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Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) and his two servants: Qambar and Saeed

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) with his servantsAfter the martyrdom of Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as), Qambar, servant of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) related that he very seldom had the occasion to serve his master. Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) used to do his work for himself, used to wash his own clothing, used even to patch them whenever needed. He would draw water from the well for his daily use. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) would give them good food and decent dresses, and would himself eat and dress like a very poor man. Let alone whipping or beating he never even got angry with us. He never used a cane even on his horse, camel or mule. These animals apparently understood his mood and desire and would trot and walk as he wished them to do. His often used phrase with them was "go easy child". Continuing Qambar said:

Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (as) and saving wealth (money)

Once and only once Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) got annoyed with me. It was the occasion when I showed him the money that I had hoarded. It was from my share of income given to me like others from the State Treasury (Baytul Mal) and the gifts I had received from the members of his family. I had no immediate use of it and had collected the amount. It was not much, being barely 100 Dirhams. When I showed him the amount he looked annoyed and what pained me more he looked very sad. I enquired as to why he was so sad, he said: "Qambar, if you had no use of this money, were there not people around you who were in need of it, some of them might have been starving and some ill and infirm, could you not have helped them. I never thought that you could be so heartless and cruel, and could love wealth for the sake of wealth."

Qambar I am afraid you are not trying to acquire much from Islam, try more seriously and sincerely. Take these coins out of my house. I took them out and distributed them amongst the beggars in the Kufa mosque.

Is Money is everything?

Some people say 'Money is everything'. It will be advisable for such people to consider the following facts:

"Money will buy a Bed but not sleep, Books but not brains, Food but not appetite, Finery but not beauty, Medicine but not health; Luxuries but not culture, Amusements but not happiness, Passport to every where but not Heaven".

Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and Generosity

Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)At another time, Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) was returning from a journey with a string of camels fully laden with goods. On the way a beggar asked for a piece of bread. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) ordered his beloved servant Qambar to give some bread to the beggar. Qambar started searching for bread. After a few moments Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) asked about the delay. Qambar said, "I am looking for the bread."

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) said, "Give the bagger the camel which carries the food." After a while Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) again inquired about the delay. Qambar replied, "I am searching for the camel carrying the food." "Give the whole caravan," Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) ordered.

Qambar hurriedly jumped off from the camel and handed the reins of the whole caravan to the fortunate beggar.

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) smiled at the agility of Qambar and asked him, "Why did you jump so quickly and hand over the reins in such haste?" Qambar replied, "Master, you are in such a mood that on account of a little delay, you gave away the whole caravan. I was afraid if there was some more delay, you might give me away also with the caravan. You will get a thousand slaves like me, but where will I get a master like you?"

Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali (as) and Gift giving etiquette in Islam

One day our first Imam, Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali (as) went to the market with his servant, Qambar. There he bought two shirts, one which was really nice and expensive and the other which was not as nice.

When Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) returned home he gave the better shirt to Qambar and kept the other one for himself.

Qambar told Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali (as) that it would look better if he wore the nicer shirt as he was the leader of the Muslims (Commander of the Faithful) while Qambar himself was only a servant.

Imam Ali (as) answered that Qambar should wear the nicer shirt because he was younger and so it would suit him better; but more importantly Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali (as) told him that he was a guide for the Muslims and so had to set a good example for them by leading a simple life.

Saeed, another servant of Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) says,

It was a very hot day, Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) was writing some letters, he wanted to send me to call some of his officers, he called me, once, twice and thrice and each time I purposely kept silent and did not reply. Imam Ali (as) got up to go himself and saw me sitting not very far away from him. He (as) asked me as to why I did not respond to his call, I replied: "Master, I want to find out when and how you get angry." A smile played on his lips and he replied: "You cannot rouse my anger with such childlike tricks, and then he set me free and kept on supporting me till me death."

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) amongst his subjects

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) amongst his subjectsWhen Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) was coming to Kufa, he entered the city of Anbar populated by Iranians. The Iranian farmers were very happy to see their beloved caliph, Ameer ul Momineen passing through their town. They came to his visit. When it was time for Imam Ali (as) to leave, they started running in front of his horse. Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) inquired about this behavior.

