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Story 82: High Cost Of Provisions

In Madinah, the price of wheat and bread increased day by day. All the people were seized by dread and anxiety. Those who had not procured their annual provisions strove to do their best in obtaining that; those who had provided it took care of preserving it. There were also some people whom the indigence had compelled them to buy their foodstuffs from market every day.

Imam al-Sadiq ('a) asked Ma'tab, his steward: "Do we have wheat in reserve this year?"

'"Yes! O descendant of the Messenger of Allah! We have a quantity of wheat in stock which will suffice us for many months."

“Take it to the market, put it at the disposal of people, and sell it.”

“O descendant of the Messenger of Allah! Wheat is scarce in Madinah. If we sell it, it will be impossible for us to buy it again.”

“What I say I meant it, take out all the wheat and put at the people’s disposal.”

Ma'tab obeyed the Imam’s ('a) order, sold the Wheat and reported the result to the Imam ('a).

“From now onwards purchase the bread of the family from the market daily,” ordered the Imam ('a), “because the bread which is baked in my home must not differ from the bread which the mass of people consume for the time being. Our bread, henceforth must contain half wheat and half barely. Praise be to Almighty Allah, I have the capacity to maintain my family in the best manner with the wheat until the end of the year; however, I do not do that, for I would like to respect the principle of the “measurement of subsistence" before Allah.1

  • 1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 11, p. 121.