Hazrat Imam Ali (A.S.) and His Servant Qamber
It is narrated in Safinat’ul-Bihâ r from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) that one day a religious person from among his companions visited Amir ul-Mu’minîn Imam Ali (a.s.) with his son.
Imam Ali (a.s.) stood up and accorded great respect to him and ordered his servant Qamber to arrange for dinner for them. They ate together, then Qamber brought a pot of water and a towel to wash their hands. ‘Ali (a.s.) picked up the water pot and wanted to wash the hands of the guest when he protested. How is it possible for a slave to allow his master to serve him?
Imam Ali (a.s.) asked,
“What if by washing hands my Lord and master will be pleased with me? You wash your hands as if Qambar is pouring out water for you.”
These words compelled the companion to have his hands washed and ‘Ali (a.s.) poured out water for him. After this ‘Ali (a.s.) gave the water pot to his son Muhammad bin Hanafiyya and told him to pour out water for the son, so that the status of the father and the son is not made equal.
He (a.s.) said:
“If the father had not come with the son I myself would have poured water on his hands. But could not do so in the presence of the father.”
If Amir ul-Mu’minîn (a.s.) had washed the hands of the son himself, the status of the father and son would have been equal. But ‘Ali (a.s.) upheld the dignity of the father by not washing the hands of his son after he had washed the hands of the father.