A candle burnt by his side, as he sat down meticulously recording all the revenue and the expenses of the treasury.
Just then Talha and Zubair appeared.
They aspired to some positions of authority in Ali’s (a.s.) rule and had come to strike a deal. If Ali (a.s.) gave them a place of distinction, they would in turn pledge their full support. Ali (a.s.) knew of this.
Just as they sat down, Ali (a.s.) put out the candle and lit another one.
Talha and Zubair exchanged a glance of surprise and then one of them said:
“O Ali, we have come on some important business. But why did you extinguish the first candle?”
Imam Ali (a.s.) replied: “That was a candle bought of Treasury funds. As long as I worked for the Treasury, I used it. Now you have come for some personal work, so I use the candle bought of my personal fund.”
Talha and Zubair left him without saying another word