They were always ready to face hardships in order to save others. Sometimes, they would even give to the needy the food or clothing which they themselves urgently needed. There are many of such happenings that took place in the life of our religious leaders.
For instance, once Imam Ali's (as) children were sick. Their mother, daughter of the Prophet (as), vowed to fast three days on the recovery of her children, in thanksgiving to Allah.
Imam Ali and the children all joined Lady Fatema (as) in thanksgiving. All of them fasted. It was sunset and they had only a few barley loaves of bread for their breakfast. As they were about to eat their food, someone knocked at their door, saying:I am a poor man. Please give me some food.
The food, which the whole family had, was very little. They gave it all to the poor man.
The next day, when the family wanted to break their fast an orphan began knocking at the door asking for food. The same thing happened on the third day with a stranger. Each time they gave their food to the needy and they, themselves, remained hungry continuing their fast.
Muslim commentators say, "The next day, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) came to the family with these verses of the Quran:
"Surely the righteous shall drink of a cup the admixture of which is camphor; A fountain from which the servants of Allah shall drink; they make it to flow a (goodly) flowing forth. They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide. And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks: Surely we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful day. Therefore Allah win guard them from the evil of that day and cause them to meet with ease and happiness; And reward them, because they were patient, with garden and silk,.... " (Quran, 76:5-12)