Acts at Kūfa

The Seat of Judgment and the Place of the Washtub

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The seat of judgment (Dakkat al-Qaḍāʼ) was a shop-like structure inside Masjid al-Kūfa in which there was a bench that was used by Imām ʿAlī(a) for judging. Next to this place, there was a short column on which the following holy verse was written:

«إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ.»

“Surely, Allāh enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good to others and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.”

The place of the washtub (Bayt al-Ṭashṭ) is the place where one of the miracles of Imām ʿAlī(a) was shown:

There lived a young unmarried woman who, while swimming, unknowingly had a leech enter her body and settle in her womb. As the leech drew nourishment from the girl's blood, it grew larger, causing her belly to expand. This surprising development led her brothers to mistakenly believe that she was illicitly expecting a child. Filled with rage and a misguided sense of family honour, they were ready to take her life.

But before acting, they decided to present their sister's case to Imām ʿAlī(a). The Imam, showing wisdom and calm in the face of their allegations, proposed an unusual solution. He requested a thick curtain be hung in a corner of the mosque, Masjid al-Kūfa, where the girl would sit privately. Then, he asked a renowned midwife in the city to examine the girl.

After her examination, the midwife declared, "O Amīr al-Muʼminīn, the girl is indeed pregnant. She bears a child in her womb."

Imām ʿAlī(a), however, had a hunch and a plan. He requested a clay washtub and asked the girl to sit in it. The strong smell of the clay repelled the leech, causing it to emerge from the girl and fall into the washtub. The sight of the leech leaving her body provided irrefutable proof of the girl's innocence. Her honour, and her life, were saved through the wisdom and insight of Imām ʿAlī(a).