saw this; he asked those nearby why Bahlool was crying. A slave told him the whole story. Haroun scolded them and tried to cheer Bahlool up.

Bahlool said he wasn't crying at his condition, but at Haroun's condition. “I sat on the seat of Khalifate wrongfully for a few seconds and received such a beating and endured such misfortune; but you have been sitting on this throne all your life! What troubles you must receive, yet you still don't fear the consequence.”

Bahlool and a Businessman

One day a Baghdadi businessman met Bahlool and said, “Sir Shaykh Bahlool! Give me advice as to what I should buy that would benefit me most.”

Bahlool replied, “Iron and cotton.”

The man went away and bought a lot of iron and cotton and stocked them. After a few months, he sold them and gained a lot of profit. Again he met Bahlool and said, “O Crazy Bahlool! What should

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I buy that would profit me?”

This time Bahlool told him to buy onions and watermelons. The businessman went and bought his entire savings worth of onions and watermelons. Just a few days later, they all rotted and caused a lot of harm. He immediately sought out Bahlool and said, “ When I first asked you for advice, you said buy iron and cotton. I profited a lot from this, but the second time what kind of advice did you give me! All my wealth was destroyed!”

Bahlool said, “The first day you addressed me as Shaykh Bahlool, and since you addressed me as an intelligent person, I advised you according to my wisdom. The second time you called me Crazy Bahlool, so I advised you like a crazy person.”

The businessman was ashamed of his behavior and understood Bahlool well.

Bahlool With His Friend

One day a friend of Bahlool's took some grains to grind at the mill. After grinding them, he loaded them on his donkey and started home. Near Bahlool's house, his donkey began limping and fell. He called Bahlool and said, “ Give me your ass so I can take my bundle home.”

Bahlool had taken an oath that he would not give his donkey to anyone, so he said, “I don't have a donkey.” But then a donkey's bray was heard.

The man said to Bahlool, “You have a donkey but you said you didn't.”

Bahlool replied, “You are a strange and stupid friend. Even

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though we have been friends for fifty years, you don't listen to me, but you listen to an ass.”

Bahlool and the Sage in Haroun Rashid's Court

Haroun sent for a certain sage of Greece. When he came, Haroun greeted him with majesty, splendor, and respect. For a few days court rulers and the great men of Baghdad came to see this philosopher. On the third day Bahlool also went with some people. In the middle of the formal and petty talk, Bahlool suddenly asked him, “ What kind of work do you do?”

The sage was aware of Bahlool's insanity, so he wanted to make him look like a fool. He answered, “I am a philosopher and I awaken the dead (people's minds).”

Bahlool replied, “Don't kill those (minds) that are alive (by giving wrong ideas). Reawakening the dead (people's minds) is your compensation for that.”

Haroun and his courtiers laughed a lot at Bahlool's answer, and the sage shamefully left Baghdad.

Bahlool Criticizes Haroun

One day Bahlool was near Haroun. He said, “O Bahlool! Criticize me.”

Bahlool said, “O Haroun! If there is no water in the desert, you are attacked by severe thirst, and near death; what would you give for one gulp of refreshing water?”

“Gold dinars.”

“What if the master of the water does not agree to give water for dinars? Then what will you give?”

“I will give half of my kingdom.”

“After drinking the water, you get that illness in which you can't urinate. Now what will you give that One Who will cure

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this illness of yours?”

Haroun answered, “ The remaining half of my kingdom.”

Bahlool said, “Then don't give importance to this kingdom for it is not worth more than a drink of water. Isn't it proper that you do good with Allah's creations?”

Bahlool's Discussion with a Faqih

It is said that a famous Faqih of Khorasan came to Baghdad. When Haroun heard of this, he invited the Faqih to his court. He was respectfully welcomed and was seated next to Haroun and treated very importantly by Haroun. During their conversation, Bahlool arrived. Haroun told him to take a seat. The Faqih took one look at Bahlool and said to Haroun, “The Khalifa's favors and likes are strange that he likes an ordinary man and seats him close to himself.”

Bahlool understood that the Faqih was talking about him, so with all his might he turned to that man and said, “Don't be arrogant about your worthless knowledge, and don't judge my looks. I am ready to debate with you and prove to the Khalifa that you don't know anything.”

The Faqih replied, “I have heard you are insane and I won't have anything to do with crazy people.”

“I confess my insanity, but you don't acknowledge your misunderstanding.”

Haroun Rashid looked at Bahlool angrily and told him to be quiet, but Bahlool didn't listen to him and said, “If that person is so confident about his knowledge, then he should debate.”

Haroun said to the Faqih, “What is the difficulty? Ask Bahlool some question.”

He replied,

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“I am ready on one condition, which is that I will ask Bahlool something. If he gives a correct answer, I will give him 1,000 dinars (gold coins). If he can't answer, he will give me 1,000 dinars.

Bahlool said, “I don't have anything of worldly wealth, not even gold dinars, but I am ready; when I answer your question, I will take the money and distribute it among paupers. If I can't answer, then I will attend to you as a servant and slave.”

The man accepted these conditions and asked Bahlool, “In a house a wife is sitting with her lawful husband. In that house one person is praying Salat (prayer) and another is fasting. Someone from outside enters the house. Because of his coming, the husband and wife become unlawful for each other, the prayers and fasts also become unlawful. Can you tell me who is the person that came?”

Bahlool immediately answered, “The man that entered the house was the woman's first husband, who had gone on a journey. When a very long time had passed since he left, and news was received that he had died; according to the permission of Shariah, the woman married the man sitting next to her. She hired two people; one to fulfill her dead husband's overdue, unfulfilled prayers, and another to fulfill tardy fasts. During this time the man who had gone on the journey returned, although news of his death was widespread. Therefore, the other husband becomes unlawful as

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do the prayers and fasts.”

Haroun and those present became confident and praised Bahlool for solving the problem correctly. Then Bahlool said, “Now it's my turn to ask a question.”

The Faqih said, “Ask.”

Bahlool asked, “I have one jar of honey and a second full of vinegar. I want to prepare the refreshing drink Sikanjebeen. I fill one bowl with honey and another with vinegar. To make Sikanjebeen, I mix them both together. Afterwards I see that there is a mouse in it. Can you tell me if the mouse was in the honey or the vinegar jar?”

The Faqih thought for a long time, but was unsuccessful in answering.

Haroun said to Bahlool, “Now, you give the answer.”

Bahlool replied, “If this person accepts his inferior knowledge I will answer the question.”

Helpless, the Faqih confessed his inferiority.

Bahlool replied, “We should take the mouse out, wash it with water, and after it is cleaned of honey and vinegar, cut its stomach open. If the stomach contains vinegar, then believe that it fell in the vinegar jar. If it contains honey, accept that it fell in the honey.”

The entire assembly was astonished at Bahlool's intelligence and knowledge, and praised him a lot. The Faqih bowed his head, and according to the deal, Bahlool distributed the 1,000 dinars amongst Baghdad's poor.

Bahlool and a Slave who was Scared of the Sea

A Baghdadi merchant was sitting in a ship with his slave, and they were going to Basra. Bahlool and some others were also in this ship. The slave started

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crying because he was afraid of the ship's turbulent movements. All the travelers became annoyed at this. Bahlool asked the slave's master permission to quiet him by some advice. The merchant agreed. Bahlool immediately gave the order to throw the slave into the sea. His command was carried out. When the slave was near death, he was rescued. After that experience, the slave quietly sat in a corner of the ship.

The travelers asked Bahlool the reason why this act quieted the slave. Bahlool replied, “This slave didn't know how comfortable this ship was or what greatness and value it held. When he was thrown into the sea, he understood that this ship is a comfortable and relieving place.”

Haroun Asks Bahlool a Question

One day Haroun was intoxicated and was sitting in a place on the corner of the river, busy watching the spectacle being made by the water waves. Meanwhile, Bahlool arrived. Haroun gave a drunken laugh, and then gave Bahlool a happy, warm welcome, and ordered him to sit down.

A little while later Haroun said, “ Bahlool, today I am going to ask you a matter. If you give the right answer I will give you 1,000 Dinars; if you can't answer, I will give the order to throw you from this palace into the river.

Bahlool said, “I don't have any need for the Dinars, but I will accept your offer on one condition.”

Haroun accepted so Bahlool said, “If I correctly answer your question then

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you must free 100 friends of mine that are in your prison; if I don't answer correctly, you have the right to throw me in the river.”

