Home > Sayings and Actions of Salaf as Saalih > “And was this showing off, O Sufyan?”

“And was this showing off, O Sufyan?”

One year, while Sufyan Ath-Thawri was performing pilgrimage in the company of Shaiban Ar-Ra’i, a lion appeared before their traveling party on the road they were traveling upon.
Sufyan said to Shaiban:

“Look how this lion is blocking the way and terrifying the people.”


“Do not fear,” Shaiban said.

When the lion heard Shaiban’s words, it moved its tail, as a dog might do when it is showing how obedient it is to its master. After he approached the lion, Shaiban rubbed its tail gently; it made another meek, subservient gesture with its body and tail, after which it hurried into the distance, leaving the traveling party alone.


“What is this showing off, O Shaiban?” Sufyan asked.

“And was this showing off, O Sufyan?” Shaiban answered.

“Had I wanted to show off and gain fame, I would have placed my provisions on its back for the journey, until we reached Makkah!” [1]


[1] Sifatus-Safwah 4/307 and Bahrud-Dumu’, page 131
[From the book ‘Glimpses of the lives of Righteous People’]

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