كتاب أمير المؤمنين (ع) لمالك الأشتر و ترجمته الانجليزية
اللهم صلي على محمد و آل محمد
من كتاب لأمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام
كتبه للأشتر النخعي لما ولّاه على مصر و أعمالها حين اضطرب أمرُ أميرها محمد بن أبي بكر
بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرّحْمنِ الرّحِيمِ
هذا ما أمر بِهِ عبْدُ اللّهِ، علِيٌّ أمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِين، مالِك بْن الْحارِثِ الْأشْتر فِي عهْدِهِ إِليْهِ حِين ولّاهُ مِصْر جِباية خراجِها وجِهاد عدُوِّها واسْتِصْلاح أهْلِها وعِمارة بِلادِها: أمرهُ بِتقْوى اللّهِ وإِيْثارِ طاعتِهِ واتِّباعِ ما أمر بِهِ فِي كِتابِهِ مِنْ فرائِضِهِ وسُننِهِ الّتِي لا يسْعدُ أحدٌ إِلّا بِاتِّباعِها ولا يشْقى إِلّا مع جُحُودِها وإِضاعتِها، وأنْ ينْصُر اللّه سُبْحانهُ بِقلْبِهِ ويدِهِ ولِسانِهِ، فإِنّهُ جلّ اسْمُهُ قدْ تكفّل بِنصْرِ منْ نصرهُ وإِعْزازِ منْ أعزّهُ وأمرهُ أنْ يكْسِر نفْسهُ مِن الشّهواتِ ويزعها عِنْد الْجمحاتِ فإِنّ النّفْس أمّارةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلّا ما رحِم اللّهُ ثُمّ اعْلمْ يا مالِكُ أنِّي قدْ وجّهْتُك إِلى بِلادٍ قدْ جرتْ عليْها دُولٌ قبْلك مِنْ عدْلٍ وجوْرٍ وأنّ النّاس ينْظُرُون مِنْ أُمُورِك فِي مِثْلِ ما كُنْت تنْظُرُ فِيهِ مِنْ أُمُورِ الْوُلاةِ قبْلك ويقُولُون فِيك ما كُنْت تقُولُ فِيهِمْ وإِنّما يُسْتدلُّ على الصّالِحِين بِما يُجْرِي اللّهُ لهُمْ على ألْسُنِ عِبادِهِ فلْيكُنْ أحبّ الذّخائِرِ إِليْك ذخِيرةُ الْعملِ الصّالِحِ فامْلِكْ هواك وشُحّ بِنفْسِك عمّا لا يحِلُّ لك فإِنّ الشُّحّ بِالنّفْسِ الْإِنْصافُ مِنْها فِيما أحبّتْ أوْ كرِهتْ وأشْعِرْ قلْبك الرّحْمة لِلرّعِيّةِ والْمحبّة لهُمْ واللُّطْف بِهِمْ ولا تكُوننّ عليْهِمْ سبُعاً ضارِياً تغْتنِمُ أكْلهُمْ فإِنّهُمْ صِنْفانِ إِمّا أخٌ لك فِي الدِّينِ وإِمّا نظِيرٌ لك فِي الْخلْقِ يفْرُطُ مِنْهُمُ الزّللُ وتعْرِضُ لهُمُ الْعِللُ ويُؤْتى على أيْدِيهِمْ فِي الْعمْدِ والْخطإِ فأعْطِهِمْ مِنْ عفْوِك وصفْحِك مِثْلِ الّذِي تُحِبُّ وترْضى أنْ يُعْطِيك اللّهُ مِنْ عفْوِهِ وصفْحِهِ فإِنّك فوْقهُمْ ووالِي الْأمْرِ عليْك فوْقك واللّهُ فوْق منْ ولّاك وقدِ اسْتكْفاك أمْرهُمْ وابْتلاك بِهِمْ ولا تنْصِبنّ نفْسك لِحرْبِ اللّهِ فإِنّهُ لا يد لك بِنِقْمتِهِ ولا غِنى بِك عنْ عفْوِهِ ورحْمتِهِ ولا تنْدمنّ على عفْوٍ ولا تبْجحنّ بِعُقُوبةٍ ولا تُسْرِعنّ إِلى بادِرةٍ وجدْت مِنْها منْدُوحةً ولا تقُولنّ إِنِّي مُؤمّرٌ آمُرُ فأُطاعُ فإِنّ ذلِك إِدْغالٌ فِي الْقلْبِ ومنْهكةٌ لِلدِّينِ وتقرُّبٌ مِن الْغِيرِ وإِذا أحْدث لك ما أنْت فِيهِ مِنْ سُلْطانِك أُبّهةً أوْ مخِيلةً فانْظُرْ إِلى عِظمِ مُلْكِ اللّهِ فوْقك وقُدْرتِهِ مِنْك على ما لا تقْدِرُ عليْهِ مِنْ نفْسِك فإِنّ ذلِك يُطامِنُ إِليْك مِنْ طِماحِك ويكُفُّ عنْك مِنْ غرْبِك ويفِيءُ إِليْك بِما عزب عنْك مِنْ عقْلِك إِيّاك ومُساماة اللّهِ فِي عظمتِهِ والتّشبُّه بِهِ فِي جبرُوتِهِ فإِنّ اللّه يُذِلُّ كُلّ جبّارٍ ويُهِينُ كُلّ مُخْتالٍ أنْصِفِ اللّه وأنْصِفِ النّاس مِنْ نفْسِك ومِنْ خاصّةِ أهْلِك ومنْ لك فِيهِ هوًى مِنْ رعِيّتِك فإِنّك إِلّا تفْعلْ تظْلِمْ ومنْ ظلم عِباد اللّهِ كان اللّهُ خصْمهُ دُون عِبادِهِ ومنْ خاصمهُ اللّهُ أدْحض حُجّتهُ وكان لِلّهِ حرْباً حتّى ينْزِع أوْ يتُوب وليْس شيْءٌ أدْعى إِلى تغْيِيرِ نِعْمةِ اللّهِ وتعْجِيلِ نِقْمتِهِ مِنْ إِقامةٍ على ظُلْمٍ فإِنّ اللّه سمِيعٌ دعْوة الْمُضْطهدِين وهُو لِلظّالِمِين بِالْمِرْصادِ ولْيكُنْ أحبّ الْأُمُورِ إِليْك أوْسطُها فِي الْحقِّ وأعمُّها فِي الْعدْلِ وأجْمعُها لِرِضى الرّعِيّةِ فإِنّ سُخْط الْعامّةِ يُجْحِفُ بِرِضى الْخاصّةِ وإِنّ سُخْط الْخاصّةِ يُغْتفرُ مع رِضى الْعامّةِ وليْس أحدٌ مِن الرّعِيّةِ أثْقل على الْوالِي مئُونةً فِي الرّخاءِ وأقلّ معُونةً لهُ فِي الْبلاءِ وأكْره لِلْإِنْصافِ وأسْأل بِالْإِلْحافِ وأقلّ شُكْراً عِنْد الْإِعْطاءِ وأبْطأ عُذْراً عِنْد الْمنْعِ وأضْعف صبْراً عِنْد مُلِمّاتِ الدّهْرِ مِنْ أهْلِ الْخاصّةِ وإِنّما عِمادُ الدِّينِ وجِماعُ الْمُسْلِمِين والْعُدّةُ لِلْأعْداءِ الْعامّةُ مِن الْأُمّةِ فلْيكُنْ صِغْوُك لهُمْ وميْلُك معهُمْ ولْيكُنْ أبْعد رعِيّتِك مِنْك وأشْنأهُمْ عِنْدك أطْلبُهُمْ لِمعايِبِ النّاسِ فإِنّ فِي النّاسِ عُيُوباً الْوالِي أحقُّ منْ سترها فلا تكْشِفنّ عمّا غاب عنْك مِنْها فإِنّما عليْك تطْهِيرُ ما ظهر لك واللّهُ يحْكُمُ على ما غاب عنْك فاسْتُرِ الْعوْرة ما اسْتطعْت يسْتُرِ اللّهُ مِنْك ما تُحِبُّ ستْرهُ مِنْ رعِيّتِك أطْلِقْ عنِ النّاسِ عُقْدة كُلِّ حِقْدٍ واقْطعْ عنْك سبب كُلِّ وِتْرٍ وتغاب عنْ كُلِّ ما لا يضِحُ لك ولا تعْجلنّ إِلى تصْدِيقِ ساعٍ فإِنّ السّاعِي غاشٌّ وإِنْ تشبّه بِالنّاصِحِين ولا تُدْخِلنّ فِي مشُورتِك بخِيلًا يعْدِلُ بِك عنِ الْفضْلِ ويعِدُك الْفقْر ولا جباناً يُضْعِفُك عنِ الْأُمُورِ ولا حرِيصاً يُزيِّنُ لك الشّره بِالْجوْرِ فإِنّ الْبُخْل والْجُبْن والْحِرْص غرائِزُ شتّى يجْمعُها سُوءُ الظّنِّ بِاللّهِ إِنّ شرّ وُزرائِك منْ كان لِلْأشْرارِ قبْلك وزِيراً ومنْ شرِكهُمْ فِي الْآثامِ فلا يكُوننّ لك بِطانةً فإِنّهُمْ أعْوانُ الْأثمةِ وإِخْوانُ الظّلمةِ وأنْت واجِدٌ مِنْهُمْ خيْر الْخلفِ مِمّنْ لهُ مِثْلُ آرائِهِمْ ونفاذِهِمْ وليْس عليْهِ مِثْلُ آصارِهِمْ وأوْزارِهِمْ وآثامِهِمْ مِمّنْ لمْ يُعاوِنْ ظالِماً على ظُلْمِهِ ولا آثِماً على إِثْمِهِ أُولئِك أخفُّ عليْك مئُونةً وأحْسنُ لك معُونةً وأحْنى عليْك عطْفاً وأقلُّ لِغيْرِك إِلْفاً فاتّخِذْ أُولئِك خاصّةً لِخلواتِك وحفلاتِك ثُمّ لْيكُنْ آثرُهُمْ عِنْدك أقْولهُمْ بِمُرِّ الْحقِّ لك وأقلّهُمْ مُساعدةً فِيما يكُونُ مِنْك مِمّا كرِه اللّهُ لِأوْلِيائِهِ واقِعاً ذلِك مِنْ هواك حيْثُ وقع والْصقْ بِأهْلِ الْورعِ والصِّدْقِ ثُمّ رُضْهُمْ على ألّا يُطْرُوك ولا يبْجحُوك بِباطِلٍ لمْ تفْعلْهُ فإِنّ كثْرة الْإِطْراءِ تُحْدِثُ الزّهْو وتُدْنِي مِن الْعِزّةِ ولا يكُوننّ الْمُحْسِنُ والْمُسِيءُ عِنْدك بِمنْزِلةٍ سواءٍ فإِنّ فِي ذلِك تزْهِيداً لِأهْلِ الْإِحْسانِ فِي الْإِحْسانِ وتدْرِيباً لِأهْلِ الْإِساءةِ على الْإِساءةِ وألْزِمْ كُلًّا مِنْهُمْ ما ألْزم نفْسهُ واعْلمْ أنّهُ ليْس شيْءٌ بِأدْعى إِلى حُسْنِ ظنِّ راعٍ بِرعِيّتِهِ مِنْ إِحْسانِهِ إِليْهِمْ وتخْفِيفِهِ الْمئُوناتِ عليْهِمْ وترْكِ اسْتِكْراهِهِ إِيّاهُمْ على ما ليْس لهُ قِبلهُمْ فلْيكُنْ مِنْك فِي ذلِك أمْرٌ يجْتمِعُ لك بِهِ حُسْنُ الظّنِّ بِرعِيّتِك فإِنّ حُسْن الظّنِّ يقْطعُ عنْك نصباً طوِيلًا وإِنّ أحقّ منْ حسُن ظنُّك بِهِ لمنْ حسُن بلاؤُك عِنْدهُ وإِنّ أحقّ منْ ساء ظنُّك بِهِ لمنْ ساء بلاؤُك عِنْدهُ ولا تنْقُضْ سُنّةً صالِحةً عمِل بِها صُدُورُ هذِهِ الْأُمّةِ واجْتمعتْ بِها الْأُلْفةُ وصلحتْ عليْها الرّعِيّةُ ولا تُحْدِثنّ سُنّةً تضُرُّ بِشيْءٍ مِنْ ماضِي تِلْك السُّننِ فيكُون الْأجْرُ لِمنْ سنّها والْوِزْرُ عليْك بِما نقضْت مِنْها وأكْثِرْ مُدارسة الْعُلماءِ ومُناقشة الْحُكماءِ فِي تثْبِيتِ ما صلح عليْهِ أمْرُ بِلادِك وإِقامةِ ما اسْتقام بِهِ النّاسُ قبْلك واعْلمْ أنّ الرّعِيّة طبقاتٌ لا يصْلُحُ بعْضُها إِلّا بِبعْضٍ ولا غِنى بِبعْضِها عنْ بعْضٍ فمِنْها جُنُودُ اللّهِ ومِنْها كُتّابُ الْعامّةِ والْخاصّةِ ومِنْها قُضاةُ الْعدْلِ ومِنْها عُمّالُ الْإِنْصافِ والرِّفْقِ ومِنْها أهْلُ الْجِزْيةِ والْخراجِ مِنْ أهْلِ الذِّمّةِ ومُسْلِمةِ النّاسِ ومِنْها التُّجّارُ وأهْلُ الصِّناعاتِ ومِنْها الطّبقةُ السُّفْلى مِنْ ذوِي الْحاجةِ والْمسْكنةِ وكُلٌّ قدْ سمّى اللّهُ لهُ سهْمهُ ووضع على حدِّهِ فرِيضةً فِي كِتابِهِ أوْ سُنّةِ نبِيِّهِ (صلى الله عليه وآله) عهْداً مِنْهُ عِنْدنا محْفُوظاً فالْجُنُودُ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ حُصُونُ الرّعِيّةِ وزيْنُ الْوُلاةِ وعِزُّ الدِّينِ وسُبُلُ الْأمْنِ وليْس تقُومُ الرّعِيّةُ إِلّا بِهِمْ ثُمّ لا قِوام لِلْجُنُودِ إِلّا بِما يُخْرِجُ اللّهُ لهُمْ مِن الْخراجِ الّذِي يقْووْن بِهِ على جِهادِ عدُوِّهِمْ ويعْتمِدُون عليْهِ فِيما يُصْلِحُهُمْ ويكُونُ مِنْ وراءِ حاجتِهِمْ ثُمّ لا قِوام لِهذيْنِ الصِّنْفيْنِ إِلّا بِالصِّنْفِ الثّالِثِ مِن الْقُضاةِ والْعُمّالِ والْكُتّابِ لِما يُحْكِمُون مِن الْمعاقِدِ ويجْمعُون مِن الْمنافِعِ ويُؤْتمنُون عليْهِ مِنْ خواصِّ الْأُمُورِ وعوامِّها ولا قِوام لهُمْ جمِيعاً إِلّا بِالتُّجّارِ وذوِي الصِّناعاتِ فِيما يجْتمِعُون عليْهِ مِنْ مرافِقِهِمْ ويُقِيمُونهُ مِنْ أسْواقِهِمْ ويكْفُونهُمْ مِن التّرفُّقِ بِأيْدِيهِمْ ما لا يبْلُغُهُ رِفْقُ غيْرِهِمْ ثُمّ الطّبقةُ السُّفْلى مِنْ أهْلِ الْحاجةِ والْمسْكنةِ الّذِين يحِقُّ رِفْدُهُمْ ومعُونتُهُمْ وفِي اللّهِ لِكُلٍّ سعةٌ ولِكُلٍّ على الْوالِي حقٌّ بِقدْرِ ما يُصْلِحُهُ وليْس يخْرُجُ الْوالِي مِنْ حقِيقةِ ما ألْزمهُ اللّهُ مِنْ ذلِك إِلّا بِالِاهْتِمامِ والِاسْتِعانةِ بِاللّهِ وتوْطِينِ نفْسِهِ على لُزُومِ الْحقِّ والصّبْرِ عليْهِ فِيما خفّ عليْهِ أوْ ثقُل فولِّ مِنْ جُنُودِك أنْصحهُمْ فِي نفْسِك لِلّهِ ولِرسُولِهِ ولِإِمامِك وأنْقاهُمْ جيْباً وأفْضلهُمْ حِلْماً مِمّنْ يُبْطِئُ عنِ الْغضبِ ويسْترِيحُ إِلى الْعُذْرِ ويرْأفُ بِالضُّعفاءِ وينْبُو على الْأقْوِياءِ ومِمّنْ لا يُثِيرُهُ الْعُنْفُ ولا يقْعُدُ بِهِ الضّعْفُ ثُمّ الْصقْ بِذوِي الْمُرُوءاتِ والْأحْسابِ وأهْلِ الْبُيُوتاتِ الصّالِحةِ والسّوابِقِ الْحسنةِ ثُمّ أهْلِ النّجْدةِ والشّجاعةِ والسّخاءِ والسّماحةِ فإِنّهُمْ جِماعٌ مِن الْكرمِ وشُعبٌ مِن الْعُرْفِ ثُمّ تفقّدْ مِنْ أُمُورِهِمْ ما يتفقّدُ الْوالِدانِ مِنْ ولدِهِما ولا يتفاقمنّ فِي نفْسِك شيْءٌ قوّيْتهُمْ بِهِ ولا تحْقِرنّ لُطْفاً تعاهدْتهُمْ بِهِ وإِنْ قلّ فإِنّهُ داعِيةٌ لهُمْ إِلى بذْلِ النّصِيحةِ لك وحُسْنِ الظّنِّ بِك ولا تدعْ تفقُّد لطِيفِ أُمُورِهِمُ اتِّكالًا على جسِيمِها فإِنّ لِلْيسِيرِ مِنْ لُطْفِك موْضِعاً ينْتفِعُون بِهِ ولِلْجسِيمِ موْقِعاً لا يسْتغْنُون عنْهُ ولْيكُنْ آثرُ رُءُوسِ جُنْدِك عِنْدك منْ واساهُمْ فِي معُونتِهِ وأفْضل عليْهِمْ مِنْ جِدتِهِ بِما يسعُهُمْ ويسعُ منْ وراءهُمْ مِنْ خُلُوفِ أهْلِيهِمْ حتّى يكُون همُّهُمْ همّاً واحِداً فِي جِهادِ الْعدُوِّ فإِنّ عطْفك عليْهِمْ يعْطِفُ قُلُوبهُمْ عليْك وإِنّ أفْضل قُرّةِ عيْنِ الْوُلاةِ اسْتِقامةُ الْعدْلِ فِي الْبِلادِ وظُهُورُ مودّةِ الرّعِيّةِ و إِنّهُ لا تظْهرُ مودّتُهُمْ إِلّا بِسلامةِ صُدُورِهِمْ ولا تصِحُّ نصِيحتُهُمْ إِلّا بِحِيطتِهِمْ على وُلاةِ الْأُمُورِ وقِلّةِ اسْتِثْقالِ دُولِهِمْ وترْكِ اسْتِبْطاءِ انْقِطاعِ مُدّتِهِمْ فافْسحْ فِي آمالِهِمْ وواصِلْ فِي حُسْنِ الثّناءِ عليْهِمْ وتعْدِيدِ ما أبْلى ذوُو الْبلاءِ مِنْهُمْ فإِنّ كثْرة الذِّكْرِ لِحُسْنِ أفْعالِهِمْ تهُزُّ الشُّجاع وتُحرِّضُ النّاكِل إِنْ شاء اللّهُ ثُمّ اعْرِفْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ ما أبْلى ولا تضُمّنّ بلاء امْرِئٍ إِلى غيْرِهِ ولا تُقصِّرنّ بِهِ دُون غايةِ بلائِهِ ولا يدْعُونّك شرفُ امْرِئٍ إِلى أنْ تُعْظِم مِنْ بلائِهِ ما كان صغِيراً ولا ضعةُ امْرِئٍ إِلى أنْ تسْتصْغِر مِنْ بلائِهِ ما كان عظِيماً وارْدُدْ إِلى اللّهِ ورسُولِهِ ما يُضْلِعُك مِن الْخُطُوبِ ويشْتبِهُ عليْك مِن الْأُمُورِ فقدْ قال اللّهُ تعالى لِقوْمٍ أحبّ إِرْشادهُمْ يا أيُّها الّذِين آمنُوا أطِيعُوا اللّه وأطِيعُوا الرّسُول وأُولِي الْأمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فإِنْ تنازعْتُمْ فِي شيْءٍ فرُدُّوهُ إِلى اللّهِ والرّسُولِ فالرّدُّ إِلى اللّهِ الْأخْذُ بِمُحْكمِ كِتابِهِ والرّدُّ إِلى الرّسُولِ الْأخْذُ بِسُنّتِهِ الْجامِعةِ غيْرِ الْمُفرِّقةِ ثُمّ اخْترْ لِلْحُكْمِ بيْن النّاسِ أفْضل رعِيّتِك فِي نفْسِك مِمّنْ لا تضِيقُ بِهِ الْأُمُورُ ولا تُمحِّكُهُ الْخُصُومُ ولا يتمادى فِي الزّلّةِ ولا يحْصرُ مِن الْفيْءِ إِلى الْحقِّ إِذا عرفهُ ولا تُشْرِفُ نفْسُهُ على طمعٍ ولا يكْتفِي بِأدْنى فهْمٍ دُون أقْصاهُ وأوْقفهُمْ فِي الشُّبُهاتِ وآخذهُمْ بِالْحُججِ وأقلّهُمْ تبرُّماً بِمُراجعةِ الْخصْمِ وأصْبرهُمْ على تكشُّفِ الْأُمُورِ وأصْرمهُمْ عِنْد اتِّضاحِ الْحُكْمِ مِمّنْ لا يزْدهِيهِ إِطْراءٌ ولا يسْتمِيلُهُ إِغْراءٌ وأُولئِك قلِيلٌ ثُمّ أكْثِرْ تعاهُد قضائِهِ وافْسحْ لهُ فِي الْبذْلِ ما يُزِيلُ عِلّتهُ وتقِلُّ معهُ حاجتُهُ إِلى النّاسِ وأعْطِهِ مِن الْمنْزِلةِ لديْك ما لا يطْمعُ فِيهِ غيْرُهُ مِنْ خاصّتِك لِيأْمن بِذلِك اغْتِيال الرِّجالِ لهُ عِنْدك فانْظُرْ فِي ذلِك نظراً بلِيغاً فإِنّ هذا الدِّين قدْ كان أسِيراً فِي أيْدِي الْأشْرارِ يُعْملُ فِيهِ بِالْهوى وتُطْلبُ بِهِ الدُّنْيا ثُمّ انْظُرْ فِي أُمُورِ عُمّالِك فاسْتعْمِلْهُمُ اخْتِباراً ولا تُولِّهِمْ مُحاباةً وأثرةً فإِنّهُما جِماعٌ مِنْ شُعبِ الْجوْرِ والْخِيانةِ وتوخّ مِنْهُمْ أهْل التّجْرِبةِ والْحياءِ مِنْ أهْلِ الْبُيُوتاتِ الصّالِحةِ والْقدمِ فِي الْإِسْلامِ الْمُتقدِّمةِ فإِنّهُمْ أكْرمُ أخْلاقاً وأصحُّ أعْراضاً وأقلُّ فِي الْمطامِعِ إِشْراقاً وأبْلغُ فِي عواقِبِ الْأُمُورِ نظراً ثُمّ أسْبِغْ عليْهِمُ الْأرْزاق فإِنّ ذلِك قُوّةٌ لهُمْ على اسْتِصْلاحِ أنْفُسِهِمْ وغِنًى لهُمْ عنْ تناوُلِ ما تحْت أيْدِيهِمْ وحُجّةٌ عليْهِمْ إِنْ خالفُوا أمْرك أوْ ثلمُوا أمانتك ثُمّ تفقّدْ أعْمالهُمْ وابْعثِ الْعُيُون مِنْ أهْلِ الصِّدْقِ والْوفاءِ عليْهِمْ فإِنّ تعاهُدك فِي السِّرِّ لِأُمُورِهِمْ حدْوةٌ لهُمْ على اسْتِعْمالِ الْأمانةِ والرِّفْقِ بِالرّعِيّةِ وتحفّظْ مِن الْأعْوانِ فإِنْ أحدٌ مِنْهُمْ بسط يدهُ إِلى خِيانةٍ اجْتمعتْ بِها عليْهِ عِنْدك أخْبارُ عُيُونِك اكْتفيْت بِذلِك شاهِداً فبسطْت عليْهِ الْعُقُوبة فِي بدنِهِ وأخذْتهُ بِما أصاب مِنْ عملِهِ ثُمّ نصبْتهُ بِمقامِ الْمذلّةِ ووسمْتهُ بِالْخِيانةِ وقلّدْتهُ عار التُّهمةِ وتفقّدْ أمْر الْخراجِ بِما يُصْلِحُ أهْلهُ فإِنّ فِي صلاحِهِ وصلاحِهِمْ صلاحاً لِمنْ سِواهُمْ ولا صلاح لِمنْ سِواهُمْ إِلّا بِهِمْ لِأنّ النّاس كُلّهُمْ عِيالٌ على الْخراجِ وأهْلِهِ ولْيكُنْ نظرُك فِي عِمارةِ الْأرْضِ أبْلغ مِنْ نظرِك فِي اسْتِجْلابِ الْخراجِ لِأنّ ذلِك لا يُدْركُ إِلّا بِالْعِمارةِ ومنْ طلب الْخراج بِغيْرِ عِمارةٍ أخْرب الْبِلاد وأهْلك الْعِباد ولمْ يسْتقِمْ أمْرُهُ إِلّا قلِيلًا فإِنْ شكوْا ثِقلًا أوْ عِلّةً أوِ انْقِطاع شِرْبٍ أوْ بالّةٍ أوْ إِحالة أرْضٍ اغْتمرها غرقٌ أوْ أجْحف بِها عطشٌ خفّفْت عنْهُمْ بِما ترْجُو أنْ يصْلُح بِهِ أمْرُهُمْ ولا يثْقُلنّ عليْك شيْءٌ خفّفْت بِهِ الْمئُونة عنْهُمْ فإِنّهُ ذُخْرٌ يعُودُون بِهِ عليْك فِي عِمارةِ بِلادِك وتزْيِينِ وِلايتِك مع اسْتِجْلابِك حُسْن ثنائِهِمْ وتبجُّحِك بِاسْتِفاضةِ الْعدْلِ فِيهِمْ مُعْتمِداً فضْل قُوّتِهِمْ بِما ذخرْت عِنْدهُمْ مِنْ إِجْمامِك لهُمْ والثِّقة مِنْهُمْ بِما عوّدْتهُمْ مِنْ عدْلِك عليْهِمْ ورِفْقِك بِهِمْ فرُبّما حدث مِن الْأُمُورِ ما إِذا عوّلْت فِيهِ عليْهِمْ مِنْ بعْدُ احْتملُوهُ طيِّبةً أنْفُسُهُمْ بِهِ فإِنّ الْعُمْران مُحْتمِلٌ ما حمّلْتهُ وإِنّما يُؤْتى خرابُ الْأرْضِ مِنْ إِعْوازِ أهْلِها وإِنّما يُعْوِزُ أهْلُها لِإِشْرافِ أنْفُسِ الْوُلاةِ على الْجمْعِ وسُوءِ ظنِّهِمْ بِالْبقاءِ وقِلّةِ انْتِفاعِهِمْ بِالْعِبرِ ثُمّ انْظُرْ فِي حالِ كُتّابِك فولِّ على أُمُورِك خيْرهُمْ واخْصُصْ رسائِلك الّتِي تُدْخِلُ فِيها مكايِدك وأسْرارك بِأجْمعِهِمْ لِوُجُوهِ صالِحِ الْأخْلاقِ مِمّنْ لا تُبْطِرُهُ الْكرامةُ فيجْترِئ بِها عليْك فِي خِلافٍ لك بِحضْرةِ ملإٍ ولا تقْصُرُ بِهِ الْغفْلةُ عنْ إِيرادِ مُكاتباتِ عُمِّالِك عليْك وإِصْدارِ جواباتِها على الصّوابِ عنْك فِيما يأْخُذُ لك ويُعْطِي مِنْك ولا يُضْعِفُ عقْداً اعْتقدهُ لك ولا يعْجِزُ عنْ إِطْلاقِ ما عُقِد عليْك ولا يجْهلُ مبْلغ قدْرِ نفْسِهِ فِي الْأُمُورِ فإِنّ الْجاهِل بِقدْرِ نفْسِهِ يكُونُ بِقدْرِ غيْرِهِ أجْهل ثُمّ لا يكُنِ اخْتِيارُك إِيّاهُمْ على فِراستِك واسْتِنامتِك وحُسْنِ الظّنِّ مِنْك فإِنّ الرِّجال يتعرّضُون لِفِراساتِ الْوُلاةِ بِتصنُّعِهِمْ وحُسْنِ خِدْمتِهِمْ وليْس وراء ذلِك مِن النّصِيحةِ والْأمانةِ شيْءٌ ولكِنِ اخْتبِرْهُمْ بِما وُلُّوا لِلصّالِحِين قبْلك فاعْمِدْ لِأحْسنِهِمْ كان فِي الْعامّةِ أثراً وأعْرفِهِمْ بِالْأمانةِ وجْهاً فإِنّ ذلِك دلِيلٌ على نصِيحتِك لِلّهِ ولِمنْ وُلِّيت أمْرهُ واجْعلْ لِرأْسِ كُلِّ أمْرٍ مِنْ أُمُورِك رأْساً مِنْهُمْ لا يقْهرُهُ كبِيرُها ولا يتشتّتُ عليْهِ كثِيرُها ومهْما كان فِي كُتّابِك مِنْ عيْبٍ فتغابيْت عنْهُ أُلْزِمْتهُ ثُمّ اسْتوْصِ بِالتُّجّارِ وذوِي الصِّناعاتِ وأوْصِ بِهِمْ خيْراً الْمُقِيمِ مِنْهُمْ والْمُضْطرِبِ بِمالِهِ والْمُترفِّقِ بِبدنِهِ فإِنّهُمْ موادُّ الْمنافِعِ وأسْبابُ الْمرافِقِ وجُلّابُها مِن الْمباعِدِ والْمطارِحِ فِي برِّك وبحْرِك وسهْلِك وجبلِك وحيْثُ لا يلْتئِمُ النّاسُ لِمواضِعِها ولا يجْترِءُون عليْها فإِنّهُمْ سِلْمٌ لا تُخافُ بائِقتُهُ وصُلْحٌ لا تُخْشى غائِلتُهُ وتفقّدْ أُمُورهُمْ بِحضْرتِك وفِي حواشِي بِلادِك واعْلمْ مع ذلِك أنّ فِي كثِيرٍ مِنْهُمْ ضِيقاً فاحِشاً وشُحّاً قبِيحاً واحْتِكاراً لِلْمنافِعِ وتحكُّماً فِي الْبِياعاتِ وذلِك بابُ مضرّةٍ لِلْعامّةِ وعيْبٌ على الْوُلاةِ فامْنعْ مِن الِاحْتِكارِ فإِنّ رسُول اللّهِ (صلى الله