So, Haroun asked, “If I have one goat, one wolf, and a bundle of grass, and I want to get them one by one from this side to the other side of the river; then in which order should they be taken so that the goat can't eat the grass and the wolf can't eat the goat?”

“First leave the wolf and take the goat across the river. Then come back and take the grass, leave it there, but bring the goat back. Now leave the goat here and take the wolf to the other side. Leave it there, come back alone, and then take the goat. This way one by one, they can all be safely taken across the river. Neither will the goat eat the grass, nor will the wolf eat the goat.”

Haroun exclaimed, “Bravo! You gave the correct answer.”

Then Bahlool told the names of his 100 friends who were all in all believers of the Holy Imam. The scribe wrote these names down; but when Haroun received the list, saw and recognized the names, he broke his promise. Later, after listening to Bahlool again, he only freed and forgave ten people.

Haroun Asks Bahlool for Advice

One day Haroun was passing by on his way somewhere when he saw Bahlool riding a stick (as if it were a horse) and running with children.

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He called Bahlool who asked, “What do you want?”

Haroun said, “Criticize me.”

Bahlool said, “Look at the palaces and graves of previous Khalifas with the mind's eye. This is a great warning. You know very well that these people pass a length of time in their palaces with pleasure and enjoyment, pride and delight. Many regret and grieve over their bad deeds, and are shameful, but know nothing can be a remedy. Know that we are also hurriedly approaching these consequences.”

Bahlool's advice made Haroun uneasy. He asked, “What should I do that would make Allah happy with me?”

“That deed by which Allah's creations would be happy with you.”

“What should I do that Allah's creations would be happy with me?”

“Become just and equitable. What you don't think proper for yourself, don't think suitable for others. Listen patiently to the pleas and requests of the oppressed. Give answers nobly, prove yourself true to favors, rule with justice, and give just decisions.”

“Well done Bahlool! You have given very good advice. I give the order to fulfill your debts.”

“Debt from debt is never fulfilled. Today whatever is under your control is the public's wealth, shower it upon them and do not favor me.”

“Then request something else from me.”

“My request is that you follow my advice, but it is sad that this world's majesty and splendor has made your heart so hard that my advice will have no effect upon you.”

Then Bahlool shook his stick and said, “Move away! My horse kicks!” He

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remounted his stick and ran away.

Bahlool's Advice to Fazl bin Rabi'

Fazl bin Rabi' was passing by on his way somewhere when he saw Bahlool sitting with his head bowed, deep in thought. Fazl loudly said, “ Bahlool! What are you doing?”

Bahlool raised his head, saw Fazl, and said, “I am thinking about your end. Your resurrection will be like that of Jafar Barmaki.”

Fazl's heart started beating faster because he was so frightened at these words. He said, “O Bahlool! I have heard about Jafar's death, but not from your tongue. I want you to tell me about his death without adding or hiding anything.”

Bahlool said, “During the Khalifate of Mansoor's son Mehdi, Khalid Barmaki's son Yahya was Haroun Rashid's scribe and permanent reader. Soon Haroun, Yahya, and his son Jafar became very attached to each other. Haroun had so much affection for Jafar that he did his Nikah (engagement) with his sister Abbasa, but ordered Jafar not to be violent toward her. Jafar opposed Haroun's wishes and made Abbasa a concubine. When Haroun heard about this, his entire affection for Jafar was swallowed up by enmity and discord. Now, day and night he searched for an excuse to kill Jafar, and thus destroy the Barmaki family.

“Finally, one night he said to his slave Masroor, 'Tonight I want you to cut off Jafar's head off and bring it to me.'

Masroor started trembling at this and worriedly bowed his head. Haroun asked, 'Why are you so quiet, what are you thinking?'

Masroor replied, 'This

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is a very big deed. O! Would my death come before I would do this.'

Haroun said, 'If you don't obey my command, you will be subject to my anger and wrath, and I will beat you in such a way that even pigeons will cry for you.'

“Masroor helplessly went to Jafar's house and conveyed the tyrant Khalifa's dangerous command. Jafar said, 'Possibly the Khalifa gave this order while he was drunk, and when his mind clears, he will regret it. That is why I want you to go back and give the Khalifa news of my murder. If by morning there is no sign of regret in him, then I will, myself, bow down my head in front of your sword.'

“Masroor didn't have the courage to accept Jafar's condition. He said, 'Come with me to the curtain that separates us from the king's quarters. Maybe your love will make Haroun helpless and will change his decision.'

“Jafar agreed to Masroor's idea and walked towards his sorrowful demise. When these two arrived behind the curtain, Masroor started hiccuping and became very frightened. He went and stood in front of the Khalifa.

“Haroun asked, 'Masroor, what? What!'

“Masroor replied, 'I have brought Jafar. He is here, standing behind the curtain.'

'If you show the least bit of slowness or leniency in obeying my order, I will have you killed first!'

“There was no way to linger after these words. Masroor ran toward Jafar and cut off his head--the head of the handsome militant youth who was famous

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for being among the most well-mannered, and excelled in virtue and talent; he was a leader of generosity and beneficence. Masroor put Jafar's head on top of his own and presented it to Haroun. The unmerciful Khalifa did not think that this was enough, so he ordered the whole Barmaki family to be destroyed, and their entire wealth to be seized. Jafar's body was hung on the fort of Baghdad; a few days later it was burned.”

Bahlool continued, “Now O Fazl! I fear for your end. I tremble at the thought that your demise may be like Jafar's.”

Fazl became very frightened at Bahlool's words. He said, “Pray for my safety.”

Fazl bin Rabi' Builds a Mosque

Fazl bin Rabi' had a mosque constructed in Baghdad. It was decided to place a plaque on its door. The people asked Fazl what should be written on it. Bahlool also happened to be present. He asked Fazl, “Who did you make the mosque for?”

Fazl replied, “For Allah.”

Bahlool said, “If you made it for Allah, then don't inscribe your name on the plaque.”

Fazl angrily said, “Why shouldn't I have my name inscribed on the tablet? People have to know who the maker of the mosque is!”

“Then have it inscribed that the maker of this mosque is Bahlool.”

“I certainly will not have that written!”

“If you made this mosque for fame and self-show then you have lost your reward.”

Fazl became speechless at Bahlool's words. He said, “Whatever Bahlool says, have that inscribed.”

This time Bahlool said,

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“Have a verse from the Sacred Qur'an inscribed on the door of the mosque.”

Bahlool and a Thief

One day Bahlool was wearing new shoes. He went to the mosque for prayers. He saw a man staring at his shoes. Bahlool understood that he wanted his new shoes. Helplessly, Bahlool stood for Salat (prayer) with his shoes on.

The thief said, “Salat (prayer) isn't done with shoes on.”

Bahlool replied, “I won't have my Salat (prayer), but I will have my shoes.”

Haroun Asks Bahlool Another Question

One day Bahlool arrived in Haroun's court and sat in a seat equal to him during the assembly. Haroun was surprised at Bahlool's behavior, so he wanted to embarrass him. He said, “Is Bahlool ready to give an answer to my question?”

“If you don't go back upon your promise, like you did last time; I agree.”

“If you immediately answer my problem, I will give you 1,000 Dinars; if you can not answer I will give the order to shave your beard and mustache and to make you ride on a donkey through Baghdad's alleys and streets with disgrace and dishonor.”

“I have no need of Dinars, but on one condition I will agree to answer your question.”

“What is the condition?”

“If I give the answer to your problem, I want you to give the order that insects should not bother me.”

Haroun bowed his head for a moment and said, “This is impossible. Insects are not my subjects.”

“Then what does that worried person hope for if he can't even

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compete with or control insects.”

The people of the court became astonished at Bahlool's boldness and intelligence.

Haroun's expression changed at Bahlool's answers. Bahlool understood that Haroun was planning revenge, so, to please him, he said, “Now I agree to answer your question without any condition.”

“Which tree is it that has an age of one year, twelve branches, and on each branch there are thirty leaves, one direction facing light while the other faces toward darkness?”

Bahlool immediately replied, “This tree represents the year, the month, and day and night because there are twelve months in a year and thirty days in a month, which are half day and half night.”

“Wow! A very correct answer!” Haroun said.

All those present praised Bahlool.

Bahlool's Gift to the Khalifa

One day Haroun Rashid gave Bahlool some money and told him to distribute it amongst the poor and needy.

Bahlool took the money, but a moment later gave it back to the Khalifa, who asked the reason why he did this.

