A source of justice and restraint: Imam Ali’s thoughts on Freedom

SHAFAQNA – Islam these days has found itself sitting at the heart of furious debates – many of them dealing with the legitimacy of its teachings, the culture it has fostered by way of its Scriptures, and the political principles it has carried.

Many of Islam detractors have argued that Islam stands a vengeful religious system based on covert colonialism, gender segregation, and sectarianism.

Islam they have claimed has only ever bred violence, bloodshed, injustice and religious genocides. Islam they have said remains inherently unjust in its absolutism, and rejection of other philosophies.

Over the decade Islam, and Muslims have been called many shameful names by those who have claimed to seek to liberate and emancipate Society from the shackles of dogmatism.

Only Islam is not a dogma, and Islam is in no way an expression of radicalism.

Islam is the religion of the middle.

Islam is a just religion which stands, and provisions for social justice, and equality before the law.

Islam does not discriminate and Islam is NOT a chauvinist faith.

Islam always and forever calls for restraint, reason, mercy, compassion and above all Justice.

Islam legislates over all of Men’s affairs, offering guidance and counsel. Might it be war, peace, inheritance, family and even politics, Islam covers all. The last Word of God, Islam came to complete Religion in that it offered confirmation over all of God’s law, asserting once more His Divine Command over humanity.

But if Islam is in fact perfect … as perfect as God wished it to be, Muslims however are not. Such perfection does not take away from the message which was imparted to God’s long line of prophets. Each prophet, and each message they carried was just as perfect, and just as blessed.

One cannot measure God’s Truth. One cannot weigh or assign a value to God’s Will.

There is only His Wisdom and how He chose at specific time in our History to bless us with His Mercy, and His Guidance.

How foolish of us to assume we could ever label His faith, His religion, when in fact it is us and not Him who need Divine Guidance.

Within this optic Islam never rejected which came before it. The Prophet Muhammad himself made clear that he came not to establish a new religion but to restore and perfect what had been lost. Islam did not reject Judaism and Christianity – instead it embraced them both and perfected God’s Command according to His Will. Who are we to decide whose Truth and whose community will be called to His name?

Who are we to question Faith, if we are in fact the true heirs of Abraham? Islam is the religion of Abraham, because Islam is Submission to God.

And if blame needs to be in fact appointed, it should be on our inability to follow God’s commands – Islam cannot be held against our own failures.

How could it?

I’d like here to recall some of the teachings Imam Ali offered his community. A man of extraordinary stature, Imam Ali remains Islam perfected. He remains the perfect expression of faith, loyalty and submission to the Word. The very shoulder upon which the Prophet Muhammad leaned on for support, it is him, the prophet raised upon his own shoulders. There is a lesson here to be learnt of the quality of such a man – he, whom the prophet loved most of all. He, through whom Islam’s lineage would flow from. He, who never faltered in his love or his faith. He who is the Guardian of the Word. He, whose name speaks of an allegiance which shall not be broken. He, who call our Imam.

Imam Ali on Freedom

While Freedom is most talked about, few leaders ever had the courage to offer it plentiful to their people. As it happens Imam Ali did.

The Prophet of Islam charged Muslims with an important duty –  that to advise their rulers should they stray from the just path. In other words Islam provisions that the collective hold the ruling class accountable to them and the rule of law.

He said: “The best kind of jihad is saying a word of rightness before an unjust ruler.”

What better way to guarantee Freedom and Justice but to entrust the community with its custodianship? What better way to prevent abuses of power but to have the people hold a mirror to its leaders?

Abu-Bakr, the first caliph, said: “If I disobey Allah and His apostle, I have no right to govern on you and you do not have to obey me.”

One day ‘Umar the second caliph, said: “You, people, should guide me to the right way if you saw me going in a wrong way.”

An ordinary man stood up and said: “If you follow the curved way, we will bring you back to the straightway by this curved sword.”

Imam Ali (as) always enlightened the Muslims to defend their rights and to remain engaged in the affairs of the state, so that inequity would not prevail. He often called on his officers to read the people their rights so that they could be familiar with their duties, rights and privileges.

For Imam Ali, Justice could not exist without Freedom, the same Freedom God granted us to follow or not on His Word.

During Imam Ali’s reign for example no one had the right to exploit any other by force. He wrote to his governors: “Although excavating canals and cleaning out rivers are necessary in a progressive state you do not have the right to force anyone to do it unwillingly.”

