Table of Contents

Chapter Five: Political Policies

5.1 Encouraging to Work

167. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “When things were combined, indolence and incapacity combined and produced poverty.”1

168. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “I hate the man who is indolent in his worldly affairs; since if he is indolent in the worldly affairs, he would be more indolent in the affairs of the Hereafter.”2

169. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “The leaving early of none of you in the way of Allah is greater than the early leaving of the one who seeks for that which improves [the conditions for] his children and household.”3

170. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “The one who seeks for lawful worldly gains in order to take care of his parents, children and wife, Allah would revive him [raise him on Resurrection Day] with his face radiating like the full moon.”4

171. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “I advise you to fear Allah secretly and in public, to practice justice in pleasure and anger, and to earn livelihood in poverty and affluence.”5

172. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “Certainly, seeking for lawful livelihood does not prevent [man] from working for the Hereafter.”6

173. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his letter to his son, al-Hasan (a.s.): “Do not leave out what is lawful and agreeable, since there is no escape from [fulfilling] enough requirements of life; and what is destined for you will reach you.”7

174. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “The believer's time has three periods [in life]: The period when he is in communion with Allah, the period when he manages for his livelihood and the period when he is free to enjoy what is lawful and pleasant. It does not behove a wise person to be away (from his house) save for three matters, namely for purposes of earning, or going for something for the next life or for enjoying what is not prohibited.”8

175. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha – in the report about Amir al-Mu’minin’s benefactions: “He used to work with his hands, cultivate the land, planted palm trees and he would do all these by himself.”9 See Encyclopedia of Amir al-Mu’minin: IX, 426 (Bringing Together Worship and Work). Ibid., IX, 433 (Ali (a.s.)’s benefactions).

5.2 Engendering Prosperity in the Cities

176. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar: “This is that with which Ali, the servant of Allah and Commander of the Faithful, charged Malik al-Ashtar in his instructions to him when he appointed him governor of Egypt: to collect its land tax, to war against its enemies, to improve the condition of the people and to engender prosperity in its cities [regions].”10

177. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his letter to Qarzat b. Ansari: “Now then, indeed some men from among the protected people (Ahl al-Dhimma) in your area have reported that a river in their land has been destroyed and submerged. They have the rights over the Muslims to engender prosperity for them. See into this matter along with them, then repair and improve the river. By my life, bringing them prosperity is more pleasant for us than their leaving or getting poor or failing to engender prosperity in the cities. Wassalam!”11

178. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “The superiority of the ruler (sultan) is in engendering prosperity in the cities.”12

5.3 Agricultural Development

179. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “The person who finds water and land and then becomes poor, Allah would exclude him [from His Mercy].”13

180. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “In truth, there are five ways of [earning] livelihood for people: rulership, making inhabitation [creating prosperity], trading, leases, and taxes…as for the reason for making inhabitation, Allah Almighty says, (He brought you forth from the earth and made it your inhabitation).14 It is implied here that the Exalted Allah has commanded his servants to engender prosperity on the earth so that their livelihood is provided for through what grows from the earth such as grain, fruits and the like which Allah has made as provision for people.”15

181. Al-Imam al-Baqir (a.s.): “Indeed, Ali (a.s.) used to write to his commanders of troops, ‘I swear you by Allah, lest you may ever do injustice to the farmers.”16 See 5/8 (Levying Taxes)

5.4 Development of Crafts

182. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “Man’s occupation is treasure.”17

183. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “Allah loves the trustworthy job holder.”18

184. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in an aphorism attributed to him: “Do not seek speed of action, rather seek good quality. Certainly, people will not be asked how long they took to finish the job; indeed they will be asked about the excellence of the product.”19

185. Al-Kafi - related by Umm Hasan Nakha’i: “Amir al-Mu’mini passed by me asking, “Umm Hasan! What do you do?”

I said, “I am a spinner.”

The Imam said, “In truth it the most legitimate occupation.” Or, “One of the most legitimate occupations.”20

186. Tafsir al-Ayyashi - related by Muhammad b. al-Aabbi: “Ibrahim al-Nakha’i passed by a woman who was sitting at her doorstep in the morning holding a spindle in her hands and spinning. Ibrahim told her, ‘O Umm Bakr! But you are old! Is it not the time you put the spindle aside?’”

“Umm Bakr said: ‘Why should I put it aside whereas I heard Ali b. Abi Talib, the Commander of the Faithful, say: Spinning is among the most agreeable jobs.’”21 See 5/5 (Development of Trade).

5.5 Development of Trade

187. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.): “Engage in trade as it makes you self-sufficiently independent of what is in the hands of others.”22

188. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – to the freed slaves: “Carry on trade, may Allah grant you blessing. Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah say, “Provision is in ten parts. Nine parts are in trade, and one in other occupations.”23

189. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar: “Then make merchants and craftsmen – those who are permanently fixed, those who move about with their wares and those who profit from (the labor of) their own body – your own concern, and urge others to do so, for they are the bases of benefits and the means of attaining conveniences. They bring (benefits and conveniences) from remote and inaccessible places in the land, see, plains and mountains, and from places where men neither gather nor dare to go. The merchants and craftsmen are a gentle people from whom there is. no fear of calamity and pacifist from whom there is no worry of disruption. Examine their affairs in your presence and in every corner of your land.”24

190. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar (as reported in Tuhaf al-‘Uqul): “Now take some advice about merchants and craftsmen, and urge others to do so. Give them good counsel whether they are settled (shopkeeper) or traders or physical laborers because they are sources of profit and the means of provision of useful articles. They bring them from distant and far-flung areas throughout the land and see, plains or mountains, from where people cannot come and to where they do not dare to go, like the countries of your enemies by whose hands Allah has made craftsmanship operative.”

“So, keep their sanctity, secure their paths and give them back their rights, for they are peaceful and there is no fear of revolt from them. The most favorable affairs for them are safeguarding their security and their authority. Look after their affairs in your presence and in every corner of your land.”25

5.6 Direct Inspection of the Bazaars

191. Al-Imam al-Baqir (a.s.): “Amar al-Mu’minin was among you in Kufa. Every morning he would leave his seat of rule walk in the markets of Kufa one by one, while carrying a double headed whip called ‘sabiba’ on his shoulder. He would stop before people of every market and call out, ‘O Tradesmen! Be wary of Allah Almighty!’”

“When the marketeers heard his call, they would give up what they were doing and attentively listen to him.”

“Then he would say, ‘Make benevolence your vocation. Get the blessing of leniency. Beware of swearing and avoid telling lies. Beware of doing injustice and establish the rights of the oppressed. Do not seek nearness to usury and observe fully the measure and the balance. Do not cheat the people of their goods and do not act wickedly on the earth, causing corruption.’”

“He would walk around all the bazaars of Kufa, then would return and sit for [seeing into the affairs of] the people.”26

192. Al-Imam al-Husayn: “In truth, Ali (a.s.) rode on the Prophet (S)’s mule called ‘Shahba’ in Kufa and called on every market. He entered the butcher’s little market and called out, ‘O Group of butchers! Do not cut off the spinal cord of the animal nor make haste in taking its life. Let the soul gently leave its body. Do not blow into the meat when selling it.’

“Then he went to the date sellers and said, ‘Display the bad products just like you display the good ones.’”

“Then he went to the fish dealers and told them, ‘Do not sell except the good fish, and beware of selling what is caught dead [floating].’”

“Then he entered the Kunasa quarter where various transactions were going on by copper dealers; liquid sellers; sellers of swaddling clothes, needles; as well as exchangers; sellers of camphor, and cloth. Then he called out loudly, ‘Swearing oaths is common in your markets; mix your oaths with alms, and avoid swearing oaths as Allah Almighty will not purify the person who tells lies by swearing to Him.”27

193. Fada’l al-Sahaba – related by Abu al-Sahba: “I saw Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) by the side of a pasture asking about the prices.”28

194. Da’a’m al-Islam: “In truth, he [Ali (a.s.)] would walk in the market places holding a whip in his hand with which he would punish the defrauders who use short measures and the cheaters in trade with the Muslims.

Asbagh said, “One day I told him: O Commander of the Faithful! You stay home; I will do it for you. He replied, ‘O Asbagh! You are not wishing me well.”29

195. Tarikh Damishq – related by Abu Sa’id: “O Tradesmen! Be wary of Allah and avoid swearing! Verily, swearing will ruin the goods and bring the blessings to naught. In truth, a tradesman is vicious unless he receives rightfully and pays rightfully. Wassalam.”30

196. Rabi’ al-Abrar: “Ali (a.s.) would pass by the salesmen in the market and tell them, ‘Do good. Sell goods cheaply to the Muslims, as it would increase prosperity.’”31

197. Tarikh Damishq – related by Zadan: “Verily, he [Ali (a.s.)] would walk around alone in the Markets when he was a ruler. He would guide the lot ones, help out the poor, and when he passed by the salesmen and the shopkeepers, he would open the Qur’an and recite, (This is the abode of the Hereafter which We shall grant to those who do not desire to dominate in the earth nor to cause corruption32.) Then he would say, ‘This verse is revealed about the just and humble leaders and the people possessing power.’”33

198. Makarim al-Akhlaq – related by Washika: “I saw Ali (a.s.) who was wearing a short garment and had pulled his robe up to the middle of his foreleg while holding a whip in his hand and walking around the market and saying, ‘Be wary of Allah and observe the measure fully.’ As if he was a children’s teacher.”34

199. Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra – related by Jarmuz: “I saw Ali (a.s.) leaving his seat of rule while having two pieces of clothes on: a loincloth covering down the middle of his foreleg, and a robe which was rolled up close to the lower part of the loincloth. He was holding a whip and walking in the markets enjoining the marketeers to fear Allah and make fair deals, and would say, ‘Observe fully the measure and balance.’”35

200. Makarim al-Akhlaq – related by ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas: “When he [Ibn ‘Abbas] returned from Basra carrying the property and entered Kufa, he saw Amir al-Mu’minin standing in the market and shouting, ‘O People! From now on whomever I see selling hagfish, the fish caught dead [floating] and eels, I will punish him with this whip.” His whip was called ‘Sabtiyya’.”

Ibn ‘Abbas says, “I greeted him and he returned the greeting and then said, ‘O Ibn ‘Abbas! What happened to the property?’”

“I said, “Here it is, O Amir al-Mu’minin!” and I took it to him. He took me near himself and welcomed me.’”

After that, the herald came to him [Ali (a.s.)] to proclaim to sell his sword for seven dirhams, and then he said, ‘If I had a share of as little as the price of an Arak tooth cleanser from the Muslims’ public treasure, I would not sell it.’”

“He sold the sword and bought a shirt for himself for four dirhams, gave two dirhams as alms and treated me as a guest for three days with the remaining one dirham.”36

201. Fada’il al-Sahaba – related by Abi Matar al-Basri: [He said] He saw Ali (a.s.) going towards the date sellers. A female slave was crying near a date seller. He asked [her], “What has happened to you?”

The female slave said, “He sold me some dates for one dirham, but my master returned them and he [the date seller] would not refund the money.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “O Possessor of the dates! Take back your dates and refund her money as she is only a slave and not in authority.”

The date seller pushed Ali (a.s.) back. The Muslims told him, “Do you know whom you pushed back?” He said he did not. They said, “Amir al-Mu’minin!”

At this time, he took back the dates and refunded her dirhams.

Then he said [to Ali (a.s.)], “I would like you to be pleased with me.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “I will be pleased with you only when you observe fully people’s rights.”37

202. Makarim al-Akhlaq – related by Mukhtar al-Tammar: “I used to spend the nights in the mosques and settle in the open square and get bread from the groceries (he was from Basra). One day I went out when all of a sudden a man called to me and said, ‘Hold up your gown; it would keep cleaner this way and more consistent to Allah-fearing.”

I asked who he was. I was told he was Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.).

I went after him. He was going towards the camels market. When he got there, he stopped and said, “O Tradesmen! Beware of false swearing, as it would ruin the goods and bring the blessings to naught.”

Then he left that place to go the date sellers’. At this time, a female slave was crying before a date seller.

He asked her, “What has become of you?”

She answered, “I am a handmaid whom my family have sent to buy one dirham of dates. When I took the dates to them, they did not like. I returned them, but this man refuses to take them back.”

He said, “O Man! Take the dates back and refund her money!”

He [the salesman] refused to do so. He was told that this [man] was Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). Then he took back the dates and refunded her money and said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I did not recognize you. I beg your pardon.”

He said, “O tradesmen! Be wary of Allah and make your dealings fairly. May Allah forgive you and us.”

He left that place. It began to rain. He approached one of the shops and asked permission to take shelter [from the rain], but the shopkeeper did not let him in and rejected him.

He [Ali (a.s.)] said, “O Qanbar! Bring him to me.”

Then he punished him by whipping, and said, “I did not beat you because you rejected me, but I did that lest you push out a weak Muslim, break his limbs and an obligation be imposed upon you.”

He left that place too, and arrived in the canvas sellers market and encountered a handsome man. Then said, “O Man! Do you have two garments at five dirhams?”

The man rose to his feet and said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! What you want is with me.” Because that man recognized him, he left that place and got to another man and said, “O Young man! Do you have two garments at five dirhams?”

He said he had.

He got two garments, one for three dirhams and the other for two. Then said, “O Qanbar! You take the three dirham garment.”

Qanbar said, “You deserve it more; you go on the pulpit and give sermons to people.”

He said, “And you are young and have youthful wishes, and I am ashamed of myself before Allah to look superior to you. I heard the messenger of Allah say, ‘Clothe your servants from what you clothe yourselves, and feed them from what you eat yourselves.’”

When he put on the garment he noticed that the sleeves are longer than his hands. He said, “Cut off the extra.” And the young man did so. Then he said, “Come forward and let me whipstitch it.”

Ali (a.s.) replied, “Let it be as it is, because things will pass sooner than that.”38

203. Tarikh al-Tabari - related by Yazid b.’Uday b. ‘Uthman: “I saw Ali (a.s.) passing by Hamdan (neighborhood). Two groups were fighting there. He separated them and was leaving the place when I heard someone say, “Come to my help for God’s sake!”

He quickly ran toward him in such a way that I heard the sound of his footwear and was saying, “Help is coming.”

At this moment, he got to a man who was holding on to another man’s collar. The he said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I sold a garment to this man for nine dirhams on the condition that he would not give me torn and defective dirhams (and this was their condition of that day). Now, this is his dirhams that I brought to change them for me, but he refused and I held on to him, and he slapped me.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “Change it for him!”

Then he said, ”What is your proof for being slapped?”

The man showed his proof. Then Ali (a.s.) seated the man and told him [the complainant] to take revenge on him.

The man said. “I forgave him O Amir al-Mu’minin!”

Ali (a.s.) said, “I wanted to be cautious for your sake.” Then he gave the man nine lashes and said, “This is the ruler’s right.”39

5.7 Prevention from Hoarding

204. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his letter to Rifa’a: “Warn against hoarding, punish the one who commits it and penalize him by revealing what he had hoarded.”40

205. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar: “Then make merchants and craftsmen your own concern… And know, nevertheless, that in many of them is shameful miserliness, detestable avarice, hoarding of benefits and arbitrariness in sales. This is a source of loss to all and a stain upon rulers. So prohibit hoarding, for the Messenger of Allah (S) prohibited it. Let selling be an openhanded selling, with justly balanced scales and prices, without prejudice to either party, buyer or seller. As for him who lets himself be tempted to hoard after you have forbidden him (to do so), make an example of him and punish him, but not excessively.”41

5.8 Levying Taxes

206. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his letter to the tax collectors: “In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful. From the servant of Allah Ali, Amir al-Mu’minin to the tax collectors: So now, he who does not fear where he is going does not send forward for himself that which could protect him; and he who follows his desires and surrenders to them for transient gains, will soon be among the repentant.”

“Know that the most fortunate person in the world is he who withdraws from what he knows is detrimental to him; and the most wretched person is he who follows passions. So take lesson.”

“Know that only whatever of goodness that you send forth [to the Hereafter] will belong to you; and whatever you send forth apart from that, you would like there would be a long distance between you and that. Allah warns you to beware of [disobeying] Him. Allah is the most Affectionate and the most Merciful to His servants. Certainly, the loss of what you are negligent of would return to you. What is demanded from you is little, and Allah’s reward to you is great.”

“If there were no punishment to be feared of in doing injustice and aggression, which is prohibited, there certainly is enough reward in avoiding it that there remains no excuse to give it up. Be merciful so that you may be granted (His) Mercy. Do not torture servants of Allah; and do not task them beyond their capacity. Be fair to people and be patient in fulfilling their needs, since you are the treasurers of the subjects. Do not hire doorkeepers for yourselves; and do not prevent anyone from gaining access to you to pursue his case. Do not take anyone for anyone else except for the guarantee for the one he has guaranteed. Make yourselves patient in joys [of life]; and beware of postponing tasks and repelling goodness, for certainly there is repentance in doing so. Wassalam!”42

207. Al-Kafi - related by Muhajir, on the authority of a man from Thaqif tribe: “Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) appointed me as tax collector in the region of Banqiya and a village in Kufa and told me in the presence of the people, ‘See into the (land) taxes and make attempts in (collecting) them. Do not neglect even a single dirham; whenever you want to go there come to me (first).’”

[He said,] “I went to him, and he told me, ‘Indeed, what you heard from me was a trick. But take care that you should not beat a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian for a dirham of tax; or sell beasts of burden for [levying] taxes, because we are ordered to take from them the extras [to their income].”43

208. Al-Sunan al-Kubra - related by ‘Abd al-Malak b. ‘Umayr: “A man from the Thaqif tribe told me that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) assigned me [to collect taxes] over the vast region of Shapur44 and said, ‘Take care that you should not whip anyone for collecting a dirham of tax or sell their sustenance, their winter or summer clothes, or their beasts of burden to that end. And do not appoint anyone for collecting dirhams.’

“That man said he told him, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! In that case, I would return to you empty-handed as I left you empty-handed!’”

He said, “Even if you return as you left. Woe onto you! Certainly, we are ordered to take from them the extras [to their income].”45

209. Tarikh Damishq – related by ‘Abd al-Malak b. ‘Umayr: “A man from Thaqif told me that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) assigned me [to collect taxes] over the region of ‘Ukbara (where there were no one to perform prayers) and told me in the present of the people there, ‘Taxes must be fully levied from them. Take care not to show them leniency.’ Then he told me to go to him at noon time.”

I went to him and I did not see any doorman (at his place) to stop me. I saw him sitting down and there were a bowl and a water jug. He asked for his sac. I thought to myself that maybe he wanted to do me a favor, as I did not know what was in the sac. I found that the sac was sealed. He broke the seal. There was sawiq46 in it. He took it out, put it in the bowl and poured some water on it. Then he drank from it and gave me some to drink, too.

“I could not help asking him, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! You behave like this in Iraq? The Iraqis have much better food than this.’”

He said, “Know that, by Allah, I do not seal it out of avarice; rather I buy as much as it meets my needs, for I fear that if it is abundant, there may other foods be added to it. So, I take care of it [buy sealing it]47, and I dislike taking in other than clean food. As for what I said in the presence of the people, I had no option but to say what I said to you. They are deceitful people; but now I order you how to deal with them, for if you act that way, you will be saved; otherwise – besides me – Allah will reprove you, too. If I am informed that you have acted contrary to what I have ordered you to so, I will dismiss you. Do not sell (take from) their daily foods and their summer and winter clothes; do not whip anyone even for a dirham, nor disgrace them, as we are not ordered to do so; do not seize their beasts of burden, since we are ordered to take from them the extras [to their income].”

The man said, “I told him that I would return the same way that I would have gone.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “Even if you do so.”

The man said, “I went on to collect taxes as he had ordered me. By Allah, when I returned I gave him what was with me to the last dirham.”48

210. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his letter to one of his administrators whom he had sent for (collecting) taxes: “I order him to fear Allah In his secret matters and hidden actions, where there is no witness except He and no one watches save He.”

“I also order him that whatever he does in obedience to Allah openly should not be different from what he does secretly. He whose hidden position is not different from his open position and whose action is not different from his words has discharged his obligation and his worship is pure.”

“I also order him that he should not harass them, should not be harsh on them and should not turn away from them because of superiority of official position over them, because they are brethren in faith and help in the recovery of levies.”

“Certainly you have a fixed share and a known right in this levy, and there are other sharers who are poor, weak and starving. We shall fully discharge your rights. So you should fully discharge their rights. If you do not do so, you will have the largest number of enemies on the Day of Judgment. How wretched is the man whose enemies in view of Allah are the needy, the destitute, the beggars, the turned away, and the indebted and (penniless) travelers.”