Bahlool said, “I thought a lot, but found no one more dependent and poor than the Khalifa. This is the reason why I returned the money. I see that your guards and officers stand in the shops and whip people, collect tax and revenue, and then pour them all into your treasures. So I thought that you are the most needy person, and gave the money back to you.”

Bahlool and Haroun

One day Haroun Rashid asked Bahlool, “What is Allah's greatest blessing?”

“Allah's greatest blessing is the mind.

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Khawaja Abdullah Ansari says in his supplication, 'O Allah! Those whom You gave intelligence, what else did You not give; those whom You didn't give understanding, what did You give?' In one reliable Hadith, when Allah decided to take back His blessings from His slaves, first of all He took their intellect away. Reason is amongst subsistence. It is sorrowful that Allah took this blessing away from me.”

Bahlool and Another Thief

It is said that Bahlool lived in a desolate house. Across it was a cobbler's shop which had a window opening towards the house. Bahlool collected a few dirhams and hid them in the dirt. Whenever the need came, he dug up the dirt and took out the needed coins, and buried the rest back again. As it so happened, one day when he needed some coins, he dug the earth and saw that all of his money had disappeared. He immediately understood that the cobbler, whose window faced his house, had taken the coins.

Without making any comment or commotion, Bahlool went and sat by the cobbler to chitchat. Bahlool talked so much that the cobbler became confident and not uneasy. Then Bahlool said, “Beloved friend! Please keep an account for me.”

“You keep talking and I'll keep adding.”

Bahlool talked about some houses and buildings, and with each he mentioned some coins. Then he said that in the house he now lived in there was buried a certain amount of coins. After that the cobbler added them

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all up and said that there was a total of 2,000 dinars.

Bahlool thought for a while and said, “O friend! Now I want some advice from you.”

“Okay. Speak.”

“I want to bury all the coins I have at other places in the house that I live in now; what do you think?”

“Very good idea. Bring all the coins you have hidden and bury them in your present house.”

“I agree to this. Now I will go bring all the coins from other places to bury in that house.” Saying this, Bahlool left the cobbler.

The cobbler thought to himself, “I will bury those coins I stole back where they were. When Bahlool brings the other coins, I will find them and take all of them at once.” Thinking this, he returned the stolen coins to their previous place.

A few hours later, Bahlool went to his house and examined the area that he kept his money in and saw that the cobbler had reburied the coins he had stolen. Bahlool took out the coins, thanked Allah, left that house and went to another. The cobbler waited a very long time for Bahlool, but he was not going to be and could not be found. After a while the cobbler finally understood that Bahlool had tricked him, and so had got his money back.

Bahlool and the Amir of Kufa

Ishaq bin Mohammad bin Sabah was the commander of Kufa. His wife bore him a daughter. For this reason the Amir was very sad

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and depressed. He stopped eating and drinking. When Bahlool heard about this he went to the Amir and said, “O Amir, why this sorrow and grief?”

“I hoped for a son, but regretfully, my wife had a daughter.”

“How would you like it if Allah gave you, instead of these beautiful hands and feet, and a healthy and perfect girl, a crazy boy like me?”

The Amir of Kufa laughed uncontrollably at Bahlool's speech, thanked Allah, ate his meal and drank water, and permitted people to come and congratulate him.

Bahlool and a Vizier

One day a vizier said to Bahlool, “The Khalifa has made you Amir and commander of dogs, chickens, and pigs.”

Bahlool replied, “Then from now on don't disobey my orders because you have become my subject.”

All of the vizier's companions laughed. The vizier was very ashamed and embarrassed because of Bahlool's reply.

Haroun Questions Bahlool About Hazrat Ali

One day Bahlool went to Haroun, who was drunk. He said to Bahlool, “Was Ali ibn Abi Talib greater than the Messenger of Allah's uncle Abbas' son or was Abdullah ibn Abbas greater than Ali?”

“As long as you won't kill me, I will speak the truth.”

“You are safe.”

Bahlool said, “Hazrat Ali is greater than all Muslims after Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa because he is a brave young man who is a real faithful. All the good deeds are found in him. He didn't show the slightest slowness in obeying Islam's and Allah's orders. Word by word, he has obeyed Allah's commands. He had

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such perfect and unchanging faith, that, not only did he think his, but his children's, lives nothing. In all the wars and battles he was always ahead of the advanced guard of the army. No one has ever seen him leave the enemy; so, he was once asked if he ever thought about his life during battles--Allah forbid--'It is possible that someone might attack you from behind and take your life.'

“Hazrat Ali said, 'My fight is for the sake of Allah's religion. In it I have no thought for benefit or of greed and personal desire. My life is in Allah's hands. If I die, then it is with Allah's will, and I will die in Allah's way. What good is greater than this, and I will enjoy it that I will be killed in Allah's way and be amongst the Godly Believers and those who are on the Right and True Path.'

“Even when Hazrat Ali was the Amir and Khalifa of Muslims, he did not love luxury. He spent his entire time working for the Muslims and worshipping Allah. He never took one dinar unnecessarily from the Public Treasury. Once his brother Aqeel, who had a family, requested Hazrat Ali to give him more than his share and right from the Public Treasury. Hazrat Ali denied Aqeel's request. He told all of his officials not to oppress the people. All his affairs were decided with justice and equity. The officer who committed the least bit of oppression or tyranny

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was removed from office after being harshly questioned by Hazrat Ali. He did not even forgive his close friends the punishment they deserved.

“Once when Ibn Abbas was the commander of Basra, he spent some money from the Public Treasury for some personal work. Hazrat Ali asked for that cost back and warned him about that deed. He gave Ibn Abbas a date by which to return the amount, but he could not. Hazrat Ali ordered him to come to Kufa. Ibn Abbas knew that Hazrat Ali was not such a Khalifa who would overlook his mistake, so he fled to Makkah and went and sat in Allah's house because he knew he would be safe there.”

Haroun Rashid became ashamed from listening to this, so he wanted to hurt Bahlool and cause him heartache, so he asked, “Why was such a great and respectful person killed?”

“Many of those on the Right Path have been killed and thousands of Messengers and good, pious slaves of Allah continue to fight in His way.”

“Tell me the details of Ali's death.”

“According to Hazrat Imam Zain-ul-Abedin, when Abdur Rahman ibn Muljim decided to kill Hazrat Ali, he brought another person with him. That accursed man fell into a deep sleep and so did Ibn Muljim. When Amirul Momineen entered the Mosque, he awakened the sleepers for Salat (prayer). When he stood for Salat (prayer), then went to Sajdah, the accursed Ibn Muljim attacked his head with a sword. That

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stroke fell on the place where Amr ibn Abd Wudd had previously wounded the Imam with a stroke at the Battle of Khandaq. From this stroke his head was wounded to the eyebrows, and since the accursed person had soaked the sword in poison, Ali said farewell to the world after three days. He addressed his sons, 'For Allah's friends, the companionship of Prophets and Vicegerents is better than this terminating world. If I die from this wound, then only give my murderer one stroke because he only gave me one stroke of the sword. Don't cut his body into pieces.' After saying this, he was unconscious for a while. When he awoke, he said, 'I saw the Apostle of Allah who ordered me to leave. He said that tomorrow I will be by him.' He said this and died. Then the sky's color changed and the earth started shaking. The sound of Tasbih and righteousness came from the sky to the people's ears, and everyone knew that this was the voice of angels.

“About this, a poet has excellently said,

'Tonight the infidels raised the flag of oppression and tyranny.

From this defeat (martyrdom of Ali), they destroyed Islam's


From this one stroke that was given to the Father of Believers,

it is like the home of faith was ruined. All the dwellers

of Heaven took off the crown of respect and threw it on

the earth from sorrow of Ali.

To the people of the world, running water became bitter.

Perhaps the prison of oppression and tyranny

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has become

absorbed with safety.

By killing the son-in-law of Taha (the Apostle of Allah), the

oppressors have struck and arrow of sorrow into the

heart and body of Ya-Seen (the Apostle of Allah).

'From this grief and misery the dwellers of Paradise became


Because of Qatama the infidels struck the sword of enmity on

Imam Ali's forehead.

The oppressors didn't just cut Hazrat Ali's head into two pieces,

they also cut Allah's hand (Yadullah, meaning Ali).

When the enemy's sword fell upon the Imam's forehead, the

moon and the sun also received the wound of grief.

The attack wounded the forehead of the King of Faith, Ali.