Imam Ali himself never forced any one to join his army even though he could have invoked the pledge of allegiance they all took. Beyond the word give, Imam Ali believed that men and women had the right to choose for themselves  – regardless, and absolutely!



He believed that all are free and independent.

He expressed this concept best in his will when he told his son, Imam Hasan: “You have to investigate and think over what has descended to you from your ancestors and then to beg God’s help in order not to fall into doubts.”

Following is a letter Imam Ali wrote to Malik al-Ashtar, the wali [governor] of Egypt, in which the essence of Islam political system is enounced:

It reads: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is what the servant of Allah, ‘Ali, Ameer-al-Mu’mineen, has ordered Malik al-Ashtar, who is appointed as wali of Egypt, ordering him to collect its revenue, to fight its enemies, to manage its people’s affairs and to improve the country.

He is ordered to fear Allah and to obey Him and to follow what Allah has ordered in His book of obligations and norms, which no one will be prosperous unless by following and no one will be wretched unless by denying and missing, to support Allah (by supporting the rightness) with his heart, hand and tongue, because Allah has promised to support whomever support Him and to glorify whomever glorifies Him.

He is ordered to control his soul’s fancies and to subdue his soul if it wants to recalcitrant, because the soul often incites towards evil except for those, whom Allah has mercy upon.

O Malik, know that I have sent you to a country that had experienced just and unjust rules before you. The people will think of your deeds as you thought of the deeds of the walis, who preceded you, and they will talk about you as you talked about the walis ruled before you.

The virtuous men will be known by what is said about them by the people (by the favor of Allah). Let the loveliest provision to you be the benevolent doing. Control your fancy and prevent yourself from what is not legal to you because controlling one’s self is the very fairness whether he likes or dislikes it.

Fill your heart with mercy, love and kindness towards your people and do not be with them like the beast waiting for the opportunity to eat them, because people are of two kinds; either your brothers in religion or your brothers in humanity.

They fall into mistakes and may be incited by the slips. They may commit sins on purpose or unknowingly. So you are to forgive them as you like Allah to forgive you. You rule over them and the responsible guardian rules over you and Allah is upon the one, who installed you.

Allah tries you by managing your people’s affairs so do not be in a war against Allah (by trespassing His Sharia and by wronging His people) because you are unable to put up with His wrath and you cannot do without his forgiveness and mercy.

Do not regret when you forgive someone and do not boast when you punish someone. Do not be angry about something that you may find an excuse for it. Do not say: “I am the superior. I order and I must be obeyed” for it corrupts the heart and destroys the religion and approaches to the others (the opponents).

If your high position gives a sense of splendour or pride, you are to think of the supreme power of Allah above you and His ability to act upon you what you can never put up with. This will lessen your vanity, prevent your sharpness and restore what is missed of your reason to you.

Beware not to compare yourself with Allah in His greatness or to imitate Him in His supreme power because Allah degrades every arrogant and demeans every haughty one.

Be fair before Allah and do not prefer yourself or your relatives and close companions to the people. If you do not follow this, you will wrong; and whoever wrongs the people, Allah will be his opponent and when Allah becomes the opponent of someone, He refutes his excuses and that he will be in a state of war against Allah until he desists from oppression or he repents.

Nothing leads to change the blessings of Allah and to hasten His wrath more than to persist in oppression, because Allah hears the prayer of the oppressed and He always waylays the oppressors.

Let the loveliest thing to yourself be that which is moderate in rightness, more general in justice and widely accepted by the people. Know that the discontent of the public removes the content of the upper class and that the discontent of the upper class will be excused by the content of the public.

No one is more dependent upon the wali during the ease, less helpful during the distress, more reluctant of justice, more insistent on gifts, less grateful when gifted, less indulgent when prevented and less patient during misfortunes than the upper class.

Whereas the pillar of the religion and the entire of the Muslims, who are always ready to stand against the enemy, are the public of the ummah, so let your tendency be with them and let your attention be to them.

Let him, who looks for the defects of people, be the farthest one from you and the most odious to you because people have defects that the wali is the first one, who has to cover them. Do not try to disclose what is hidden of those defects but you have to purify what is appeared of them to you and Allah decides upon what is unknown for you.

Cover the defects (of people) as possible as you can and Allah will cover of your defects as what you like to cover of your people’s defects.

Remove every grudge from the people’s hearts by behaving fairly with them and get rid of every enmity. Ignore whatever is not clear to you and do not hasten to believe any slanderer because a slanderer is deceitful even if he imitates the sincere people.