عليه وآله) منع مِنْهُ ولْيكُنِ الْبيْعُ بيْعاً سمْحاً بِموازِينِ عدْلٍ وأسْعارٍ لا تُجْحِفُ بِالْفرِيقيْنِ مِن الْبائِعِ والْمُبْتاعِ فمنْ قارف حُكْرةً بعْد نهْيِك إِيّاهُ فنكِّلْ بِهِ وعاقِبْهُ فِي غيْرِ إِسْرافٍ ثُمّ اللّه اللّه فِي الطّبقةِ السُّفْلى مِن الّذِين لا حِيلة لهُمْ مِن الْمساكِينِ والْمُحْتاجِين وأهْلِ الْبُؤْسى والزّمْنى فإِنّ فِي هذِهِ الطّبقةِ قانِعاً ومُعْترّاً واحْفظِ لِلّهِ ما اسْتحْفظك مِنْ حقِّهِ فِيهِمْ واجْعلْ لهُمْ قِسْماً مِنْ بيْتِ مالِكِ وقِسْماً مِنْ غلّاتِ صوافِي الْإِسْلامِ فِي كُلِّ بلدٍ فإِنّ لِلْأقْصى مِنْهُمْ مِثْل الّذِي لِلْأدْنى وكُلٌّ قدِ اسْتُرْعِيت حقّهُ ولا يشْغلنّك عنْهُمْ بطرٌ فإِنّك لا تُعْذرُ بِتضْيِيعِك التّافِه لِإِحْكامِك الْكثِير الْمُهِمّ فلا تُشْخِصْ همّك عنْهُمْ ولا تُصعِّرْ خدّك لهُمْ وتفقّدْ أُمُور منْ لا يصِلُ إِليْك مِنْهُمْ مِمّنْ تقْتحِمُهُ الْعُيُونُ وتحْقِرُهُ الرِّجالُ ففرِّغْ لِأُولئِك ثِقتك مِنْ أهْلِ الْخشْيةِ والتّواضُعِ فلْيرْفعْ إِليْك أُمُورهُمْ ثُمّ اعْملْ فِيهِمْ بِالْإِعْذارِ إِلى اللّهِ يوْم تلْقاهُ فإِنّ هؤُلاءِ مِنْ بيْنِ الرّعِيّةِ أحْوجُ إِلى الْإِنْصافِ مِنْ غيْرِهِمْ وكُلٌّ فأعْذِرْ إِلى اللّهِ فِي تأْدِيةِ حقِّهِ إِليْهِ وتعهّدْ أهْل الْيُتْمِ وذوِي الرِّقّةِ فِي السِّنِّ مِمّنْ لا حِيلة لهُ ولا ينْصِبُ لِلْمسْألةِ نفْسهُ وذلِك على الْوُلاةِ ثقِيلٌ والْحقُّ كُلُّهُ ثقِيلٌ وقدْ يُخفِّفُهُ اللّهُ على أقْوامٍ طلبُوا الْعاقِبة فصبّرُوا أنْفُسهُمْ ووثِقُوا بِصِدْقِ موْعُودِ اللّهِ لهُمْ واجْعلْ لِذوِي الْحاجاتِ مِنْك قِسْماً تُفرِّغُ لهُمْ فِيهِ شخْصك وتجْلِسُ لهُمْ مجْلِساً عامّاً فتتواضعُ فِيهِ لِلّهِ الّذِي خلقك وتُقْعِدُ عنْهُمْ جُنْدك وأعْوانك مِنْ أحْراسِك وشُرطِك حتّى يُكلِّمك مُتكلِّمُهُمْ غيْر مُتتعْتِعٍ فإِنِّي سمِعْتُ رسُول اللّهِ (صلى الله عليه وآله) يقُولُ فِي غيْرِ موْطِنٍ لنْ تُقدّس أُمّةٌ لا يُؤْخذُ لِلضّعِيفِ فِيها حقُّهُ مِن الْقوِيِّ غيْر مُتتعْتِعٍ ثُمّ احْتمِلِ الْخُرْق مِنْهُمْ والْعِيّ ونحِّ عنْهُمُ الضِّيق والْأنف يبْسُطِ اللّهُ عليْك بِذلِك أكْناف رحْمتِهِ ويُوجِبْ لك ثواب طاعتِهِ وأعْطِ ما أعْطيْت هنِيئاً وامْنعْ فِي إِجْمالٍ وإِعْذارٍ ثُمّ أُمُورٌ مِنْ أُمُورِك لا بُدّ لك مِنْ مُباشرتِها مِنْها إِجابةُ عُمّالِك بِما يعْيا عنْهُ كُتّابُك ومِنْها إِصْدارُ حاجاتِ النّاسِ يوْم وُرُودِها عليْك بِما تحْرجُ بِهِ صُدُورُ أعْوانِك وأمْضِ لِكُلِّ يوْمٍ عملهُ فإِنّ لِكُلِّ يوْمٍ ما فِيهِ واجْعلْ لِنفْسِك فِيما بيْنك وبيْن اللّهِ أفْضل تِلْك الْمواقِيتِ وأجْزل تِلْك الْأقْسامِ وإِنْ كانتْ كُلُّها لِلّهِ إِذا صلحتْ فِيها النِّيّةُ وسلِمتْ مِنْها الرّعِيّةُ ولْيكُنْ فِي خاصّةِ ما تُخْلِصُ بِهِ لِلّهِ دِينك إِقامةُ فرائِضِهِ الّتِي هِي لهُ خاصّةً فأعْطِ اللّه مِنْ بدنِك فِي ليْلِك ونهارِك ووفِّ ما تقرّبْت بِهِ إِلى اللّهِ مِنْ ذلِك كامِلًا غيْر مثْلُومٍ ولا منْقُوصٍ بالِغاً مِنْ بدنِك ما بلغ وإِذا قُمْت فِي صلاتِك لِلنّاسِ فلا تكُوننّ مُنفِّراً ولا مُضيِّعاً فإِنّ فِي النّاسِ منْ بِهِ الْعِلّةُ ولهُ الْحاجةُ وقدْ سألْتُ رسُول اللّهِ (صلى الله عليه وآله) حِين وجّهنِي إِلى الْيمنِ كيْف أُصلِّي بِهِمْ فقال صلِّ بِهِمْ كصلاةِ أضْعفِهِمْ وكُنْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِين رحِيماً وأمّا بعْدُ، فلا تُطوِّلنّ احْتِجابك عنْ رعِيّتِك فإِنّ احْتِجاب الْوُلاةِ عنِ الرّعِيّةِ شُعْبةٌ مِن الضِّيقِ وقِلّةُ عِلْمٍ بِالْأُمُورِ والِاحْتِجابُ مِنْهُمْ يقْطعُ عنْهُمْ عِلْم ما احْتجبُوا دُونهُ فيصْغُرُ عِنْدهُمُ الْكبِيرُ ويعْظُمُ الصّغِيرُ ويقْبُحُ الْحسنُ ويحْسُنُ الْقبِيحُ ويُشابُ الْحقُّ بِالْباطِلِ وإِنّما الْوالِي بشرٌ لا يعْرِفُ ما توارى عنْهُ النّاسُ بِهِ مِن الْأُمُورِ وليْستْ على الْحقِّ سِماتٌ تُعْرفُ بِها ضُرُوبُ الصِّدْقِ مِن الْكذِبِ وإِنّما أنْت أحدُ رجُليْنِ إِمّا امْرُؤٌ سختْ نفْسُك بِالْبذْلِ فِي الْحقِّ ففِيم احْتِجابُك مِنْ واجِبِ حقٍّ تُعْطِيهِ أوْ فِعْلٍ كرِيمٍ تُسْدِيهِ أوْ مُبْتلًى بِالْمنْعِ فما أسْرع كفّ النّاسِ عنْ مسْألتِك إِذا أيِسُوا مِنْ بذْلِك مع أنّ أكْثر حاجاتِ النّاسِ إِليْك مِمّا لا مئُونة فِيهِ عليْك مِنْ شكاةِ مظْلِمةٍ أوْ طلبِ إِنْصافٍ فِي مُعاملةٍ ثُمّ إِنّ لِلْوالِي خاصّةً وبِطانةً فِيهِمُ اسْتِئْثارٌ وتطاوُلٌ وقِلّةُ إِنْصافٍ فِي مُعاملةٍ فاحْسِمْ مادّة أُولئِك بِقطْعِ أسْبابِ تِلْك الْأحْوالِ ولا تُقْطِعنّ لِأحدٍ مِنْ حاشِيتِك وحامّتِك قطِيعةً ولا يطْمعنّ مِنْك فِي اعْتِقادِ عُقْدةٍ تضُرُّ بِمنْ يلِيها مِن النّاسِ فِي شِرْبٍ أوْ عملٍ مُشْتركٍ يحْمِلُون مئُونتهُ على غيْرِهِمْ فيكُون مهْنأُ ذلِك لهُمْ دُونك وعيْبُهُ عليْك فِي الدُّنْيا والْآخِرةِ وألْزِمِ الْحقّ منْ لزِمهُ مِن الْقرِيبِ والْبعِيدِ وكُنْ فِي ذلِك صابِراً مُحْتسِباً واقِعاً ذلِك مِنْ قرابتِك وخاصّتِك حيْثُ وقع وابْتغِ عاقِبتهُ بِما يثْقُلُ عليْك مِنْهُ فإِنّ مغبّة ذلِك محْمُودةٌ وإِنْ ظنّتِ الرّعِيّةُ بِك حيْفاً فأصْحِرْ لهُمْ بِعُذْرِك واعْدِلْ عنْك ظُنُونهُمْ بِإِصْحارِك فإِنّ فِي ذلِك رِياضةً مِنْك لِنفْسِك ورِفْقاً بِرعِيّتِك وإِعْذاراً تبْلُغُ بِهِ حاجتك مِنْ تقْوِيمِهِمْ على الْحقِّ ولا تدْفعنّ صُلْحاً دعاك إِليْهِ عدُوُّك و لِلّهِ فِيهِ رِضًا فإِنّ فِي الصُّلْحِ دعةً لِجُنُودِك وراحةً مِنْ هُمُومِك وأمْناً لِبِلادِك ولكِنِ الْحذر كُلّ الْحذرِ مِنْ عدُوِّك بعْد صُلْحِهِ فإِنّ الْعدُوّ رُبّما قارب لِيتغفّل فخُذْ بِالْحزْمِ واتّهِمْ فِي ذلِك حُسْن الظّنِّ وإِنْ عقدْت بيْنك وبيْن عدُوِّك عُقْدةً أوْ ألْبسْتهُ مِنْك ذِمّةً فحُطْ عهْدك بِالْوفاءِ وارْع ذِمّتك بِالْأمانةِ واجْعلْ نفْسك جُنّةً دُون ما أعْطيْت فإِنّهُ ليْس مِنْ فرائِضِ اللّهِ شيْءٌ النّاسُ أشدُّ عليْهِ اجْتِماعاً مع تفرُّقِ أهْوائِهِمْ وتشتُّتِ آرائِهِمْ مِنْ تعْظِيمِ الْوفاءِ بِالْعُهُودِ وقدْ لزِم ذلِك الْمُشْرِكُون فِيما بيْنهُمْ دُون الْمُسْلِمِين لِما اسْتوْبلُوا مِنْ عواقِبِ الْغدْرِ فلا تغْدِرنّ بِذِمّتِك ولا تخِيسنّ بِعهْدِك ولا تخْتِلنّ عدُوّك فإِنّهُ لا يجْترِئُ على اللّهِ إِلّا جاهِلٌ شقِيٌّ وقدْ جعل اللّهُ عهْدهُ وذِمّتهُ أمْناً أفْضاهُ بيْن الْعِبادِ بِرحْمتِهِ وحرِيماً يسْكُنُون إِلى منعتِهِ ويسْتفِيضُون إِلى جِوارِهِ فلا إِدْغال ولا مُدالسة ولا خِداع فِيهِ ولا تعْقِدْ عقْداً تُجوِّزُ فِيهِ الْعِلل ولا تُعوِّلنّ على لحْنِ قوْلٍ بعْد التّأْكِيدِ والتّوْثِقةِ ولا يدْعُونّك ضِيقُ أمْرٍ لزِمك فِيهِ عهْدُ اللّهِ إِلى طلبِ انْفِساخِهِ بِغيْرِ الْحقِّ فإِنّ صبْرك على ضِيقِ أمْرٍ ترْجُو انْفِراجهُ وفضْل عاقِبتِهِ خيْرٌ مِنْ غدْرٍ تخافُ تبِعتهُ وأنْ تُحِيط بِك مِن اللّهِ فِيهِ طِلْبةٌ لا تسْتقْبِلُ فِيها دُنْياك ولا آخِرتك إِيّاك والدِّماء وسفْكها بِغيْرِ حِلِّها فإِنّهُ ليْس شيْءٌ أدْعى لِنِقْمةٍ ولا أعْظم لِتبِعةٍ ولا أحْرى بِزوالِ نِعْمةٍ وانْقِطاعِ مُدّةٍ مِنْ سفْكِ الدِّماءِ بِغيْرِ حقِّها واللّهُ سُبْحانهُ مُبْتدِئٌ بِالْحُكْمِ بيْن الْعِبادِ فِيما تسافكُوا مِن الدِّماءِ يوْم الْقِيامةِ فلا تُقوِّينّ سُلْطانك بِسفْكِ دمٍ حرامٍ فإِنّ ذلِك مِمّا يُضْعِفُهُ ويُوهِنُهُ بلْ يُزِيلُهُ وينْقُلُهُ ولا عُذْر لك عِنْد اللّهِ ولا عِنْدِي فِي قتْلِ الْعمْدِ لِأنّ فِيهِ قود الْبدنِ وإِنِ ابْتُلِيت بِخطإٍ وأفْرط عليْك سوْطُك أوْ سيْفُك أوْ يدُك بِالْعُقُوبةِ فإِنّ فِي الْوكْزةِ فما فوْقها مقْتلةً فلا تطْمحنّ بِك نخْوةُ سُلْطانِك عنْ أنْ تُؤدِّي إِلى أوْلِياءِ الْمقْتُولِ حقّهُمْ وإِيّاك والْإِعْجاب بِنفْسِك والثِّقة بِما يُعْجِبُك مِنْها وحُبّ الْإِطْراءِ فإِنّ ذلِك مِنْ أوْثقِ فُرصِ الشّيْطانِ فِي نفْسِهِ لِيمْحق ما يكُونُ مِنْ إِحْسانِ الْمُحْسِنِين وإِيّاك والْمنّ على رعِيّتِك بِإِحْسانِك أوِ التّزيُّد فِيما كان مِنْ فِعْلِك أوْ أنْ تعِدهُمْ فتُتْبِع موْعِدك بِخُلْفِك فإِنّ الْمنّ يُبْطِلُ الْإِحْسان والتّزيُّد يذْهبُ بِنُورِ الْحقِّ والْخُلْف يُوجِبُ الْمقْت عِنْد اللّهِ والنّاسِ قال اللّهُ تعالى كبُر مقْتاً عِنْد اللّهِ أنْ تقُولُوا ما لا تفْعلُون وإِيّاك والْعجلة بِالْأُمُورِ قبْل أوانِها أوِ التّسقُّط فِيها عِنْد إِمْكانِها أوِ اللّجاجة فِيها إِذا تنكّرتْ أوِ الْوهْن عنْها إِذا اسْتوْضحتْ فضعْ كُلّ أمْرٍ موْضِعهُ وأوْقِعْ كُلّ أمْرٍ موْقِعهُ وإِيّاك والِاسْتِئْثار بِما النّاسُ فِيهِ أُسْوةٌ والتّغابِي عمّا تُعْنى بِهِ مِمّا قدْ وضح لِلْعُيُونِ فإِنّهُ مأْخُوذٌ مِنْك لِغيْرِك وعمّا قلِيلٍ تنْكشِفُ عنْك أغْطِيةُ الْأُمُورِ ويُنْتصفُ مِنْك لِلْمظْلُومِ امْلِكْ حمِيّة أنْفِك وسوْرة حدِّك وسطْوة يدِك وغرْب لِسانِك واحْترِسْ مِنْ كُلِّ ذلِك بِكفِّ الْبادِرةِ وتأْخِيرِ السّطْوةِ حتّى يسْكُن غضبُك فتمْلِك الِاخْتِيار ولنْ تحْكُم ذلِك مِنْ نفْسِك حتّى تُكْثِر هُمُومك بِذِكْرِ الْمعادِ إِلى ربِّك والْواجِبُ عليْك أنْ تتذكّر ما مضى لِمنْ تقدّمك مِنْ حُكُومةٍ عادِلةٍ أوْ سُنّةٍ فاضِلةٍ أوْ أثرٍ عنْ نبِيِّنا (صلى الله عليه وآله) أوْ فرِيضةٍ فِي كِتابِ اللّهِ فتقْتدِي بِما شاهدْت مِمّا عمِلْنا بِهِ فِيها وتجْتهِد لِنفْسِك فِي اتِّباعِ ما عهِدْتُ إِليْك فِي عهْدِي هذا واسْتوْثقْتُ بِهِ مِن الْحُجّةِ لِنفْسِي عليْك لِكيْلا تكُون لك عِلّةٌ عِنْد تسرُّعِ نفْسِك إِلى هواها وأنا أسْألُ اللّه بِسعةِ رحْمتِهِ وعظِيمِ قُدْرتِهِ على إِعْطاءِ كُلِّ رغْبةٍ أنْ يُوفِّقنِي وإِيّاك لِما فِيهِ رِضاهُ مِن الْإِقامةِ على الْعُذْرِ الْواضِحِ إِليْهِ وإِلى خلْقِهِ مع حُسْنِ الثّناءِ فِي الْعِبادِ وجمِيلِ الْأثرِ فِي الْبِلادِ وتمامِ النِّعْمةِ وتضْعِيفِ الْكرامةِ وأنْ يخْتِم لِي ولك بِالسّعادةِ والشّهادةِ إِنّا إِليْهِ راجِعُون والسّلامُ على رسُولِ اللّهِ صلّى اللّهِ عليْهِ وآلِهِ وسلّم الطّيِّبِين الطّاهِرِين وسلّم تسْلِيماً كثِيراً والسّلامُ.
Document of instruction 53
Written by Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib for (Mālik) al-Ashtar an-Nakh`i, when the status of Muhammed ibn Abū Bakr had become precarious and Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib had appointed al-Ashtar as provincial governor of Egypt and surrounding areas. It is the longest document and contains the greatest number of beautiful statements:
“In the name of Allāh, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“This is what Allāh’s servant Ali ibn Abū Tālib has ordered Mālik ibn al-Hārith al-Ashtar in his instrument (of appointment) for him when he made him governor of Egypt for the collection of its revenues, fighting its enemies, seeking the good of its people and making its cities prosperous.
“He has ordered him to fear Allāh, to prefer obedience to Him and to follow what He has commanded in His Book (Holy Qur’ān) out of His obligatory and elective commands, without following which one cannot achieve virtue, nor (can one) be evil, save by opposing them and ignoring them, and to support the cause of Allāh, the most Glorified One, with his heart, hand and tongue. This is so because Allāh, Whose name is Sublime, takes the responsibility for supporting those who support Him, for protecting those who help His cause.
“He also orders him to break his heart off from passions and to restrain it at the time of their increase because the heart leads towards evil unless Allāh has mercy.”
