Ibrahim Bin Adham

My father was one of the princes of Khurasan, and I was a youth and rode to the chase. I went out one day on a horse of mine, with my dog along, and raised a hare or fox. While I was chasing it, I heard the voice of an unseen speaker say, “Oh, Ibrahim, for this wast thou created? Is it this thou wast commanded to do?” I felt dread, and stopped — then I began again and urged my horse on. Three times it happened like that. Then I heard the voice — from the horn of my saddle, by God! — saying, “It was not for this thou wast created! It is not this thou wast commanded to perform!” I dismounted then and came across one of my father’s shepherds and took from him his woolen tunic and put it on. I gave him my mare and all I had with me in exchange, and turned my steps toward Mecca. — quoted in Al-Sulami’s Tabaqat al-Sufiya

Ibrahim Bin Adham (d. 777) was an Arab Muslim and sufi mystic who is considered by many in Islam to be a saint. He was made famous in the West by James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784–1859) with the poem “Abou Ben Adhem.” His sayings and biography are included in the
Tabaqat al-Sufiya of Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, which is considered a definitive hagiography of many sufi mystics.

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