Imam Ali‘s Justness
From The Voice of Human Justiceby George Jordac
One should not be surprised that Ali was just. It would have been a matter of surprise if he had not been just. The instances of his justice which have been narrated are the most valuable assets in human history and man should be proud of them.
His brother Aqeel asked him to grant him a special pension out of the public treasury, but he refused to accede to his request saying: "It isnot
my personal property that 1 may give it to anyone I like. There are also other helpless and needy persons, who are more deserving than you are, and I must be mindful of them". Aqeel said: "If you do not allow me a pension out of this property I shall go to Mu'awiya".
However, Ali did not care for what he said, and did not revise his decision.
His brother went away and joined Mu'awiya and used to say: "Mu'awiya is better for my world", Mu'awiya's treatment satisfied him, because the public treasury was a tool in his hands with which he strengthened his kingdom, achieved his objects and wanted to revive the past politics and importance of Bani Umayyah.
The Imam did not claim any privileges vis-à-vis his subjects and appeared in the courts as their equal. This was so because the spirit of justice had penetrated into the depth of his heart.
Once Ali saw his coat of mail in the possession of a Christian. He took him in the court of a judge named Shurayh so that he might give a decision regarding its ownership. When both of them appeared before the judge Ali said: "This coat of mail is mine. I have neither sold nor gifted it to anyone". The judge asked the other person: "What have you to say about the claim made by the Commander of the Faithful?" The Christian said: "This coat of mail is mine. In spite of this, however, I do not consider the Commander of the Faithful to be a liar". Then the judge Shurayh turned to Ali and said: "Can you produce any witness who should depose that this coat of mail is yours?" Ali smiled and said: "Shurayh is right. I cannot produce any such witness".
The judge gave a judgment in favor of the Christian who took the coat of mail and departed. The Commander of the Faithful kept looking at him from behind. After having gone a few steps, however, he returned and said: "I testify that such an order resembles the order of the prophets, because one who is the Commander of the Faithful has appeared along with a person like myself in the court of the judge who is also his subordinate and the judge has given a judgment against him".((In the free countries of the modern world the court and judges have been made permanent and none can remove them from their office. This has been done, so that they may take decision without any fear or favor, and may give judgment against influential persons and even against the members of government.)) Then He added: "O Commander of the Faithful! I swear by God that this coat of mail is yours and my claim was false".
Later the people saw that Christian serving in the army of Ali as a faithful soldier and he fought most enthusiastically against Kharijites in the Battle of Nahrawan.
Ibn Abi Rafe' has narrated thus: "I was the administrator of the public treasury during the period of the caliphate of Ali and was also his scribe. The property received fromBasra for the public treasury included a pearl necklace. The daughter of Ali sent word to me saying: "I understand that there is a pearl necklace in the public treasury which is controlled by you. Send that necklace to me on loan so that I may wear it on Eid al-Azha day. Thereafter I shall return it".
I sent the necklace to her on the conditions that she would be responsible if it was lost or damaged, and that she would return it within three days. She accepted these conditions.
By chance the eyes of the Commander of the Faithful fell on the necklace and he recognized it. He asked his daughter as to where she had obtained it from. She replied: "I have taken it on loan from lbn Abi Rafe' the incharge of the public treasury to wear it on Eid al-Azha day and have promised to return it to him within three days".
The Commander of the Faithful summoned me and said; "Do you consider it lawful to commit breach of trust with the Muslims?" I replied: "May God forbid that I may commit treachery with the Muslims". Thereupon he said: "Then why did you lend such and such necklace to my daughter without obtaining my permission and without the concurrence of the Muslims?"
I replied: "O Commander of the Faithful! She is your daughter. She borrowed it to adorn herself and guaranteed its safe return so that I might restore it to its proper place". Ali said: "Take it back today arid .do not do so in future otherwise I shall punish you".
When Ali's daughter came to know about it she said to him: "O father! I am your dear daughter. Who else is more entitled to wear this necklace?"
Ali replied: "O daughter of Abu Talib! Don't deviate from the right path. Can you tell me how many Muhajir and Ansar women adorn themselves with such necklaces?"
Eventually I took back the necklace from the daughter of the Commander of the Faithful and restored it to its proper place.
Ali observed justice even in small and insignificant matters. If it became necessary for him to divide something with others he gave the right of selection to the other party so that people might not think that discrimination was being made in the matter of division between the persons in authority and the subordinates.