“He who treats the trust lightly and indulges in treachery and does not keep himself and his faith untarnished by it has certainly secured humiliation in this world, and his humiliation and disgrace in the Hereafter will be greater. Surely, the greatest treachery is the treachery against the Muslim community and the ugliest deceit is the deceit towards the Muslim leaders. Wassalam!”49

211. Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his instructions that he used to write to whomever he appointed for the collection of taxes: “Move on with the fear of Allah who is One and has no partner. Do not frighten any Muslim. Do not pass over his lands so as to make him feel unhappy. Do not take from him more than Allah's share in his property. When you go to a tribe, you should get down at their watering place Instead of entering their houses. Then proceed towards them with peace and dignity till you stand among them. Then salute them and do not be remiss in greeting them.”

“Then say to them, ‘O servants of Allah, the vicegerent of Allah and His caliph has sent me to you to collect from you Allah's share in your properties. Is there anything of His share in your properties? If so, give it to His vicegerent.’ If someone among them says no, then do not repeat the demand. If someone speaks to you in the affirmative, then go with him without frightening him, threatening him, pressuring him or oppressing him. Take what he gives you such as gold or silver (coins). If he has cattle or camels do not enter upon them save with his permission, because their major part is his. Therefore when you get there do not enter upon them as one who has full control over them or in a violent manner.”

“Do not scare any animal, do not tease anyone and do not let the owner feel grieved about anyone. Divide the property into two parts and let the owner choose one. When he has chosen do not object to it. Then divide the remaining into two parts and let him choose one and when he has chosen do not raise any objection. Continue like this till only that much remains which is enough to satisfy Allah's dues. Then take Allah's due from it. If he disputes your action allow his views, then mix the two (separated) parts and repeat what you had done before till you take Allah's due from his property. Do not take an old, decrepit, broken, limbed, sick or unsound animal. Do not entrust the animals (for custody) except to one whom you trust to take care of Muslims' property till he hands it over to their chief who will distribute it. Do not entrust it to anyone except he who is well-wisher, God-fearing, trustworthy and watchful, and who is not harsh on Muslims’ property nor makes them run too much, nor tires them, nor labors them. Then send to us all that you have collected and we shall deal with it as Allah has ordered.”

“When your trustee takes over (the animal) tell him that he should not separate the she-camel from its young and should not milk all its milk because that would affect its young and also that he should not exert it in riding. In this matter he should behave justly between it and all its companions. He should allow rest to camels (who are tired), and drive with ease those whose hoofs have been rubbed off. When passing a water spring he should stay the camels there for drinking and should not take them away from vegetated land to barren paths. He should allow them rest now and then and give them time near water and grass. In this way when they reach us by leave of Allah they will be fat with plenty of marrow and would not be fatigued or distressed. We will then distribute them according to the (commands of) the Book of Allah and the sunna of his Prophet (S). Certainly this will be a great source of reward for you and a means to secure guidance, if Allah so wills.”50

212. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar: “Investigate the situation of the land tax in a manner that will rectify the state of those who pay it, for in the correctness of the land tax and the welfare of the tax-payers is welfare of others. The welfare of others will not be achieved except through them, for the people, all of them, are dependent upon the land tax and those who pay it. Let your care for the prosperity of the earth be deeper than your care for the collecting of land tax, for it will not be gathered except in prosperity. Whoever exacts land tax without prosperity has desolated the land and destroyed the servants (of Allah). His affairs will remain in order but briefly.”

“So if your subjects complain of burden, of blight, of the cutting off of the irrigation water, of lack of rain, or of the transformation of the earth through its being inundated by a flood or ruined by drought, lighten (their burden) to the extent you wish their affairs to be rectified. And let not anything by which you have lightened their burden weigh heavily against you, for it is a store which they will return to you by bringing about prosperity in your land and embellishing your rule. You will be able to depend upon the increase in their strength (resulting) from what you stored away with them when you gave them ease; and upon their trust, since you accustomed them to your justice toward them through your kindness to them. Then perhaps matters will arise which afterwards they will undertake gladly if in these you depend upon them, for prosperity will carry that with which you burden it.”

“Truly the destruction of the earth only results from the destitution of its inhabitants, and its inhabitants become destitute only when rulers concern themselves with amassing (wealth), when they have misgivings about the endurance (of their own rule) and when they profit little from warning examples.”51

213. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar (as narrated in Tuhaf al-‘Uqul): “Gather tax-payers of all the regions under your dominion and order them to inform you of the situations of their regions including ways of prosperity and the collection of taxes. Then you should ask the experts about what they had informed. If they complain of burden, of diseases, of the cutting off of the irrigation water, or of a change in the condition of the land either due to flood or drought or pestilence, you should remit the tax to the extent that you hope Allah will improve their position. If they seek help in prospering what they can do with their fortune, you should satisfy its provisions; as the result of your satisfying the provisions is their prosperity.”

“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 form of prosperity of your country and the progress of your dominion in addition to easing by Allah the earning of their praise, well intention, and happiness for meting out justice to them. The land tax cannot be gotten through fatigue and exhaustion, yet it is knots upon which you depend. If something happens, you can depend upon their strength because of the investment you made in them through catering to their convenience, and can have confidence in them because of the justice extended to them by being kind and fair to them and their realizing your excuses. Circumstances may so turn that you may ask for their assistance, when 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 tax-collectors concentrate on the collection (of money), having little hope for continuance (in their posts) and profiting little from warning examples.”52

5.9 Not Postponing Distribution of Public Assets

214. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Abi Salih al-Samman: “I saw Ali (a.s.) enter the public treasury. He noticed some property there and said, ‘These are here and people are in need?’ Then he ordered the property to be distributed among people, had the place swept and sprinkled with water and said prayers there.”53

215. Al-Gharat – related by Bakr b. ‘Isa mentioning the sira of Imam Ali (a.s.): “Certainly, he distributed (among people) whatever left in the public treasury. There came no Friday when there remained anything in the treasury. Every Thursday evening, he ordered the treasury to be cleaned off and sprinkled with water. Then, he would say two rak’ats of prayers.”54

216. Al-Gharat – related by Majma’ al-Taymi: “In truth, Ali (a.s.) would sprinkle the treasury with water and performed supererogatory prayers there, saying, ‘Bear witness on the Day of Resurrection that I did not lock up the property in you from the Muslims.’”55

217. Fada’l al-Sahaba – related by Mujamma’ al-Taymi: “In truth, Ali (a.s.) would order the treasury to be swept up and sprinkled with water. After that, he would say prayers there in the hope that it would bear witness for him on the Day of Resurrection that he did not lock up the property from people.”56

218. Tarikh Damishq – related by Abu Hakim Sahib al-Hifa on the authority of his father: “Verily, Ali (a.s.) would distribute the collected property [among people] three times a year. Once some property was brought to him from Isfahan. He said, ‘Let’s go for the fourth distribution. Certainly I am not the one who amasses [property].’”

[The narrator says] “He distributed the ropes; some people took [their share], and some refused to take.”57

219. Muruj al-Dhahab – pointing out the events of the year 38 AH / 658 CE: “Ali (a.s.)’s companions received from him dividends [their share of distributed property] three times a year, depending on whatever of property he would receive. He, then, received some property from Isfahan, and said, ‘Let’s go for the fourth distribution. By Allah, I am not the one who amasses [property].’”

“He was an exemplar for the people in distribution of [the public] property, and would take a share for himself like one of other people.”58

220. Al-Amali - related by Hilal b. Muslim al-Jahdari: “I heard my grandfather, Jarrah (or Jawwah), say, ‘I was in the presence of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) in an evening when some property was brought to him.’

He said. “Distribute this!”

“O Amir al-Mu’minin! It is night now, put it off until tomorrow.” The people said.

“Do you guarantee that I will live until tomorrow?” He said.

They replied, ‘It is not in our hands.’

He said, “Distribute it, then, and do not put it off.”

A candle was brought in and the property was distributed the same night.59

221. Al-Gharat – related by Aahhak b. Muzahim: [Ali (a.s.) said:] “My friend, the Messenger of Allah did not keep anything for the morrow, nor did Abu Bakr. ‘Umar b. Khattab, however, decided to establish bureaus and put off [the distribution of] the properties from one year to another; but I will do as my friend, the Messenger of Allah would do.”

[The narrator said:] Ali (a.s.) distributed the properties every Friday and would say:

“This is my harvest, and the best of it;

Yet, every harvester has his hand in his own mouth (and eats it himself)60.” 61

222. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha – related by ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Ajlan: “Ali (a.s.) used to distribute seeds of flax, pepper-grass, caraway, and other things among people.”62

223. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha – related by Sha’bi: “I was a young man when I entered a square in Kufa together with other young men. I saw Ali (a.s.) who was standing over a pile of gold and silver and holding a whip in his hand with which he was keeping people off and at the same time distributing the property among people until there was nothing was left of t. Then, he returned home without taking anything with him, nether little nor much.”

“I went back to my father and said to him, ‘Today, I saw the best of people or the most foolish one!’ He asked who he was.”

“I said, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), the Commander of the Faithful. I saw him acting in such and such a way, and told him the story.’”

“My father wept and said, ‘My son! You have seen the best of people.’”63

224. Al-Imam al-Baqir: “Some property was brought to Ali (a.s.). He seated the weighers and exchangers next to himself. Then, he made a pile of gold and a pile of silver, and said, ‘O reds and O whites! Turn red and white and deceive others, not me!”

“This is my harvest, and the best of it;

Yet, every harvester has his hand in his own mouth (and eats it himself).”64

225. Tarikh Damishq – related by Abu Salih al-Samman: “I saw Ali (a.s.) enter the treasury and see something there. Then he said, ‘May I not see it here, while people are in need of it.’ Then he ordered it to be distributed, had the treasury swept and sprinkled with water, then performed prayers there or took an afternoon nap; i.e., he slept there.”65

226. Al-Da’awat: “Whenever amir al-Mu’minin gave out what was in the treasury, he would order it to be swept and would perform prayers there and would say in his invocation, ‘O Allah! I seek Your protection from the sin that brings my act to naught; and I seek Your protection from the sin that expedites retribution; and I seek Your protection from the sin that alters blessings; and I seek Your protection from the sin that holds back provision; and I seek Your protection from the sin that averts repentance; and I seek Your protection from the sin that tears apart safeguards; and I seek Your protection from the sin that brings about penitence; and I seek Your protection from the sin that withholds portion (in bounties).’”66

5.10 Equality in Distributing Public Assets

227. Al-Ikhtisas - describing traits and virtues of Imam Ali (a.s.): He made equal distributions, and practiced justice among citizens. He appointed ‘Ammar b. Yasir and Abu Haytham b. Tayhan as directors of Madina treasury and wrote [to them], “Arabs. Qurayshis, Ansars, and non-Arabs and whoever is a Muslim, whether from Among Arab or non Arab tribes are equal.”

