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Imam Ali and Political Leadership

God and have deemed their status too high to fall prey to obedience to others like themselves, would never give up their independence and do not accept slavery. It is only a person like this that deserves to be emancipated. Imām Ali (a.s.) says:
مَن قامَ بِشَرائِطِ العُبودِيَّةِ اُهِّلَ لِلعِتقِ.He who fulfills the requirements of servitude [to God] is worthy of emancipation.1
The conditions of servitude includes submission to God as His servant and acceptance of Divine law, which leads to real independence, freedom and liberation, and evading this is in fact returning to slavery, even if it may appear to be freedom.

4.To Care about People

Caring about people and valuing and respecting all is a sublime manifestation of social policies in Imām Ali’s (a.s.) ruling. In his (a.s.) view, people should be treated with compassion and kindness, and rulers must respect people, their perspectives and their principles. Politicians in other governments mostly try to satisfy the ‘influential’ and the powerful, or in other words, the elite in the political circle, even if it leads to the dissatisfaction of the masses.
Contrary to this policy, Imām Ali (a.s.) has stated:
فَإِنَّ سُخطَ العامَّةِ يُجحِفُ بِرِضَى الخاصَّةِ وإنّ سُخطَ الخاصَّةِ ، يُغتَفَرُ مَعَ رِضَى العامَّةِ.Verily, the discontent of the general public harms the content of the elite, and the discontent of the elite is pardoned with the content of the masses.2
Imām Ali (a.s.) recommended the administrators to be kind to people, to maintain direct relations with them, have personal meetings with them and be informed of their problems. The Imām would say: “People have mainly suffered hardships, endured pains

1.. See ۶/۳, h. ۳۱۰.

2.. See ۶/۴, h. ۳۱۷


Imam Ali and Political Leadership
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It is up to us in this present time to take an example of what occurred in the past in order to prepare the ground for the establishment of social justice.

3. Development of Legitimate and Constructive Freedoms

Freedom is the first step on the path of the actualization of justice and development of respect for the rights of others. However, this freedom is to be constructive rather than destructive, like freedom from internal and external bonds, or as the Holy Qur'ān puts it, deliverance from ‘heavy burdens’:
ویضع عنهم اصرهم والأغلال التی کانت علیهم.“He releases them from their heavy burdens and from yokes that are upon them.”1
The Messengers of God were the heralds of freedom and advocates of liberty. Imām Ali (a.s.) considered the philosophy of the Prophetic Mission (bi`tha) as a deliverance of the human beings from their bonds and their ascension to the highest peaks of glory and worshipping of God Almighty:
إنَّ اللهَ ـ تَبارَكَ و تعالى ـ بَعَثَ مُحَمّداً(صلى الله عليه وآله) بِالحَقِّ لِيُخرِجَ عِبادَهُ مِن عِبادَةِ عِبادِهِ إلى عِبادَتِهِ ... و مِن وِلايَةِ عِبادِهِ إلى وِلايَتِهِ.God, the Blessed and the Exalted, sent forth Muhammad (s.a.w.) with the truth, to bring forth His servants from serving them to His serving…and from the authority (wilāyah) of His servants to His Authority.2
According to the teachings of the school of Imām Ali (a.s.) all human beings are free and should never be entrapped into slavery to anyone or take part in the enslavement of others. It is clear that what forces people to be slave to the powerful and entraps them into servitude to others, is their internal bondage to their own whims and carnal desires. Those who are internally liberated and have cut off their bondage of desires and those who have accepted servitude to

1.. Qur'ān, ۷:۱۵۷.

2.. See ۶/۳, h. ۳۰۸.

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