Perhaps no one thought that this friendship would ever end, and these two friends, who were always seen together, would part from one other. Each one of them was known to people by the name of his friend, rather than by his own name. Whenever people wanted to talk about either of them, instead of using their actual name, they called them ‘the friend of so and so’.
He had been known by the name of his friend, Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a). One day, as usual, he was with the Imam (‘a). They entered together in the cobblers’ market. No-one would have expected that their friendship would be permanently severed by the time they had left the market!
He accompanied the Imam (‘a), as usual, as they entered the market that day. His black servant was also with him, walking behind him. In the middle of the market, he suddenly turned around, but could not find his servant. After taking a few more steps, he turned around again, but still could not see him. For the third time, he turned back and looked again, but there was no trace of his servant, who had been busy looking around and lagging behind. For the fourth time, he turned and finally caught sight of the servant. Becoming indignant, he said, “You son of a ....! Where were you?”
Just as these abusive words came out of his mouth, Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) in amazement raised his hand, and slapped his forehead firmly and said, “Glory be to Allah, why did you insult his mother? Why did you accuse his mother of an immodest act? I thought you were a man of piety and were God-fearing. It has become apparent to me that you have no piety nor virtue.”
He said, “O descendant of the Holy Prophet (S), this servant is originally from Sind, and so is his mother. You know better that they are not Muslims, so the servant's mother was not a Muslim either. If she were a Muslim, I would not have abused her.”
“Let his mother be a non-Muslim. Every race and religion has its own laws and traditions in marriage. If they act according to their religious laws, then no fornication has been committed, and their children are not illegitimate.” After this statement, the Imam (‘a) said, “From now on, stay away from me!”
After this incident, no one saw Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) walk with him until death overcame one of them and separated them from each other.1
- 1. Kafi. v. 2, p. 324 and Wasa’il, v. 2, p. 477.