It was as if the miracle of Shaq-ul-Qamar again came to the

world; Ali's forehead was cut into two pieces the way

that the Apostle of Allah's finger sliced the moon into

two pieces.'

“The voice of Zainab's and Umme Kulsum's crying was heard; and Hasan and Husain threw their Imamahs (turbans) on the ground because of their sorrow.”

Bahlool Sells Paradise

One day Bahlool was sitting at the corner of the river, and since he was useless, he was making some flower beds like the children were. Haroun Rashid's wife Zubaydah happened to cross by. When she came near Bahlool, she asked, “ Bahlool! What are you doing?”

Bahlool answered, “Making Paradise.”

“Do you sell the gardens you have?”

“Yes, I sell them.”

“For how many dinars?”

“For 100 dinars.”

Since Zubaydah wanted to help Bahlool in any way she could, she immediately ordered her servant to give Bahlool 100 dinars, which he did.

Bahlool said, “You don't want a receipt?”

“Write it and

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bring it.” Saying this, Zubaydah went her way.

Bahlool distributed that money among the poor.

In a dream that night, Zubaydah saw a big garden, the like of which she had never seen when awake. All of its houses and palaces were seven stories high and made of colored jewels and decorated with great style. The rivers were flowing and beside them flowers were blooming. Very beautiful trees were planted, servants (boys and girls) were all present and ready to be of service. Zubaydah was given the receipt, written in gold ink, and was told that this is the Garden that she had bought from Bahlool.

When she awoke, Zubaydah was very happy and told Haroun about her dream. As soon as it was morning, Haroun sent someone to bring Bahlool.

When Bahlool came, Haroun said, “I want you to take 100 dinars from me and sell me one of your gardens, like the one you gave Zubaydah.”

Bahlool gave a loud laugh and said, “Zubaydah bought it without seeing (the reward), but you heard and so want to buy it, but regretfully, I won't sell it to you.”

Haroun Rashid's Anger and Bahlool's Forgiveness

Haroun hired a spy to ascertain Bahlool's religion and faith. A few days later the spy informed Haroun, that, according to his inquiry, Bahlool is among the friends of the Ahlul Bayt and Musa bin Jafar's very particular and faithful followers.

So Haroun called Bahlool and said, “I have heard that you are amongst the friends and lovers of Musa

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bin Jafar and do propaganda about his right and against me. To save your self from punishment, you have become insane.”

“If that is so, then how will you treat me?”

At this Haroun could not control his anger, and, while in this mood, ordered his slave Masroor to, “Take Bahlool's clothes off and put a donkey's saddle on his back. Put the donkey's rein in his mouth, then parade him in the palaces and their surroundings. After that, cut his head off in front of me.”

Masroor took Bahlool's clothes off; put a saddle on him, reins in his mouth, and marched him in the palaces' surroundings. Then he presented Bahlool to Haroun in that condition, so as to kill him.

Coincidentally, Jafar Barmaki was present at this time. He saw Bahlool's state and asked, “ Bahlool! What was your mistake?”

“Since I told the truth, the Khalifa gave me his own garments as a reward.”

Haroun Rashid, Jafar, and all those present laughed very much at Bahlool's answer. Then Haroun forgave Bahlool and ordered the donkey's saddle and rein to be taken off of him, and to bring nice clothes for him.

But Bahlool did not accept the clothes. He picked up his tattered clothes and left Haroun's palace.

Bahlool, a Bundle, Barley Bread, and Vinegar

It is said that Bahlool mostly spent his time sitting in a graveyard. One day, as usual, he went there. Haroun passed by, desiring to hunt. When he arrived near Bahlool he asked, “ Bahlool, what

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are you doing?”

“I have come to visit such people who don't backbite, don't expect anything from me and don't cause me pain in any way.”

“Will you tell me something about Qiyamat, Sirat, and the questions and answers about this world?”

“Tell your slaves to kindle a fire and place a flat iron pan over it till it becomes red-hot.

Haroun ordered it and it was done.

“O Haroun! I will stand barefoot on this pan and introduce myself. I will describe whatever I have eaten and worn. After that, you also stand barefoot like I did, introduce yourself, and describe whatever you have eaten and worn.”

Haroun agreed.

Then Bahlool stood on the hot pan and quickly said, “ Bahlool, a bundle (of tattered clothes), barley bread and vinegar.” He said this and immediately came off; his feet were not burned at all. When Haroun's turn came, he couldn't introduce himself the way he wanted to, his feet got burned, and he fell off.

“O Haroun! Qiyamat's questions and answers are like this. Those who worship Allah, are content, and stay away from greediness of the world's rank and dignity will easily pass Sirat, but those who are attached to worldly majesty and splendor will be arrested with troubles.”

Bahlool's Advice

Bahlool was on his way somewhere when he saw a man crying with his head down, and looking as if he were a stranger. Bahlool went near him, saluted him, and said, “What sort of injustice has occurred upon you that you are so

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sorrowful and grievous?”

“I am an African foreigner. When I arrived in this city, I decided to bathe and rest for a few days. I had some coins and jewels that I deposited in a perfumer's shop from fear of thieves. A few days later I asked for my deposit back, but he called me bad names and made it known that I was crazy.”

“Don't worry. I will go to that perfumery and bring your deposit easily back to you.”

Then he asked who that perfumer was, and when he recognized him, Bahlool said to the foreigner, “I will be found at that perfumer's tomorrow at such-and-such a time. You come to his shop at the appointed time, but do not talk to me at all, and tell the perfumer to return your deposit.”

The African agreed.

Bahlool immediately went to the perfumer and said, “I plan to go to the city of Khorasan. I have some jewels that equal 30,000 Dinars. I want to deposit them with you so that when I come back safe and alive, I will take those jewels back from you; and if I don't return by such-and-such a date, then you are free and responsible to sell those jewels and have a mosque made from their money.”

The perfumer became very happy at this and asked, “You are most welcome; when will you bring your deposit?”

Bahlool said, “Tomorrow at such-and-such a time.” Saying this, he went away. Then he had a leather bag made. He filled it up

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with some iron and glass pieces, then securely sewed its mouth shut.

Then he went to the perfumer's shop at the appointed time. The perfumer saw the bag and thought it was full of jewels, so he was very happy. The foreigner also arrived exactly then, and asked for his deposit.

The perfumer immediately said to his slave, “In the basement in such-and-such a place is this person's deposited bag. Immediately bring it and give it to him.”

The servant did so. The foreigner took it and went away, blessing Bahlool with all his heart.

Haroun and a Fraud

It is said that a fraud presented himself to Haroun, pretending to be an African. Haroun asked him about those kingdoms' harvests, jewels, and works of art that he had visited. They began to talk about India's harvests, jewels, and inventions. The impostor described in detail such jewels, that, without even seeing them, the Khalifa fell in love with them.

Incidentally he said to the Khalifa, “In India they make such a drug that brings the strength of youth back into a being. Even if a sixty-year-old man eats the pill, he gets the manliness and strength of a twenty-year-old youth.”

The Khalifa became very curious about the drug and jewels that this Negro had described. He said, “How much money should I give you so that you can bring those jewels and that drug that you have just described in detail?”

That deceitful person asked for 50,000 dinars; and then he departed for his homeland.

The Khalifa waited a

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long, long time but there was no news about that fraud. He was very depressed and whenever he remembered the incident, he was full of regret. One day Jafar Barmaki and others present happened to mention him.

The Khalifa said, “If you ever get hold of that impostor, then I will take back many times more than the amount I gave him, besides that, I will give the order to cut off his head and hang it on the gate of Baghdad so that others may learn a lesson from this incident.”

Bahlool gave a loud laugh and said, “O Haroun! Yours and that fraud's story is exactly like the tale of the rooster, the old woman and the fox.”

“Tell me whatever the story of the rooster, the old woman, and the fox is.”

“It is said that a wild cat snatched an old woman's rooster. That old woman kept running behind the cat, screaming, 'Come and help me! The cat is taking my one ton- pound rooster!'

“The cat got worried and said, 'O woman! Why did you lie, this rooster isn't as heavy as you said.'

“Coincidentally, a fox appeared. It said to the cat, 'Why are you worried and distressed?'

“The cat narrated what had occurred.

“The fox said, 'Put the rooster on the ground so that I can tell you its weight.'

“As soon as the cat put the rooster on the ground, the fox picked it up, and, while running, said, 'Tell the old woman that my feet say this rooster weighs more

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than a ton.'“

Haroun Rashid laughed a lot at Bahlool's story and praised him.

