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Imam Ali's Mathematical
Imam Ali (AS) was endowed with a quick, sharp, incisive, mathematical mind. Here are a few interesting stories in which the Imam's mathematical brilliance revealed itself.
A wifes share ?
The Imam 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.[see Quran 4:12]

The deceased's father and mother take one sixth each. [Holy Qur'an 4:11]

The two daughters take two thirds of the inheritance. [Holy Qur'an 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.

The Imam's mind went through this complex mathematical process in a second!

A puzzle for you to do
Once two men came to the Imam to settle their dispute.

Lets call them A and B. They had had a meal together to which A contributed 5 loaves and B contributed 3 loaves. The problem was that a third person C, shared the meal with them, all three eating equals amounts. After the meal C paid them 8 dirhams and went away.

When A and B wanted to divide the 8 dirhams between them, they quarrelled. 

A said:

"I should get 5 dirhams and you B, get only 3 dirhams, This is a fair distribution," he added, "as it agrees with the rate of the loaves each of us had contributed."

B refused and insisted on an equal division of the money, each getting 4 dirhams.

Who was right? What was Imam Ali's reply?

Source:  Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib: The First Intellectual Muslim Thinker by Dr.Muhammad Abdul Rauf, pgs 98-102 with slight additions.

Seyed Hossein Nasr in his forward for the book praises it such:
"While being nearly completely Sunni and specifically Shafi'ite, the Egyptians have a love for the ahl an-bayt which in its own way is no less intense than that of the Iranians or Iraqis who are predominantly Shi'ite. Something of this love is also reflected in this book, making it a precious addition to the literature of Islam in English."