Story No. 236 – Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) as Ever Just and Trustworthy!
Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as), the First Muslim, an intimate associate of the final messenger, Holy Prophet Mohammad (saw) in the life and the holy Islamic mission, the Immediate Successor to Holy Prophet Mohammad (saw) and the First Holy Immaculate Imam of the Shi’ites in the World. It is an undisputed fact that Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) was born a Muslim inside the Holy Kaaba at Makkah. Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) is the only unique personality in the world who was born in the Holy Kaaba and was martyred in the Kufah Mosque and was buried in the holy city of Najaf-e-Ashraf (Iraq).
Regarding divine right of Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) Holy Prophet Mohammad (saw) declared: “Whomsoever I have authority over; Ali has also authority over him, O Allah! Befriend whoever befriend him and be hostile to whosoever is hostile to him”.
According to the historians, he was a man who possessed all the Islamic and humane virtues; a man whom despite his tremendous courage and bravery, was a support and a companion of the weak; and a man whom despite his utmost kind and merciful nature, remained firm in establishing justice and denouncing oppression.
An example of his virtues as a perfect human being can be seen in the following story, which presents his efforts and concern in protecting the Bayt al-Maal (The property that Muslims paid to the Islamic government to be shared amongst all Muslims) and dealing just with the matter:
Note: Aqeel ibn Abi Talib was second of four sons of Hazrat Abu Talib, who was the uncle and protector of Holy Prophet Mohammad (saw). Aqeel ibn Abi Talib became blind late in life.
Aqueel arrived in Kufah as a guest at the Government House (Dar al-Imarah) in the days of the Caliphate of his younger brother, Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as). Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) made a sign to his elder son Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (as) to offer a garment to his uncle. Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (as) presented to him a robe and a cloak. The night came; the weather was warm. They were sitting on rooftop having amiable talks. It was time for dinner. Aqueel considered himself to be the guest of the Absolute ruler of the Muslim world and expected an extraordinarily colorful and rich dinner. But to his surprise it was the most ordinary and simple one. He said: “Is this all the food?”
Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as): “Isn’t it a God’s gift? I heartily thank Almighty God that he has bestowed me with this gift”.
Aqueel: “Then I should better tell you my needs at once, and be on my way soon. I am in debt. Please order to pay off my debt as soon as possible; and also help your poor brother as much as you can, so that I return to my place (Madinah) relieved of my burdens.”
“How much is your debt?” asked Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as).
“One hundred thousand Dinars (silver coins),” replied Aqeel ibn Abi Talib.
“Oh! One hundred thousand Dinars! Such a large amount? I am sorry, brother. I don’t have so much money to give you, but wait till the time comes for the disbursement of stipends. I shall withdraw my personal share and give from it to you, thus fulfilling my duty of cooperation and brotherhood towards you. If my family and children were not in need of their own expenses, I would have given you my entire share.”
“What! Should I wait till the payment of stipends? You have the State Treasury (Bayt al-Maal) in your hand and still you are asking me to wait till the time of disbursement and then only you will give me from your personal share! You can withdraw any amount you want from the State Treasury. So, why are you making me wait till then? Besides, what is your total share from it? Even if you give me your entire share, how far will it relieve me of my trouble?”
Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) said: “I am surprised to hear your proposal. What concern it does? Is of you or me whether there is money in the State Treasury or not? We are just like any other Muslims. True, you are my brother and I must help you as much as possible, but from my personal money, not from the State Treasury.”
The argument continued and Aqueel pleaded with Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) in various ways. He continued to insist that Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) should give him from State Treasury. The place where they were sitting overlooked the market of Kufah, and they could see the cashboxes of the shopkeepers. Hadhrat Ali Murtaza (as) said, “If you still insist and are not ready to listen to me, then I have got another proposal for you. If you follow it you can repay all your loan and still have plenty of money left.”
“What is that?”
“Down over there are cashboxes. As soon as the market is closed and nobody is there, go down and break open the boxes. And take whatever you want.”
“Whose boxes are they?”
“They belong to the people of this market. They keep their cash in them.”
“Strange! You are telling me to steal the money of poor people who have earned it with their hard labor and have gone home leaving it there trusting in Allah (SWT)?”
“Then why are you urging me to open the boxes of the State Treasury (Baitul Mal) for you? Whom does it belong to? This also belongs to the same people who are asleep in their houses carefree and in comforts. All right, I have another suggestion. Follow it if you like.”
“If you are ready then pick up your sword and so will I. The old city of Hirah is not far from here. There are leading merchants and wealthy people there. We make a surprise attack on one of them during night and bring out enormous wealth with us.”
“Brother, I haven’t come here for theft and robbery that you are suggesting these things to me. I am only asking you to instruct the officials of the State Treasury to give me the money which is in your power, so that I may repay my debt.”
“Suppose that we steal the property of an individual, isn’t it better that stealing from the property of millions of Muslims? How is it that taking the property of an individual with sword is robbery, and usurping the property of the general public is not? You are under the impression that robbery only means attacking some individual and taking his property by force. The worst type of robbery is the same thing which you are proposing to me to do now.”