Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), during his Caliphate (Ruler-ship), would often undertake tours to survey the markets and advise and guide the traders there.
One day, while passing through the date market, he noticed that a small girl was weeping. Imam asked her the reasonfor her tears at which she explained: “My master had given me a dirham to purchase some dates. I purchased them from this trader here, but when I returnedhome, my master did not approve of them. Now I wish to return them but the trader refuses to take them back.”
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), turned to the trader and said to him, “This child is a slave-girl and has no authority of her own. Take back the dates and return her money to her.” The trader stepped forward and, in full view of the other traders and onlookers, struck the Imam (a.s.) on the chest in an attempt to shove him away from the front of his shop.
The people who were witnessing the incident, rushed forward and said to the man:“What do you think you are doing?
This is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)!”
The trader’s face went pale as he stood flabbergasted. He immediately took the dates from the girl and handed back the money to her.
Then, turning to the Imam (a.s.), he implored, “O’ Amirul Mu’mineen! Be pleased with me and forgive me.”
The Imam (a.s.) replied, “I shall only be pleased with you when you change your behaviour for the better and pay close attention to morals and courtesy.”
Daastaan-ha Wa Pand-ha, vol. 1, pg. 46; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 9, pg. 519.