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Observing Ethical Principles in Fighting the Enemy

imam ali (a.s)

History bears eloquent testimony to the fact that Imam Ali (A.S) in his career as the leader of Muslim community never violated ethical principles in exercising politics. On one hand, he sought ethical goals and on the other hand, he consolidated infrastructures to facilitate access to the ethical norms. In other words, both the goals and ways of access to these goals were ethical in nature.
In the civil conflicts, uprisings, and breaches of the promises by others during his reign, Imam Ali (A.S) did not fulfill the illegitimate requests of Talha and Zubair nor did he reinstate Muawiyah in his throne. Perhaps his government would be saved from harms if he had done so, but Imam Ali (A.S) was not the one who would sacrifice ethical criteria for government. This is because rulership must revive values, and values are not to revive government.
One example of his commitment to ethical principles and values during a battle was his response to unethical measures of the enemy in Battle of Siffin.
In war with Muawiyah in the Battle of Siffin, it was Muawiyah who first laid siege on Euphrates River and blocked Imam Ali (A.S) army’s access to water. When the army of Islam broke the siege at a night raid and liberated the riverbank, a number of Imam Ali’s companions swore that they would block enemy army’s access to water. Hearing this, Imam Ali (A.S) sent a message: “My friends and comrades, I want you to take water as much as you need on thankfulness to this victory over the oppressors and let the army of the Levant freely take away as much water as they need.”

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


1. Ali Akbar Rashad, The Encyclopedia of Imam Ali (AS), Islamic Research Institute for Culture and Thought, Third Edition, 2006, Vol. 6, P. 365
2. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Qazvini, Imam Ali (AS), from Birth to Martyrdom, Translated by Ali Karami, Dalil-e Maa Publishing Company, Third Edition, 2007, P. 532

Other links: 

Imam Ali’s Words about Government’s Justice 
Sincerity of deeds is the key to salvation

A role model for authorities of Islamic societies

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