Haroun Rashid and a Hunter

The Khalifa was playing chess with his wife Zubaydah one Eid day. Bahlool came near them, sat down, and watched the game. A hunter saluted them by kissing the floor. He had brought the Khalifa a very good and fat fish.

Haroun happened to be drunk at that time. He gave the order to give the hunter 4,000 dirhams as reward. Zubaydah criticized Haroun, “This amount is a lot for the hunter because everyday you have to give rewards in the forts and cities; and when you give them less than this amount they will say that they are not equal to a hunter; and if you give them more, the government treasury will be empty in a few days.”

Haroun liked Zubaydah's thought, so he asked “Now what do I do?”

“Call the hunter and ask him if the fish is a male or female. If he says it is female, say you don't like it; if he says it is male, again say you don't like it. Helpless, he will go; take his fish and reward away.”

Bahlool said to Haroun, “Don't be deceived by a woman. Don't depress the hunter.”

But Haroun didn't listen. He called the hunter and asked, “Is the fish male or female?” The hunter kissed the floor and said, “This fish is neither male nor female, actually, it is an eunuch.”

Haroun was happy with his answer. He gave the order to give

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him 4,000 dirhams more as reward. The hunter took them and put them in his purse. But when he was descending the palace stairs, one of the dirhams fell out on the floor; the hunter bent and picked it up. Zubaydah said to Haroun, “How low-natured is this person that he can't even part with one dirham.”

Haroun thought this behavior was bad, so he called him. Again Bahlool said, “Don't stop him.”

But Haroun didn't agree. He called the hunter and said, “How low and base is your heart that you are not ready to let the slaves have one dirham from such an amount.”

The hunter saluted again and said, “I am not base, but know how to value grace. That is why I picked up the dirham. On one side is a Quranic verse and on the other side the Khalifa's honorable and illustrious name is engraved. If it is left on the ground, then it is certain that it will come underfoot, and this is disrespectful.”

The Khalifa again became very happy and gave the order to give the hunter another 4,000 dirhams as reward.

Bahlool said, “Didn't I say don't stop him?”

Haroun said, “I am crazier than you because you stopped me three times, but I did not listen to you. By following this woman, I suffered this loss.”

Haroun Rashid's Question About Ameen and Mamoon

One day Bahlool was going to Haroun's palace, but they coincidentally met each other. Haroun asked, “ Bahlool, where are you going?”

“I was going towards you.”

Haroun said, “I

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want to go to school so I can closely observe Ameen and Mamoon. If you want, you can also come with me.”

Bahlool agreed and went to school with Haroun, but at that time Ameen and Mamoon had gone outside with the teacher's permission.

Haroun asked particular questions about Ameen and Mamoon. The teacher said, “Ameen is the son of the chief of Arab women, Zubaydah, but he is very foolish and stupid. Contrarily, Mamoon is very understanding, intelligent, and full of dignity.”

Haroun said, “I don't believe you.”

The teacher put a piece of paper under the sheet of the place where Mamoon sat and a brick under Ameen's seat. A few moments later Mamoon and Ameen entered. As soon as they saw their father, they paid their respects and sat down at their places. Mamoon worriedly glanced at the ceiling, and looked to his right and left.

The teacher asked him, “What has happened to you that you are so worried?”

Mamoon answered, “From the time I left school till when I returned, either the floor got one (width of a) paper higher, or the ceiling got that much lower. Briefly, my seat is a piece of paper higher.”

Then the teacher asked Ameen, “Do you feel like that too?”

Ameen answered, “I don't feel anything at all.”

The teacher laughed, and sent the two outside again. After they left, he said to Haroun, “Thanks be to Allah that I proved my statement in front of you.”

The Khalifa said, “At least tell the reason why.”

Bahlool said, “If

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I get assurance of my life, I will narrate the reason.”

“I assure you. Tell whatever you know.”

Bahlool said, “There are two reasons why children are bright and intelligent. The first reason is that when a man and a woman meet with mutual love, then their child is clever, bright, and intelligent. The second reason is that when a man and a woman keep connections with (people of) different blood and race, then their child becomes wise, intelligent, and keen. This is exactly what has been experienced in the case of trees and animals; if a fruit tree is grafted with another fruit-bearing tree, then their offspring will be very delicious and refined. Also, if two animals; for example, a donkey and a horse, are bred together, then they have a mule, which is very strong, sharp, and smart.

Therefore, the lack of understanding in Ameen is because the Khalifa and Zubaydah are of one blood and lineage; but Mamoon is very bright and intelligent because his mother is of a different blood and family; and in this respect, very different from the Khalifa.”

The Khalifa laughed at Bahlool's answer and said, “You can't expect more than this from a lunatic.”

But the teacher believed Bahlool with all his heart.

Bahlool's Conversation with Abu Hanifa

One day Abu Hanifa was teaching at the college. Bahlool was sitting in a corner, listening to Abu Hanifa's lesson. In the middle of his lesson, Abu Hanifa said that, “Imam Jafar Sadiq says three things that I don't agree

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with. These are: Firstly, he says Shaitan will be punished in the Hell-fire. Since Shaitan is made of fire, then how is it possible that fire can hurt him? One kind of thing can't get hurt from the same kind of thing. Secondly, he says that we can't see Allah; but something that is present must also be able to be seen. Therefore, Allah can be seen by our eyes. Thirdly, he says that whoever does something is himself responsible for it; and will be questioned about it because he did it himself; but evidence is against this. Meaning, whatever a person does is done by Allah and the person has no control over what he does.”

As soon as Abu Hanifa said this, Bahlool picked up a clod of earth and threw it at him. It hit his forehead and gave him severe pain. Then Bahlool ran away. Abu Hanifa's students ran after Bahlool and caught him. Since Bahlool was related to the Khalifa, they took him to the Khalifa and narrated the whole incident.

Bahlool said, “Call Abu Hanifa so that I can give him my answer.”

Abu Hanifa was called and Bahlool said to him, “What wrong have I done to you?”

“You hit my forehead with a clod of earth. My forehead and head are in severe pain.”

“Can you show me your pain?”

“Can pain be seen?”

Bahlool replied, “You yourself say that every present thing can be seen and you criticize Imam Jafar Sadiq by saying

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how is it possible that Allah is present, but invisible. Secondly, you wrongly claim that the clod of earth pains your head; because the clod of earth is made of mud and you were also created from mud. Then how can one kind of thing hurt the same type of substance? Thirdly, you yourself said that all acts are done by Allah. Then how can you say that I am guilty, present me to the Khalifa, complain about me, and demand punishment for me!”

Abu Hanifa listened to Bahlool's intelligent answers and shamefully left Haroun's court.

Haroun Rashid's Questions and Bahlool's Answers

Haroun Rashid was returning from his journey to Hajj, and Bahlool was waiting for him on the side of the road. As soon as he saw Haroun, he loudly said three times, “Haroun! Haroun! Haroun!”

The Khalifa asked, “Who is this caller?”

The people said, “It is Bahlool.”

Haroun called Bahlool. When he came near him, the Khalifa asked, “Who am I?”

“You are that person who is responsible when other people oppress a weak person.”

Haroun started crying at this and said, “You spoke truly. Now request something form me.”

“My request is that you forgive my sins and permit me into Heaven.”

“This is beyond my control; on the other hand, I can pay your debts.”

“A debt can't be fulfilled by another debt; because you yourself are indebted to the public. Thus, return to the public their wealth. It is not decent or elegant of you to give me the wealth of others.”

The Khalifa then

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said, “I give the order to grant you some assets, which will be guarded, as the means of your livelihood so you can pass your life with comfort and ease.”

“We are all servants of Allah and receive salary from Him; is it possible that He may give you subsistence and forget about me?”

Haroun Rashid Gives Bahlool A Reward

One day Haroun Rashid gave the order to give Bahlool a reward. When it was given, Bahlool didn't take it and returned it. He said, “Give this money to the people whom you took it from. If you don't return it to their owners, then there will certainly come a day when the Khalifa will be demanded to repay his debt. That day the Khalifa will be empty-handed, and, besides being shameful and regretful, there will be nothing.”

Haroun Rashid trembled from listening to Bahlool, started crying, and affirmed Bahlool's statement.

