One day, Imam `Ali (a.s) came home to find Hasan and Husayn crying. He asked for the reason. Lady Fatimah (a.s) said, “They have not eaten for a whole day.” A pot was boiling on fire at the same time. Imam `Ali (a.s) asked, “What is in the pot?” Lady Fatimah (a.s) answered, “There is plain water only.” Imam `Ali (a.s) became so distressed that he took his cloak to the market and sold it for six Dirhams. He had no sooner bought something for eating than he met a beggar shouting, “Whoever offers to Allah a good gift will have a better one for himself.” Imam `Ali (a.s) offered to him whatever he had and, when he came back home, he told the story to Lady Fatimah (a.s). She said, “Allah bless you, O Abu’l-Hasan! You are always benevolent!”
Imam `Ali (a.s) was set to go to the mosque to offer prayer when he saw a nomadic selling a camel. He said, “O Abu’l-Hasan, I am selling this camel. Would you like to buy it?” Imam `Ali (a.s) said, “I do not have money.” The nomadic said, “I sell it to you until booty comes or you get something from the public fund.” Imam `Ali (a.s) bought that camel for sixty Dirhams and went his way.
Another nomadic came to him, “O `Ali! Will you sell this camel to me?” Imam `Ali (a.s) said, “Yes, I will.” “How much do you sell it?” asked the man. Imam `Ali (a.s) said, “Whatever price you say.” He said, “A hundred and twenty Dirhams.” Imam `Ali (a.s) said, “I do.” He then returned home. Telling the story to Lady Fatimah (a.s) he said, “I will give sixty Dirhams to the nomadic and take the other sixty for ourselves.” So he went out to look for the man.
On his way, he met the Holy Prophet who asked, “Where are you going?” Imam `Ali (a.s) told him the story. The Holy Prophet rejoiced, greeted and gave him good news, “O `Ali! That man was not an Arab. The first man who sold you the camel was Archangel Gabriel and the second man who bought it was Archangel Michael. The camel too was one of the camels of Paradise. This is the good gift you offered to Allah by helping that beggar. Allah, may He be honored and glorified, has said:
مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا
Who is it that will offer to Allah a goodly gift. (2:245)
( Kashf al-Asrar, 662/1)