Qualifications of a Governor and his Responsibilities:
“So, O Mālik, be informed that I have sent you to an area where there have been governments before you, both just as well as oppressive. People will now watch your dealings as you used to watch the dealings of the rulers before you. They (people) will criticize you as you criticized them. Surely, the virtuous are known by the reputation that Allāh circulates for them through the tongues of His creatures. Therefore, the best of what you collect should be collecting good deeds. So, control your passions and check your heart from doing what is not lawful for you because checking the heart means detaining it just half way between what it likes and what it dislikes.
“Accustom your heart to be merciful towards the subjects, to have affection and kindness for them. Do not stand over them like greedy beasts that feel it is enough to devour them, since they are of two kinds: either your brethren in religion or your likes in creation. They will commit slips and encounter mistakes. They may act wrongly, willfully or out of negligence. So, extend to them your forgiveness and pardon them in the same way as you would like Allāh forgive and pardon you because you are over them. Your responsible Commander (Imām) is over you, while Allāh is over the one who appointed you. He (Allāh) has sought you to manage their affairs and tried you through them.
“Do not set yourself to fight Allāh because you have no power to meet His power; you cannot do without His pardon and mercy. Do not regret forgiving or being merciful while punishing. Do not act hastily during your anger if you can find a way out of it. Do not say: ‘I have been granted authority, I enjoy it when I issue orders,’ because it engenders confusion in the heart, weakness in the religion, and it takes one to his ruin. If the authority in which you are placed produces pride or vanity in you, look at the greatness of the realm of Allāh over you and His might the like of which you do not even possess over yourselves. This will curb your haughtiness, cure you of your high temper and bring back to you wisdom which had departed from you.
“Beware of comparing yourself to Allāh in His greatness or likening yourself to Him in His power, for Allāh humiliates every claimant of power and disgraces everyone who is haughty.
“Do justice for Allāh, and do justice towards the people, as against your own selves, your near ones and those of your subjects for whom you have a liking because if you do not do so, you will be oppressive, and when a person oppresses the servants of Allāh, instead of His creatures, Allāh becomes his opponent and when Allāh is the opponent of a person He tramples his plea, and we will remain in the status of being at war with Allāh till he gives it up and repents. Nothing encourages the reversal of Allāh’s bounty or the hastening of His retribution than continuous oppression because Allāh hears the prayer of the oppressed; He is on the look out for the oppressors.”
Ruling should be in favor of the people as a whole
“The way most coveted by you should be the most equitable for what is right, the most universal by way of justice and the most comprehensive with regard to the agreement with those under you because disagreement among the common people sweeps away the arguments of the chiefs, and it can be disregarded when compared with the agreement of the common people. No one among those under you is more burdensome to the ruler in the comfort of life, less helpful in distress, more disliking of equitable treatment, more tricky in asking favors, less thankful at the time of giving, less appreciative at the time of refusal and weaker in endurance at the time of discomforts of life than the chiefs. It is the common people of the community who are the pillars of the religion, the power of the Muslims and the defense against the enemies. Your learning should, therefore, be towards them and your inclination with them.
“The one among the people under you who is the furthest from you and the worst of them in your view should be whoever is the most inquisitive of the shortcomings of the people because people do have shortcomings, and the ruler is the most appropriate person to cover their shortcomings. Do not disclose whatever is hidden from you because your obligation is to correct what is manifest to you, while Allāh will deal with whatever is hidden from you. Therefore, cover shortcomings as much as you can; Allāh will cover your shortcomings which you will like to remain covered from your subjects. Unfasten every knot of hatred in the people and cut away from yourself the cause of every enmity. Feign ignorance from what is not clear to you. Do not hasten to second a backbiter because a backbiter is a cheat although he looks like well wishers.”
“Do not include among those whom you consult a miser who will keep you back from being generous and caution you against destitution, nor a coward who will make you feel too weak for your affairs, nor a greedy person who will beautify for you the collection of wealth by evil means. This is so because although miserliness, cowardice and greed are different qualities, yet they are common in forming a wrong concept of Allāh.
“The worst minister for you is one who has been a minister for mischievous persons before you and who joined them in committing sins. Therefore, he should not be your chief man. Such are abettors of sinners and brothers of oppressors. You can find good substitutes for them who will be like them in their views and influence while not being like them in committing sins and vices. They never assisted an oppressor in his oppression or a sinner in committing sins. They will give you the least trouble and the best support. They will be most considerate towards you and the least inclined towards others. Therefore, make them your chief companions in privacy as well as publicly.
“More preferable among them for you should be those who openly speak better truths before you and who support you the least in those of your deeds which Allāh does not approve His friends committing them, even though they may be according to your wishes. Associate yourself with God-fearing and truthful people. Educate them, so that they should not praise you or please you by reason of any deed which you did not perform. Excessive praise produces pride and drives you closer to conceit.
“The virtuous and the vicious should not have an equal status with you because this means dissuasion of the virtuous from virtue and persuasion of the vicious to vice. Keep everyone in the position which is his. You should know that the most conducive thing for the good impression of the ruler on his subjects is that he should extend good behavior towards them, lighten their hardships and avoid putting them to unbearable troubles. You should, therefore, in this way follow a course by which you will leave a good impression with your subjects. This is so because such good ideas will relieve you of great worries. Certainly, the most appropriate for your good impression is he to whom your behavior has not been good.
“Do not discontinue the good lives in which the earlier people of this community had been acting and by virtue of which there was general unity and through which the subjects prospered. Do not invent any line of deed which injures these earlier ways because (in that case) the reward for those who had established those ways will continue, but the burden for discontinuing them will be on your shoulders. Keep on increasing your conversations with the scholars and discussions with the wise in order to stabilize the prosperity of the areas under you and to continue with that in which the earlier people had remained steadfast.”
Different classifications of the public
"Be informed that people consist of classes who prosper only with the help of one another and they are not independent of one another. Among them are the army of Allāh, then the secretarial workers of the common people and the chiefs, then the dispensers of justice, then those engaged in enforcing law and order, then the payers of head tax (jizya) and land tax (khirāj) from protected unbelievers and common Muslims. Then there are traders and men of industry, then the lowest class of the needy and the destitute. Allāh has fixed the share of each one of them and laid down His precepts about the limits of each in His Book (Holy Qur’ān) and in the Sunnah of His Prophet by way of a settlement which is preserved with us.
“The army, by the will of Allāh, is the fortress of the subjects, the ornament of the ruler, the strength of the religion and the means of achieving peace. The subjects cannot exist without these troops. The army can be maintained only by funds fixed by Allāh in the revenues through which it acquires the strength to fight the enemies, on which it depends for its prosperity and with which it meets its needs. These two classes cannot exist without the third class, namely: the judges, the executives and the secretaries who pass judgments about contracts, gather revenues and are relied on in particular as well as general matters.
“These classes cannot exist except with the traders and men of the industry who provide necessities for them, establish markets and make it possible for others who cannot do all of this with their own hands. Then comes the lowest class of the needy and the destitute. Support and help for them is an obligation, and every one of them has (a share in) livelihood in the Name of Allāh. Every one of them has an obligation on the ruler according to what is needed for his prosperity. The ruler cannot acquaint himself with all obligations laid on him by Allāh in this matter except by striving and seeking help from Allāh, by training himself to adhere to righteousness and by enduring on that account all that is light or heavy.
“Put in command of your forces the man who in your view is the best well-wisher of Allāh, His Prophet and your Imām. The most chaste of them in heart and the highest in endurance is one who is slow to get angry, who accepts excuses, who is kind to the weak and is strict with the strong; violence should not raise his temper and weakness should not keep him sitting.
“Also associate with considerate people from high families, virtuous houses and decent traditions, then people of courage, valor, generosity and benevolence because they are repositories of honor and springs of virtues. Strive for their matters as the parents strive for their children. Do not regard anything that you do to strengthen them as big, nor should you consider anything that you have agreed to do for them as being too little, even though it may be small because this will make them your well-wishers; it will create a good impression about you. Do not neglect to attend to their small matters. Confine yourself to their important matters because your small favors will also be of benefit to them while the important ones are such that they cannot ignore.
“The commander of the army should have such a status before you that he renders help to them equitably and spends from his money on them and on those of their families who remain behind. Thus, all their worries converge on one concern: to fight the enemy. Your kindness to them will incline their hearts towards you. The most pleasant thing for the ruler is the establishment of justice and the manifestation of the love for the subjects. But the subjects’ love manifests itself only when their hearts are clean. Their good wishes prove correct only when they surround their commanders. They do not regard their status to be a burden and do not keep watching for the end of their tenure. Therefore, be broad-minded with regard to their desires, continue to praise them and recount the good deeds of those who have demonstrated such deeds because the mention of good deeds shakes the brave and rouses the weak, if Allāh so wills.
“Appreciate the performance of each and every one of them. Do not attribute the performance of one to another, do not minimize the reward below the level of the performance. The high status of a man should not lead you to regard his small deeds as big, nor should the low status of a man make you regard his big deeds as being small.
“Refer to Allāh and to His Prophet the affairs which worry you and the matters which seem to confuse you because, addressing the people whom Allāh the Sublime wishes to guide, He said the following: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً O you who believe! Obey Allāh and obey the Prophet and those vested with authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allāh and the Prophet if you believe in Allāh and in the Last Day (of Judgment) (Qur’ān, 4:59).
“Referring to Allāh means acting according to what is clear in His Book, and referring to the Prophet means following his unanimously agreed on Sunnah regarding which there are no contentions.”
2. Chief Judge [Supreme Court Justice]
“For the settlement of disputes among people, select one who in your view is the most distinguished among your subjects. The cases (coming before him) should not vex him, disputation should not enrage him. He should not insist on any wrong point and should not hesitate to accept the truth when he perceives it. He should not lean towards greed and should not content himself with a cursory understanding (of a matter) without going thoroughly into it. He should be most ready to stop (to ponder) on doubtful points, most considerate of arguments, least disgusted at the quarrel of litigants, most patient at probing into matters and most fearless at the time of passing a judgment. Praise should not make him vain and elation should not make him tilt (to any side). Such persons are very few.
“Then, quite often check his decisions and allow him so much money (as compensation) so that he has no excuse (for not being honest) and there remains no occasion for him to turn to others for his needs. Give him that rank in your audience for which no one else among your chiefs aspires so that he may remain safe from the harm of those around you. You should have a piercing eye in this matter because this religion has formerly been a prisoner in the hands of vicious persons when action was taken according to passion and worldly wealth was sought.”
