The Interesting Events of Bohlool
Haroun Questions Bohlool About Hazrat Ali
One day Bohlool went to Haroun, who was drunk. He said to Bohlool, "Was Ali ibne Abi Talib greater than the Messenger of Allah's uncle Abbas' son or was Abdullah ibne Abbas greater than Ali?"
"As long as you won't kill me, I will speak the truth."
"You are safe."
Bohlool 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 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 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 Ibne 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 Ibne Abbas a date by which to return the amount, but he could not. Hazrat Ali ordered him to come to Kufa. Ibne 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 Bohlool 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 ibne Muljim decided to kill Hazrat Ali, he brought another person with him. That accursed man fell into a deep sleep and so did Ibne Muljim. When Amirul Momineen entered the Mosque, he awakened the sleepers for Namaz. When he stood for Namaz, then went to Sajdah, the accursed Ibne Muljim attacked his head with a sword. That 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 principles.
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 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 angry.
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."
Bohlool Sells Paradise
One day Bohlool 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 Bohlool, she asked, "Bohlool! What are you doing?"
Bohlool 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 Bohlool in any way she could, she immediately ordered her servant to give Bohlool 100 dinars, which he did.
Bohlool said, "You don't want a receipt?"
"Write it and bring it." Saying this, Zubaydah went her way.
Bohlool 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 Bohlool.
When she awoke, Zubaydah was very happy and told Haroun about her dream. As soon as it was morning, Haroun sent someone to bring Bohlool.
When Bohlool 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."
Bohlool 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 Bohlool's Forgiveness
Haroun hired a spy to ascertain Bohlool's religion and faith. A few days later the spy informed Haroun, that, according to his inquiry, Bohlool is among the friends of the Ahlul Bayt and Musa bin Jafar's very particular and faithful followers.
So Haroun called Bohlool and said, "I have heard that you are amongst the friends and lovers of Musa 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 Bohlool'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 Bohlool's clothes off; put a saddle on him, reins in his mouth, and marched him in the palaces' surroundings. Then he presented Bohlool to Haroun in that condition, so as to kill him.
Coincidentally, Jafar Barmaki was present at this time. He saw Bohlool's state and asked, "Bohlool! 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 Bohlool's answer. Then Haroun forgave Bohlool and ordered the donkey's saddle and rein to be taken off of him, and to bring nice clothes for him.
But Bohlool did not accept the clothes. He picked up his tattered clothes and left Haroun's palace.
Bohlool, a Bundle, Barley Bread, and Vinegar
It is said that Bohlool 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 Bohlool he asked, "Bohlool, what 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."
Then Bohlool stood on the hot pan and quickly said, "Bohlool, 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."
Bohlool was on his way somewhere when he saw a man crying with his head down, and looking as if he were a stranger. Bohlool went near him, saluted him, and said, "What sort of injustice has occurred upon you that you are so 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, Bohlool 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.
Bohlool 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?"
Bohlool said, "Tomorrow at such-and-such a time." Saying this, he went away. Then he had a leather bag made. He filled it up 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 Bohlool 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 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."
Bohlool 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 than a ton.'"
Haroun Rashid laughed a lot at Bohlool's story and praised him.
Haroun Rashid and a Hunter
The Khalifa was playing chess with his wife Zubaydah one Eid day. Bohlool 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."
Bohlool 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 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 Bohlool 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.
Bohlool 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."