A judge in Basra

A judge in Basra, which is a city in Iraq, was renowned for his excessive acuteness of mind, observation and penetration. Many stories have been told about him in connection with these qualities, which were really astonishing.

It is related of him that he said: “I was never worsted in penetration but by one man. I had taken my seat in the court of judgement in Basra, when a person came before me and gave testimony that a certain garden, of which he mentioned the boundaries, belonged to a man whom he named. As I had some doubts of his veracity, I asked him how many trees were in that garden, and he said to me after a long silence:

‘How long is it since our lord the judge has been given judgement in this hall?’ I told him the time.

‘How many beams’, he said, ‘are there in the roof?’ On which I acknowledged that he was in the right and I accepted his testimony”.