Habib al-Ajami (Part-4)



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So he stood there watching over it. Presently Habib returned.
"Imam of the Muslims," he cried after saluting Hasan, "why are you standing here?"
"Do you not know," Hasan replied, "that this coat ought not to be left here? It may get lost. Say, in whose charge did you leave it?"
"In His charge," Habib answered, "who appointed you to watch over it."

One day Hasan came to call on Habib. Habib placed two rounds of barley bread and a little salt before Hasan. Hasan began to eat. A beggar came to the door, and Habib gave the two rounds and the salt to him.

"Habib," remarked the astonished Hasan, "you are a worthy man. If only you had some knowledge, it would be better. You took the bread from under the nose of your guest and gave it all to the beggar. You ought to have given a part to the beggar and a part to the guest."

Habib said nothing. Presently a slave entered with a tray on his head. A roast lamb was on the tray, together with sweetmeat and fine bread, and five hundred silver dirhams. He set the tray before Habib. Habib gave the money to the poor, and placed the tray before Hasan.

"Master," he said when Hasan had eaten some of the roast, "you are a good man. If only you had a little faith, it would be better. Knowledge must be accompanied by faith."

One day officers of Hajjaj were searching for Hasan. He was hiding in Habib's hermitage.
"Have you seen Hasan today?" the officers demanded of Habib.
"I have seen him," he answered.
"Where was he?"
"In this hermitage."
The officers entered the hermitage, but for all their searching they did not find Hasan. ("Seven times they laid their hands on me," Hasan afterwards related, "but they did not see me.")

"Habib," Hasan remarked on leaving the hermitage, "you did not observe your duty to your master. You pointed me out."
"Master," Habib replied, "it was because I told the truth that you escaped. If I had lied, we would both have been arrested."

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