Ebrahim ibn Adham (Part-4)



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Ebrahim at Mecca is visited by his son
When Ebrahim ibn Adham quitted Balkh he left behind him a suckling child. The latter, by now grown up, asked his mother one day about his father.
"Your father is lost," she replied.

The son thereupon made proclamation that all who desired to perform the pilgrimage should assemble. Four thousand presented themselves. He gave them all their expenses to cover provisions and camels and led the party Meccawards, hoping that God might grant him sight of his father. Reaching Mecca, they encountered by the door of the Holy Mosque a party of patchwork-frocked Sufis.

"Do you know Ebrahim ibn Adham?" the son enquired.
"He is a friend of ours," they told him. "He is entertaining us, and has gone to hunt for food."

The son asked them to direct him, and he went in his track. The party emerging in the lower quarter of Mecca, he saw his father unshod and bareheaded coming along with a load of firewood. Tears sprang to his eyes, but he controlled himself and followed in his father's wake to the market. There his father began to shout.

"Who will buy goodly things for goodly things?"
A baker called to him and took the firewood in exchange for bread. Ebrahim brought the bread and laid it before his companions.

"If I say who I am," the son feared, "he will run away."
So he went to take counsel with his mother as to the best way of recovering his father. His mother advised patience.

"Be patient until we make the pilgrimage."
When the boy departed, Ebrahim sat down with his associates.
"Today there are women and children on this pilgrimage. Mind your eyes," he charged them.

All accepted his counsel. When the pilgrims entered Mecca and made the circumambulation of the Kaaba, Ebrahim with his companions also circled the Holy House. A handsome boy approached him, and Ebrahim looked at him keenly. His friends noticed this and were astonished, but waited until they had finished the circumambulation.

"God have mercy on you!" they then said to Ebrahim. "You bade us not to glance at any woman or child, and then you yourself gazed at a handsome lad."

"Did you see?" Ebrahim exclaimed.
"We saw," they replied.
"When I left Balkh," Ebrahim told them, "I abandoned there a suckling son. I know that the lad is that son."

Next day one of the companions went out before Ebrahim to look for the caravan from Balkh. Coming upon it, he observed in the midst of the caravan a tent pitched all of brocade. In the tent a throne was set, and the boy was seated on the throne, reciting the Koran and weeping. Ebrahim's friend asked if he might enter.
"Where do you come from?" he enquired.
"From Balkh," the boy replied.
"Whose son are you?"

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