Download PDF: s-an-answer-that-silenced-the-emissary
Khalifah Abu Jafer Mansur became the Khalifah after his younger brother Abul Abbas Saffah, at the age of forty in 136 A.H. He also remained in power for nearly twenty-two years. He is also responsible for building a separate cantonment area outside the city limits of Baghdad Shareef naming it “Rasaafah”. He died in 158 A.H. and after him, he was succeeded by Mehdi.
(Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah)
It is mentioned that once the Emperor of Rome sent an emissary to visit Khalifah Abu Jafer Mansur. When this emissary arrived in Baghdad Shareef, the Khalifah ordered one of his advisers, Omaara bin Hamza, to take the emissary to Rasaafah to meet his successor, Mehdi. When these people arrived at the bridge near Rasaafah, the emissary was shocked to see the number of beggars that were sitting near the bridge. There were also many crippled people among them as well. When his saw this shocking sight, the Roman emissary mentioned, “There are many beggars in your land. Your Khalifah should take pity on them and help them and make sure that he fulfils their needs and requirements.” However, Omaara replied that they did not have the finance or the funds available for such things.
They did not manage to meet Mehdi because he had already returned to Baghdad Shareef. However, Omaara did bring to the attention of the Khalifah the conversation between himself and the Roman emissary. The Khalifah mentioned that he had given the wrong answer. In fact, that is not the reason which he had mentioned. In fact they had plenty of wealth and finance. He then asked for the emissary to be brought back to him.
When the emissary presented himself to the Khalifah, the Khalifah said, “The questions and concerns which you had echoed in front of my friend, that news has reached me. The answer which he had given you, even that has reached me as well. However, I must admit that the answer which he gave you is incorrect. With the Divine Blessing of the Allah Almighty, we are certainly not short of cash and finances. In fact, the actual truth is that the leader of the Muslims, (meaning himself), does not wish to earn the reward only himself in this world and the next. He also wants the subjects to enjoy this great benefit. It is therefore my wish that the rich and wealthy help the poor and needy themselves as well besides the leader of the Muslims and thereby also gain reward from the Allah Almighty for this generous behaviour. In this way, they will also be with the leaders of the Muslims in enjoying the benefit in the Hereafter. It will also become a means for their sins to decrease and a means for their Divine Pardon.”
When the emissary heard these words from Abu Jafer Mansur, he realized that this must be the truth and that Abu Jafer Mansur had only given permission to people to beg so that the ordinary people could gain reward by helping the poor citizens. In fact, he completely ignored the opinion of Omaara bin Hamza and genuinely believed that this was the reason that there were so many beggars in the city. It is mentioned that among the many answers given in history, this must surely be one of them which silenced the listener.