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Saving a Tyrant

January 29th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi was a harsh and a ruthless tyrant. His famous debate with the great scholar and Mujahid Saeed Ibn Jubayr epitomises his rule as an unforgiving viceroy of Iraq who killed innocent and pious people. It is said that when he was on his deathbed, his prisons were filled with 50,000 men and 30,000 women –  of which 16,00 were stripped naked. Men and women were mixed together in the jail-houses and there was no shelter from the scorching summer’s heat or the heavy rains of winter.

Whether these reports are sound or not, he was known as a violent ruler and many scholars condemned his actions. Although he made some developments in agriculture and others, people made dua to God constantly for his demise.

I thought I’d share a funny, yet very telling story of the hatred many people had for Hajjaj:

One day, as Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi was bathing in the Persian Gulf he began to drown, but he was saved by a Muslim. When the man carried him (Hajjaj) to the shore, Hajjaj said to him: “Ask for anything you desire, and your request will be granted”.

Unfortunately the man did not know who he had just saved! So he asked: “And who are you to grant me anything I request?”

Hajjaj replied in a boastful voice: “I am Hajjaj al-Thaqafi”

The man realising who he had just pulled out of the water asked regrettably: “I ask you by Allah – my only request is that you do not inform anyone that I saved you!”


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