Story No. 225 – Maula-e-Kainat, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and taking care of poor in Islam

Ameer al-Momineen, Imam Ali (as), during his Caliphate (Khilafat), would often undertake tours to survey the markets. He (as) used to walk in the markets alone, with no escort, no servant and no companion and advice and guide the traders there. He (as) had a very soft corner in his heart for old, weak, infirm, disabled, orphans, poor and children were always his favourites.

It was the hottest day of the season, Commander of the Faithful, Moula Ali (as) had finished his noon-prayers in the mosque and was passing through the bazaar; he noticed that a little girl was weeping. Moula Ali (as) asked her the reason for her tears at which she explained: “My master had given me a dirham to purchase some dates. I purchased them from this trader here, but when I returned home, my master did not approve of them. Now I wish to return them but the trader refuses to take them back.”

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) accompanied the little girl to the trader and said to him, “This little girl is a slave girl and has no authority of her own. Take back the dates and return the money to her.”

The trader was a new comer to Kufa and did not recognize Maula Ali (as) and was rude to him, some passerby intervened and told him who Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was.

The trader’s face went pale as he stood flabbergasted. Trader immediately took the dates from the little girl and handed back the money to her. Then, turning to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), he implored, “O’ Ameer al-Momineen (Commander of the Faithful)! Be pleased with me and forgive me.”

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) replied, “I shall only be pleased with you when you change your behaviour for the better and pay close attention to morals and courtesy.”

The owner of the slave girl had also heard the news of this incident and ran to meet Moula Ali (as) to apologize for the trouble caused by the slave girl. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) told him:

You have no mercy for a person who is under your power and cannot forgive her mistake, have you a right to expect Mercy and Forgiveness from the Lord? You people have acquired nothing from Islam but its name.