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Story 80: An Unexpected Decision

To his surprise, Harun al-Rashid was informed that Safwan, the caravaneer, had sold all of his camels, and some other measures should be taken for the transport of his camps and equipments on the journey to the Hajj pilgrimage.

Starting to think deeply on the subject, he said to himself: "After making an agreement with the Caliph to assume the responsibility for the transport of the equipments to the Hajj pilgrimage, simultaneous sale of all camels of the caravan by Safwan, is not a normal case. Thus, it was likely that the sale of camels had connection with the agreement made between both of them."

He summoned Safwan and said: "I heard that you had sold all of your caravan camels?"

"Yes, O commander of believers!"

"What for?"

"I am gone old and inapt to work, unable to undertake the affairs and my children seemed not to be preoccupied with it, I came to a conclusion it would be better for me to sell them."

"Tell me the truth! Why did you sell them?"

"It was only this and nothing else that I had already informed you."

"But, I know why you sold them! Musa Ibn Ja'far certainly came to know about the agreement made between us, about the transportation of the camps and equipments, he refrained you from doing this work and ordered you to sell all the camels. This is the reason of your sudden decision!"

Then Harun said in a rude tone and angry voice: "Safwan! If it was not because of our past and previous long friendship, I would have beheaded you!"

Harun had imagined the right view of the things. Although Safwan was counted as one of the close relatives of the Caliphate system and had a long-lasting relation with the governmental system, particularly with the Caliph, personally, he was also counted as one of the devoted partisans, Companions and followers of "Ahl ul-Bayt ('a)," the Prophet's Family.

After having made an agreement with Harun regarding the transportation of the equipments to Hajj pilgrimage, one day he met Imam Musa Ibn Ja'far ('a).

The Imam ('a) told him, "Safwan! Regarding you, everything is satisfactory except one thing."

"What is that? O descendant of the Messenger of Allah"

"The fact is that you have hired out your camels to this man"

"O descendant of the Messenger of Allah! I have not hired them out for an unlawful journey! Harun is about to go to Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah, in addition to that, I am not accompanying them, rather, I will send some of my workers and servants."

"Safwan! I would like to ask you a question!"

"Let me know! O descendant of the Messenger of Allah!"

"You have hired out your camels to him so that you take your rent in the end; he will definitely take your camels and you will wait till he pays you your rent, won't you!"

"Yes! O descendant of the Messenger of Allah!"

"Don't you wish that Harun would be alive and pay the amount due to you?"

"Of course! O descendant of the Messenger of Allah!"

"Whoever is desirous of seeing the oppressors subsist, under what-so-ever pretext it may be, will be considered as one of them. And it is well evident that whoever is counted among the oppressors will go to the Hell-Fire."

After this meeting with the Imam ('a), Safwan decided to sell all of his camels although he guessed it would probably cost him his life.1

  • 1. Safinat ul-Bihar. v. 2, matter "zulm".