1. The Equal Division of Seventeen Camels Without Friction
Three persons had a dispute about the division of seventeen camels. The ratio of their share was 1/2, 1/3 & 1/9 and they could not divide the figure of seventeen proportionately without friction.
Finding no way out they wanted to cut one camel into pieces for the purpose of the correct division, but before acting upon this last alternative, they took their problem to Hazrat Ali (A), for they were sure it was he who was capable of solving their problem.
Hearing their problem Hazrat Ali (A) asked them if it was agreeable to them to add one of his own camels to their seventeen camels and make the total eighteen. As they agreed to it, he gave half of the total number of the camels i.e., nine to the first man (1/2 of the total) , and six to the second man making 1/3 of the total, and two camels to the third man which is 1/9 of the total. Thus all the three men got the camels divided according to respective shares, the total amounting to seventeen only. Thereafter he took back his own camel. Thus he solved the problem of dividing the seventeen camels proportionately according to their respective shares to their satisfaction and displeasing none of them and without cutting one of the camels into pieces. (Nasikhut Tawarikh vol. 3, p. 757).