“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] Sifatus-Safwah 4/307 and Bahrud-Dumu‘, page 131

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