Collection of Stories from the Life of Imam Ali R.A.
Ali's Mathematical Brilliance: DIVIDING 17 CAMELS
A person was about to die, and before dying he wrote
his Will which went as follows:
have 17 Camels, and I have three sons. Divide my Camels
in such a way that my eldest son gets half of them,
the second one gets 1/3rd of the total and my youngest
son gets 1/9th of the total number of Camels."
his death when the relatives read his will they got
extremely perplexed and said to each other that how
can we divide 17 camels like this.
after a long hard thought they decided that there was
only one man in Arabia who could help them: "Imam
they all came to the door of Imam Ali (AS) and put forward
Ali (AS) said, "Ok, I will divide the camels as
per the man's will."
Ali (AS) said, "I will lend one of my camels to
the total which makes it 18 (17+1=18), now lets divide
as per his will."
eldest son gets 1/2 of 18 = 9
The second one gets 1/3 of 18 = 6
The youngest gets 1/9 of 18 = 2
Now the total number of camels = 17 (9+6+2=17)
Then Imam Ali (AS) said, "Now I will take my Camel
Imam Ali's Mathematical Brilliance: THE FIVE LOAVES
Zarr Bin Hobeish relates this story: Two travelers sat
together on the way to their destination to have a meal.
One had five loaves of bread. The other had three. A
third traveler was passing by and at the request of
the two joined in the meal.
travelers cut each of the loaf of bread in three equal
parts. Each of the travelers ate eight broken pieces
of the loaf.
the time of leaving the third traveler took out eight
dirhams and gave to the first two men who had offered
him the meal, and went away. On receiving the money
the two travelers started quarrelling as to who should
have how much of the money.
five-loaf-man demanded five dirhams. The three-loaf-man
insisted on dividing the money in two equal parts.
dispute was brought to Imam Ali (AS) (the Caliph of
the time in Arabia) to be decided.
Ali (AS) requested the three-loaf-man to accept three
dirhams, because five-loaf-man has been more than fair
to you. The three-loaf-man refused and said that he
would take only four dirhams. At this Imam Ali (AS)
replied, "You can have only one dirham." You
had eight loaves between yourselves. Each loaf was broken
in three parts. Therefore, you had 24 equal parts. Your
three loaves made nine parts out of which you have eaten
eight portions, leaving just one to the third traveler.
Your friend had five loaves which divided into three
made fifteen pieces. He ate eight pieces and gave seven
pieces to the guest. As such the guest shared one part
from your loaves and seven from those of your friend.
So you should get one dirham and your friend should
receive seven dirhams.
Imam Ali's Answering Difficult Questions: EARS INSIDE
One day another Jewish person came to Imam Ali (AS).
He was planning to ask Imam Ali (AS) such a question,
which would take Imam Ali (AS) a long time to answer
and because of that his Maghrib Prayers would be delayed.
asked, "Imam Ali you say you know everything in
the world, then tell me which animals lay eggs and which
animals give birth to their young ones."
Ali (AS) looked back at him smiled and said, "The
animals who have their 'EARS' outside their body give
birth to their young ones and the animals who have their
'EARS' inside their body lay eggs."
Ali's Mathematical Brilliance: DIVIDING INHERITANCE
Imam Ali (AS) was endowed with a quick, sharp, incisive,
mathematical mind. Here are a few interesting stories
in which Imam Ali's mathematical brilliance revealed
is a wife's share?
Ali (AS) was once interrupted while he was delivering
a sermon from the pulpit by someone who asked him how
to distribute the inheritance of someone who had died
leaving a wife, his parents and two daughters. The Imam
wife's share becomes one ninth."
answer is in fact the result of a long analysis with
a number of steps. Ordinarily, we have to decide on
the original share of each of these heirs, in the following
wife takes one eighth, in view of the presence of an
inheriting child. [Holy Quran 4:12]
deceased's father and mother take one sixth each. [Holy
two daughters take two thirds of the inheritance. [Holy
the total will be: 1/8 + 1/6 + 1/6 + 2/3 = 3/24 + 4/24
+ 4/24 + 16/24 = 27/24
means the share becomes less than 1/8 in view of the
increase of the total of the shares which are so fixed
and prescribed. So the one eighth, the original share
due to the wife out of twenty-four total shares, has
become three shares out of a total of twenty-seven,
which is one ninth.
Ali's mind went through this complex mathematical process
in a second!
Imam Ali's Mathematical Brilliance: WHOLE NUMBER AND
NOT A FRACTION
One Day a Jewish person came to Imam Ali (AS), thinking
that since Imam Ali thinks he is too smart, I'll ask
him such a tough question that he won't be able to answer
it and I'll have the chance to embarrass him in front
of all the Arabs.
asked "Imam Ali, tell me a number, that if we divide
it by any number from 1-10 the answer will always come
in the form of a whole number and not as a fraction."
Ali (AS) looked back at him and said, "Take the
number of days in a year and multiply it with the number
of days in a week and you will have your answer."
Jewish person got astonished but as he was a polytheist
(Mushrik), he still didn't believe Imam Ali (AS). He
calculated the answer Imam Ali (AS) gave him.
his amazement he came across the following results:
number of Days in a Year = 360 (in Arab)
Number of Days in a Week = 7
product of the two numbers = 2520
÷ 1 = 2520
2520 ÷ 2 = 1260
2520 ÷ 3 = 840
2520 ÷ 4 = 630
2520 ÷ 5 = 504
2520 ÷ 6 = 420
2520 ÷ 7 = 360
2520 ÷ 8 = 315
2520 ÷ 9 = 280
2520 ÷ 10= 252