A candle burnt by his side, as he sat down meticulously recording all the
revenue and the expenses of the treasury. Just then Talha and Zubair appeared.
They aspired to some positions of authority in Imam Ali's (A.S.) rule and had
come to strike a deal. If Imam Ali's (A.S.) gave them a place of distinction,
they would in turn pledge their full support. Imam Ali's (A.S.) knew of this.
Just as they sat down, Imam Ali (A.S.) puts out the candle and lit another one.
Talha and Zubair exchanged a glance of surprise and then one of them said: "O
Ali, we have come on some important business. But why did you extinguish the
first candle?" Imam Ali's (A.S.) replied: "That was a candle bought of
Treasury funds. As long as I worked for the Treasury, I used it. Now you have
come for some personal work, so I use the candle bought of my personal fund."
Talha and Zubair left him without saying another word.