Imam Ali and Political Leadership

2. In the same book, Rabi`a and `Ammāra are quoted as saying:
A group of Ali’s (a.s.) companions went to him and said: “O Commander of the Faithful, give these riches away, and give the noble and the dignitaries of the Arabs and Quraysh superiority over the non-Arab liberated ones and also [give preference and advantage] to those opposition you fear their harm.”
Rabi`a Said: “They said this because Mu`āwiya treated those who went to him in this way”. Ali (a.s.) said to them: “Do you order me to seek victory by means of tyranny? By God, I would not do that as long as the sun keeps rising, and a star is shining in the sky. By God, if these riches belonged to me, I would treat them equally, how is it possible when they are the public properties.”1

3. Sahl ibn Hunayf, Imām Ali’s (a.s.) governor in Madina sent him a letter reporting that a group of Madinans had joined Mu`āwiya. Imām wrote in reply:
“Now, I have come to know that certain persons from your side are stealthily going over to Mu`āwiya. You should not worry if the number of your men is reduced and their help is lost. Indeed they have joined misguidance and you have been relieved of them. They are running away from guidance and truth and advancing towards blindness and ignorance. They are seekers of this world and are proceeding to it and are leaping towards it. They have known justice, seen it, heard it and appreciated it. They have realized that here, to us, all men are equal in the matter of right. Therefore, they ran away to selfishness and partiality. Let them remain remote and far away from the mercy of Allah. By Allah, surely they have not gone away from oppression and have not joined justice. In this matter, we only beseech Allah to resolve for us the hardships and to level for us its unevenness, if Allah wills; Wassalām!”2

4. Avoidance of Using Unlawful Means in the Enforcement of Commands

An ideal human society, as it must be, is a society full with human values. It is a society in which law and justice create relations or break

1.. See ۵/۱۰, h. ۲۲۹.

2.. See The Encyclopedia of Amir al-Mu'minin, vol. ۷, p. ۱۷۱ (Nahj al-Balāghah, Letter ۷۰)

Imam Ali and Political Leadership

ones who discard the truth, go along with falsehood and prefer the worldly gains. If you are munificent toward them, they will be drawn toward you and become benevolent to you and their friendship will purely belong to you. May God settle your affair (O Commander of the Faithful) and terminate your enemy, disperse their assembly, nullify their plots and slacken their efforts, as He knows what He does.”
In response to him, Ali (a.s.) thanked God and praised him, and said: “As for what you said that my manners and character are based on justice, verily, God says: “Whoever acts righteously, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is to its detriment, and your Lord is not tyrannical to the servants”1 and I am more fearful that I may have been negligent in what you said.
As for what you said that they found the truth too heavy and thus turned away from us, God knows that they did not turn away from us due to our tyranny. When they did turn away, they were not called forth to justice; [rather] they sought nothing but the transient world that they had been parted from it; and on the Resurrection Day, they will be called to account whether they sought worldly gains or acted for the sake of God.
As for being munificent to men and buying them off, actually we are not able to give away out of public assets to people beyond what they deserve, as God has rightfully said: “How many a small party has overcome a large party by Allah’s will!”2
He Almighty chose Muhammad (s.a.w.) as a Prophet and he was alone and after a while he turned his few followers into multitudes and raised his party to power after being humiliated. If God wishes to assign us to a task, He would smooth out the difficulties and would ease the hardships (for us too|. I approve all that of your ideas in which there is the pleasure of God; you are the most trustworthy of my companions, and the most trusted, the most benevolent, and the most discerning of them to me.

1.. Qur'ān, ۴۱:۴۶. [All translations of the Qur'ān are from the translation of Sayyid Ali Quli Qarā'i, The center for Translation of the Holy Qur'ān, ۲۰۰۳, Qum, Iran.]

2.. Qur'ān, ۲: ۲۴۹.

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