The Effect of Bahlool's Du'a

It is said that an Arab had a camel which was afflicted by the itching disease. People advised him to rub castor oil on it. The Arab rode his camel to the city to buy the oil. Near the city, he met Bahlool. Since Bahlool was his friend, he said to him, “My camel has the itching disease. People told me that by rubbing castor oil on it, it will be cured. But I believe that your personality has more influence and is better. Please be compassionate and pray for my camel and bless it, so that it can

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cured of this sickness.”

Bahlool said, “If you buy the castor oil, and along with it include my prayer, then it is certain that your camel will quickly become healthy, but alone the prayer has no effect.”

The Arab bought the oil. Bahlool prayed for and blessed the camel. After a few days of massaging with oil, the camel became healthy.

Bahlool Criticizes Abdullah Mubarak

One day Abdullah Mubarak went to the desert to see Bahlool the Wise. He saw Bahlool bareheaded, barefoot, and reciting Allah's Name. He went up to him and saluted him. Bahlool answered the greeting.

Abdullah Mubarak said, “O Shaykh! My request is that you advise me and tell me how to pass a life in this world, so that I stay away from sins because I am a sinful being and I can't overcome my evil self-will. Tell me some way by which to acquire relief.”

“O Abdullah! I myself am worried and distressed. What do you expect from me. If I had a brain, people wouldn't call me crazy. What effect can the speeches of lunatics have that people would accept, so go and look for some intelligent person.”

“O Shaykh! Those who say they are crazy are just fooling others. They are intelligent, and it is the truth that is heard from the lunatic.”

Bahlool was silent. Abdullah again began flattering him and said, “O Shaykh! Don't disappoint me; I came with expectations.”

“O Abdullah! First agree to my four conditions, so that you don't go back on your

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words at the statement of a lunatic. Then I will criticize you and will tell you such things that will be the means of your salvation.”

“What are these four conditions; tell me so I can agree.”

“Firstly, whenever you commit a sin or go against Allah's command, then don't eat of His sustenance.”

“Then whose sustenance shall I eat of?”

“Being an intelligent person, you claim that you worship Allah and eat out of His sustenance, and then you disobey His command. You yourself judge, is this the way to repay beneficence?”

Abdullah said, “You spoke true, what is the second condition?”

“Secondly, whenever you want to sin, do not intend to stay in His Kingdom.”

“This is more difficult than the first, because every place is Allah's land and kingdom so then where will I go?”

“It is a very evil thing that you eat out of His sustenance, live in His Kingdom and then disobey His command. Yourself judge, is this the condition of beneficence?”

“What is the third condition?”

“Thirdly, when you want to sin or disobey His command, then go hide in such a place where He can't see or be aware of you. Then do whatever you want.”

“This is the most difficult. Allah knows and sees all. He is present everywhere. He sees and knows all that His creations do.”

“You are an intelligent being. You should know that He is present everywhere, the All-Knowing and All-Seeing. In this sense, it would be very evil of you to eat of His sustenance, stay in His

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Kingdom, and then disobey Him in His All-Knowing, All-Seeing presence. Even then you claim to worship Him; although He says in the Holy Qur'an, 'Do not think that Allah is unaware of the act of the oppressor.'“

Abdullah said, “You spoke true. What is the fourth condition?”

“The fourth condition is that when the Angel of Death suddenly comes to you to obey Allah's order and seize your soul, then at that time say, 'Wait a little while so I can say good-bye to my relatives, get their farewell, and take provisions for my last journey; then seize my soul.'“

“This is the most difficult condition. At that time the Angel of Death will not even give me time to breathe.”

“O intelligent human! You know that there is no cure for death. You can't make it go away from you, and the Angel of Death doesn't give time when on the verge of death. While committing sins, the Angel of Death suddenly and surprisingly comes, sparing no time for even breathing. As Allah says, 'When the time of their death comes, they can't hurry a bit or delay.' So then Abdullah! Hear the truth from a lunatic and awaken from the sleep of unawareness.

“Beware of arrogance and intoxication, and worry about the Hereafter because a long journey waits and life is short. Don't postpone today's work until tomorrow, maybe tomorrow will not come for you. Know that this is the most valuable time. Don't be lazy in doing work for the Hereafter. Make

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provision for the Hereafter today because regretting there tomorrow has no benefit.”

When Abdullah heard these words he bowed his head and began to think.

Bahlool again said, “O Abdullah! You wanted advice from me that would prove useful tomorrow and wanted me to present an example and proof. Why have you bowed your head? What answer will you give on the Day of Judgment when dangerous and strong angels inquire during your reckoning. Today whomever's account is pure will have no fear tomorrow.”

Finally Abdullah raised his head and said, “O Shaykh! I whole-heartedly listened to your advice. I also accept this fourth condition. Say something else and make me your student.”

“O Abdullah! It is incumbent upon the servant that whatever he does is by Allah's order and whatever he says or hears is according to His order, then the servant is a servant.”

Intelligent and wise Bahlool that is called crazy and insane by people was benefited by the companionship of Imam Jafar Sadiq.

Bahlool Meets Shaykh Junayd

Shaykh Junayd Baghdadi went for a walk out of Baghdad. His students followed him. The Shaykh asked how Bahlool was. They answered, “He is a crazy person, what do you need from him?”

“Bring him to me because I have a need for him.”

The students searched for Bahlool and found him in the desert. They took Shaykh Junayd to him.

When Shaykh Junayd went near Bahlool, he saw Bahlool in a state of perturbation with a brick under his head. The Shaykh greeted him.

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Bahlool answered and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Junayd Baghdadi.”

“Are you Abul Qasim?”


“Are you Shaykh Baghdadi who gives people spiritual instructions?”


“Do you even know how to eat?”

“I say Bismillah (In the Name of Allah). I eat from in front of me, I take small bites, put them in the right side of my mouth, and slowly chew. I don't stare at others' bites. I remember Allah while eating. For whatever morsel I eat, I say Alhamdolillah (Praise be to Allah). I wash my hands before and after eating.”

Bahlool stood up, shook his garment on the Shaykh, and said, “You want to be the spiritual teacher of the world but you don't even know how to eat.” Saying this, he walked away.

The Shaykh's students said, “O Shaykh! He is a crazy person.”

“He is such a lunatic who is intelligent in his work. Listen to the correct statements from him.”

Saying this he went after Bahlool, saying, “I have a need for Bahlool.”

When Bahlool reached a deserted building he sat down. Junayd came near him. Bahlool asked, “Who are you?”

“Shaykh Baghdadi who doesn't even know how to eat.”

“You don't know how to eat, but do you know how to talk?”


“How do you talk?”

“I talk in moderation and to the point. I don't speak unoccasionally or too much. I speak so the listeners can understand. I call the world's people towards Allah and the Prophet. I don't talk so much that the people would get bored. I care about

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the deepness of inner and outer knowledge.” Then he described whatever was connected with manners and etiquette.

“Forget about eating, you don't know how to talk either.” He stood up, shook his garment on the Shaykh and walked away.

The students said, “O Shaykh! You saw, he is a crazy person. What do you expect from a lunatic!”

“I have a need for him. You do not know.”

Again he went after Bahlool until he reached him. Bahlool asked, “What do you want from me? You who don't know the manners of eating and speaking, do you know how to sleep?”

“Yes, I know.”

“How do you sleep?”

“When I am finished with Salat (prayer)-e-Isha and reciting supplications, I don my sleepwear.” Then he described the manners of sleeping which were transmitted to him by the learned people of religion.

“I understand that you do not know how to sleep either.” He wanted to get up, but Junayd caught hold of his garment and said, “O Bahlool! I don't know; so for the sake of Allah teach me.”

“You claimed knowledge and said you knew so I was avoiding you. Now that you confessed your lack of knowledge I will teach you. Know that whatever you described is secondary. The truth behind eating meals is that you eat lawful morsels. If you eat forbidden food likewise, with one hundred manners, it won't benefit you, but will be the reason for blackening the heart.”

“May Allah grant you great reward.”

Bahlool continued, “The heart must be pure, and have

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good intentions before you begin to talk. And your conversation must be to please Allah. If it is for any worldly or useless work, then however you express yourself, it will become a calamity for you. That is why silence and quietude would be best. Whatever you said about sleeping is also of secondary importance.

“The truth of it is that your heart should be free of enmity, jealousy, and hate. Your heart should not be greedy for this world or its wealth, and remember Allah when going to sleep.”

Junayd kissed Bahlool's hand and prayed for him. The students who saw this incident, and had thought that Bahlool was crazy, forgot their actions and started a new life.

