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  • 12/16/2012

Bahlool & Rejection of Food from Caliph

bahlool stories



Bahlool is well known in the Islamic history for his readily outspoken ways of expressing his views on deep questions of Islamic jurisprudence and ethics.

What makes his life stories even more interesting is the amusing way in which he behaved and talked, not only to ordinary people but also to those in high positions.

The way he retorted to and admonished Haroon Rasheed - the Abbaside Caliph for his oppressive and lavish life-style is indeed remarkable.

To enable students of Islamic history to benefit from the moral lessons imparted by Bahlool during his life time, I have endeavoured to adapt and translate his stories from a number of sources, adding short explanatory notes and relevant quotations from the Holy Qura'n and ahadith.

Different moral and intellectual topics dealt with and the amusing and logic styles in which they are presented should also make this booklet a useful Source for preparing dialogues in schools for the moral training of young ones.

Readers are requested to accord due respect to this booklet in view of the sacred quotations in Arabic from the Holy Qura'n. May they also help us in circulation so as to spread its benefit far and wide.


Rejection of Food from Caliph

Haroon once sent with his servant a tray full of some delicious dishes to Bahlool. When they were delivered, Bahlool diverted the food to a dog sitting nearby.

On seeing this, the servant protested saying that this was disrespect to the Caliph and he would report to him.

Bahlool retorted by asking the servant to keep quiet lest the dog also refused to eat the food if it came to know that the food was from the Caliph. His refusal to eat the food from the Caliph demonstrated his rejection of favors lest it affected his heart to lean towards the tyrant Haroon.

This provides a lesson to us as to how we should avoid such favors in public and religious service so as not to be distracted from one's principles of truth and justice.

The following verse of the Holy Qura’n guides us not to lean towards those who oppress people:


"And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touches you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped." (11:113)

Taken from the book “The Moral Stories (Part 2)”

Author: Ahmed .H. Sheriff

Other links:

How should we behave in Time of Prosperity?

Knowledge and wealth

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