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  • 6/10/2013

Criteria of Rightful and Unlawful Leadership (Part 3)

imam ali (a.s)

Righteous Leader

The core of rightful imamate and righteous leadership is to serve people and fulfill religious obligations, whereas the materialistic and despotic rulers tend to gain hegemony and their ultimate goal is materialism. “Do you expect me to gain victory by oppressing the people on whom I rule! Never, I swear by God! I will never behave like that as far as the world is on, as far as the stars glitter!”‌[i]

In view of Imam Ali (A.S), the leader of the society must act based on qualification and goodwill in apportioning posts and responsibilities. He must never do this based on personal whims.

He told Malik Ashtar: “You Malik! Of your soldiers, select the one with highest degree of goodwill to be your commander. Select the best ones for commanding positions. Never apportion the provinces and managements based on your personal desire and without consultation. This is because leadership and government for a righteous leader is the only means of realizing people’s rights and rejecting the wrong. Therefore, government and leadership for a ruler in its nature must be the meanest and most worthless thing for him.”‌[ii]

In another sermon he said: “I swear by God I have no need and no interest to be the caliph and ruler.”‌ “How much does this odd shoe cost? I swear by God, this odd shoe is more lovable to me than ruling on you, except by this way I want to observe a right and reject the wrong.”‌[iii]

A true leader must supervise the performance of the employees, control their deeds and creeds. He must not leave them to themselves to let them do what they want with the people, to take from people what they want and to save them for themselves.

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


[i] Ibid, Sermon 131

[ii] Ibid, Sermon 126

[iii] Ibid, Letter 53

Other links:

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

Imam Ali’s Internal Policy (Part 2)

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