Who to Thank?
Source: Mujtaba Issue 34 July/Aug 2004

A man once came to Imam Ali (a.s.) and said "O Ameerul Mu-mineen, there is something I want. If you give it to me, I shall. praise Allah and thank you, and if you don't, I shall praise Allah and pardon you."

Imam Ali (a.s.) replied, "Write your desire on the sand, for I don't like to see the embarrassment of begging on a person's face."

The man wrote: "I am needy."

Imam Ali (a.s.) ordered a robe for him. The man put it on and said, "You have given me a beautiful robe and I will praise you even though you don't want it." He knew this because Imam (as.) had turned his face away.

"I will do this because praise lets the name of the praised one live, just as rain lets the dry land live."

When he heard this, Imam Ali (a.s.) gave the man 100 dinars.

Later, when asked why he gave the man so much, he said, "I heard the Holy Prophet say, 'Respect a man according to his status', and this was his status in my eyes."

Imam All (a.s.) was reminding us that when we help others, it is Allah (S.W.T.) who gives us the ability to do so and thus we should be generous.