Story No. 233 – Worth of Caliphate in the eyes of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)

During the days of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib’s (as) Caliphate, Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas once came to him. Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas found Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) mending his old shoes with his own hand. Turning to Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) asked him, “How much do you think is this shoe worth?” “Nothing,” replied Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) said, “But the same shoe is of more worth to me than authority (Caliphate) over you if it were not to me a means for establishing justice, recovering the rights of the deprived and wiping out evil practices.”


(By Him who split the grain and created living things,) had it not been for the presence of the pressing crowd, were it not for the establishment of (God’s) testimony upon me through the existence of supporters, and had it not been for the pledge of God with the learned, to the effect that they should not connive with the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the reins of [the camel of] the caliphate on its own shoulders and would have made the last one drink from the same cup that I made the first one to drink (i.e. I would have taken the same stance towards the caliphate as at the time of the first caliph). (Then you would have seen that in my view the world of yours is not worth more than a goat’s sneeze.)