Tag Archives: Bahlool Dana

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Bahlool Dana, a Gem in Rags

A Dangerous Game – A Translation (ખતરનાક ખેલ)

ઘણા સમય પહેલાં ….

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ચારિત્ર્ય અને પ્રતિષ્ઠા

-Valibhai Musa



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(184) બહલૂલ દાના, ચીંથરે વીંટેલું એક રત્ન

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Bahlool Dana, a Gem in Rags

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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.

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A true story of an insane, but sane person!

Click here to read in Gujarati
Sanity and insanity are such complicated states of mind which cannot be separated as water tight compartments from each other. In general, we may say that if anybody behaves in such a manner which is socially acceptable, he or she is considered to be sane. Here, we may raise an interesting issue as who would decide socially acceptable behaviors. We find a number of societies in the world and every society would have its own criteria of acceptable behaviors. One more question stands before us waiting for our answer as who would recognize sanity. Can we rely on insane people to define sanity as sane people define insanity? Obviously not! Psychologists have defined ‘sanity’ as soundness of mind that can make best judgments of the situations and authentic opinions about individuals and accordingly they re-act. Similarly, they have defined ‘insanity’ as extreme foolishness or follies of their actions.

My attempt here in this post is to bring a very interesting real story of a person who looked to be insane at the first sight. He not only looked so, but his behaviors, his talks, his life style and many more characteristics were abnormal. He argued in such a way that his words looked to us philosophical. His talks were always very brief, but concrete to convey what he meant to say profoundly. His life styles of particularly for his dress-code and food habits were untidy, dirty and creating disgust in our mind.

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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Article, લેખ, Human behavior


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