Story No. 224 – Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) and rights of Companionship
Rights of Companionship In 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).”