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Story 119: Retirement

He was an old man who had worked hard during his prime, but he had nothing in deposit. In the end, he became blind, infirm, and old. His present condition did not allow him to have a way of earning, except begging. He stood in the corner of a street and used to beg; the people felt pity on him by giving a very small amount as alms. He was bitterly surviving by the least daily bread.

One day, when the Commander of believers, 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib ('a), passed through that street and saw him, he ('a) decided to inquire about the situation of the old man so as to find out what had befallen upon this man, whether he had any children to look after him or not, and think about a solution so that this old man could live honourably without being compelled to beg.

The people who knew the old man came and testified that he was a Christian, having worked in his youth and now that he has lost his eye-sight and become incapable to work and not having anything as deposits or savings, he naturally began to beg.

'Ali ('a) said: "What a shame! As long as he had the ability to do work, you made him work, and at present you have left him alone! His past indicates that he has worked and has given services. Thus, it is the responsibility of the government and the community to look after him as long as he is alive. Go and fix monthly an amount of money, as a pension from the public treasury so that he can survive."1

  • 1. Wasa'il, v. 2, p. 425.