3. Executive Officers
“Look into the affairs of your executives. Appoint them after testing them. Do not appoint them according to partiality or favoritism because these two things make up the sources of injustice and unfairness. Select from among them those who are people of experience and modesty, coming from virtuous houses, having been already Muslims because such persons possess high manners and untarnished honor. They are the least inclined towards greed and always have their eyes fixed on the ends of matters.
“Give them an abundant livelihood (salary) because this gives them the strength to maintain themselves in order. Do not have an eye on the funds in their custody. It will be an argument against them if they disobey your orders or misappropriate your trust. You should also check their activities and assign people to report on them who should be truthful and faithful because your watching their actions secretly will urge them to preserve trust with and to be kind to the people. Be careful of assistants. If any one of them extends his hands to misappropriation, and if the reports of your informers reaching you confirm it, that should be regarded as sufficient evidence. You should then inflict corporal punishment on him and recover what he has misappropriated. You should put him in a place of disgrace, blacklist him with (the charge of) misappropriation and make him wear the necklace of shame due to his offence.”
4. Administration of revenues
“Look after the revenue (khirāj, land tax) affairs in such a way that those engaged in it remain prosperous because in their prosperity lies the prosperity of all others. Others cannot prosper without them because all people are dependent on both revenue and its payers. You should also keep an eye on the cultivation of the land more than on the collection of revenue because revenue cannot be obtained without cultivation. Whoever asks for revenue without cultivation ruins the area and brings death to the people. His rule will not last but only for a very short while.
“If they complain of the heaviness (of the revenue), of diseases, of scarcity of water, of an excess of water, or of a change in the condition of the land either due to flood or to drought..., you should remit the revenue to the extent that you hope it will improve their status. The remission granted by you for the removal of distress from them should not be grudged by you because it is an investment which they will return to you in the shape of the prosperity of your country and the progress of your domain in addition to earning their praise and making them happy for meting out justice to them. You can depend on their strength because of the investment made by you in them through catering to their convenience. You can have confidence in them because of the justice extended to them by your being kind to them. After that, circumstances may so turn that you may have a need for their assistance. It is then that they will bear it happily, for prosperity is capable of bearing whatever you load on it. The ruin of the land is caused by the poverty of the cultivators, while the cultivators become poor when the officers concentrate on the collection (of money) and have little hope for continuance (in their posts), deriving no benefit from warnings.”
5. Clerical establishment
“Then you should take care of your secretarial workers. Put the best of them in charge of your affairs. Entrust those of your writings that contain your policies and secrets to one who possesses the best character, who is not elated by honors lest he should dare speak against you in public. He should also not be negligent in presenting the communications of your officers before you and issuing correct replies to them on your behalf and in matters of your receipts and payments. He should not make any damaging agreement on your behalf and should not fail in repudiating an agreement against you. He should not be ignorant of the extent of his own status in matters because whoever is ignorant of his own status is (even) more ignorant of the status of others.
“Your selection of these people should not be solely on the basis of your understanding (of them), confidence and good impression because people catch the ideas of the officers through affectation and personal service, and there is nothing in it which is like well-wishing or trustfulness. You should rather test them by what they did under the virtuous people before you. Take a decision in favor of one who has a good name among the common people and is the most renowned in trustworthiness because this will be a proof of your regard for Allāh and for one on whose behalf you have been appointed to this status (namely your Imām). Establish one head over each work department. He should not be incapable of big matters and a rush of work should not perplex him. Whenever there is a defect in your secretaries which you overlook, you will be held responsible for it.”
6. Traders and industrialists
“Take some advice about traders and industrialists. Give them good counsel whether they are settled (shop-keepers) or traders or physical laborers because they are the sources of profit and the means of the provision of useful things. They bring them from distant and far-flung areas throughout lands and seas, plains or mountains, from where people cannot come and to where they do not dare to go, for they are peaceful and there is no fear of rebellion from them and they are free of treason.
“Look after their affairs before those of your own wherever they may be in your land. Be informed, along with this, that most of them are very narrow-minded and awfully avaricious. They hoard goods for profiteering and (for later) fixing high prices. This is a source of harm to the people and a blot on the officers in charge. Stop people from hoarding because the Messenger of Allāh has prohibited it. The sale should be smooth, with correct weights and prices, not harmful to either party, the seller or the buyer. Whoever commits hoarding after you have already prohibited it, give him exemplary but not excessive punishment.”
7. Lowest rung class
“(Fear) Allāh and keep Him in view with regard to the lowest class which consists of those who have few means: the poor, the destitute, the penniless and the disabled, because in this class are both the discontented and those who beg. Take care, for the sake of Allāh, of His obligations towards them for which He has made you responsible. Fix for them a share from the public funds and a share from the crops of lands taken over as booty for Islam in every area because in it the remote ones have the same shares as the near ones. All these people are those whose rights have been placed in your charge. Therefore, a luxurious life should not keep you away from them. You cannot be excused for ignoring small matters simply because you were deciding big ones. Consequently, do not be unmindful of them, nor should you turn your face away from them out of vanity.
“Take care of the affairs of those of them who do not approach you because they are of unsightly appearance or those whom people regard as low. Appoint for them some trusted people who are God-fearing and humble. They should inform you of these people’s conditions. Then deal with them with a sense of responsibility to Allāh on the Day you will meet Him: Of all subjects, these people are the most worthy of an equitable treatment, while for others, you should also fulfill their rights so as to render account to Allāh.
“Look after the orphans and the elderly who have no means (for livelihood) nor are they ready for begging. This is heavy on the officers; in fact, every obligation is heavy. Allāh lightens it for those who seek the Hereafter, so they endure (hardships) on themselves and trust on the truthfulness of Allāh’s promise to them.
“Fix a time for complaints wherein you make yourself free for those who bring them to you. Sit with them in common audience and feel humble for the sake of Allāh Who created you. (On that occasion) you should keep away your army and assistants such as the guards and the police so that anyone who likes to speak may speak to you without fear. This is so because I have heard the Messenger of Allāh say in more than one place, ‘The people among whom the right of the weak is not secured from the strong without fear will never achieve purity.’ Tolerate their awkwardness and inability to speak. Keep away from narrowness and haughtiness; by the will of Allāh, on this account, spread over you the covers of His mercy and be optimistic of the reward of obedience to Him. Whatever you give, give it joyfully, but when you refuse, do it handsomely and with apologies.
“There are certain matters which you cannot avoid performing yourself. For example, relying on your officers when your secretaries are unable to do so, or tending to the complaints of the people when your assistants refrain. Finish the work meant for every day because every day has its own work. Keep for yourself the better and greater portion of these periods for the worship of Allāh, although all these things are for Allāh provided the intention is pure and the subjects prosper thereby.”
Communion with Allāh
“The particular thing by which you should purify your religion for Allāh should be the fulfillment of those obligations which are especially for Him. Therefore, devote to Allāh some of your physical activity during the night and the day. Whatever (worship) you perform for seeking nearness to Allāh should be complete, without defect or deficiency, no matter what physical exertion it may involve. When you lead the prayers for people, it should be neither (too long as to be) boring nor (too short as to be) wasteful because among the people there are the sick as well as those who have needs of their own. When the Messenger of Allāh sent me to Yemen, I inquired about how I should pray with them. He replied, ‘Say the prayers as the weakest of them would say, and be considerate of the believers.’”
On the behavior and action of a ruler
“Do not stay secluded from the public for a long time because the seclusion of those in authority from the subjects is a norm of narrow sightedness. It results in ignorance of their affairs. Seclusion from them also prevents them from the knowledge of those things which they need to know. As a result, they begin to regard big matters as small and small matters as big, good matters as bad and bad matters as good, while the truth is confused with falsehood. After all, a governor is a human being and cannot have knowledge of things which people hide from him.
“No writ is big on the face of truth to differentiate its various expressions from falsehood. You can be one of two kinds of men: If you are generous in granting rights, why this hiding in spite of (your) discharging the obligations and good deeds which you perform? Or you may be a victim of miserliness. In that case, people will soon give up asking you since they will lose hope of a generous treatment from you. In spite of that, there are many needs of the people towards you which do not involve any hardship on you, such as the complaint against oppression or the request for justice in a case.
“Furthermore, a governor has favorites and people of easy access to him. They misappropriate things. They are high-handed and do not observe justice in matters. You should destroy the root of evil in the people by cutting away the causes of these defects. Do not make any land grants to your hangers-on or supporters. They should not expect from you the possession of land which may cause harm to adjoining people over the question of irrigation or public services whose burden the grantees place on others. In this way, the benefit will be rather theirs than yours, and the blame will lie on you in this world as well as in the next.
“Affect equity to whomsoever it is due, whether near to you or far from you. In this matter, you should be enduring and watchful even though it may involve your relatives and favorites. Keep in view the reward of that which appears burdensome on you because its reward is surely handsome.
“If the subjects suspect you of high-handedness, explain to them your status publicly and remove their suspicion with such an explanation because this will mean an exercise for your soul and a consideration for the subjects. This explanation will secure your aim of keeping them firm in the truth.
“Do not reject peace to which your enemy may invite you and wherein there is the pleasure of Allāh because peace brings rest to your army, relief from your worries and safety for your country. But after peace there is a great apprehension from the enemy because often the enemy offers peace in order to benefit from your negligence and relaxation. Therefore, be cautious and do not act according to your wishful thinking in this regard.
"If you conclude an agreement between yourself and your enemy or enter into a pledge, fulfill your agreement and faithfully carry out your pledge. Place yourself as a shield against whatever you have pledged because among the obligations of Allāh there is nothing on which people are more strongly united, despite the difference of their ideas and variation of their views, than respect for fulfilling pledges. Besides Muslims, even unbelievers have abided by agreements because they realized the dangers which will come in the wake of the violation thereof. Therefore, do not deceive your enemy because no one can offend Allāh save the ignorant and the wicked. Allāh made His agreement and pledged the sign of security which He has spread over His creatures through His mercy and an asylum in which they stay in His protection and seek the benefit of nearness to Him. Hence, there should be no deception, cunning or duplicity in it.
