Story No. 222 – 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.”