Charity Concealed

It was an extremely dark night. The sky, overcast with clouds, portended more rain. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (‘a)emerged from his house carrying a heavy load on his back. Coincidentally, a close companion, Muali ibn e Khanees, spied him leaving the house and thought it was not safe to allow him to proceed alone on such a dark night. He started following him, but maintained his distance so that the Imam (‘a) might not send him back.
Following him silently, he heard something fall from the Imam’s (‘a) shoulder. He rushed to help and found him muttering under his breath, ‘Dear Lord, return to me what has fallen.’
He greeted the Imam (‘a) and offered to help. The Imam recognising him, asked him to replace the fallen items. Kneeling on the ground, Muali picked up the loaves of bread that had fallen from the pile on the Imam’s (‘a)back. ‘Let me help you carry the pile,’ he said, noticing the weight to be greater than one man could bear.
‘No, it is unnecessary. I am more suitable for the job.’
Both started moving towards the Bani Saida area. The shelterless and poor lived there in large congregations. Ensuring that all the people were fast asleep, the Imam (‘a) placed his bag on the ground and soundlessly placed one loaf or two under each covering cloth. He made sure he had not missed anyone. He then signalled to Muali to leave with him.
Muali, overwhelmed by the care with which he had ensured the next day’s meal for every helpless person sleeping there, who would never learn who was providing them with it, asked, ‘Are all these people your Shiah, and do they believe in your divine leadership? Is that why you are taking such care of them on such a stormy night?’
‘No, they do not believe in Imamate. If they did, I would have also placed salt with their bread.’