Let neither a miser participate in your consultation because he makes you be away from virtue and frighten you of poverty if you want to spend, nor a coward because he disheartens you nor a greedy one because he graces greed for you with wrongfulness.

Miserliness, cowardliness and greed are different instincts but they participate in one common thing, which is distrusting Allah.

The worst of your viziers are they, who were viziers of the wicked rulers before you and who participated in their sins; so do not let them be of your retinue because they were the supporters of the sinners and the brothers of the unjust.

You will find better than them, who have the same experience but without sins and guilts and who haven’t helped the unjust with their injustice nor the sinners with their sins. They will be less burdensome on you, more helpful for you, more kind-hearted to you and less intimate with other than you (the opponents). So you depend on such people as your retinue and then let the most preferable one to you that, who is the most truthful in saying the bitter truth to you and the least helpful when you do what Allah hates for His guardians to do whether it agrees with your fancy or not.

Stick to the pious and truthful people and inure them not to praise you or make you feel proud about something that you haven’t done because much praise leads to vanity and arrogance.

Do not consider the benevolent and the evil as equal because you will discourage the benevolent to do benevolence and courage the offensive to commit more offenses. You have to reward every one according to his doing.

Know that nothing makes the ruler think much of his people better than to be kind to them and to lessen their burden and not to force them to do what they are not able to do.

Let you, by doing that, cause a mutual trust between you and your people because confidence will keep you away from many troubles. As long as you do good to them they will confide in you and as long as you do evil to them they will distrust in you.

Do not break a good tradition followed by the leaders of this ummah, upon which the ummah agreed unanimously and was a cause of the people’s virtuousness. Do not create a tradition, which will oppose some of those previous traditions, so that the merit will be for those, who enacted those traditions, and the sin will be upon you because you oppose them.

Always discuss with the ulema and the wise men to firm what improves the affairs of your state and to revive what have rectified the people before you.

Remember that the people are composed of different classes. The progress of one is dependent on the progress of the other; and none can afford to be independent of the other. We have the army formed of the soldiers of God; we have our civil officers and their establishments, our judiciary, our revenue collectors and our public relations officers. The general public itself consists of Muslims and Thimmis8 and among them are merchants and craftsmen, the unemployed and the indigent.

Allah has prescribed for them their several rights, duties and obligations. They are all defined and preserved in the Book of Allah and in the traditions of His Prophet.

The soldiers, by the grace of Allah, are like a fortress to the people and they lend dignity to the state. They uphold the prestige of the faith and maintain the peace of the country. Without them, the state cannot stand and also they cannot stand without the support of the state. Our soldiers have proved strong before the enemy because of the privilege Allah has given them to fight for Him; but they have their material needs to be fulfilled and have therefore to depend upon the income provided for them from the state revenue.

The military and the civil population, who pay revenue, both need the cooperation of the others; the judiciary, the civil officers and the clerks, who run the transactions and dealings among people, and the all cannot do without the tradesmen, the merchants and the craftsmen, who run the market and offer their services to the others who may not be able to do by themselves.

And then, there is the class of the poor and the needy, whose maintenance is an obligation on the other classes. Allah has given an appropriate opportunity of living to the all; and then the rights of all of these classes are to be under the charge of the wali and nothing will acquit the wali of his charge except by carrying out his charge fairly with full carefulness after praying Allah to support him.

Indeed, it is obligatory for him to undertake this duty and to bear with patience the inconvenience and difficulties of the task.

Be particularly mindful of the welfare of those in the army, who, in your opinion, are staunchly faithful to their God and His Apostle and loyal to your imam, who, in the hour of passion, can restrain themselves and listen coolly to the sensible remonstrance, and who can succor the weak and smite the strong, who will not be incited by the violent provocation and who will not falter at any stage.

Keep to those of good reputation, integrity and glorious past. Depend upon those of courage and bravery and of magnanimity and generosity because they are the base of liberality and the sources of benevolence.

Care for them as parents care for their children and do not exaggerate what you have done to them. Do not leave any little kindness to them you think it may be worthless because any kindness towards them will lead them to confide in you and to offer you the sincere advice. Attend to every bit of their wants.

Do not be content with general help that you may have given to them, for sometimes, timely attention to a little want of theirs brings them immense relief.

Let your commander in chief be the one, who helps his men and gives them from his wealth what suffices them and suffices their families left behind so that their intention will be the same in their jihad against the enemy. Your being kind to them will turn their hearts towards you.

