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Story 44: A Believer Or A Free Man

The sound of music and songs coming from the house was so loud that it could be heard on the street by passersby, leaving nothing to the imagination as to what was going on inside; perhaps all manner of lewd entertainment and goblets of wine being passed around.

A maid who had been sweeping the house came out to throw the garbage on the pile in the corner. At the same time, a man passed by the house, whose face bore witness of his prayers, who had been practicing his religious duties for many years. His forehead bore the mark of lengthy prostrations before Allah.

He asked the maid, “Is the owner of this house a slave or a free man?”

She replied, “A free man.”

“It is obvious that he is a free man. If he was a believer, he would have feared his Lord, the Almighty, and would have never held such a party.”

This exchange made the girl hesitate for a long while outside the house. When she returned inside, her master asked, “What kept you so long outside?”

She related the event and said, “A passerby of such an appearance asked me these questions and I replied to him in this way.”

On hearing this event, he went into a deep thought for a while, particularly over the words, ‘If he was a slave, he would have feared his Lord.’ These words pierced like an arrow through his heart. He stood up suddenly. Without putting on his shoes, he started running barefoot after the man who spoke those words. He ran until he caught up with the man. He was none other than the seventh Imam, Musa ibn Ja'far (‘a). He came forward, took the hand of the Imam (‘a) and begged him for forgiveness, and by his grace he was forgiven.

In recognition of the glory of the day when he had repented bare-footed, from that day forward he never wore shoes again. His name was Bushr ibn Haress ibn Abdul Rahman Marwazi, but after this incident he earned the nickname ‘al-Haffi’ (the barefoot).1

  • 1. Al-Kuna wa al-Alqab, Muhaddith al-Qummi, v. 2. under the chapter al-Haffi, p. 153.