The lesson is that if someone doesn't know something, then he shouldn't be ashamed of learning it; like Shaykh Junayd learned the ways and manners of eating, talking, and sleeping.

Bahlool and Haroun Rashid Go to the Public Bath

One day Haroun Rashid went to the hot bath with Bahlool. The Khalifa jokingly asked, “If I am a slave then what would be my cost?”

Bahlool said, “Fifty dinars.”

The Khalifa angrily said, “Lunatic! The low skirt that I am wearing is just fifty dinars.”

“I only gave the cost of the skirt because the Khalifa has no value.”

Bahlool and a Judge

It is said that a certain man decided to do Hajj. Since he had little children, he went to the judge and, in front of the court officials, gave 1,000 Dinars to the judge for his children. He said, “If I die

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during this journey, then you are my successor. What you yourself want, give to my children, and if I safely return, then I will take back this deposit.”

He departed from the judge's office for Hajj; Allah willed for him to die on the way. When his sons became of age and understanding, they asked for their deposit which was trusted with the judge.

The judge said, “Your father willed in front of the people that I give to you whatever I wanted. In this respect, I can give you only 100 Dinars.”

They started yelling and screaming. The judge called the witnesses and asked, “Do you people testify that that day these children's father gave me 1,000 Dinars and said, 'If I die on the way, then give my sons whatever you want.'“

All the people testified that yes, he said this.

Therefore the judge said, “Now I won't give you more than 100 dinars.”

Those poor sons were perturbed and asked everyone for help. The people couldn't change this lawful trick. Gradually, Bahlool heard about it. He took the children with him to the judge and said, “Why don't you give these orphans their right?”

The judge said, “Their father willed that I give them whatever I wish, and I won't give them more than 100 dinars.”

“O Judge! What you want is 900 dinars, and according to your words, that deceased willed that whatever you yourself want, give to my sons; therefore, give that late person's children the 900 dinars that you yourself want.

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That is their right.”

The judge became helpless at Bahlool's answer and was compelled to give the orphans the 900 dinars.

Haroun Questions Bahlool About Wine

It is said that one day Bahlool went to Haroun, who was busy drinking wine. He wanted to prove that he was safe from forbidden eating and drinking, so he asked Bahlool, “Is it forbidden to eat grapes?”


“What if after eating grapes, water is drunk over them?”

“There is no harm.”

“After eating the grapes and drinking water, one sits for a while in the sun?”

“Even then there is no harm.”

Then the Khalifa said, “Then if grapes and water are placed in the sun for a time, how does it become forbidden?”

Bahlool said, “If some dirt is put on one's head will it cause any harm?”


“Afterwards if water is poured on it, will it cause any pain?”


“If that dirt and water are mixed to make a brick, and thrown on a person's head, will it cause any pain?”

The Khalifa said, “True, the brick will break a person's head.”

Bahlool said, “The way dirt and water mixed together break the human's head and cause him pain; likewise, grapes and water mixed together become such a thing that the law of Shariah forbids it and states it as impure. Drinking wine causes man many troubles and it becomes obligatory to punish its drinker.”

The Khalifa was distressed at Bahlool's answer, and ordered the wine stock to be removed.

Bahlool Instructs a Friend

It is said that a person brought a beautiful donkey for the

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commander of Kufa. The courtiers praised the donkey. Among those present, someone jokingly said, “I am ready to teach that donkey how to read.”

Hearing this, the commander said, “You who are saying this right now should fulfill it. When you have taught it how to read, I will give you a heavy reward, and if you can't fulfill this, I will give the order to have you killed.”

The man regretted his joke. Helplessly, he asked for some time. The commander gave him ten days.

The man took the donkey home. He was very perturbed and worried. He didn't know what to do. Helpless, he left the donkey at home and went to the market. On the way he met Bahlool. Since they were already acquainted, he asked for help and told Bahlool about the commander's gathering and the donkey.

Bahlool said, “The work is under my control, whatever I tell you, do it.”

So, Bahlool ordered not to give the donkey hay or grain all day; and to place a day's livelihood between the pages of a book. “Put the book in front of it and flip the pages. Since it will be hungry, the donkey will pick up whatever is between the pages. Keep repeating this action. Then keep him hungry on the tenth day, and when arriving at the commander's gathering, take the same book along with the donkey to the commander. That day don't put barley between the pages, and place the book in front of the

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donkey in the commander's presence.”

The man did exactly what Bahlool had instructed him to do.

When the appointed day came, he took the donkey and the book to the commander; and in the presence of others, he placed the book before the donkey. It was very hungry and like everyday, as usual, flipped all the pages of the book looking for the barley which was always there, between the pages. It brayed to tell that it was hungry. The commander and those present did not know what kind of intelligence was behind this action. They believed that the donkey truly wanted to read the book. Everyone was astonished at this. Finally, the commander fulfilled his promise by giving the man a very good reward. This is how he was saved from punishment.

Bahlool and the Astrologer

It is said that a person came to Haroun Rashid, claiming knowledge of astrology. Bahlool was also present at this assembly. Coincidentally, the astrologer sat across Bahlool.

Bahlool asked him, “Can you tell who is sitting near you?”

“I don't know.”

“You don't even know who is sitting across you, then how can you tell about the stars of the sky?”

The man was left speechless at Bahlool's statement, and left the assembly.

Bahlool and a Charlatan

They say that Bahlool had a gold coin in his hand, and was playing with it. A fraud who had heard that Bahlool was insane, came to him and said, “If you give me that coin, I will give you ten coins

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that color.”

When Bahlool saw his coins, he understood that they were copper, and said, “I agree on one condition, which is that you bray like an ass, Hee Haw, Hee Haw.”

The fraud agreed, and brayed like a donkey.

Bahlool said to him, “You are a strange ass that even after this foolishness- you know that the coin in my hand is gold- you think that I don't know that your coins are copper.”

As soon as he heard this, he ran away from Bahlool.

Bahlool is Questioned About Hazrat Loot

People asked Bahlool, “Which nation was Hazrat Loot from?”

“It is clear from his name that he was the messenger for corrupt and voluptuous people (Looters).”

The people said, “Why do you show such rudeness to the dignity of Allah's Messenger?”

Bahlool answered, “I was not being rude towards the dignity of the Prophet, I was speaking rudely about the nation, and I am not saying wrongly.”

Bahlool is Questioned About Shaitan

They say that an evil and unmannerly person said to Bahlool, “I have a great desire to see Shaitan.”

Bahlool said, “If you don't have a mirror in your house, then look in clean water. You will see Shaitan.”

Bahlool and a Slave

It is said that one of Haroun Rashid's slaves ate cheese, and a little cheese was stuck to his beard. Bahlool asked him, “What did you eat?”

The slave jokingly said, “I ate a pigeon.”

“I knew before you said so.”

“How did you know?”

Bahlool said, “I can see bird droppings on your beard.”

Bahlool and Haroun Go Hunting

One day Haroun Rashid and a

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group of his courtiers went hunting. Bahlool was also with them. A deer was seen in the hunting area. The Khalifa shot an arrow at it, but it didn't hit the deer.

Bahlool said, “Well done!”

The Khalifa angrily said, “You ridicule me!”

Bahlool replied, “I praised the deer that it was well-saved.”

Bahlool and a Landlord

They say that one time Bahlool went to Basra. Since he had no acquaintances in this city, he rented a room for a few days. That room was so old and damaged that it started creaking at the slightest breeze.

Bahlool went to the landlord and said, “The room you gave me is very dangerous because its ceiling and walls start creaking at the slightest breeze.”

The landlord liked joking. He said, “There's nothing wrong. You know that all creations timely praise Allah and recite Tasbeeh. This is the room's praise and Tasbeeh.”

Bahlool replied, “That is true, but after praising and glorifying Allah, the creations lastly do Sajdah. That is why, from fear of this room's prostration, I want to leave as soon as I can.”

Bahlool and a Book of Philosophy

Bahlool went to the Mosque one day. Since that day was Eid, there were a lot of people. Bahlool wanted to go sit in the upper room. He saw that there were a lot of shoes, and since his shoes were stolen once, he was scared that it might happen again. With this thought, he wrapped them up in his handkerchief and hid them in his clothes. When he got to

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the upper room, and had sat in a corner, a person sitting next to him saw a bulging, wrapped handkerchief under Bahlool's shoulder, so asked about it.

“I think that there is a valuable book under your shoulder. Can you tell me which book it is?”

Bahlool said, “It is a book of philosophy.”

