Story No. 334 – Imam Sajjad (as): Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and Poet Farazdaq

Even though Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik was the crown prince, and those years were the first decade of the second century when the Umayyad power was at its peak, he could not touch Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone after circumambulation (Tawaf) of Holy Kaaba. All people were dressed in the same simple garb of Ihram, saying the same remembrance of Allah (SWT), and doing the same thing. They were so overwhelmed in their pure emotions that they had no mind to pay attention to the worldly glory of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik. The guards, who were with him to protect Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, were feeling helpless in the sight of this glory. Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik tried very hard to come close to Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone and touch it. But due to the large crowd, it was not possible. Thus he returned and sat on a high chair to see the pilgrims. The Syrians who had come with him also stared at the crowd.


Imam Sajjad (as): Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and Poet FarazdaqAt this time, a man who seemed to be a pious spiritual man, having the simple white Ihram appeared. Signs of worship and piety were apparent on his face. He circumambulated around the Holy Kaaba. Then with a calm composure, and determined steps, he went towards Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone. The crowd made way for him, as soon as they saw him approaching. The Syrians, who had failed to take the crown prince to Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone, were amused with this sight.


One of them asked Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik: “Who is this person?” While Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik knew that this was Imam Sajjad (as), he said: “I don’t know.” No one could have the courage to dispute Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik’s claim, for their swords were always wet with the blood of the brave, and the bold.


But, Farazdaq, the articulate Arab poet, who should have feared Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik more than any one else, was so emotional that he said: “But I know him.” Thus, he stood on an elevated ground and read a beautiful poem, which is one of the masterpieces of the Arab language. These were words that could only take form when the soul of the poet flows as the tide of the ocean.


Thus he said: “This man is the one, who is known to all the sands of the land of Batha. This Holy Kaaba knows him. This Haram, and the land outside it knows him. This is the child of the best of Allah’s servants. This is the pure, and pious infallible. If you say that you don’t know him, does not hurt his status. Perhaps you don’t know him. But all the Arab and non Arab know him…”


Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik was furious at Poet Farazdaq after hearing this poem. He ordered that his portion from the public treasure be discontinued, and that he should be imprisoned in Asfan, located between Makkah, and Madina. But Poet Farazdaq wasn’t bothered by this nuance which he gained as an outcome of his boldness and honesty. He continued to create poetry against Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in the prison.


Imam Sajjad (as) sent some money to Poet Farazdaq, since he was in the prison and had no means of earning. Poet Farazdaq didn’t accept it, and said that he had said the poem only for Allah (SWT). Imam Sajjad (as) resent him the money saying: “Allah (SWT) is well aware of your intention, and will reward you appropriately. If you accept this money, it shall not suffer your reward from Allah (SWT).” And he urged Poet Farazdaq to accept the gift. Finally Poet Farazdaq accepted it.