Code of Conduct
“Verily, the religion before God is Islam” (Qur’an, 3 : 19).
Islam has given mankind a perfect code of conduct. Man from every walk of life have been clearly instructed how to perform their duties, how to behave. Islamic law is based on Justice; Islamic ethics, on love and grace.
The most strict rules have been laid down for those who enter the public life, like judges, governors etc. The Holy Prophet once sent a man as a Qadhi to Southern Arabia. When he came back, he brought many gifts given to him during his stay there. When our Holy Prophet came to know about it, he demanded that all the gifts be brought to him to be distributed among poor. The ex-judge protested that it was his personal Property, as it was given as gifts. The Prophet said: “Had you gone there in your private capacity without any official credential, these gifts would have been your private property. But as long as you were my Qadhi, the things presented to you were not ‘gift’: it was ‘bribe’ to please you so that they might benefit from you.” The man had to return all his “gift”.
This clear cut rule is worth following by all public leaders. Then they would not have to worry how much a Member of Parliament may accept from his “clients”; or how much “expenses” can be spent on pleasure trips.
Hazrat Ali (A.S.) was informed of a dinner attended by the Governor of Basra. He at once wrote him a long letter, some sentences of which are sufficient to show how Islam expects its officers to behave.
“I have been told that a young man of Basra invited you to a dinner and you hurried to it. Fine dishes were brought out for you; luxurious plates were served. I never thought that you would accept a dinner to which only rich were invited, and from which poor were excluded……………..See that I, your Imam, am satisfied from his world with two old clothes and two daily bread. I know that you cannot do as I am doing, but at least you should try to help me with your efforts, your fear of God and your behavior; because, by God, I did not collect from this world of yours any gold, nor did I amass any riches…………
“Should I remain content that people call me ‘Amir-ul -Mumeneen’ (leader of the faithful) without sharing with them their hardships, without setting for them a model to be followed……………..”
Many of his letters to governors and officers show this trend when he exhorts them to live as ordinary men, without erecting barriers between them and the people; to behave in such a way “that big people cannot use you to oppress poor ones, and poor are not discouraged from obtaining justice even against the richest and biggest man”.