Sahl b. Hanif brought a freed black slave to him and asked, “How much would you give him?”

Amir al-Mu’minin asked him, “How much have you received?”

“Three dinars, and the others have received the same amount.” He replied.

“Give the freed one the same amount as others: three dinars. ”The Imam said.67

228. Al-Amali - related by Ibrahim b. Salih al-Anmati: In the morning after the allegiance he entered the treasury and distributed the property that had been gathered there among all the people present, giving three dinars to each one of them. Sahl b. Hunayf stood up and said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I freed this slave.”

Then the Imam gave him [the freed slave] three dinars; the same amount that he had given to Hanif.68

229. Al-Kafi - related by Abu Mikhnaf: “A group of the Shi’ites came to Ali (a.s.) and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! Would that you distributed these assets among the dignitaries and chiefs and give them priority to us so that things settle down. Then you would return to the best of features that Allah has accustomed you to; that is, making equal distributions, and practicing justice among citizens.’

Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) said, “Woe on you! You are commanding me to seek support by doing injustice and inequity to the Muslims over whom I have been chosen as a guardian. By Allah, I will not do that as long as the world keeps going on and as long as I see stars in the stars. By Allah, even if it were my property, I would distribute it equally among them; how would it be when the property is theirs?”69

230. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his sermon given when he was reprimanded for equal distribution of assets: “Regarding this booty, no one should enjoy precedence in the shares of the booty. Allah the Great and Almighty has completed its distribution. It is Allah’s possession, and you are the Muslim servants of Him. This is the Book of Allah; we recognize it, declare it, and submit to it. Our prophet’s covenant is with us. Hence submit to the matter. Allah’s Mercy may be upon you! Whoever does not yield to this matter may leave us in any way he chooses.”70

231. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his letter to Masqala b. Hubayra al-Shaybani, his administrator in Ardashir Khurrah71: “Know that the right of those Muslims who are around you and those who are around me in this property is equal. For that reason they come to me and take from it.”72

232. Al-Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his letter to Hudhayfa b. Yaman, his governor of Mada’in: “I command you to collect land taxes rightfully and equally; do not violate what I sent you for and do not be negligent of it, nor make any innovation in it. Then, distribute it equally and fairly among those who are entitled to it.”73

233. Al-Gharat – related by Abu Ishaq al-Hamadani: Two women came to Ali (a.s.) at the time of distribution [of property], one Arab and the other non-Arab. He gave each one of them 25 dirhams and a kurr74 of corn.

The Arab woman said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I am an Arab and she is a non-Arab.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “By Allah! I do not see any precedence of the children of Isma’il (Ishmael) over the children of Ishaq (Isaac) in this booty.”75

234. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Harith: “I was with Ali (a.s.) when two women came to him and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! We are poor and needy.’

Ali (a.s.) said, ‘If you are honest, your rights would be incumbent upon us and all the well-to-do Muslims.’

Then he ordered a man to go along with them to the market and to buy for each one of them a kurr of corn, three pieces of clothes (dresses, scarves, and wrappers) and to give a hundred dirhams from his distributed grants to each one of them.

When they returned, one of them unveiled her face and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! Favor me by what Allah has favored and honored you.’

He asked, ‘How has Allah favored and honored me?’

‘By the Messenger of Allah.’ She said.

Ali (a.s.) said, ‘You are right, who are you?’

‘I am an Arab woman and this woman is a freed slave.’ She said.

[Harith said:] “He picked up something from the ground and then said, ‘I studied what was between the two tablets; I did not find any children of Isma’il favored to the children of Ishaq even by a gnat’s wing.”76

235. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Mus’ab: “Ali (a.s.) distributed everything among us; he even distributed perfume among our wives.”77

236. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Harith: “I heard Ali (a.s.) saying in his sermon, ‘We ordered to give red garments and needles to the muhajirun women.’

[Harith says:] “He had taken the needles as poll tax (jizya) from a group of Jews.”78

237. Fada’l al-Sahaba – related by Fadala b. ‘Abd al-Malik, on the authority of Karima, daughter of Humam Tabiya: “Ali (a.s.) distributed red garments among us in Kufa.” Fadala says, “We assumed it as his justice.”79

238. Al-Manaqib – related by Hakim b. Aws: “Ali (a.s.) would send [leather] containers of honey to us to be distributed among us. The he would order the containers to be licked. Several times fruits were brought to him and he ordered them to be sold and the money deposited in the treasury.”80

239. Tarikh Damishq – related by Kulayb: “Some property was brought to Ali (a.s.) from Isfahan. He divided it into seven portions and found some bread. He divided that bread into seven parts, too, and dedicated each part to one of the portions. Then, he called the chiefs of the tribes and drew lots among them to decide who to receive his portion first.”81

240. Al-Gharat – related by Kulayb al-Jarmi: “I was with Ali (a.s.) when some property was brought to him from the mountains. He stood up and we rose along with him, too, and went toward the donkey-keepers and camel-drivers. People crowded around him. Then he took some pieces of rope, tied them together and made a fence around the property and said, ‘I do not let anyone pass through this rope.’”

“We sat behind the rope. Ali (a.s.) walked over the rope and said, ‘where are the chiefs of the seven tribes?’”

“They went to him and began to move the saddlebags here and there until they divided them into seven portions.”

Kulayb said, “He [Ali (a.s.)] found some bread among the property. He divided it into seven parts, then placed a piece of bread on each portion and said:

‘This is my harvest, and the best of it;

Yet, every harvester has his hand in his own mouth (and eats it himself).’

Kulayb said, “Then he drew lots on the portions and the chiefs of each tribe called their tribesmen to carry away the saddlebags.”82

241. Muruj al-Dhahab: “He took back the properties that ‘Uthman had granted to a group of Muslims and distributed what was in the treasury, without favoring anyone to anyone else.”83

242. Muruj al-Dhahab – from the report on the battle of Jamal: “Ali (a.s.) took hold of what was [left] in the battlefield of the enemy such as arms, animals, property, etc., sold them and distributed the money among his companions (those present in his army), taking for himself as much as his other companions, i.e., five hundred dirhams.”

“Then a man from among his companions came to him and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! I did not get anything because I was not present for such and such reason.’ And he gave his excuse for not being present. Ali (a.s.) gave his own five hundred dirhams to him.”84

243. Al-Jamal: [After the incidence of Jamal] Ali (a.s.) dismounted and summoned a group of his companions. They accompanied him to the treasury and entered it. Then he sent for the qaris (the Qur’an reciters) and called them in; he also summoned the treasurers and commanded them to open the doors behind which the assets were kept. When he saw the excessive property, he said:

“This is my harvest, and the best of it.”

Then he distributed the property among his companions, giving six thousand dirhams to each one of them who consisted of twelve thousand people. He took for himself the same amount as others. At this time, a man came in and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! My name has been left out of your registers and I was beset with such and such a problem.’ Ali (a.s.) gave his own share to that man.85

244. Al-Gharat – related by al-Mughayra al-Aabbi: “Nobles of Kufa were dishonest to Ali (a.s.) and were inclined towards Mu’awiya; for Ali (a.s.) did not grant anybody beyond their rights from the spoils. [But] Mu’awiya b. Abi Sufyan had allotted two thousand dirhams to each one of the nobles.”86

245. Imam Ali (a.s.) – condemning his disobedient companions: “Is it not strange that Mu’awiya calls out to some rude low people and they follow him without any support or grant, but when I call you, although you are the successors of Islam and the (worthy) survivors of the people, with support and distributed grants, you scatter away from me and oppose me?”87

246. Imam Ali (a.s.) – about certain persons in Madina who had gone over to Mu’awiya: “They have known justice, seen it, heard it and appreciated it. They have realized that here, to us all men are equal in the matter of right. However, they ran away to selfishness and partiality. Let them remain remote and far away.”88 See 6/1 (Establishing Justice).

An Explanation on How in Early Islam Public Revenue was Distributed

The term “Public Treasury” in hadith texts is a general term for the Muslims’ public income that is left to the Islamic state to be spent. A study of hadith collections reveals, in general, two categories of expenditure for the public treasury, i.e., specific and general.

Specific Expenditure

This category includes a series of public expenditure that has particular labels such as providing for the poor, the needy, the disabled and the martyrs families; providing salaries for judges and troops; education and health care; the prisoners expenditures; [discharging the] debts of the [desperate] debtors; [discharging] blood money (diya) for the murdered who had no personal perpetrators; and engendering prosperity in the cities, etc.

General Expenditure

In early Islam, after providing for the specific expenditure, the surplus of public treasury was distributed among the Muslims. In hadith texts, this type of expenditure is referred to as people’s public right in public treasury.

Ideal distribution of public treasury from the Islamic point of view stresses two fundamental features, i.e., 1) Observing justice in distribution, 2) Not locking up public assets.

1. Observing justice in distribution: Economic justice in distribution of public facilities in Islam incorporates two main criteria: giving priority to social welfare and fulfilling the needs of the underprivileged and vulnerable strata and increasing their welfare; observing justice in equal entitlements.

The clearest instance of these two criteria is seen in Imam Ali (a.s.)’s distribution policies. In his letters to his governors, he has always asserted the allocation of part of treasury resources to the underprivileged and the low-income class. His strong emphasis on canceling undue and ambiguous privileges and granting equal rights to relatives and non-relatives, Arabs and non-Arabs, men and women, the renown and the unknown has displayed a brilliant image of human justice to the seekers of justice in the world.

2. Not locking up public assets: expedition of infaq (expending) and avoidance of locking up public assets is one of the basic characteristics of economic policies in Islam. Despite its emphasis on the necessity of moderation, and even planning and precautions in infaq, Islam has strongly condemned locking up the public property and stressed on expediting infaq.

The ideal practice of infaq from the public treasury in respect to these two features can be stated as follows: Whenever part of the (state’s) incomes is through certain planning dedicated to a particular purpose, in a way that both the income and the expending are applicable, delay in expending in such cases is regarded as “storing” and “parsimony”, as described in the hadiths concerning “avoidance of accumulating public property”.

