The Prophet (S.A.W.) was once passing through a street in Madina when he saw some youths engaged in a contest of lifting a heavy stone. The Prophet (S.A.W.) asked if they would like him to be the judge of who was the strongest of them all. They eagerly agreed.
Then the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “To prove who is the strongest, there is no need to lift the stone. I can say that the strongest person is he who can control his desire to sin. Such a person is surely brave.”
A story is related about Puryaye Vali who is considered a great world champion as well as a symbol of manliness and bravery. Once he visited another country for a wrestling contest with its champion.
In the street he came across an old woman who was offering people sweets as charity and asking them to pray for her son. She approached Puryaye and offered him the sweets. He asked her what they were for.
She said, “My son is a wrestler who is being challenged by a champion from another country. We live on the income he gets from wrestling matches and if he loses this contest we will have nothing to live on.”
Puryaye says he was at cross roads whether to show his strength or manliness at the contest the next day. Although he was far stronger than his opponent he wrestled in such a way as to let his opponent win. He says that at that moment he suddenly felt as though his heart had been opened and he was surrounded with peace.
Imam Ali (A.S.) has said, “The strongest person is he who has conquered his desires.”