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Criteria of Rightful and Unlawful Leadership (Part 2)

imam ali (a.s)
Unrighteous Leader

According to Imam Ali (A.S): “Know this for sure that the most merited person in view of God is the just Imam and leader who himself has been guided and who guides others. He is loyal to the recognized traditions and avoids innovations and heresy. The traditions are clear and they have signs and symbols, so are the innovations.

The worst man before God is the despotic ruler who is wrong himself and who leads others astray, who kills traditions and promotes innovations.”‌[i]

In viewpoint of Nahjul Balagha, blind bigotry, arrogance and conceit are among the key signs of despotic leadership. These are the characteristics of Lucifer. Those rulers have inherited the qualities from their leader Lucifer.

Elsewhere, Nahjul Balagha puts together some qualities and makes distinction between righteous and unrighteous leaders: “He who rules on the reputation, life and property of people, he who makes commandment and he who is the leader of people must not be a miser and greedy. An ignorant person must not assume the leadership of the Muslims because he misleads the people and a despotic ruler underlines his relations with the people. He must not be oppressive toward other nations and must not prefer a tribe over others. He must not misuse public treasury in favor of a certain tribe. A bribe-taker ruler must not assume the leadership of the Muslims because he tramples upon the rights of the people. And finally, he who assumes leadership of the nation must not ignore the recognized traditions and good manners; otherwise he will destroy the nation.”‌[ii]

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


[i] Ibid, Sermon 164

[ii] Ibid, Sermon 192

Other links:

Imam Ali (A.S): The Manifestation of Real Justice (Part 2)

Imam Ali’s Internal Policy (Part 2)

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