The Holy Prophet’s concern for observing this principle was so great that when even a small amount of the property that was supposed to be handed over to those who were entitled to it remained in his hand, traces of sorrow would appear in his countenance. In the time of ‘Umar, when there had been an unprecedented increase in public incomes, the government proceeded to establish public treasury and to set up state council. The public incomes were collected and stored all year round, and distributed among Muslims at the end of the year.

Rejecting this policy, Imam Ali (a.s.) took up the Prophet (S)’s procedure in this respect after his taking over the hukuma. His avoidance of delaying the distribution of the public treasury, even for a single night, indicates his great concern for refraining from piling up public property.

5.11 Fulfillment of Basic Needs for All

247. Imam Ali (a.s.): “Allah the Glorified has fixed the livelihood of the destitute in the wealth of the rich. Consequently whenever a destitute remains hungry it is because some rich person has denied (him his share). Allah the Sublime will question them about it.”89

248. Imam Ali (a.s.): “Allah has fixed sufficient livelihood for the destitute in the wealth of the rich. If the destitute remain hungry and naked, attempts must be made to restrain the rich. It is justified if Allah judge the rich on the Day of Resurrection and punish them for this [negligence].”90

249. Imam Ali (a.s.): “There is no one in Kufa except that they enjoy welfare. The lowest people in rank among the Kufans have wheat bread, sit in the shade and drinks from the Euphrates. 91

250. Tahdhib al-Ahkam – related by Muhammad b. Abi Hamza on the authority of a man who had met Ali (a.s.): “A begging blind man passed by. Amir al-Mu’minin asked who that man was. They said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! He is a Nazarene.’

[The narrator says] “Amir al-Mu’minin said, ‘You exploited him to the extent that he grew old and disabled, and now you hold him back?’92

5.12 Supporting Lowest Class

251. Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his letter to Qutham b. ‘Abbas: “See what has been collected with you of the funds of Allah (in the public treasury) and spend it over the persons with families, distressed, the starving and the naked, at your end. Then send the remaining to us for distribution among those who are on this side.”93

252. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar: “Then (fear) Allah, (fear) Allah regarding the lowest class, the wretched, needy, suffering and disabled who have no means at their disposal, for in this class there is he who begs and he who is needy (but does not beg). Be heedful for Allah’s sake of those rights of theirs, which He has entrusted to you. Set aside for them a share of your treasury and in every town a share of the produce of the lands taken as booty for Islam (sawafi al-Islam), for to the farthest away of them belongs the equivalent of what belongs to the nearest. You are bound to observe the right of each of them; so be not distracted from them by arrogance, for you will not be excused if, to attend to the very important affairs, you neglect the trifling. So avert not your solicitude from them and turn not your face away from them in contempt.”

“Investigate the affairs of those (of the lowest class) who are unable to gain access to you, those upon whom eyes disdain to gaze and whom men regard with scorn. Appoint to attend exclusively to them a person whom you trust from among the God-fearing and humble and let him submit to you their affairs (demands). Then act toward them in a manner that will absolve you before Allah on the day that you meet Him. For among the subjects these are more in need of equity than others; in the case of each of them prepare your excuse with Allah by accomplishing for him his rightful due.”

“Take upon yourself the upkeep of the orphans and aged from among those who have no means at their disposal and do not exert themselves in begging. (All of) This is a heavy burden upon rulers. The truth, all of it, is a heavy burden.”94

253. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar (as related in Tuhaf al-‘Uqul): “Take upon yourself the upkeep of the orphans and aged from among those who have no means at their disposal and do not exert themselves in begging. Arrange pensions for them. They are the servants of Allah. Seek Allah’s favor through relieving them [from their plights] and keeping them in their proper positions in provisions and rights, since deeds are regarded sincere when they are wee intended.”

“People, or some of them, will not be tranquil even if you settle their needs and fulfil their rights completely; therefore, they will ask you for their needs openly. This is a heavy burden upon rulers. The truth, all of it, is a heavy burden. At times, Allah lightens it for those who seek the next world and endure [hardships] upon themselves and trust in the truthfulness of Allah’s promise to those who endure [hardships] and reckon [their actions]. So, be one of them and seek Allah’s help.”95

254. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar, on various classes of people: “Know that subjects are of various classes…. Then there is the lowest class, the needy and the wretched, those who have the right to aid and assistance. With Allah there is plenty for each [of the classes]. Each has a claim upon the ruler to the extent that will set it aright.”96

255. Imam Ali (a.s.) – from his letter to one of his administrators sent for collecting taxes: “Certainly you have a fixed share and a known right in these taxes, and there are other sharers who are poor, weak and starving. We shall fully discharge your rights. So you should discharge their rights fully, too. If you do not do so, you will have the largest number of enemies on the Day of Judgment. How wretched is the man whose enemies in the view of Allah are the needy, the destitute, the beggars the turned away, the indebted and (penniless) travelers.”97

256. Da’a’im al-Islam: “In truth, he [Ali (a.s.)] gave lengthy instructions to Mikhnaf b. Sulaym al-Azdi - whom he had sent collecting taxes – in which he enjoined him to be wary of Allah who is his Lord in hidden affairs and secret actions, and to meet people cheerfully and gently. He enjoined him to commit himself to humility and to avoid arrogance, as Allah elevates the humble and debases the arrogant.”

“Then he told Mikhnaf, ‘O Mikhnaf b. Sulaym! Certainly you have a fixed share and a known right in these taxes, and you have other sharers in them who are poor, the destitute, the indebted, warriors, (penniless) travelers, slaves, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled. We shall fully discharge your rights. So you should discharge their rights fully, too. If you do not do so, you will have the largest number of enemies on the Day of Judgment. How wretched is the man whose enemies are such people!”98

5.13 Great Concern for the Orphans

257. Al-Kafi - related by Hbib b. Abi Thabit: “Honey and figs were brought for Amir al-Mu’minin from Hamadan and Hulwan99. Then he ordered the authorities of the tribes to bring along the orphans. He seated them above the [leather] containers of honey to eat from it and he distributed the honey, goblet after goblet, among people.”

They asked him, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! Why do they eat honey?”

He said, “The Imam is the father to the orphans; indeed, I had them eat honey, as their father.”100

258. Rabi’ al-Abrar – related by Abu Tufayl: “I saw Ali (a.s.) calling orphans and giving them honey to eat to the extent that one of the companions said, “I wish I were an orphan, too!”101

259. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by al-Hakam: “I saw Ali (a.s.) to whom several [leather] containers of honey were brought. Then he called the orphans and said, ’Come on and eat!’ to the extent that I wished I had been an orphan. Then he distributed the honey among people and one container was left. Then he ordered it to be given to the people of the mosque [to be eaten].”102

260. Al-Manaqib: “Ali (a.s.) saw a woman carrying a goatskin of water on her shoulder. He took the goatskin from her and carried it to her house. Then he asked about her situations. The woman said, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib sent my husband to a frontier region. He was killed and left behind orphan children to me. I am destitute and have to serve people as housemaid.’”

“Ali (a.s.) returned and was distressed all through the night.”

“When the morning dawned, he took a basket of food on her back. Some said. ‘Let us carry it for you.’”

“He said, ‘Who will on Resurrection Day carry my sins for me?’”

“Then he went to her house and knocked at the door.”

“The woman asked, ‘Who are you?’”

“Ali (a.s.) replied, ‘The one who carried your water goatskin for you yesterday. Open the door; I have got some food for your children with me.’”

“The woman said, ‘May Allah be pleased with you and judge between me and ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.’”

“Then he entered and said, ‘I would like to earn some rewards; will you make dough and bake bread or amuse the children and I make bread?’ “

“The woman said, ‘I am more acquainted with baking and more capable of it. You stay with the children and keep them amused, until I get over with the baking of bread.’ Then the woman took the flour and kneaded it, and Ali (a.s.) picked up the meat, cooked it and made morsels of dates, meat and other foodstuff and put them in the children’s mouth; and every time the children swallowed a morsels, he would tell them, ‘My child! Forgive ‘Ali b. Abi Talib for what has befallen you!’”

“When the woman kneaded the flour, she said, ‘O Servant of Allah! Make some fire in the oven!’ Ali (a.s.) hastened to make the fire, and when it flared up and the heat touched his face, he said, ‘O Ali! Taste it! This is the punishment of the one who neglects the widows and the orphans.’”

“Another woman who knew Ali (a.s.) saw him and said to her, ‘Woe on you! This is Amir al-Mu’minin!’”

The narrator goes on to say, “The woman hastily said, ‘I am ashamed of you O! Amir al-Mu’minin!’”

“’I am ashamed of you, O servant of Allah! Since I did neglect you.’ Said Ali (a.s.).”103

261. Kashf al-Yaqin: “It is reported that one night Ali (a.s.) passed by a woman whose little children were crying out of hunger. The woman was amusing and playing with them to make them go to sleep, while she had set up a fire under a pot containing just water so that the children would suppose that there is some food in the pot being cooked for them.”

“Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) found out about the woman’s condition. He went to his house along with Qanbar. Then, he took a basket of dates; a sac of flour; some fat, rice and bread, and put them on his back. Qanbar asked to carry it himself, but he refused [to let him do so].”

“When he reached the woman’s house, he asked permission for entrance.“

“The woman let him in.”

“Then, he put some rice in a pot together with some fat. When he finished preparing the food, he called the children and asked them to eat. When they became full, he began to hop around the room (by mimicking a lamb) and bleating, making them laugh.”

“When they left the house, Qanbar said, ‘O My master! I saw something astonishing last night the reason of which I did not understand; that is, your carrying the food on your back was for earning rewards, but I did not know the reason for your hopping around the room and baaing!’”

“The imam (a.s.) said, ‘O Qanbar! I went to see these children while they were crying of starvation. I liked to leave them while they were satiated and laughing, and I found no other way (for making them laugh) than ha I did.’”104

5.14 Prevention of Extravagance in Public Property

262. Imam Ali (a.s.): “Rulers’ generosity in the public property of Muslims is [equal to] tyranny and treachery.”105

263. Imam Ali (a.s.) – addressing ‘Abd Allah b. Zam’a, one of his followers, who came to him during his caliphate to ask for some property: “This money is neither for me nor for you, but it is the collective property of the Muslims and the acquisition of their swords. If you had taken part with them in their fighting you would have a share equal to theirs, otherwise the earning of their hands cannot be for other than their mouths.”106

264. Da’a’im al-Islam: “He [Ali (a.s.)] was sitting and distributing some property among Muslims. An elderly man stopped near him and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! I am an aged man, as you see, and I am a contracted slave (mukatab)107. Help me by means of this property.’ He said, ‘By Allah, this wealth is not the earning of my hands. Nor it is my father’s bequest to me; rather it is trusted to me to keep and return it to its proprietors; take a seat, though.’”

