STORY — Fearless before Dictators – A Man of His Word
Affan ibn Muslim was a great scholar of Hadith. Once, Ishaq ibn Ibrahim called ‘Affan to question him regarding his belief pertaining to the Qur’an being created or not. This was in conformity with the instruction of Ma’mun, the Khaliph, who desired to know the view of ‘Affan regarding the controversy raging at the time. On the arrival of ‘Affan, Ishaq read to him Ma’mun’s letter, which stated, “Question ‘Affan and ask him to declare that the Qur’an is created. If he agrees to do so, then you may leave him as he is. If he refuses to accept my view, then you should stop his salary.” ‘Affan was being paid five-hundred dirhams every month by Ma’mun.
After the letter had been read, Ishaq asked, “What do you say?”
‘Affan replied by reciting a verse from the Qur’an,
قل هو الله أحد
“Say He, Allah, is One.”
and he completed the entire Surah. He then asked Ishaq, “Can the like of this ever be created?”
Ishaq replied, “The Amirul-Mu’minin has commanded that if you do not accept his view, he will stop your salary. If he does so, we will do likewise.”
‘Affan responded by saying, “Allah says:
وفي السماء رزقكم وما توعدون
“In the heavens is your sustenance and that which you have been promised.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, verse 22)
Ishaq was left speechless and ‘Affan departed.
‘Affan used to assist Judge Mu’az ibn Mu’az in investigating the credibility of witnesses. Once he was offered ten-thousand dinars to remain silent regarding the integrity of a particular witness, but he refused, saying, “I cannot evade my responsibility to point out the truth.”