Who was Behlol Danna ??
Bohlool was born in Kufa and his real name is Wahab bin Amr, a student of sixth Imam, Imam Jafar Sadiq but also lived in the reign of seventh Imam, Imam Musa Kadhim , as his companion. Bahlool was a well known judge and scholar who came from a wealthy background. The Abbasid Caliph during the time of Bahlool was Harun Al-Rashid.
Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid had begun a crackdown against the followers of seventh Imam, Imam Musa Kadhim , who was at the time in prison. Wahab bin Amr and a few others met seventh Imam, Imam Musa Kadhim and sought advice. Seventh Imam, Imam Musa Kadhim replied with the simple Arabic letter ‘Jeem’. Each of these companions took their own interpretation of the letter: Jala-ul-watan (exile), Jabl (refuge in the mountains), and for Wahab bin Amr Junoon (insanity).
The next day Wahab bin Amr left his wealthy life, wearing rags and came into the streets. He was soon given the name Bahlool Al Majnoon by the people of Baghdad. By doing this, he was saved from Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid’s punishment. Now, without any fear of danger, and in amusing ways, Bohlool protected himself from tyrannies. Bohlool insulted the notorious Caliph and his courtiers just by talking. Nevertheless, people acknowledged his superior wisdom and excellence.
Before becoming insane, Bohlool lived a life of influence and power, but after obeying the Imam’s order, he turned his face away from the majesty and splendor of the world. In reality, he became crazy over Allah. He dressed in rags, preferred desolate places over Haroun’s palaces, lived on a bite of stale bread. He did not accept favors from or depend upon Haroun or those like him. Bohlool considered himself better than the Khalifa and his courtiers because of his way of life.
Those with kingly temperaments deserve respect from
the chiefs of the kingdom.
This is a ragged king whose slaves are great and powerful
kings like Jamsheed and Khaqan.
Today he overlooked the goodness of this world, tomorrow
he will not even give importance to Paradise.
Don’t look scornfully at these beggars with no shoes on their feet!
They are dearer to wisdom than eyes which shed tears from
fear of Allah.
If Adam sold Paradise for two grains of wheat, then truly know
That these people will not buy it for even one grain.
Bohlool was sincerely devoted to Allah; he was an intelligent and virtuous scholar. He was the master of the mind and manners; he spoke with the best of answers ready on his lips; he protected his faith and the Shariah. Bohlool became insane at the Imam’s command for the love of Ahlul Bayt, and so he could enforce the rights of which they had been wronged.
Even today many of his stories are narrated in assemblies and teach the listeners valuable lessons.
Poverty and Pomp:
Behlool liked to visit the graveyards. “People here are good friends”, he used to say, “They do not backbite.”
Once, he sat in a corner of a graveyard and with a long heavy stick started probing some of the old skulls which lay scattered about. Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid passed by, and saw him said: O Behlool, what are you doing?
Oh nothing very important, said Behlool. I am just trying to find out whether the skulls belong to Caliphs or paupers. They are all the same.
And what is the stick for, Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid asked.
Well, I am measuring the earth, Behlool replied.
Measuring the earth? What are your findings? Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid joked!
It is equal and the same, O Caliph! Behlool retorted. Three arm lengths for me, in spite of my poverty and three arm lengths for you, in spite your pomp and wealth.
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