The Wise Qadhi

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Qadhi Iyas ibn Mu’awiyah ibn Qurrah al-Muzani (r.a.) was a tabi’in qadhi in the 2nd Century AH who lived in Basra.  He was renowned for his wit and intelligence.  He is a favourite in Arabic folk-lore.  Imam al-Maydani (r.a.) related a story about Qadhi Iyas (r.a.), where he once heard a dog bark and he declared that the beast was tied to the brink of a well; he judged so because the bark was followed by an echo.

Another time, two men came before him, the complainant claimed money received by the defendant who denied the debt.  Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) asked the plaintiff where he had given it, and was answered, “Under a certain tree.”

The qadhi told him to go there by way of refreshing his memory and, in his absence, asked the defendant if his adversary could have reached it.  “Not yet,” said the rogue, “it’s a long way off”; forgetting himself, and convicted himself by that answer.

Seeing three women act upon a sudden alarm, he said, “One of them is pregnant, another is nursing, and the third is a virgin.”  He explained his diagnosis as follows: “In time of danger, people lay their hands on what they most prize.  Now I saw the pregnant woman, in her flight, place her hand on her belly, which showed me she was with child; the nurse placed her hand on her bosom, whereby I knew that she was suckling, and the third covered her parts with her hand proving to me that she was a maiden.”

A man came to Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) and asked, “What is the ruling regarding wine?”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) replied, “It is haram.”

The man then asked, “How about water?”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) replied, “It is halal.”

The man then asked, “How about dates and grapes?”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) replied, “They are halal.”

The man then thought himself clever and asked, “Why is it that all these ingredients are halal, and yet when you combine them, they become haram?”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) asked, by way of reply, “If I hit you with this handful of dirt, do you think it would hurt you?”

The man replied, “Of course not!”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) then asked, “How about if I hit you with this handful of straw?”

The man said, “It would not hurt me.”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) asked, “How about a handful of water?”

The man said, “It surely would not hurt me.”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) then asked, “How about if I mix them, and let them dry to become a brick, and then hit you with it, would it hurt you?”

The man replied, “It would not just hurt me; it might even kill me.”

Qadhi Iyas (r.a.) answered, “The same reasoning applies to what you asked me.”


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