Ali (PBUH) is the first Imam of Shiites and the first successor of the final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). According to the historians, he was a man who possessed all the Islamic and humane virtues, a man who, despite his tremendous courage and bravery, was a support and a companion of the weak, and a man who, 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 (1) and dealing justly with the matter:
One night Aqil, the brother of Imam Ali (PBUH), visited the Imam. Imam Ali (PBUH) accepted his guest with respect and honor. Upon Imam Ali’s (PBUH) request, Imam Hassan (PBUH) offered a shirt and a cloak of his own to Aqil. The weather was warm; Imam Ali (PBUH) and Aqil were sitting on the roof of Dar al-Imarah (palace of the governor). While Aqil had been expecting to see a colorful table, on the contrary, he was only presented ordinary food.
Then Aqil expressed his request and said: “I am highly in debt, and I have to return home soon. I want you to order that my debts be paid”. Imam Ali (PBUH) said: “How much do you owe?” Aqil replied: “One hundred thousand Dinars (silver coins)”. Imam Ali (PBUH) said: “That’s too much!”, and then continued: “I regret that I cannot pay all your debts; however, at the time of giving people’s shares, I will give you from my own share as much as possible”. Aqil said: “Your share is not much. How much do you want to take for yourself, and how much do you want to give me? Please order that they pay me from Bayt al-Maal.” Imam Ali (PBUH) said: “Bayt al-Maal is not my own property; I am the trustee of people’s properties. I cannot offer you from the Bayt al-Maal.”
When Imam Ali (PBUH) saw Aqil’s insistence, he pointed towards the cases of the merchants, which were visible from the roof since it overlooked the bazaar, and said: “I have got a suggestion for you, which if you perform, you will be able to pay all your debts. These people will gradually return to their homes, and this place will become empty of people; yet, their cases which are full will remain here. As soon as people have left, go and empty their cases, and pay your debts”. Aqil said: “O dear brother! Are you kidding? Are you offering me to steal? Am I a thief that steals people’s property, while they are resting in their homes?” Imam Ali (PBUH) replied: “What difference does it make that you take (money) from Bayt al-Maal unjustly or steal from these cases? They are both instances of thievery”.
Then, he continued: “I have got another suggestion. The old city of Hirah, which is the center of merchants and wealthy people, is located near Kufa. Let us go there at night and steal from one of them”. Aqil said: “O dear brother! I am asking you to give me from the Bayt al-Maal, and you reply me by saying these words?” Imam Ali (PBUH) said: “In fact, it is better to steal from one individual rather than to steal from hundreds of thousands of people. How is it that stealing from one person is a theft, but stealing from the properties of the public is not?”(2)
This story was just a small portion of the righteous life of Imam Ali (PBUH). His life is a comprehensive and extensive scene of the manifest of high spiritual characteristics in a pure and divine leader. It is incumbent on us to promote ethics and spirituality in ourselves using such teachings, and to obey his clear path as much as possible.
The Roshd Website offers its condolences to all the seekers of right in the world upon the 21st of Ramadan, the martyrdom of the commander of the faithful, the helper of the orphans, the symbol of faith and salvation, Amir al-Mu’minin Imam Ali (PBUH).
On this great occasion, the Night of Qadr, we invite our dear friends to read the article of Night of Qadr, located in the Beliefs section of the website. It presents a study of the various aspects of this night and discusses the events which take place in it. Moreover, based on a Quranic discussion, it presents a deep relationship between this night and the divine living representative: Caliph of Allah at all ages. Finally, it suggests ways people may benefit more from these most valuable nights of the year. (To read the article click here!)
1- The property that Muslims paid to the Islamic government to be shared amongst all Muslims.
2-Selection taken from:” Imam Ali (PBUH) in Shahid Mutahhari’s Words”, by Abbas Azizi, quoted from the book of “Mottos and Advices” (pp. 154-156)