Hazrat Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s) used to feed meat and wheat bread to the poor. But, at home he used to eat dry barley bread with olive oil. He always preferred hardships for himself. During his 25 years of Vicegerency, he never lived in a house made of properly tempered bricks. He never held a small piece of land for his own use. He did not leave behind any property as legacy for his children. He had no savings other that the 700 Dirhams that he kept for buying a slave girl to serve the womenfolk at home! None other could offer supplications as he did. Imam Sajjad ibne Hussain (a.s) used to keep aside the book of Hazrat Ali (a.s)’s supplications expressing his inability to act on them!
It is narrated that Janabe Fizza (s.a), the slave-girl of Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a), brought a sealed bag to Hazrat Ali (a.s). He opened the seal and brought out dry bread and crusts from it. Umro ibne Harith was with Hazrat Ali (a.s) at that time. He told in a sad tone to Fizza, “It would have been better if you had sieved the crusts!” Fizza replied, “The reason for putting on the seal is that no such thing was done by anyone to the contents of the bag!”
It is narrated authentically that Sawaid bin Ghafla came to Hazrat Ali (a.s) on the day of Eid. He noticed that there was some flour and dry bread in a bowl soaked in milk. He asked, “O Master! You eat the same food even on festive occasions?” He replied, “Eid is for one who is sure of pardon for his past sins!”
Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (a.s) narrated that Hazrat Ali (a.s) used to carry the firewood and containers of water for his home on his own shoulders. He used to sweep the house every day. Hazrat Fatima (a.s) used to grind the flour and knead it herself for baking the bread.
It is narrated that one day Hazrat Ali (a.s) bought fresh dates in Kufa. He tied the fruit in the lapel of his shawl and was proceeding towards his home. Some companions met him on the way and offered to carry his burden. The Imam (a.s) said, “The right of carrying the family’s burden rests with the head of the family!” Then he added, “If a person of distinction carries the weight of his family’s requirements, his distinction doesn’t diminish in any manner whatsoever!”
It is recorded that Hazrat Ali (a.s) used to walk bare-footed on five occasions. On these occasions, he used to carry his footwear in his left hand. He would go to the Masjid barefooted on Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and the Friday congregations. The Imam (a.s) would also go barefooted when he visited a sick person. He also went with bare feet while attending the funeral procession of a dead person. He used to say that one has to be barefooted while attending to Allah’s tasks!
It is narrated that Hazrat Ali (a.s) used to visit the market all alone. During these walks if he found a stranger who had lost his way, the Imam (a.s) would guide him. When he noticed old and feeble persons on the way, he would offer his help and support to them.
If he (a.s) noticed any person reciting the Quran incorrectly, he would guide the person to recite it correctly. Then he would himself recite a verse which says, “We have apportioned the abode in the Hereafter for those who do not want dissension and aggrandizement in the land; for the virtuous good awaits in the Hereafter.”
Source: Extract from the book Ain al-Hayat by Allama Mohammad Baqir Majlisi (a.r)
May Allah grant us taufiq to follow the path of the Ahlebayt (asws). May Allah count us among the servants and followers of Imam Al-Mahdi (atfs). Ameen!