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Imam Ali and Political Leadership

(2)

Ruling over the Hearts

Islam is the religion of governance (hukumah), as is clearly evident in the doctrines of this Divine faith. However, a close study of the Islamic texts dealing with the foundations of an Islamic government indicates that Islam is a religion that rules over people’s hearts rather than over their ‘bodies’, dominate them with political authority. The principles of this type of ruling and statesmanship are tantamount to the political foundations of the Islamic state and the political foundations of Imām Ali’s (a.s.) ruling system are the very foundations of Islamic management.
Islam is the system for the material and spiritual advancement of human beings. The most basic element of this code is love. The role of love in the actualization of an Islamic government and the plans provided by the Divine religion for the development of human society is so highly emphasized upon, that Imām al-Bāqir (a.s.) considers the religion of Islam as nothing other than love, saying:
هَلِ الدّينُ إلاّ الحُبُّ؟Is religion anything but love?1
In the view of Imām Ali (a.s.), the main pillars of Islam and the principles of its plan of perfection are based on love for Allah. In this regard he says:
إنَّ هذَا الإِسلامَ دينُ اللهِ الَّذِى اصطَفاهُ لِنَفْسِهِ ، وَ اصطَنَعَهُ عَلى عَينِهِ وأصفاهُ خِيَرَةَ خَلقِهِ ، وأقامَ دَعائِمَهُ عَلى مَحَبَّتِهِ.“Verily, this Islam is the religion which Allah has chosen for Himself, formulated before His eyes, for which He selected the best among His Creation and He established its pillars on His love.”2

1.. Da`ā'im al-Islām, vol. ۱, p. ۷۱. Friendship in the Qur'ān and hadith p. ۲۵۹.

2.. Nahj al-Balāghah, Sermon ۱۹۸.


Imam Ali and Political Leadership
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other reformations. Therefore, forbearance had to be shown until the appropriate time came. Nonetheless, Imām Ali (a.s.) embarked on reforms on the basis of precise planning, clear perspective and explicit goals, aiming at restoring the community back to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) conduct and tradition. He took the first step toward the founding and expansion of social justice and implementation of administrative and economic reforms, carrying it on to the end of his life in order to lay the foundation for an ‘Islamic’ community in its absolute meaning, based on the Qur'anic values and Divine doctrines. It is regretful that evil-mindedness, inhumanity and tyranny hindered this great man of justice and faith, from achieving all those noble goals.
What we are dealing with here is an account of the most fundamental reforms of Imām Ali (a.s.) in the bureaucratic, cultural, economic, social, judicial, security, military and international areas, based on texts of history and traditions, while trying to explain the principles of the reforms. Without question, a thorough explanation of the foundations of Imām Ali’s policies and an interpretation of his reformation certainly demand more efforts and time.

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