"This is one way that we extend respect to our leaders and respectful individuals. This is our custom that has been practiced for years."

Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali (as) said: "This behavior puts you in discomfort in this world, and brings about humiliation in the next world. Always stay away from practices that humiliate you. After all what benefit is there in such a practice to the recipients?"

Haris-ibne-Shohail, one of the governors of the provinces, was in Kufa, once he was riding through the city and saw Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) also riding. He got down from his horse to accompany Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) on foot. Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (as) stopped his horse and said. "It is ill for a man to lower himself before anybody but his God, please get upon your horse, even had you not been an officer of the state I would not have allowed you to lower yourself like this, the sight of such humiliation of man before man never pleases me. It is the worst form of tyranny which can be practiced."

Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (as) was passing through Ambar, with his army. The rich men of the province, as was the custom of those times, came out to greet him. They offered the best Persian horses as presents, and requested his permission to act as hosts to his army. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) met them very courteously, but very politely refused to accept the gifts and the invitation, saying:

You have paid your taxes, to receive anything more from you, even when you offer it voluntarily and willingly, is a crime against the state.

But when they persisted and pressed their request, Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) ordered that the horses could be accepted against their taxes, and so far as the feast was concerned it must be paid out of the war expenses.

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) and rights of Companionship

Rights of CompanionshipIn those days, Kufa was the capital and center of the Islamic Government. All eyes of the vast and wide Muslim nation (with the exception of Syria) were fixed at this city waiting for orders to be issued and decisions to be taken.

One day outside the city two gentlemen, a Muslim and the other from people of the Book (Jew or Christian) met on the road. The Muslim was going to Kufa and the other gentlemen to another place nearby. Since a part of their journey was common, they decided to travel together.

On the way, they talked and talked on, various topics of mutual interest and ultimately arrived at the point where their paths separated. The non-Muslim was surprised to see that his Muslim companion did not take the path leading to Kufa but accompanied him on the other path, where he was going. He asked: "Well, did not you say you were going to Kufa?"

"Yes" Muslim said.

"Then why are you coming this way? The other one is the path to Kufa."

"I know. I want to walk a few steps with you to see you off as our Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said, 'whenever two persons travel together on the same path, they establish reciprocal rights upon each other'. Now you have got a right upon me and for the sake of that right I wish to walk a few steps with you, and then, of course, I shall return unto my own path."

"Oh! Such an authority and power which is wielded among people in such a perfect way by your Prophet Muhammad (saw), and the amazing speed with which his religion has spread in the world, must be, I am sure, because of his such noble character."

The surprise and admiration of this non-Muslim reached its peak when he learnt afterwards that his Muslim friend was Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as), the Caliph of that time. Soon after he embraced Islam and was counted among the most devout and self-sacrificing companion of Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as).

Maula Ali (as): Taking care of old age people in Islam

The old man, a Christian by religion, had worked all his life; but had not been able to save anything for his old age. Lately he had also become blind. Old age, poverty and blindness had joined hands and he had no other way except begging. He used to stand at the corner of a lane for begging. People had compassion for him and gave him some alms from which he ate every day, and so he continued his sad life.

One day Ameer ul Momineen (Commander of the Faithful) Maula Ali (as), passed through the lane and saw the beggar in that condition. Imam Ali (as), out of his concern for others, enquired about the old man. He wanted to know the factors which led him to that condition. "Has he no son to support him? Or, is there no other way for him to live a respectable life in his old age?"

The people who knew the old man came forward and informed Imam Ali (as) that he was a Christian and had worked hard so long as he had his eyes, and when young and strong. Now that he had lost his youth as well as his eyes, he was unable to do any work; also he had no savings, so it was natural for him to beg. Mawla Ali (as) said, "Strange! Till he had strength, you extracted work from him and now you have left him on his own?"

His story shows that he had worked when he had the strength. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government and the society to support him till he is alive. "Go, and give him a life pension from the State Treasury (Baytul Mal)."

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016