One summer day, Imam Ali (A.S.) was walking through the town on his way home.
The sun was in tensely hot, and the Imam (A.S.) was tired and perspiring. Most
of the people were sleeping, and the streets were quiet and deserted. Suddenly,
Imam Ali (A.S.) heard a voice of wailing and crying.
He stopped, looked all around, and seeing no one he carried on his way. Then a
woman appeared at the end of the alley. She was running helplessly, wailing and
weeping. She ran up to Imam Ali (A.S.), sank to the floor, and wiped the tears
from her eyes. She started to say something but she couldn't help crying.
Once again her face drowned in tears. The Imam (SA) asked her gently as to why
she was so upset. With hard breathing and her wailing voice, the woman replied:
`My husband is ill-treating me. He has put me out of the house. He wants to hit
me... O Amir al-Mu'minin, help me, for there is no one to help me, other than
Imam Ali (A.S.) was very tired. He told her: "Wait until it becomes cool.
Then I will go with you and speak to your husband. At the moment it is very hot
and I am very tired. It is better that you wait a little." This once more
brought tears to the woman's face.
"O Amir al-Muiminin.." she said. "I am afraid. I fear that if I reach home late
my husband will be even angrier with me, and will treat me even more harshly"
Imam Ali (SA) thought for a moment, and then said: "No, by Allah, I will not
delay enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong. I must help this oppressed
With that he set off for the woman's house. As they approached the house she
pointed it out and stood a little way off, too afraid to go any nearer. Imam Ali
(SA) knocked at the door and offered his salam.
A powerful young man, obviously enraged, opened the door. Straightway the Imam
(SA) inquired about his behavior towards his wife, and then, in a gentle, kind
manner he advised him:
"O young man, why do you trouble your wife? Be fearful of Allah, and don't
trouble your wife any more. Don't hit her, and if she has annoyed you, you must
Standing at the other side of the lane the woman was listening to the
conversation and hoping that her husband would accept the Imam's (SA) advice and
mend his ways towards her. But the young man (who didn't seem to recognize the
Imam (A.S.) shouted angrily and impudently: Who are you to poke your nose into
my affairs? I now intend to kill her and there is nothing you can do about it.
It's none of your business. Right now I am going to set her on fire; let me see
what you can do about it!"
Listening to this outburst, the Imam (A.S.) lowered his head and muttered "La
ilaha illa Allah". And when the youth rushed towards his wife threatening to
set her on fire, the Imam (A.S.) blocked his way, took his hand and again
reprimanded and advised him. Yet the young man did not heed the Imam (A.S.) and
continued his shouting and his violent and aggressive behavior.
Again he tried to move towards his wife, he really wanted to set her on fire.
Imam Ali (A.S.) then got angry. With no hesitation he drew his sword and raised
it over the young man's head. The flash of the sword terrified the young man and
his whole body was badly trembling.
The Imam (A.S.) looked sternly into the young man's face: "I requested you
kindly and politely. I advised you to do good work, and I warned you of the
punishment of your evil deeds. But as for you, you began shouting like a madman.
You were bad-tempered, impudent and quarrelsome. Do you expect me to allow you
to tyrannize this lady! Be sorry for your bullying and cruelty, be afraid of
Allah, stop troubling your poor wife; or else you will earn the punishments of
your ugly deeds."
At this point some of Imam Ali's (A.S.) companions arrived and greeted their
Imam. Hearing them address him as "Amir al-Muminin" the young man recognized Ali
(A.S.) and became very ashamed of his behavior. Full of remorse and regret, he
Imam Ali (A.S.) sheathed his sword and said to the woman: "Go to your house
now, you will be safe. But in future treat your husband with more respect and
live more peacefully with him. O noble lady, you too, be loving and kind to your
husband, and give him no reason to be angry with you."