There was a time when the British ambassador asked to meet Ayatollah Sayyid Abul-Hassan Isfahani, but he did not accept and after insisting much, he said, “I do not have private meeting with him (the British ambassador). If he has any request, he may come in public meeting time and express it.” The British ambassador accepted and went to visit Ayatollah and in the presence of all people said, “the British government has made a nadhr [vow] to give you some money to spend for any usage you deem right.” Sayyid Abul-Hassan calmly said, “no problem.” The ambassador draw a check of two million Tomans at that time and gave him. He took and put it below the mattress he was sitting on.
The students present in the meeting, who were not aware of their marja’s intention, became sad why he took the money from the British ambassador. After some moments passed with some talks regarding the situation in the world, Ayatollah Isfahani told the ambassador, “this war brought much damages for you and inflicted some British people with poverty and calamities and seemingly they have suffered financial pressure. As the representative of Shia of the world, I give you a little sum of money to help those poor ones.” Then, he took out a check of two million Tomans from his pocket and together with the check he had received from the ambassador which amounted to four million Tomans gave the British ambassador.
The ambassador took the checks and said goodbye as he was overwhelmed with astonishment. After he left the house, he told his companions, “we came to buy the Sayyid and the Shia, but this Sayyid with his shrewdness and intelligence bought all the Britain and made us all servants for lifetime.”
Source: Rahyaftegan, Ata’i Esfahani, Qom, p. 275