The Two Shirts (story)

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The Two Shirts (story)
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One day our 1st Imam, Imam Ali (A) went to the market with his slave, Qambar. In those days he used to live in Kufa. He was the Caliph of all the Muslims, but even so, he lived a simple life. At the market, he asked a shopkeeper, "Is it possible to buy two shirts for 5 Dirhams?" The man said, "Yes, I have a very nice shirt for 3 Dirhams and a cheaper one for 2 Dirhams." The Imam (A) bought the two shirts. He told Qambar to have the better shirt while he kept the simpler one for himself. Qambar was surprised and said to the Imam (A) that it would be better if he wore the nicer shirt as he was the leader of the Muslims, while Oambar himself was only a servant.

The Imam (A) reminded him that the Prophet (S) had always said that slaves should be given the same food and clothes as the master himself. Then, the Imam (A) said that Qambar should wear the nicer shirt because he was younger and so it would suit him better! The Imam (A) was careful never to make the poor people feel that he was living in luxury while they were suffering. When the poor people saw that their own Imam (A) and Caliph was living a simple lifestyle, they did not feel so sad about their situation. What a beautiful example the Imam (A) gives us in his behavior with Qambar! He did not see that he was the master and Qambar the slave, but instead treated him like a member of the family.1

The Imam (A) reminded him that the Prophet (S) had always said that slaves should be given the same food and clothes as the master himself. Then, the Imam (A) said that Qambar should wear the nicer shirt because he was younger and so it would suit him better! The Imam (A) was careful never to make the poor people feel that he was living in luxury while they were suffering. When the poor people saw that their own Imam (A) and Caliph was living a simple lifestyle, they did not feel so sad about their situation. What a beautiful example the Imam (A) gives us in his behavior with Qambar! He did not see that he was the master and Qambar the slave, but instead treated him like a member of the family.

A hadith from Imam Ali

No muslim reads the Qur'an with care, except that he comes away with an addition and a loss. The addition is in his guidance and the loss is in his blindness.2

1. AI-Ghaaraat, page 102
2. Al-Hayaat, v.2, p.101

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Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.