“Which bookseller did you buy it from?”

“I bought it from a cobbler.”

Bahlool and an Inspector

A Baghdadi inspector was boasting in a crowd that no one had ever cheated him yet. Bahlool was also in this crowd. He said to the inspector that his work is very easy and not worthy of taking pains over.

The inspector said, “You are saying so because you can't do this job.”

Bahlool said, “Regretfully, I have to do a very important job right now, or I would deceive you.”

“I am here. You go and immediately do your work, and then come back.”

“Okay. Wait for me here. I will immediately return.”

So, Bahlool went away, but did not return. After two hours, the inspector began to rave. He said, “This is the first time! A lunatic has given me this kind of deceit. He kept me useless for these hours unnecessarily.”

Bahlool's Decision

An Arab beggar arrived in Baghdad. When he passed the bakery, he smelled the pleasing smells of many kinds of foods, but he didn't have any money. He took stale bread out of his bag and softened it with the steam coming out, and then ate it.

The baker astonishingly watched this for a

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few moments. When his bread finished, the beggar wanted to leave. The baker stopped him and demanded money. They exchanged hot words. Coincidentally, Bahlool passed by. The Arab wanted Bahlool's decision.

Bahlool said to the baker, “Did this person eat your food or not?”

“He didn't eat the food, but certainly benefited from its steam.”

Bahlool said to him, “This is correct. Listen!” He took a few coins out of his pocket, and one by one showed them to the baker, dropped them on the ground, and then picked them up. He said to the baker, “Take the noise of these coins.”

Extremely surprised, the baker asked, “What kind of way is this to give money?”

Bahlool replied, “According to my just decision, the person that sells smells and steam should, in exchange, get the noise and tinkling of coins.”

Bahlool and a Traveler

It is said that a traveler came to Baghdad and Haroun Rashid's court. He asked a few questions before the Khalifa to his viziers and wise men, but no one could answer correctly.

The Khalifa got angry and said to his scholarly courtiers and viziers, “If you people can't answer this person's questions, then I will give your entire wealth to him.”

Those present wanted 24 hours time, which the Khalifa gave. One of them said, “I think that we should seek out Bahlool. No one except he can give correct answers to this foreigner.”

So, they went to look for Bahlool and told him the whole story when they found him.

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Bahlool agreed to answer the foreigner's questions the next day. He addressed him, “Ask whatever you want. I am ready to answer.”

The man sketched a circle with his cane and looked at Bahlool.

Unhesitatingly, Bahlool drew a line in the middle of the circle, cutting it in half.

The traveler made another circle. This time Bahlool divided it into four equal parts, and pointing one out, he said to the man, “This one part is land, the other three are water.”

The traveler knew that Bahlool understood him and had given him correct answers. He praised Bahlool before the scholars, Khalifa, and all those present. Then he put the back of his hand on the floor and pointed his fingers toward the sky.

Bahlool did the opposite; he put his fingers facing the ground with the back of the hand upwards. The traveler praised him a lot, saying to the Khalifa, “You should be proud of keeping such an intelligent scholar.”

The Khalifa said, “I don't understand these questions and answers.”

The traveler explained, “I drew a circle. My purpose was to show the earth's being round. He understood and cut it into two pieces. He wanted to show me that he believed the earth was round, and that he knew its signs. He drew that line, making two equal pieces to show North and South. The second time I drew a circle, he divided it into four parts to show me that the earth has four parts. One part is

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land, while the other three are water. The third time when I put my palm and fingers facing upwards, my purpose was to show the growing plants and the secrets of their development. Bahlool also pointed his hand out as rain and the sun's rays and explained that the growth of vegetation is because of rain and sunlight. Therefore, you should be proud of such an intelligent person.”

The scholars and viziers were saved form Haroun Rashid's anger by Bahlool's ready, witty replies. They thanked Allah and Bahlool very much.

Bahlool's Decisive and Silencing Reply

It is said that an Indian businessman was bringing wealth and goods from India and selling in Baghdad. His caravan stayed at the inn one night and he asked for dinner. The cook brought him a roasted chicken and a few eggs. When the businessman woke up, the caravan had departed. The cook had gone out of the inn on some errand. The businessman kept calling him, but the cook was not present to give the dinner bill.

Since the caravan had left, the businessman could not repay the cost. Coincidentally, a year later the same caravan passed by the inn. The same person again asked for dinner. Like the previous year, the cook brought a roasted chicken and a few eggs. When morning came, he called the cook and said, “Since last year I am indebted to you for a chicken and some eggs. Tomorrow bill me for last year along with last night's dinner so

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I can pay you.”

The cook carefully calculated for some minutes and then demanded 1,000 dinars from the businessman, saying that he had been very generous in his calculations and there were no mistakes that would make him indebted. When the businessman heard that the cost of the two meals was 1,000 dinars he got furious and said, “I think that you are crazy that you demand 1,000 dinars for two chickens and a few eggs.”

The cook replied, “This statement is beyond the justice of the reason I applied and didn't want to exceed the limits in your right. You call me insane.”

“I am thankful to you but tell me what costs 1,000 dinars and why do I owe this amount?”

“Think carefully for a moment. If I would have said it without calculating, then you are right. The cost I am demanding is in respect of last year when you ate a chicken and six eggs here. If this chicken had been alive, then I would have put those eggs under it; they would have hatched and chicks would have come out. Then each of these would have had the same number of eggs and these eggs would hatch chicks also; therefore, by now I would own thousands of chickens and eggs. For this reason, I have given up all this profit just to fill your stomach. Now from this entire account and last night's meal the total I demand is 1,000 dinars and you call me crazy.”

The quarrel between the

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cook and the businessman soon drew the attention of all the caravan travelers. Every minute they tried to settle the dispute, but it was impossible. At last it was decided to appeal to the dignitary of the place for justice.

When the chief came and was told the case, he decided in the cook's favor and said to the businessman, “You must give the cook 1,000 dinars.

The poor businessman was very perturbed and worried. He didn't know what to do. Among the travelers was a person who was friends with Bahlool. He knew that only Bahlool could solve this problem. He addressed the travelers, “There is not a lot of distance between here and Baghdad. I'll go and bring Baghdad's judge so that whatever decision he makes will be acted upon.”

Everyone agreed and that person rode a fast, speedy mule in search of Bahlool. He found him in a mosque and narrated the whole story.

Bahlool rode toward the caravan inn with the man. When they reached near the inn, Bahlool got down and said to him, “Quickly go to the people that are waiting and tell them to wait half an hour more. The judge promises that he is coming.”

The man did so. Everyone started counting the minutes. The judge did not come half an hour later. They again waited. One-and-a-half hours later Bahlool's cap was seen. When he came near the people, everyone got up from their seats out of respect to the judge. Then

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Bahlool sat on the floor and got acquainted with everyone.

He said, “I have heard about the cook's and the businessman's dispute. I apologize to you that my said half hour became one-and-a-half hours, but my delay was correct in this respect that besides being a judge, I also know farming at the same time. When I was coming here to do justice, a farmer came for some grains of wheat. I have heard that if the wheat grain is boiled first, then its growth is very good. That is why, in the extra time I took, I was busy boiling wheat. I apologize to you in this regard.”

The chief and the others said, “What a strange, crazy judge that boils wheat grains!”

Bahlool replied, “In this city where roasted chickens hatch chicks, it isn't strange that boiled wheat can also be green.”

Everyone was astonished at Bahlool's silencing answer.

The chief addressed the cook, “This judge decided correctly. Roasted chickens do not hatch chicks.”

Thus the people gave the cook a small amount for the two meals that the businessman had eaten. In this way, the two made peace and hugged each other.

Bahlool Goes to the Public Hot Bath

One day Bahlool went to the public bathhouse, but its servants acted carelessly and didn't massage him with the sponge. In that regard, when coming out, Bahlool gave the bath's owner all 10 dinars he had. When the servants saw his generosity, they got embarrassed as to why they showed him such carelessness.

The next week

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Bahlool again went to the hot bath. This time all the servants gave him a bath with extreme respect and honor, and showed open-heartedness, but besides all this hard work and effort, Bahlool gave only one dinar when he came out.

The bath's workers angrily asked, “Last week your unnecessary tip and what is the reason for today's behavior?”

Bahlool replied, “I paid for today's bath last week when I came and gave; I am paying for that bath today so that you people will behave respectfully with your customers.”

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About center

In the name of Allah

Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
al-Zumar: 9

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
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