1) DIVIDING INHERITANCE

Imam Ali (AS) was endowed with a quick, sharp, incisive, mathematical mind. Here are a few interesting stories in which Imam Ali’s mathematical brilliance revealed itself.

What is a wife’s share?

Imam Ali (AS) was once interrupted while he was delivering a sermon from the pulpit by someone who asked him how to distribute the inheritance of someone who had died leaving a wife, his parents and two daughters. The Imam instantly answered:

“The wife’s share becomes one ninth.”

How?

This answer is in fact the result of a long analysis with a number of steps. Ordinarily, we have to decide on the original share of each of these heirs, in the following way:

The wife takes one eighth, in view of the presence of an inheriting child. [Holy Quran 4:12]

The deceased’s father and mother take one sixth each. [Holy Quran 4:11]

The two daughters take two thirds of the inheritance. [Holy Quran 4:11]

So the total will be:

1/8 + 1/6 + 1/6 + 2/3 = 3/24 + 4/24 + 4/24 + 16/24 = 27/24

This means the share becomes less than 1/8 in view of the increase of the total of the shares which are so fixed and prescribed. So the one eighth, the original share due to the wife out of twenty-four total shares, has become three shares out of a total of twenty-seven, which is one ninth.

Imam Ali’s mind went through this complex mathematical process in a second!

2) WHOLE NUMBER AND NOT A FRACTION

One Day a Jewish person came to Imam Ali (AS), thinking that since Imam Ali thinks he is too smart, I’ll ask him such a tough question that he won’t be able to answer it and I’ll have the chance to embarrass him in front of all the Arabs.

He asked “Imam Ali, tell me a number, that if we divide it by any number from 1-10 the answer will always come in the form of a whole number and not as a fraction.”

Imam Ali (AS) looked back at him and said, “Take the number of days in a year and multiply it with the number of days in a week and you will have your answer.”

The Jewish person got astonished but as he was a polytheist (Mushrik), he still didn’t believe Imam Ali (AS). He calculated the answer Imam Ali (AS) gave him.

To his amazement he came across the following results:

The number of Days in a Year = 360 (in Arab)

The Number of Days in a Week = 7

The product of the two numbers = 2520

Now…

2520 ÷ 1 = 2520

2520 ÷ 2 = 1260

2520 ÷ 3 = 840

2520 ÷ 4 = 630

2520 ÷ 5 = 504

2520 ÷ 6 = 420

2520 ÷ 7 = 360

2520 ÷ 8 = 315

2520 ÷ 9 = 280

2520 ÷ 10= 252

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