“Do not enter into an agreement which may admit different interpretations. Do not change the interpretation of vague words after the conclusion and confirmation (of the agreement). If an agreement of Allāh involves you in hardship, do not seek its repudiation without justification because the bearing of hardships through which you expect relief and a handsome result is better than a violation the consequence of which you fear. You must fear that you will be called on by Allāh to account for it, and you will not be able to seek forgiveness for it in this world or in the next.
“You should avoid shedding blood without justification because nothing invites the Divine retribution, is greater in (evil) consequences and more effective in the decline of prosperity and cutting short of life more than the shedding of blood without a justification. On the Day of Judgment, Allāh, the Glorified One, will commence giving His judgment among the people with regard to the cases of bloodshed committed by them. Do not, therefore, strengthen your authority by shedding prohibited blood because this will weaken and lower authority. It moreover destroys it and shifts it elsewhere. You cannot offer any excuse before Allāh or before me for any willful killing because there must be a question of revenge in it. If you are involved in it by error, and if you exceed in the use of your whip or sword, or if you are harsh in inflicting punishment, as sometimes even a blow by the fist or a smaller stroke causes death…, then the pride in your authority should not prevent you from paying the blood money to the survivors of the killed person.
“You should avoid self-admiration. Rely on what appears to be good on yourself. Do not have any affinity for any exaggerated praise. It is one of the most reliable opportunities for Satan to obliterate the good deeds of the virtuous.
“Avoid demonstrating (the weight of) your obligation to your subjects for having done good things to them or praising your own actions or making promises then breaking them. Demonstrating such an obligation destroys goodness. Self-praise takes away the light of the truth. Breaking promises earns the hatred of Allāh and of the people. Allāh, the Glorified One, says the following: كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ Most hateful to Allāh is that you say what you do not do (Qur’ān, 61:3).
“Avoid haste in matters before their time. Slowness till their proper time, insistence on them when the propriety of action is not known or weakens when it becomes clear is preferable. Assign to every matter its proper place, and do every job at its appropriate time.
“Do not appropriate to yourself that in which the people have an equal share, nor should you be indifferent of matters which have come to light with the excuse that you are accountable for others. Shortly, the curtains of all matters will be raised from your vision and you will be required to render redress to the oppressed. Have control over (your) sense of prestige. Beware of any outburst of anger, the might of your arm and the sharpness of your tongue. Guard yourself against all these by avoiding haste and by delaying severe measures till your anger subsides and till you gain your self-control. You cannot withhold yourself from this unless you bear in mind that you have to return to Allāh.
“It is necessary for you to recall how matters went with those who preceded you, be it those of a government, or a great tradition, or a precedent of our Prophet , or the obligatory commands contained in the Book of Allāh. You should follow them as you have seen us acting on them and should exert yourself in following what I have enjoined you to follow in this document wherein I have exhausted my pleas to you. If your heart advances towards its passions, you may have no plea in its support.
“I ask Allāh, through the medium of the extent of His mercy and the greatness of His power of giving, to grant me a good inclination, so that He may prompt me and you own selves to present a clear plea before Him and before His creatures in a manner that may attract His pleasure along with handsome praise among the people, good effect in the country, an increase in prosperity and a heightening of honor, and so that He may allow me and you own selves to die a death of virtue and martyrdom. Surely, we have to return to Him. Peace with the Messenger of Allāh , and that is the end of the matter.”
This document, which deserves to be called the policy constitution of the Islamic State, was prepared by the person who was the greatest scholar of the Divine Law of his time and of all times. He acted on it more than anyone else.
From studying Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib’s way of governance as recorded on the pages of this book, it can be concluded that his aim was only to enforce the Divine Law and the improvement of social conditions, not to disrupt public security or fill his coffers through looting and plundering, or to strive to extend the country’s boundaries by whatever fair or foul means..., as some “Muslim” rulers did, thus tarnishing the image of Islam. Worldly governments generally adopt such constitutions which cater to their utmost benefits and try to change every law which is against that aim, one which jeopardizes their objectives. Every article of this constitution serves as a custodian of common interests. It protects collective organization. Its enforcement has no impact over selfishness; there is no iota of self-interest in it. It contains such basic principles for the fulfillment of Allāh’s obligations, the protection of human rights without any discrimination based on religion or ethnicity. It cares for the destitute and the poor. It provides succor to the low and the down-trodden. From it, full guidance can be earned for the propagation of righteousness and justice, the establishment of peace and security, the prosperity and well-being of the people.
“Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib wrote this code for Mālik ibn al-Hārith al-Ashtar when he appointed him as the governor of Egypt in 38 A.H./658 A.D. Mālik al-Ashtar was one of the senior companions of Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib . He demonstrated great endurance, steadfastness, perfect confidence and trust in Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib . He attained the utmost nearness and attachment to him by molding his own conduct and character after those of Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib , his role model. This can be gauged by Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib’s words: “Mālik was to me as I was to the Messenger of Allāh ” (Ibn Abul-Hadīd, Sharh Nahjul-Balāgha, Vol. 15, p. 98; Al-A`lām, Vol. 6, p. 131). Mālik al-Ashtar, too, proved all of this through his selfless attitude towards his job. He took a very active part in military encounters and proved himself to be Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib’s right hand in all battles and encounters. He demonstrated such feats of courage and daring that his bravery was acknowledged throughout Arabia. Along with this bravery, he was also conspicuous in endurance and forbearing. In this regard, Warram ibn Abū Firās an-¬Nakh`i has written that once Mālik was passing through the market of Kūfa wearing an outfit and a turban made of gunny-cloth when a shopkeeper, finding him in this condition and wearing such clothes, threw some rotten leaves on him to show his disrespect and ridicule. Despite being the commander of the caliph’s troops, Mālik al-Ashtar did not at all mind this dirty behavior, nor did he even look at the man. Rather, he quietly stepped forward. Then someone said to that shopkeeper, “Do you know to whom you have been so insolent?” He replied that he did not know who he was, whereupon he was told that it was Mālik al-Ashtar, companion of Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib and commander of his army. Hearing this, the shopkeeper almost lost his wits and at once ran after Mālik to beg for his forgiveness for this insolence and humiliating treatment. In his search, he reached a mosque where Mālik was offering prayers. When he finished the prayers, this man went forward and fell on Mālik’s feet begging for his pardon with great pertinacity and weeping. Mālik raised the man’s chin up and said, “By Allāh, I have come to the mosque to pray to Allāh to forgive you. I myself had pardoned you that very moment, and I hope Allāh, too, will pardon you,” as we read in Tanbihul-Khawatir wa Nuzhatul-Nawāzir, Vol. 1, p. 2 and Bihār al-Anwār, Vol. 42, p. 157. Such is the forgiveness and tolerance of a warrior at the mention of whose name courage itself trembled and whose swordsmanship was acknowledged by the brave men of Arabia. And such is the real sign of bravery: A man should exercise self-control during the bitterness of anger and moment of outrage. He must endure hardships with patience and calmness. In this regard, Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib says, “The most brave of men is one who over-powers his own passions.”
However, besides these characteristics and qualities, he had a perfect aptitude for organization and administration. Thus, when the Othmāni (al-Othmāniyyah) party began to spread the germs of destruction in Egypt and tried to upset the law and order of the country by mischief and rebellion, Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib removed Muhammed ibn Abū Bakr from his post as the governor of the country and decided to appoint Mālik al-Ashtar in his place, although at that time Mālik was also posted as the governor of Nasībīn . However, Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib sent him word that he should name someone as his deputy and return to Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib . On receipt of this order, Mālik al-Ashtar appointed Shabīb ibn `Amir al-Azdi in his place and he himself went to Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib . Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib gave him his written appointment and sent him off to Egypt. The Imām also sent a separate written order to the Egyptians to obey him. When Mu`āwiyah received the news of Mālik al-Ashtar’s appointment through his spies, he was upset because he had promised `Amr ibn al-`Ās that he would make him the governor of Egypt in reward for his services. He had hoped that `Amr ibn al-`Ās would easily defeat Muhammed ibn Abū Bakr and wrest power from him, but he now could not imagine conquering Egypt by defeating a military hero such as Mālik al-Ashtar. He, therefore, decided to do away with him before he took over the charge. For this, he arranged with a landlord of the city of al-Arīsh (or al-Qulzumm) that when Mālik passed through al-Arīsh on his way to Egypt, he should kill him by some device or other. In reward for this assassination, the tax revenue of his estate would be written off. So, when Mālik al-Ashtar reached al-Arish with retinue and force, the chief of al-Arīsh stood up in respect for him and insisted on having Mālik as his own guest. Mālik agreed and stayed at his place. When Mālik finished the meal, the host gave him some syrup of honey to drink in which he had added poison. Soon after drinking it, the poison began to show its effect and before the eyes of everyone, this great warrior known for his swordsmanship and for putting the rows of the enemy to fight, calmly surrendered to death, another victim of the schemes of Mu`āwiyah.
When Mu`āwiyah received the news of the success of his plot, he was overjoyed and shouted in merriment, “O, honey is also an army of Allāh!” Then, in a speech, he said, “Ali ibn Abū Tālib had two right hand men. One was chopped off on the day of Siffīn: that was `Ammār ibn Yāsir, and the second has been severed now: He is Mālik al-Ashtar!”
When the news of Mālik’s assassination reached Imām Ali ibn Abū Tālib , he was very grieved and sorrowful. He said the following: “Mālik! Who is Mālik?! If Mālik was a stone, he was hard and solid. If he was a rock, he was a great rock which had no parallel. It seems that his death has made me also lifeless. I swear by Allāh that his death made the Syrians joyous while insulting the Iraqis.” Then he continued to say: “Women have become too barren to give birth to a man like Mālik...,” as we read in many history books such as these: al-Tabari, Tārīkh, Vol. 1, pp. 3392-3395; Ibn al-Athīr, Tārīkh, Vol. 3, pp. 352-353; al-¬Ya`qūbi, Tārīkh, Vol. 2, p. 194; Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Istī`āb, Vol. 3, p. 1366; Ibn Abul-Hadīd, Sharh Nahjul-Balāgha, Vol. 6, pp. 74-77; Ibn Kathīr, Al-Bidaya wal Nihāya, Vol. 7, pp. 313-314; Abul-Fidā’, Tārīkh (the full name of which is: Tārīkh al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbār al-Bashar), Vol. 1, p. 179 and others.
اللهم صلي على محمد و آل محمد