“The old man sat down and the people were gathered around him. He looked at them and said, ‘May Allah forgive the one who helps this indebted [due to his contract] old man!’”

“People began to help him out.”108

5.15 Not Preferring One’s Children and Kin

265. Al-Isti’ab: “Ali (a.s.) …would not leave anything of the property in the treasury, except for the things that he was unable to distribute the same day and would say, ‘O World! Deceive other than me!’ He would not appropriate anything of the booties for himself, nor would he dedicate anything to his kith and kin.”109

266. Al-Ikhtisas - reporting on the virtues of Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.): “One day before his martyrdom, people came to his audience and all of them testified that he boosted the public assets and withheld himself from their world; he did not take bribes, nor used the Muslims’ treasury even as little as a camel’s tether; he did not make use of his own property except to his need. All of them testified that the most distant people to him were in a position to him like the nearest ones.”110

a) Hasan and Husayn

267. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Dawud b. Abi Awfi, on the authority of a man from Khath’am tribe: “I saw Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) eating bread, vinegar and vegetable. Then I said, ‘You are eating such food, whereas there are various foods in Ruhba111 [for you to eat]?”

“They said, ‘You are unaware of Amir al-Mu’minin!’”112

268. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha – related by Khalid b. Mu’ammar al-Sadusi addressing Ilba’ b. al-Haytham: “What do you expect from a man who, when I wanted to add few dirhams to the share of Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) so that they could possibly make up for the shortages of their lives, rejected and got infuriated and refused to do so.”113

269. Fada’il al-Sahaba – quote from Abu Salih: “I went to visit Umm Kulthum, Ali (a.s.)’s daughter. She was sitting behind a curtain that was between her and me combing her hair. Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) arrived in and went to her while she was still sitting and combing her hair.”

“They said, ‘Don’t you give anything to Abu Salih to eat?’”

Abu Salih says, “They brought in a bowl containing some broth and grains. I asked, ‘You serve me with such food, whereas you are masters?!’”

“Um Kulthum said, ‘O Abu Salih! What would you say if you see Amir al-Mu’minin!’”114

270. Tarikh Damishq – related by ‘Abd Allah b. Abi Sufyan: “One of the chiefs of villages in the region of Sawad (Irqaq) brought a cotton garment to me as a gift, and presented similar garments to Hasan and Husyan (a.s.). Then, when Ali (a.s.) proceeded to give the Friday Sermon in Mada’in, he saw Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) wearing the garments. He sent someone to me and Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) to ask [us] where the garments were from.”

‘Abd Allah b. Abi Sufyan said, “One of the chiefs of villages in the region of Sawad brought these garments [as gifts] to me and Hasan and Husyan (a.s.).”

He went on to say, “Ali (a.s.) took them and put them in the treasury.”115

271. Al-Imam al-Baqir (a.s.): “Ali (a.s.) distributed some clothes in Kufa among people. There was a silk hooded cloak among the clothes that Hasan (a.s.) demanded for himself, but Ali (a.s.) refused to give it to him and drew lots among the Muslims and a young man from Hamidan won the cloak. He wore it and left the place. They told him that Hasan (a.s.) had demanded it from his father but he refused to give it to him. Then, that man from Hamidan sent it to Hasan (a.s.) and he accepted it116.”117

b) Umm Kulthum

272. Al-Ikhtisas: “Some seafaring gifts were brought for Ali (a.s.) from Basra whose price was not known. His daughter, Umm Kulthum, said to him, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! Will you give it to me to wear it round my neck as ornament?’

“The Imam said, ‘O Abu Rafi’! Put it in the treasury! This [granting] is impossible, except when there is no Muslim woman left without one like that.’118

273. Al-Musannaf – related by Abu Rafi’, who was Ali (a.s.)’s treasurer: “I embellished Ali (a.s.)’s daughter with a pearl from the treasury which Amir al-Mu’minin knew about. He saw it and asked, ‘Where did she get it? It is [incumbent] upon me to cut off her hands for Allah’s right.’”

Abu Rafi’ says, “When I found about it, I said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! I embellished my own niece [brother’s daughter] with it, otherwise where could she have gotten it?’”

“When he heard this, he kept silent.”119

274. Tahdhib al-Ahkam – related by ‘Ali b. Abi Rafi’: “I was Amir al-Mu’minin’s treasurer and scribe. There was a necklace in his treasury which had been obtained in the battle of Basra.”

“Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.)’s daughter sent a message to me that, ‘I have heard that there is a necklace of pearl in Amir al-Mu’minin’s treasury that is at your disposal. I would like you to lend it to me to wear it during ‘Id al-adha (the festival of the day of immolation).’”

“I sent back the message, ‘O Daughter of Amir al-Mu’minin! Is it guaranteed to be returned as a loan?’”

“She replied, ‘It is a guaranteed loan to be returned in three days.’”

“So I handed it over to her.”

“Amir al-Mu’minin found it with her, recognized it and asked, ‘How did this necklace happen to be at your disposal?’”

“She said, ‘I borrowed it from ‘Ali b. Abi Rafi’, Amir al-Mu’minin’s treasurer, in order to wear it as ornament during ‘Id al-adha and then return it to him.’”

“Amir al-Mu’minin sent for me and I went to him. He told me, ‘O Son of Abu Rafi’! Are you betraying the Muslims?!’”

“I said, ‘I seek refuge in Allah from betraying the Muslims.’”

“He said, ‘How did you lend Amir al-Mu’minin’s daughter a necklace from the treasury of the Muslims without my permission and without their consent?’”

“I said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! She is your daughter and she asked me to lend it to her to wear it as ornament. I lent it to her and as a loan it is guaranteed to be returned; and I guarantee it by my own property and it is upon me to return it safe and sound to its place.’”

“He said, ‘Return it today! Take care that this should not be repeated or you will receive my punishment!’”

“Then he said, ‘I swear that if my daughter had taken that necklace by other means than the way of a guaranteed loan to be returned, she would have been the first Hashimi woman that I would have had her hand cut off for larceny.’”

“The words reached her daughter and she told her father, ‘’O Amir al-Mu’minin! I am your daughter and part of your flesh. Who is more deserving to wear it than me?’”

“‘O Amir al-Mu’minin said to her, ‘O Daughter of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib! Do not depart from truthfulness. Do all the women of the muhajirun ornament themselves on this ‘Id with such a necklace?”

‘Ali b. Abi Rafi’ said, “I took the necklace from Ali (a.s.)’s daughter and returned it to its place.”120

c) ‘Aqil

275. Al-Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.): “When Imam Ali (a.s.) took up government, he mounted the pulpit and after praising Allah, said, ‘By Allah, I would not take a dirham from your treasury as long as I have a palm tree in Madina. Be truthful and fair to yourselves! Do you suppose that I deprive myself and bestow on you?”

The narrator says, “[At this time] ‘Aqil stood up and said, ‘By Allah, you treat equally a black man in Madina and me?’”

The Imam said, “Sit down! Was there no other person than you to speak? You have no precedence over that black man, except by precedence in religion or piety.”121

276. Imam Ali (a.s.): “

By Allah, I would rather pass a night in wakefulness on prickly thorns or be driven in chains as a prisoner than meet Allah and His Messenger on the Day of Resurrection as an oppressor over any person or a usurper of anything out of worldly wealth. And how can I oppress any one for the sake of a life that is fast moving towards destruction and is to remain under the earth for a long time. By Allah, I certainly saw [my brother] ‘Aqil fallen in destitution and he asked me a sa’ 122 out of your [share of] wheat, and I also saw his children with disheveled hair and a dusty countenance due to starvation, as though their faces had been blackened by indigo.

He came to me several times and repeated his request to me again and again. I heard him, and he thought I would sell my faith to him and follow his tread leaving my own way. Then I [just] heated a piece of iron and took it near his body so that he might take a lesson from it, then he cried as a person in protracted illness cries with pain and he was about to get burnt with its branding. Then I said to him, ‘Moaning women may moan over you, O ‘Aqil! Do you cry on account of this [heated] iron which has been made by a man for fun while you are driving me towards the fire which Almighty Allah has prepared for [a manifestation of] His wrath? Should you cry from pain, but I should not cry from the flames?"123

277. Al-Manaqib: “‘Aqil went to him [Ali (a.s.)] and asked Hasan, ‘Clothe your uncle!’ Hasan clothed him with a garment and a robe of his own. When dinner was prepared, there was only bread and salt.”

“‘Aqil said, ‘Is not there anything else beside what I see?’”

“Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Is it not Allah’s blessing? We are greatly thankful of Him.’”

“‘Aqil said, ‘Give me some money to discharge my debt, and be quick to fulfil my request so as I go away from you.’”

“He asked him, ‘O Abu Yazid! How much is your debt?’ And he said it was a hundred thousand dirhams”

“Ali (a.s.) said, ‘By Allah, there is no such an amount of money with me and I so not own this much; but wait until I receive my share [of he treasury] so that I help you out [with half of it]; and were it not for the needs of my household, I would grant it all to you.’”

“Aqil said, ‘The treasury is at your disposal and you put me off to [the time of receiving] your own share? Now, how much is your share? And if you give your entire share to me, how much would it be?’”

“He said, ‘You and me are [treated] like one of the Muslims in this property.’”

“They were talking together on top of dar al-hukuma (the seat of rule) overlooking the [safe] boxes of the marketeers. Ali (a.s.) told him, ‘O Abu Yazid! If you do not accept my words, go down, break the boxes, and take what is in there!’”

“Aqil said, ‘What is in these boxes?’”

“He replies, ’The wealth of the traders.’”

“Aqil said, ‘Do you command me to break the boxes of the people who have trusted Allah and placed their wealth in there?’”

“Amir al-Mu’minin said, ‘Do you command me to break into the treasury of the Muslims and give their property to you, whereas they have trusted Allah and locked it? If you like, take your sword and I will take my sword too and go to Hayra124, since there live wealthy merchants. We will ambush them and take their wealth!’”