The best delight of the wali’s eye is by spreading justice in the country and by the expression of the people’s cordiality.

They do not express their goodwill except when their hearts are contented and they will not be sincere unless they are willing to safeguard their walis and are contented with their rule and are hopeful of their aims so try to achieve their hopes and keep on praising them and mentioning their good deeds because praising the good deeds provokes the brave and incites the laggard inshallah.

Keep every one’s right and do not ascribe someone’s excellence to another. Do not belittle one’s great deed. Do not let someone’s nobility lead you to glorify his slight deed and do not let the meanness of someone’s lead you to belittle his great deed.

Turn to Allah and to His Prophet for guidance whenever you feel uncertain about what you have to do. Allah had said to some people, whom He wished to guide: “O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle”.

Referring to Allah is to obey His Book and referring to the Prophet is to follow his Sunnah, which calls for unity and warns of separation.

Choose, for judging among people, the best of them to you, who is not obsessed by distresses, doesn’t become importunate before the opponents, doesn’t keep on mistakes, doesn’t miss reason, doesn’t hesitate to follow the truth when he finds it, doesn’t think of greed, doesn’t satisfy with the least perception without looking for the farthest, the most pondering on the confused matters, the most dependent upon evidences, the least bored in inspecting the opponents, the most determined when the truth appears, who isn’t affected by praise, who isn’t incited by any temptation and these are very few.

Observe his (the judge) judgments always and be openhanded to him to satisfy his needs so that he won’t be in need of the people. Give him a position in your court so high that none can even dream of coveting it and so high that neither backbiting nor intrigue can touch him.

Think of this so much for this religion was captive under the control of the evildoers. They used it according to their fancies and as a means to obtain the vain pleasures of this worldly life.

Then think about your officials. Employ them after trying. Do not appoint them favoringly or autocratically because they are full of injustice and treason. Seek after the experienced and coy men of the benevolent families and the previous in Islam because they are more honest, less greedy and more prudent.

Then supply them with sufficient living for it helps them to purify themselves and prevent them from seizing what is there under their control and it will be an evidence against them if they break your order or betray the trust.

Then check their jobs and send truthful and sincere inspectors to watch them. Watching them secretly leads them to be honest and loyal in doing their jobs and to be kind to the people. If one of them betrays the trust, you will be informed of that by your spies and this will be enough witness to let you punish him, disgrace him, defame him and girt him with the shame of the guilt according to what he commits.

Take much care for the revenue so as to prosper the producers because their prosperity leads to prosper the others. There is no prosperity without them because all the people are dependent upon them.

Let you think of reclaiming the lands more than to think of getting the revenue. Whoever seeks after revenue without reforming, will ruin the country and destroy the people and his rule won’t last long. If they (the farmers) complain of deficiency or lack of water (of the rivers or the rains) or that their farms are damaged by floods, you have to aid them with what may lessen their sufferings.

Do not be vexed about what you give them to relieve their distress because they will, in return, recompense in prospering your country and strengthening your rule besides getting their goodwill and being delighted by spreading justice among them. They will join their power to yours and will confide in you after doing them favors and being fair with them.

One day if something happens, you may charge them with a heavy burden and you find that they undertake it willingly. Prosperity bears whatever you burden it with.

The desolation of the land comes out of the indigence of its people and the indigence of the people comes out of the eagerness of the walis for heaping up monies for themselves, their distrust about remaining in their positions and that they do not learn from the previous examples.

Then think about you clerks. Trust your affairs to the best of the people. Trust your special books, in which you put your plans and secrets, to the one, who is honest, who doesn’t pride upon his position so that he may dare to stand against you in front of the people when there is a disagreement between you and him, who doesn’t ignore to inform you of the correspondences of your officials in the different countries or to reply the received books correctly instead of you, who doesn’t weaken a contract he concludes for you and won’t be unable to cancel an ineffective contract, who isn’t ignorant of his ability in dealing with the affairs because he, who ignores his own ability, is more ignorant of the others’ abilities.

Let your choosing them not be according to physiognomy and confidence because people feign before the walis so that they may think well of them but in fact there is nothing of truthfulness and fidelity behind that.

You have to try them with what they did to the just walis, who ruled before you and then choose the best in serving the public and the most loyal among them. This will show your sincerity to Allah and to him, who entrusted you with the position you hold.

Appoint for each of your affairs one, who won’t be defeated before the great difficulties nor will be lost among the many problems when facing him. If you ignore any defect available in your clerks you will be responsible for it.

