The Curse
# 49, V. 1 "Anecdotes of the Pious Ones" | Adapted from: A posting on: ABDG Discussion Group

The slave of Ghulam 'Abdullah ibn-e Maqfah, the famous Persian writer and scholar was waiting for his master while keeping an eye on his horse.

Ibn-e Maqfa had gone in the residence of Sufyan ibn-e Mu'awyyah Mahlabi, the governor of Basra.

The servant waited a long time, but Ibn-e Maqfah did not come out. All other people who had gone in to see the governor had finished their businesses and had left. But there was no sign of Ibn-e Maqfah.

After a significant amount of time had passed, the servant asked around for his master. Some would just not have any information, and some people would just pass by him and ignored him.

Finally, the servant went to 'Esa and Sulaiman Ibn-e Maqfah's pupils who were the sons of 'Abdullah ibn-e 'Abbas, the uncles of Mansoor Dawaniqi the powerful caliph of the time.

'Esa and Sulaiman had a great deal of respect and reverence for Ibn-e Maqfah who was a knowledgeable teacher and a powerful writer and translator.

Ibn-e Maqfah was confident of this relationship and support by the uncles of the caliph. This confidence allowed him to continue to be outspoken and bold even against the authority figures of the society.

'Esa and Sulaiman asked for 'Abdullah Ibn-e Maqfah from Sulaiman Ibn-e-Mu'awyyah. He denied having seen him, initially. However, eye witnesses existed who testified his entrance to and then disappearance from the governor's residence.

Certainly this was a serious matter. It was the murder of a famous scholar. The two parties were the uncles of the caliph versus the governor of Basra.

The case got to the court of the caliph. After the witnesses testified, the caliph said to his uncles: "I have no problem in killing Sufyan for the murder of Ibn-e Maqfah. But what if Maqfah walks in alive from that door. Which of you should I kill for the blood of Sufyan?"

'Esa and Sulaiman thought that Ibn-e Maqfah might be alive and with the caliph. Thus they withdrew the case. Time passed and no one ever heard of Ibn-e Maqfah. His case was a forgotten fact.

Ages passed till the truth became manifest.

Ibn-e Maqfah had always criticized Sufyan. One day, he had cursed the governor's mother. Sufyan had harbored the hatred of Ibn-e Maqfah in his heart and was looking for an occasion to revenge. However, he never had the opportunity as Ibn-e Maqfah had the support of caliph's uncles.

Once 'Abdullah Ibn-e 'Ali another uncle of the caliph had asked Ibn-e Maqfah to prepare and write, for him only to sign, a request of immunity from the caliph. Ibn-e Maqfah had used bold and rude comments about Mansoor, the cruel Abbasid caliph. When Mansoor had got the letter, he had become very angry. He inquired who had prepared the letter. He was informed that the letter was written by Ibn-e Maqfah for Mansoor's uncle.

Mansoor started hating Ibn-e Maqfah with passion. So he wrote a secret note to Sufyan ordering him to dispose of Ibn-e Maqfah.

And that day, when Ibn-e Maqfah had come to the governor's residence, he had disappeared while his ride and his servant awaited outside.

That day when Sufyan had seen Ibn-e Maqfah, the fire of hatred and revenge had raged in him, just as strong as the fire in the heated oven in front of him.

He had told Ibn-e Maqfah: "Do you recall the day when you cursed my mother?" This was time for revenge. No apologias helped save Ibn-e Maqfah's life, and he was murdered in the most gruesome manner. (1)

1: Ibn-e Abi al-Hadeed's commentary on Nahj ul Balagha published in Beirut V. 4, p. 389