“Aqil said, ‘Did come here for robbery?

“He said, ‘If you one person, it is better to rob all the Muslims!’”

“Aqil said, ‘Do you permit me to go to Mu’awiya?

“He said, ‘I permit you.’”

“Aqil said, ‘Help me with this journey.’”

“He said, ‘O Hasan! Pay your uncle four hundred dirhams.’”

“Aqil left the place while saying:

Soon he will make me rich, he who made me independent of you

And the Proximate Sustainer will discharge our debts.”125

d) ‘Abd Allah b. Ja’far

278. Al-Gharat – related by Habib b. Abi Thabit: “’Abd Allah b. Ja’far, son of Abu Talib told Ali (a.s.), ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! I wish you ordered them to help me or to provide me with pension. By Allah, I have nothing except that I sell some of the animals that I keep in my house.’”

“Ali (a.s.) said, ‘No, I do not see anything [of a share] for you [in the treasury], except that you have your uncle steal something and give it to you!’”126

e) Imam’s Granddaughter

279. Ansab al-Ashraf – related by Muslim, the author of Al-Hana: “When Ali (a.s.) was through with the battle of Jamal, he came to Kufa and entered the treasury…. Then Hasan or Husayn (a.s.)’s daughter came in and took something from there. He [Ali (a.s.)] went after her, opened her fist and took it back from her.”

“We said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! There is a right for her in the treasury!’”

“He said, ‘When her father will have received his share, he may give her as much as he wishes.’”127

f) Imam’s Sister

280. Al-Ikhtisas: “Ali (a.s.)’s sister, Umm Hani, daughter of Abi Talib, came to visit him. He gave her twenty dirhams.”

“Umm Hani asked her non-Arab freed slave girl, ‘How much did Amir al-Mu’minin give you?’”

“She said, ‘Twenty dirhams.’”

“Umm Hani returned [to Ali (a.s.) angrily].”

“Ali (a.s.) told her, ‘Go back! May Allah have Mercy on you! We did not see any precedence of Isma’il (Ishmael) over Ishaq (Isaac) in the Book of Allah.’”128

g) Imam’s Maidservant

281. Al-Musannaf – related by Umm ‘Uthman, a maidservant mothering Ali (a.s.)’s son: “I went to visit Ali (a.s.) and saw carnations before him scattered in the yard. I asked him to give me some of these flowers for our daughter.”

“He said, ‘Like this (gesturing with his hands meaning for a good price); because these belong to the Muslims; or wait until we receive our share so that I can give you a bunch for your daughter.”129

5.16 Piety and Prudence in Expending Public Treasury

282. Imam Ali (a.s.) – in his letter to his administrators: “Sharpen your pens, shorten the space between the lines, [in writing to me] be brief and terse in wording and attend to the meaning, and avoid excessive writing; for public treasury will not withstand extravagance.”130

283. Ihqaq al-Haq: “One night Ali (a.s.) entered the treasury and was writing down the distribution of the property when Talha and Zubayr arrived in. He turned off the light before him and ordered a light brought in from his house.”

“Talha and Zubayr asked the reason. He said, ‘The oil of the light belongs to the public treasury. It does not befit me to associate with you in its light.”131

284. Makarim al-Akhlaq – related by ‘Aqil b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Khawlani: “My aunt was the wife of ‘Aqil, son of Abu Talib. She went to visit Ali (a.s.) in Kufa and he was sitting on a worn out donkey packsaddle. She said, ‘At this time Ali (a.s.)’s wife from Bani Tamim tribe arrived. I told her: Woe onto you! Your house is full of goods and the Commander of the Faithful is sitting on a torn packsaddle?’”

“The woman said, ‘Do not reproach me. By Allah, whatever he sees that is unfamiliar to him, he places it in the treasury.’”132

285. Fada’l al-Sahaba – related by A’mash: “Ali (a.s.) gave breakfast and dinner [to others], and he himself ate from what was brought to him form Madina.”133

286. Al-Gharat – related by Bakr b. Isa: “Imam Ali (a.s.) would say, ‘O Kuffis! If I will have left you with other [belongings] than my mount, my travelling apparatus, and my servant, then I will be treacherous!’”

“His livelihood was brought to him from his products from the region of Yanbu’ in Madina.”134

287. Al-Jamal – related by Abi Mikhnaf Lut b. Yahya on the authority of his masters: “When Amir al-Mu’minin decided to set out for Kufa, he stood up among the Basrans and said, ‘O People of Basra! By what do you want to find fault with me?’ He pointed to his clothes and said, ’By Allah, these [two pieces of clothes] are made [out] of my wife’s spinning. By what do you want to find fault with me, O People of Basra?’ and pointed to a bag in his hand which contained his disbursement and then said, ‘By Allah, this is from my crops in Madina. So if I leave you and more than what you see is with me, then I will be among the traitors in the sight of Allah.”135

288. Tarikh Damishq – related by ‘Antara: “I went to visit Ali (a.s.) in the region of Khuwarnaq136 and he was wearing an old ragged garment…I said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! Allah has allotted a share for you and your family in this property, and you are treating yourself like this?’ He said, ‘By Allah, I would not take anything from yours, and this is but the garment that I took with me from home (or he said, ‘from Madina’).137

289. Al-Gharat – related by Zadan: “Together with Qanbar, I went to Ali (a.s.). Then Qanbar said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! Rise up that I have hidden something valuable for you.’

“He asked, ‘What is it?’”

“Qanbar said, ‘Come with me.’”

“Ali (a.s.) stood up and left for his home. There he saw bags full of gold and silver cups. Qanbar said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! You do not leave anything [any property] except that you divide it. Therefore, I saved these for you.’”

“Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Did you want to bring lots of fire into my house?!’ Then he unsheathed his sword, and struck down on the cups and cleaved each into two or three parts. Then he said, ‘Divide them into portions!’ And they did so.”

“Then he uttered the following poem:

This is my harvest, and the best of it;

Yet, every harvester has his hand in his own mouth (and eats it himself).

O White (silver) deceive someone else! O Yellow (gold) deceive someone else!”138

290. Al-Ikhtisas - in an account on Imam Ali (a.s.)’s food: “He heard the sizzling of meat being roasted in his house. Then, he rose to his feet and said, ‘Inflicting chastisement on Ali b. Abi Talib by roasting karaker139?!

The narrator goes on to say, “His family got distressed and said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! A camel has been slaughtered in your wife’s tribe and her family has brought her a share as a gift.’ He said, ‘Have it! [May it be] Pleasant and pure!’”140

291. Tarikh Damishq – related by ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakrah: “Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) did not take anything from our treasury (of Basra) until he parted from us, except for a cheap fur garment or a black tunic from the region of Darabgard [in Shiraz].141

292. Al-Gharat – related by Abu Raja’: “Ali (a.s.) brought a sword to the market and said, ‘Who will buy this from me? If I had enough for [buying] a garment, I would not sell this.’”

“I said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin! I sell you a garment on credit until you receive your share [of the public treasury].’”

“So, I sold him the garment [on credit] until the time of distribution of treasury. When he received his share, he paid me for it.”142