Take much care for the merchants and the craftsmen; the residents and the ones roving through the countries and take much care for the laborers because they are the source of the welfare and the means that brings devices and utensils from here and there, on the land and in the sea, from the plain and the mountain where people cannot reach. They (merchants and craftsmen) are peaceful people, who do not cause troubles or calamities.

Care for their affairs in your country and about it. And know-nevertheless- that many of them are cruel in dealing, with bad stinginess, monopolizing the utilities and controlling the deals. This is a disadvantage for the public and a defect for the walis.

Prevent monopoly, because the Prophet had prohibited it. Let dealing be lenient and fair and with fair prices for the two parties; the seller and the buyer. If someone monopolizes something after being forbidden, then you have to punish him severely but without exceeding the limit of justice.

For the sake of Allah, take much care for the lower class; the poor, the needy, the destitute and the handicapped who have no way to get their living. Among this class there are the beggars and those, who are in serious need but without begging.

Obey Allah with what He have entrusted you of their rights. Assign for them something from the treasury and something from the yields of the Muslims’ plundered lands in each country. The far and the near of them have equal right and you are responsible for the right of every one of them.

Do not be careless about them because you won’t be forgiven when wasting the slight thing for the sake of achieving the great thing. Do not be ignorant about their affairs and do not be proud before them. Seek for those, whose news do not reach you because that people scorn them and hate to look at them.

Order some of benevolent and humble people to seek for those destitute ones and to inform you of their affairs and then you are to do to them what Allah may forgive you for when you meet Him because this sect of people is in need of fairness more than the others. Anyhow you have to give everyone his right.

Attend to the orphans and the old people, who are helpless and do not demean themselves by begging people. This is too heavy for the walis and the whole rightness is heavy but Allah may make it easy for those, who hope for the good end by being patient and believe in what Allah has promised them of.

Assign some of your time to the plaintiffs. You sit humbly with them in a public meeting and keep your guards and soldiers away from them in order that they may talk frankly without any fear.

I had heard the Prophet (S) saying more than a time: “A nation will not be sanctified if the right of the weak is not taken back from the powerful without threat or fear.” Tolerate their severity and ineloquence. Do not show them intolerance and disdain so that Allah spreads upon you his mercy and rewards you for your obeying Him. If you give, give willingly and if you deny, deny kindly and apologizing.

There are certain things that you have to do yourself; you have to answer your governors when your clerks are unable to, you have to answer the people’s wants as soon as they reach you as your assistants may delay them. Achieve every day’s duty in time because each day has its own duties.

Choose for yourself the best time to be with Allah. Know that the greatest of your doings, although that they all are to be for the sake of Allah, are those that you do with good will and those you do for the sake of your people.

Let the best thing, with which you worship Allah sincerely, be the offering of his obligations, which are for Allah alone. Tire your body for your God during your day and night. Approach to Allah sincerely with all what you do for the sake of Him without any shortage or hypocrisy whatever you become tired.

When you lead the people in offering the prayer, try neither to lengthen it nor to lose anything of it because among the people there are some, who are ill, and some, who have things to do.

Once I asked the Prophet (s), when he had ordered me to go to Yemen, about how to lead people in offering the prayer and he said: “Offer it like the prayer of the weakest of them and be kind to the believers.”

Do not hide too long from your people because the hiding of the walis from the people is a kind of distress and ignorance of their affairs. Hiding from the people prevents them from knowing why they are kept away and so the great thing will be insignificant for them and the insignificant thing will be great, the good things will be bad and the bad will be good and the truth will be confused with falsehood.

The wali is but a human being. He doesn’t know what is hidden of the people’s affairs and the rightness has no signs that one can distinguish between the truthfulness and the falsehood. You (the wali) are but one of two; either you are a man with a liberal character following rightness so why do you hide from a right duty that you are to do or a deed of munificence you are to offer?

Or a man of stinginess and then you will find that how soon the people will despair of asking you for anything in spite of that the most of people’s wants are of complaining of wrongfulness or asking for fairness of a conduct, which do not cost you anything.

The wali has a retinue and close companions, among whom there are some selfish, impudent and unfair persons when dealing with people. Cut off this thing by cutting off the reason that encourages them to be so.

Do not donate to anyone of your retinue or relatives a donation. Let them not expect from you to possess any property, which will harm other peoples of their watering or a shared act. They (the wali’s retinue or relatives) enjoy it at the expense of the others and hence the benefit will be for them whereas the blame will be upon you in this life and in the afterlife.

