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The Right of People: Commentary on Imam Sajjad’s (AS) Treaties of Right (Part 16)

Right of People

SHAFAQNA- The Right of People (16th) Commentary on Imam Al-Sajjad’s (AS) Treaties of Right by Mohammad Sobhanie.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وأمّا حقُّ رعیّتک بالسلطان فأن تعلم أنّهم صاروا رعیّتک فیجبَ أن تَعْدلَ فیهم وتکونَ لهم کالوالِد الرحیم وتَغفر لهم جَهْلَهم ولا تُعاجلَهم بالعُقوبهِ وتَشکُر الله عزّ وجلّ على ما آتاک مِنَ القوّهِ علیهم

The Right of People (16th)

The right of people on a ruler is that he acknowledges that people’s need (for someone to enforce law and order in society) has allowed him to rule and govern over the people. Hence, he should treat people fairly and be a father figure to them.  He should forgive and not be hasty in punishing people if they have committed a wrong out of ignorance. He must thank Allah (SWT) for allowing him to rule and manage people’s affairs.

Right of People
The Right of People according to Imam al-Sajjad (AS) © Shafaqna


The Imam (AS) states that the right of the people over a ruler is as follows:

  • Be fair-minded and rule with justice (أن تَعْدلَ فیهم)
  • Be kind to them, like a father to his children (وتکونَ لهم کالوالِد الرحیم)
  • Forgive them if they have committed a mistake out of ignorance (وتَغفر لهم جَهْلَهم)
  • Do not rush to punish them (ولا تُعاجلَهم بالعُقوبهِ).
  • Be grateful to God for the power bestowed upon him to rule and manage people’s affairs under his dominion (وتَشکُر الله عزّ وجلّ على ما آتاک مِنَ القوّهِ علیهم).

The establishment of justice and fair-mindedness at all levels of society is one of the missions of divine messengers. Verse 57:25 (Al-Hadid) says:

‏لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ … ‎﴿٢٥﴾‏

57:25 Indeed, We sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and with them, We sent down the Scripture and the balance (of justice) that the people may maintain (their affairs) in justice.

Other verses that promote justice at all levels of society are as follows[1]:

… وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۖ … ‎﴿١٥٢﴾‏

6:152 And when you testify, be just, even if (it concerns) a near relative.

… وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ … ‎﴿٥٨﴾‏

4:58 And when you judge between people to judge with justice.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ … ‎﴿٩٠﴾

16:90 Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct.

Mutual rights in the words of Imam Ali (AS):

Imam Sajjad (AS) referred to mutual rights between the ruler and the people. His honorable grandfather, Imam Ali (AS), explained these mutual rights in more detail[2];

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إِنَّ لِي عَلَيْكُمْ حَقّاً، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيَّ حَقٌّ: فَأَمَّا حَقُّكُمْ عَلَيَّ: فَالنَّصِيحَةُ لَكُمْ، وَتَوْفِيرُ فَيْئِكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ، وَتَعْلِيمُكُمْ كَيْلا تَجْهَلُوا، وَتَأْدِيبُكُمْ كَيْما تَعْلَمُوا. وَأَمَّا حَقِّي عَلَيْكُمْ: فَالوَفَاءُ بِالبَيْعَةِ، وَالنَّصِيحَةُ في الْمَشْهَدِ وَالْمَغِيبِ، وَالاْجَابَةُ حِينَ أَدْعُوكُمْ، وَالطَّاعَةُ حِينَ آمُرُكُمْ.

O’ people, I have a right over you, and you have a right over me. Your right over me is to counsel you, pay your dues fully from the treasury, and teach and instruct you in behaviorism that you must act upon it. My right over you is loyalty to your allegiance, well-wishing me in my presence or absence, responding to my call, and obeying my order.


[1] Al-An’am (6:152), An-Nisa (4:58), An-Nahl (16:90)

[2] Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 34  (

Part of a Series: Commentary on Imam Al-Sajjad’s (AS) treaties of right

Read more from Shafaqna:


The Right of Ruler: Commentary on Imam Sajjad’s (AS) Treaties of Right (Part 15)

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