  • 1. Al-Kafi: 5/86/8. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 209.
  • 2. Da’a’im al-Islam: 2/14/2.
  • 3. Al-Sara’ir: 2/228, Da’a’im al-Islam: 2/15/9, ‘Awali al-Ali: 3/194/6.
  • 4. Musnad of Zayd: 255.
  • 5. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 390, Bihar al-Anwar: 78/304/1.
  • 6. Al-Amali, Mufid: 3/119, Bihar al-Anwar: 77/422/41.
  • 7. Kanz al-‘Ummal: 16/177/44215.
  • 8. Nahj al-Balagha: Aphorism 390, Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 203, Al-Tusi, Al-Amali: 147.
  • 9. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 15/147.
  • 10. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 53, Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 126.
  • 11. Tariikh al-Ya’qubi: 2/203.
  • 12. Ghurar al-Hikam: 6562, ‘Uyun al-Hikam wa al-Mawa’iz: 357/6044.
  • 13. Qarib al-Asnad: 115/404, Bihar al-Anwar: 103/65/10.
  • 14. Al-Qur’an, 11: 61.
  • 15. Wasa’il al-Shi’a: 13/195/10, Bihar al-Anwar: 93/46 & 47.
  • 16. Qurb al0Asnad: 138/489, Bihar al-Anwar: 100/33/10.
  • 17. Al-Mawa’iz al-‘Adadiya: 55.
  • 18. Al-Kafi: 5/113/1, Man la Yahirahu al-Faqih: 3/158/3580, Al-Khisal: 621/10.
  • 19. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 20/267/103.
  • 20. Al-Kafi: 5/311/32. Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 6/382/1127.
  • 21. Tafsir al-Ayyashi: 1/150/494, Bihar al-Anwar: 103/53/15.
  • 22. Al-Kafi: 5/149/9, Man la Yahdarahu al-Faqih: 3/193/3753, Al-Khisal: 621/10.
  • 23. Al-Kafi: 5/319/59, Man la Yahdarahu al-Faqih: 3/192/3722, ‘Uddat al-Da’i: 72.
  • 24. Nahj al-Balagha: Sermon 53.
  • 25. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 140.
  • 26. Al-Kafi: 5/151/3, Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 7/6/17, Al-Amali, Mufid: 197/31.
  • 27. Al-Ja’fariyat: 238, Da’a’m al-Islam: 2/538/1913.
  • 28. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/547/919, Dhakha’ir al-‘Uqba: 192.
  • 29. Da’a’m al-Islam: 2/538/1913.
  • 30. Tarikh Damishq: 42/409, Al-Musannif fi al-Ahadith wa al-Athar: 5/260/4, Al-Gharat: 1/110.
  • 31. Rabi’ al-Abrar: 4/154.
  • 32. Al-Qur’an: 28: 83.
  • 33. Tarikh Damishq: 42/489, Al-Bidaya wa al-Nahaya: 8/5, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/104.
  • 34. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 1/247/732.
  • 35. Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra: 3/28, Tarikh Damishq: 42/484, Tarikh al-Islam.
  • 36. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 1/249/740.
  • 37. Faa’il al-Sahaba: 2/621/1062, Rabi’ al-Abrar: 4/153.
  • 38. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 1/224/659. Also cf., Al-Gharat: 1/105, Manaqib al-Imam Amir al-Mu’minin: 2/602/1103.
  • 39. Tarikh al-Tabari: 5/156, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh: 2/442.
  • 40. Da’a’im al-Islam: 2/36/80.
  • 41. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 53, Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 140.
  • 42. Waq’atu Siffin: 108, Al-Mi’yar al-Muwazina: 122, also cf., Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 51.
  • 43. Al-Kafi: 3/540/8, Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 4/98/275, Man La Yahzirahu’l faqih: 2/4/1605.
  • 44. One of Baghdad environs.
  • 45. Al-Sunan al-Kubra: 9/345/18736, Usd al-Ghaba: 4/98/3789, Kanz al-‘Ummal: 4/501/11488.
  • 46. A food made of wheat and barley flour.
  • 47. Obviously, he means that if this food is added to, friends and relatives might have added a better food to it; so, he buys to his need and seals the container.
  • 48. Tarikh Damishq: 42/487, Hilyatu’l Awliya: 1/82. Also cf., Al-Mi’yar al-Muwazina: 248.
  • 49. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 26, Bihar al-Anwar: 33//528/719. Also cf., Da’a’im al-Islam: 1/252.
  • 50. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 25, Al-Kafi: 3/536/1, Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 4/96/274.
  • 51. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 53. Also cf., Da’a’im al-Islam: 1/362.
  • 52. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 137.
  • 53. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/371. Tarikh Damishq: 42/476.
  • 54. Al-Gharat: 1/69. Also cf., Manaqib al-Imam Amir al-Mu’minin: 2/32/517.
  • 55. Al-Gharat: 1/49, Tarikh al-Khulafa: 213. Also cf., Hiliyatu’l Awliya: 7/300.
  • 56. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/533/886, Tarikh al-Islam: 3/643.
  • 57. Tarikh Damishq: 42/477, Al-Amwal: 284/673, Kanz al-‘Ummal: 4/584/11703.
  • 58. Muruj al-Dhahab: 2/421.
  • 59. Al-Tusi, Al-Amali: 404/904, Tanbih al-Khawatir: 2/173, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/95.
  • 60. Ibn Athir said, “This is a parable first uttered by ‘Amr, Jadhima’s nephew. He and his friends were picking mushrooms; whenever his friends found a good mushroom, they would put it in their mouth but he would place it in his sleeve to take it to his [maternal] uncle. Ali (a.s.) has implied by this parable that he does not ruin the Muslims’ property; rather, he puts it in its rightful place.” Al-Nihaya: 1/309.
  • 61. Al-Gharat: 1/47, Bihar al-Anwar: 100/60/9.
  • 62. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 2/199, Al-Qarat: 1/60, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/136.
  • 63. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 2/198, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/135.
  • 64. Al-Amwal: 285/675, Hiliyatu’l Awliya: 1/81, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 19/126.
  • 65. Tarikh Damishq: 42/476, Musnad of Ibn Ja’d: 315/2145.
  • 66. Al-Da’awat: 60/150, Bihar al-Anwar: 94/93/9.
  • 67. Al-Ikhtisas: 152, Bihar al-Anwar: 40/107/117.
  • 68. Al-Tusi, Al-Amali: 686/1457, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/111
  • 69. Al-Kafi: 4/31/3, Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 185, Nathr al-Durr: 1/318. Also cf., Al-Amali: 175/6.
  • 70. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 184, Al-Mi’yar al-Muwazina: 112, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 7/40.
  • 71. A region in Fars (province in southern Persia) which Ardashir Babakan developed and includes Shiraz and Kazirun.
  • 72. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 43, Bihar al-Anwar: 33/516/712.
  • 73. Irshad al-Qulub: 321, Al-Daraja al-Rafi’a: 289, Bihar al-Anwar: 28/88/3.
  • 74. A Babylonian dry measure of six ass-loads.
  • 75. Al-Gharat: 1/70, Al-Ikhtisas: 151, Al-Sunan al-Kubra: 6/567/12990.
  • 76. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/376.
  • 77. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/374.
  • 78. Ibid.
  • 79. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/547/920, Dhakha’ir al-‘Uqba: 191, Al-Riya al-Nara: 3/221.
  • 80. Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/111, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/117/24.
  • 81. Tarikh Damishq: 42/476, Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/545/913.
  • 82. Al-Gharat: 1/52, Bihar al-Anwar: 100/60/10.
  • 83. Muruj al-Dhahab: 2/362.
  • 84. Muruj al-Dhahab: 2/380. Also cf., Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 1/250.
  • 85. Al-Jamal: 400.
  • 86. Al-Gharat: 1/44.
  • 87. Nahj al-Balagha: Sermon 180, Al-Gharat: 1/291, Tarikh Tabari: 5/107, Al-Bidayata wa al-Nihaya: 7/316.
  • 88. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 70, Khasa’s al-A’imma: 113, Bihar al-Anwar: 33/521/714.
  • 89. Nahj al-Balagha: Aphorism 328, Rawa al-Wa'izin: 497, ‘Uyun al-Hikam wa al-Mawa'iz: 152/3343.
  • 90. Al-Sunan al-Kubra: 7/37/13206, Kanz al-‘Ummal: 6/528/16840.
  • 91. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/531/883, Al-Musannif fi al-Ahadith wa al-Athar: 8/157/15.
  • 92. Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 6/293/811.
  • 93. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 67, Bihar al-Anwar: 33/497/702.
  • 94. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 53. Also cf., Da’a’im al-Islam: 1/366.
  • 95. Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 141.
  • 96. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 53, Tuhaf al-’Uqul: 132. Also cf., Da’a’im al-Islam: 1/357.
  • 97. Nahj al-Balagha: Letter 26.
  • 98. Da’a’im al-Islam: 1/252, Bihar al-Anwar: 96/85/7.
  • 99. An ancient city in Persia, which Arabs conquered in 660 CE, the Seljuqs set on fire in 1046 CE and was destroyed by earthquake in 1149 CE.
  • 100. Al-Kafi: 1/406/5, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/123/30.
  • 101. Rabi’ al-Abrar: 2/148, Al-Mi‘yar wa’l Muwazina: 251, Manaqib Al al-Amir al-Mu’minin: 2/75.
  • 102. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/373.
  • 103. Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/115, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/52. Also cf., Encyclopedia of Amir al-Mu’minin: IX, 400 (The Leader of the Oppressed).
  • 104. Kashf al-Yaqin: 136/129.
  • 105. Ghurar al-Hikam: 4725.
  • 106. Nahj al-Balagha: Sermon 232, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/110, Ghurar al-Hikam: 3702.
  • 107. A mukatab slave is one who has contracted with his master that if he pays his price he will be freed.
  • 108. Da’a’im al-Islam: 2/310/1171, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/110.
  • 109. Al-Isti’ab: 3/210/1875.
  • 110. Al-Ikhtisas: 160.
  • 111. Ruhba has several meanings. It is the name of a village near Qadisiya; it also means public square as well as the courtyard to mosque. Here it seems to mean the city public square.
  • 112. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/375, Al-Wara’: 90/129, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/108.
  • 113. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 10/250.
  • 114. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/540/901, Al-Musannif fi al-Ahadith wa al-Athar: 8/156/7.
  • 115. Tarikh Damishq: “Tarjumat al-Imam Ali (a.s.)” researched by Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi” (3/182/1223).
  • 116. Qurb al-Asnad: 148/537, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/104/4.
  • 117. Imam Ali, Hasan and Husyan (a.s.) are infallible and never commit mistakes and flaws, nor do they defy each other in action or impugn one another. Thus, if we encountered a hadith that contradicted their infallibility and could not be rationally explained, it would be put aside. The present hadith seems to require some deliberation, especially that the name Abu al-Bukhtari is mentioned in the chain of transmission who is regarded a weak transmitter, and the hadiths related by him alone are rejected.
    Regarding such hadiths, however, it can generally be explained that the demand for extra share has not been the issue; rather, they intended to display the paradigm of an Islamic Rule, and that in such rule nobody is given precedence in consuming the public treasury over others, even for Imam Hasan (a.s.).
  • 118. Al-Ikhtisas: 151, Bihar al-Anwar: 40/106.
  • 119. Al-Musannaf fi al-Ahadith wa’l Athar: 7/622/6, Tarikh al-Tabari: 5/156.
  • 120. Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 10/150/606. Tanbih al-Khawatir: 2/3. Also cf., Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/108.
  • 121. Al-Kafi: 8/182/204, Tanbih al-Khawatir: 2/151, Al-Ikhtisas: 151.
  • 122. A sa’ is about three kilograms in weight.
  • 123. Nahj al-Balagha: Sermon 224. Also cf., Al-Saduq, Al-Amali: 719/988.
  • 124. An ancient city near Kufa in which Al al-Nu’man Mundhar’s house was located; and had many rivers and a better climate than Kufa.
  • 125. Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/108, Bihar al-Anwar: 41/113/23.
  • 126. Al-Gharat: 1/66, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 2/200.
  • 127. Ansab al-Ashraf: 2/370.
  • 128. Al-Ikhtisas: 151.
  • 129. Al-Musannif fi al-Ahadith wa’l Athar: 8/157/18 and 7/622/2, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/109.
  • 130. Al-Khisal: 310/85, Bahar al-Anwar: 41/105/6.
  • 131. Ihqaq al-Haq: 8/539, Al-Manaqib al-Murtawiya: 289.
  • 132. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 1/286/894, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/97.
  • 133. Fada'il al-Sahaba: 1/536/892, Hilyat al-Awliya: 1/82, Al-Riya al-Nara: 3/221.
  • 134. Al-Gharat: 1/68, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 2/200. Also cf., Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/98.
  • 135. Al-Jamal: 422, Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/98.
  • 136. A place around Kufa.
  • 137. Tarikh Damishq: 42/477 and 481, Al-Amwal: 284/671, Hilyat al-Awliya: 1/82.
  • 138. Al-Gharat: 1/55, Manaqib al-Imam Amir al-Mu’minin: 2/33/519. Also cf., Manaqib Al al-Abi Talib: 2/108.
  • 139. This statement means that if the meat being roasted in Ali’s house is procured by unlawful means, he will be chastised for it. Karaker here means tasty meat, as it is from the breast part of camel’s meat, which is its most delicious part. AL-Nahaya: 4/166.
  • 140. Al-Ikhtisas: 152.
  • 141. Tarikh Damishq: 42/476, Al-Amwal: 283/670.
  • 142. Al-Gharat: 1/63, Hilyat al-Awliya: 1/83, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha: 2/200.