In Madinah a few persons were affected by leprosy. The inhabitants of Madinah kept aloof from those afflicted who were not only suffering physically from their own disease but also from the aversion of the others spiritually.
Since they came to understand that the others feel repugnant to them, they were sitting together and discussing the matter.
One day, while they were eating the food together, 'Ali Ibn al-Husayn Zain ul-’Abidin ('a) was passing nearby them; they invited the Imam ('a) to have the meal with them at their dining-table.
Apologizing to them, the Imam ('a) said: "I am fasting today, otherwise I would have alighted my mount and shared the food with you. But I request you to be my guests on so and so date." Saying these words, he ('a) took his way.
The Imam ('a) went home and issued an order to cook an excellent and delicious food. As he ('a) was expecting, the guests arrived on the time fixed. A respectable dining-table was stretched for them, and the Imam ('a) had his own food with them around the same dining-table.1
- 1. Wasa'il, v. 2, p. 457.