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As promised in my earlier post “A true story of an insane, but sane person!”, I am going to talk about Bahlool Dana (the Wise) today. Bahlool (real name – Wahab bin Amr) was a well known judge and scholar from a wealthy family in Iraq in the times of Haroun Al-Rashid (786 – 809 A.D), the Abbasid Caliph. He was the disciple of the Shi’ite Muslim’s 6th Imam Hajarat Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and he was alive also during the Imamate of the 7th Imam Hajart Musa Kazim (a.s.). Haroun Al-Rashid feared for the safety of his Khilaphat and kingdom from Hajarat Musa Kazim (a.s.) and he planned to destroy him. He put the blame of rebellion upon the Imam and appointed a batch of Jury from Chiefs of the capital to prove the charge. All of the Jury members were the ‘Yes-men’ of the Caliph except Bahlool. He did not vote against the Imam and thus became the enemy of Haroun. The Imam was imprisoned on ground of majority votes.
Here, Bahlool Dana was afraid of punishment of the Caliph and contacted the Imam in prison to seek guidance for what to do. The Imam told him to act insanely for life time, create an image of Lunatic among the people and be outspoken to carry on his mission of educating people to follow the virtuous path of truth. Bahlool, under the acting of insanity, fired the Caliph himself and his Courtiers also. The people acknowledged him for his superior wisdom and excellence. Even today, many of Bahlool’s stories are narrated in assemblies and valuable lessons of life are being taught to the listeners.