Why Sufyan Would Urinate Blood
Here are some compiled bits that can help us overcome fear of people and encourage us to speak the truth when it needs to be said in light of the words of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (168): “A man should not let his intimidation by people prevent him from speaking the truth if he knows it, witnesses it, or hears it.”
Fadlullah al-Jilani said in ‘Fadlillah as-Samad fi Tawdih al-Adab al-Mufrad’ (2/45):
“If it is said that the one who has haya’ is shy to speak the truth, causing him to leave off commanding the good and forbidding the bad, and that his haya’ leads him to shortcomings in fulfilling some obligations, as is normally the case, I say that this is not true haya’. Rather, it is incompetence and weakness and subjugation, and it is referred to as haya’ simply by way of likeness and simile. True haya’ is only when the thing he has haya’ of doing is truly bad, and there is no consideration for what the people consider to be bad when it is in fact something good or vice versa…And it is established that the Prophet had more haya’ than a virgin in the innermost portion of her home, and he is an example for us in this. With this, there was nothing to prevent his anger if the limits of Allah were violated.”
al-Albani mentioned in ‘Adab az-Zifaf’ (p. 129) that Salim bin ‘Abdillah got married and invited people to the wedding, and Abu Ayyub was one of those invited. They had covered the walls of their home with green rugs. Abu Ayyub came and looked around to see the house’s walls covered in green sheets and said: “O ‘Abdullah! You cover the walls with rugs?” Salim’s father replied: “The women have overpowered us, Abu Ayyub!” So, Abu Ayyub said: “You were the last person who I feared would be overpowered by women! I will not eat from your food or enter your homes!” And he left.
(This is because many scholars considered it disliked or even prohibited to cover walls with rugs, considering it to be a form of extravagance.)
In ‘Tarikh Baghdad’ (11/361), it is related that al-Ma’mun was sitting one day with some traders to chat with them regarding some goods they had to sell. Suddenly, he was reminded of some business he had to tend to, and got up to leave. Everyone else in the room got up except for Ibn al-Ja’d, as he stayed where he was sitting. So, al-Ma’mun looked at him in anger and said: “Why didn’t you get up like your friends did?” He replied: “Out of respect for the hadith that was narrated to us from the Prophet.” He asked: “And what is it?” ‘Ali bin al-Ja’d replied: “I heard Mubarak bin Fudalah say that he heard from al-Hasan that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever loves that the people stand up for him should prepare his seat in Hell.”” So, al-Ma’mun stood and pondered over the hadith, then raised his head and said: “Nobody should purchase anything except from this man,” and that day, he sold 30,000 dinars worth of goods.
al-Ghazzali related in ‘Ihya’ ‘Ulum ad-Din’ (5/45) that Hattit az-Zayyat went to al-Hajjaj, and when he entered, al-Hajjaj said to him: “You are Hattit?” He answered: “Yes. Ask me what you want, as I have made a pact with Allah at the Maqam of Ibrahim that I would do three things: i) I will speak the truth if I am asked a question, ii) I will remain patient if I am tested, and iii) I will be thankful if I am spared.” So, al-Hajjaj said to him: “ًWhat do you think of me?” Hattit replied: “You are from the enemies of Allah on Earth. You violate honor and kill based on suspicion.” al-Hajjaj then asked him: “ًWhat do you say about ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan?” Hattit replied: “He is worse than you, and you are simply one of his many mistakes.” al-Hajjaj then ordered that he be tortured, and he was then beaten with sticks and had his flesh stretched out with them until it was torn. His torturers didn’t hear him say anything, and they said to al-Hajjaj: “He is near death!” So, al-Hajjaj said: “Let him go and throw him out into the marketplace.” So, Ja’far (a friend of his) went to Hattit and said: “Hattit, do you want me to get you anything?” He said: “A drink of water.” So, the water was brought to him and he died, and he was only eighteen years old.
adh-Dhahabi related in ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (9/204) that Abd ar-Rahman bin Rustah asked ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Mahdi that if a man had just gotten married and was having relations with his wife on the first night, was he allowed to leave off the congregational prayer for a few days? Ibn Mahdi replied: “No, not a single prayer.” Later, Ibn Mahdi himself had a daughter who had just gotten married. So, the morning after the wedding, he made the call to prayer and walked to her door. He told the servant to tell those inside to come out for the prayer. The women and servants all came out startled, saying: “Subhan Allah! What is wrong?!” He said: “I will not leave until you all come out to the prayer.” So, they all came out, and he purposely sent them to a mosque that was out of the way.
In as-Sudays’s biography of Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shinqiti (p. 204-205), it is related that a man backbit someone in ash-Shinqiti’s presence. So, he forbade him from this, and the backbiter said: “I am the one speaking, not you.” So, the Shaykh replied: “I am carrying ‘al-Baqarah’ in my chest. Either politely be quiet or get out.”
adh-Dhahabi also related in ‘as-Siyar’ (7/184) that Sufyan ath-Thawri said: “Whenever I see something that I should speak up about and fail to do so, I urinate blood.”
He also related in ‘as-Siyar’ (7/196) that Shuja’ bin Walid said: “I performed the Hajj with Sufyan, and he would come and go with his tongue never ceasing to command the good and forbid the evil.”
He also related (7/197) that when al-Mahdi came into power, he sent for Sufyan. When Sufyan entered, al-Mahdi removed his ring and threw it at Sufyan and said: “O Aba ‘Abdillah, this is my ring. Work for this nation according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” So, Sufyan took the ring and said: “Do you permit me to speak, O Commander of the Believers? Can I speak with your promise not to harm me?” He said: “Yes.” So, Sufyan said: “Do not send for me again until I come to you myself, and do not give me anything unless I ask you for something.” So, al-Mahdi become enraged and wanted to kill him, but his assistant reminded him that he had promised not to harm Sufyan. So, Sufyan was kicked out of the palace and his companions asked him: “What made you refuse? He only asked you to work according to the Qur’an and Sunnah!” So, Sufyan belittled their intellects due to their missing the point and he ran away as a fugitive to al-Basrah.
al-Mahdi later said (7/201): “I was unable to look at Sufyan out of haya’ and intimidation from him.”
He also related (7/199) that Sufyan went to Abu Ja’far when they were at Mina and said to him: “Fear Allah! You are in this position and have this power due to the swords of the Muhajirin and Ansar, and their sons are dying of hunger! ‘Umar made the Hajj and spent only fifteen dinars, and he used to shade himself under the trees!” So, Abu Ja’far said: “Do you want me to be like you?” Sufyan said: “No. Just be below what you are and above what I am.” Abu Ja’far said: “Get out.”
He also related (7/209) that Yahya bin ‘Abd al-Malik bin Abi Ghaybah said: “I never saw anyone with a more confrontational face for the sake of Allah than Sufyan.”
It was also related from Ibn Abi Hatim that there was a blind man who used to sit with Sufyan. When it was Ramadan, the man would go lead the people in prayer, and they would give him clothes and gifts as a reward for this. So, Sufyan said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the people of the Qur’an will come with their Qur’an, and it will be said to the likes of this person: ‘You have already received your reward previously.’” So, the man said to him: “O Aba ‘Abdillah, you say this while I am sitting right next to you?” Sufyan replied: “I fear that it will be said to me on the Day of Resurrection that you were sitting next to me and I did not advise you.”