Story No. 230 – Dress of Sher e Khuda, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)

Dress of Amir al-Muminin (as)Imam Ahmad in his book “al-Manaqib” and Bin-Atheer in his history quote Haroon bin Anza saying that he accompanied his father (Anza) to the “Khorniq” castle to meet Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), those were winter days, and the winter was very severe, he found Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) in a very thin cotton garment, and the cold wind was making him shiver. Anza asked him:


O Commander of faithful! Allah (SWT) has reserved a share for you and your family from State Treasury (Baitul Mal) why do you not make use of it?


Commander of faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) replied:


O Anza! I do not want anything from your State Treasury (Baitul Mal); this is the dress I have brought with me from Madinah.


In volume IX of the Bihar al-Anwar, it has been related from al-Kafi that Amir al-Muminin (as) said: Allah (SWT) has appointed me the leader of the people and made it my duty to adopt a way of living, in food and clothing, on a par with the poorest classes of society, so that, on the one hand, it may soothe the distress of the poor and on the other, restrain the rich from revolting.


Imam Ahmad quotes Abu Naziya, the ready made cloth merchant of Kufa saying that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) purchased two shirts from his shop, one was of superior quality, which he handed over to his slave Qamber to put on and the other which was of a rough cloth, very coarse and cheap, he reserved it for himself.


Imam Ahmad quotes Zayd bin Wahab saying that once Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) came out of his house and there were patches sewn to his dress. Bin Noaja, who was a Kharijite and an enemy and yet was allowed to lead a peaceful and comfortable life by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) at Kufa taunted Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) on the very poor and coarse kind of dress put on by him. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) replied:


Let go, what have you to find objection in my dress, it is the kind which our masses can afford, why can you not think of their lives and dresses, I shall improve my standard after I have succeeded in improving theirs. I shall continue to live like them. Such kind of dress makes one feel humble and meek and give up vanity, haughtiness and arrogance.