Honoring One’s Word, And The Power Of Fate


The minister Al Rabi’ Ibn Yunus (الربيع بن يونس) lived from about A.D. 730 to 785 and served the Abbasid caliphs Al Mansur and his successor Al Mahdi.  Amusing and instructive anecdotes have come down to us from the medieval Arabic historians about the interactions of the minister with his sovereigns.  We will relate two of them here, acknowledging our debt to Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary (وفيات الأعيان وأنباء أبناء الزمان).  The stories illustrate the importance of honoring one’s word as well as the power of Fate.

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