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call for a rival to prepare for the war, which was a way of creating terror and panic. In reality, this was also in line with his methods and policy of opposing belligerency. Imām instructed that if the enemy challenged and asked for a rival in a battle, only then, they must proceed to fight in order to stop the enemy’s obstinacy.

C. Diplomatic Immunity of the Enemy’s Envoys

Islam is a global religion and its doctrines are universal and apply all periods of time, hence addressing international and global policies. In Islam, political envoys of foreign countries enjoy diplomatic immunity in military and political confrontations (even though in the thick of the war). Ali (a.s.) had instructed this noble doctrine to the troops and wanted them to take this policy seriously, and in case some people claimed to be carrying a message from the enemy, they should not be encountered before verifying the matter through sufficient inquiries.

D. Furnishing the Argument before Starting the War

We previously said that according to Imām Ali (a.s.) war is a means of removing the barriers against the spread of truth and guidance of mankind. He therefore, never failed to enlighten the enemy and used every possible chance to guide them. He would even attempt to guide the enemy on the battleground and in the heat of the war, frequently presenting arguments to avert the war. In all, in the conduct of Imām Ali (a.s.), a war would not be waged unless when necessary.

E. Supplication at the Time of War

In the teachings of Imām Ali (a.s.), spiritual dimensions and advancement of spirituality in people and human society is prior to anything else. Imām never forgot to create and develop such a spirit, even during the midst of the war. With illuminating words he would speak to the troops who were mobilized and prepared to assault, trying to put out the fire of sedition, but to no avail, the obstinacy of the enemy would inevitably lead to war. At the time of war Imām would engage in supplication and worship of God, reviving His


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war, unless the enemy had most stubbornly blocked the way for peaceful and direct negotiation. In reality, this policy of Imām is a confirmation of the importance attached to peace, human values and opposing belligerency in Ali’s Islamic approach.
Imām always emphasized the execution of this policy. Jundub Azdi has said:
إنَّ عَلِيّاً كانَ يَأمُرُنا في كُلِّ مَوطِنٍ لَقينا فيهِ مَعَهُ عَدُوّاً فَيَقولُ: لا تُقاتِلُوا القَومَ حَتّى يَبدَؤُوكُم فَأَنتُم بِحَمدِاللهِ عَلى حُجَّةٍ وتَركُكُم إيّاهُم حَتّى يَبدَؤُوكُم حُجَّةٌ أُخرى لَكُم.Whenever we encountered an enemy in the company of Ali (a.s.), he would order us, by saying: “Do not fight them until they start; because, thanks be to God Almighty, you possess the proof (hujja), and letting them start the battle is another proof for you [against them].”1
He would therefore show that in his culture, the crucial principle is ‘peace and silence’, rather than belligerence and warmongering.
It was for this reason that Imām would order his combat forces not to initiate the war and if the enemy started the war and they were defeated by the help of God, those who run away should not be killed, nor should the wounded be assaulted. They must not strip or dismember the corpses and so on. All these show that in Imām Ali’s war conduct and in his policies, warfare is an exception and the main principle is emphasis on human values and their promotion.

B. Refraining from Calling to War

Imām Ali (a.s.) insisted that his troops should adhere to characteristics such as gallantry, steadfastness, authority in the battlefield, strong will and the spirit of defeating the enemy. He (a.s.) prepared them for the battle by all the necessary means. However, he would enjoin them never to challenge the enemy to fight, and not to

1.. See ۹/۶, h. ۵۱۱.

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    Imam Ali and Political Leadership
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