Make every one submit to the rightness whoever he is whether your retinue and relatives or not. Be patient and tolerant in applying that whatever effect it has upon your relatives and close companions. Care for its result whatever heavy it is to you because the result of that will be good.

If the people suspect you of doing injustice, come out to them with your evidence to refute their suspicion, because by this you will accustom yourself to justice.

Be kind to your people when showing your evidences to achieve your aim in rectifying them according to the rightness.

Do not refuse the peace your enemy invites you for if it pleases Allah because peace will bring your soldiers comfort, make you safe from your troubles and bring security for your country. But be extremely careful of your enemy after the peace because the enemy may approach to you under the pretense of peace in order to attack you unexpectedly. So be resolute and doubt your enemy’s good will.

When you conclude an agreement with your enemy or you promise of something, you have to keep your agreement with fidelity and to keep your promise with loyalty. Make yourself as the safeguard of what you have promised because nothing of Allah’s obligations that people agree upon, in spite of their different thoughts and fancies, is better than to glorify fulfilling the promises.

The polytheists, rather than the Muslims, kept to their promises among them when they saw the bad results of perfidy. So do not betray your agreement, do not break your promise and do not cheat your enemy for no one dares to disobey Allah but the miserable ignorant. Allah made His promise as safety that He spread between His people with His mercy and made it as sanctum, to whose power people resorted and to whose protection they hurried. So never let thwarting, cheating or forging be with your promises.

Do not conclude an agreement that you may use confused statements in order to find a way that you can cheat with it and do not depend upon a solecism as an excuse after certifying your promise. Let no distress lead you to annul your promise unfairly because tolerating a distress that you expect its relief and good result is better than cheating that you fear its bad consequence besides that Allah will ask you about His right of fidelity you break and then He will bless neither your life nor your afterlife.

Avoid and avoid shedding blood unjustly and without any right cause leading you to. Nothing leads hurriedly to wrath, to evil consequence, to transience of blessings and cessation of life worse than shedding bloods unrightfully. Allah the Almighty will judge among His people, first of all, about shedding bloods on the Day of Resurrection.

Do not try to firm your rule by shedding haram blood because this will weaken and enfeeble your rule or indeed it will remove your rule and transfer it to others. Neither Allah nor I will forgive you for an intended killing because it must have a penalty.

If you face a wrong doing, let your whip, sword or hand not exceed in punishment because a blow may cause a killing. Let your rule not make you proud that you do not give the guardians of the killed one their right.

Avoid self-conceit; do not confide in what you like of yourself and do not wish to be praised because this is the best opportunity for the Satan to crush the benevolence from inside the benevolent.

Do not mention the favours you do to your people.

Do not exaggerate your deeds and do not promise your people and then you break your promise, because mentioning the favours done by you void benevolence, exaggeration puts out the light of rightness and breaking the promise brings detestation of Allah and the people. Allah said: “It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do”.

Do not give your judgment about the matters before their time and do not be indifferent when they occur.

Do not insist upon dispute when the matters are not clear and do not be indifferent when they become clear.

Put everything in its place and every order in its concernment.

Do not distinguish yourself with what the people are equal in and do not ignore your duties when they become clear for the people because what you take unrightfully, will be taken from you to the others and how soon your affairs will be uncovered and then the rights of the wronged ones will be extracted from you.

Control your passion, intensity, power and sharpness of your tongue. Be away of all that by preventing your tongue from setting about and by delaying your power until your rage calms down and then you have the option to decide.

You won’t control yourself until you worry yourself with recalling that you will meet your God in the afterworld.

You have to remember what preceded you of a just government, a virtuous norm, a tradition of our Prophet (S) or an obligation in the Book of Allah and then you have to imitate what we have done according to that and to try your best to follow what I have entrusted you with in this charter.

I have quitted myself from anything you may protest with later on and lest you find any excuse when you hasten after your fancy.

I pray Allah, with His infinite mercy and great power of granting every wish, to grant me and you success to do what pleases Him and His people with the rightful conduct and to make us worthy of people’s good will and to offer beneficial achievements to the country.

I pray Allah to grant us blessing, dignity and to conclude my life and yours with happiness and martyrdom. To Allah we will return. Peace be upon the messenger of Allah and Allah may bless him and his pure progeny with great peace and blessing. With salaam.”

By Catherine Shakdam for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies

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