The Caliph had begun a crackdown against the followers of the imprisoned Shī‘ah Imām Musa al-Kadhim. Wāhab and a few others met the Imam and sought advice. Mūsá replied with the Arabic letter ﺝ (jīm). Each of these companions took their own interpretation of the letter: jala'u l-waṭan "exile", jabl "refuge in the mountains" and for Wāhab, junūn "madness, possession by the jinn". The next day, Wāhab left his wealthy life, wearing rags and came into the streets. Baghdadis soon dubbed him Bahlūl.