“Am I one of the oppressors…?”

When Ahmad bin Hambal was imprisoned, one of the prison guards came to him and asked him:

“O Abu ‘Abdillah! The hadith that is narrated regarding the oppressors and those that aid them – is it authentic?”

He said: “Yes.”

The prison guard then said: “So, I am considered to be an aide of the oppressors?”

Imam Ahmad replied: “No. The aides of the oppressors are those that comb your hair, and wash your clothes, and prepare your meals, and buy and sell from you. As for you, then you are one of the oppressors themselves.”

[‘Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad’; p. 397]

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