Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) said:
I did not, during this affair (i.e. the trials and tribulations which occurred due to the heretical beliefs of the Mutazilites that the Qur’an was created) hear a word stronger than that of al-A’rabi who spoke to me at Rahbat Tooq (the name of a place) and said:
‘If you are killed, then you will have been killed as a martyr (shaheed), and if you live, then you will live with honour’.
And so my heart became strengthened”
(Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad by Ibn al-Jawzi)
Translated by Ibn El-Sheikh El-Misri