Ibrahim Bin Adham was born in Balkh on the east of Khurasan. His family was from the Kufa and were descendants of the second Caliph Omar bin Khattab.
He was the king of Balkh but abandoned the throne to become a Sufi saint. According to the Arabic and Persian sources, Ibrahim Bin Adham received a warning from God and abdicated his throne to take up the ascetic life in Syria. He died in 777-8 and is believed to be buried in Syrian town of Jabala.
His legend enlarged gradually from al-Bukhari to Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani and after its full formation around the eleventh century, expanded to central Asia under the Mongols, Anatolia under the Ottoman rule, North India in the age of the Tughluqids, and Malaysia during the seventeenth century as revealed in the works by R. Jones.
He is known as Abu Ben Adhem or Abou Ben Adhem in the West because of a famous poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt.
Pastor Bart Campbell had a poem about Abu Ben Adhem in his church. German Lutheran Steffan Schultheiss read the poem and argued that its meaning flew in the face of all Christian teaching. Campbell replied that "Christ came into the world to let people into heaven, not as a way of locking them out. I know Christ died for our sins, but let me ask you something. Is the apostle Thomas in hell because he didn't believe in the resurrection before he saw it with his own eyes? If he's not, do you really think the Good Lord will condemn to eternal damnation a good man because he was born, lived his life, and died never having heard the name Jesus Christ? Thomas heard. He was there at the Sermon on the Mount, and at the crucifixion, saw Jesus when he returned, and still didn't believe till he had actually put his hands into the wounds."
Schultheiss did not agree with Campbell's answer.