Letter 59: To al-Aswad ibn Qutbah, the Governor of Hulwan

ومن كتاب له (عليه السلام)

إلى الاسود بن قُطْبَةَ صاحب جند حُلوان

Now, if the actions of a governor follow the passions he will be greatly hampered in justice. All the people should be equal in right before you, because injustice cannot be a substitute for justice. Avoid that thing the like of which you would not like for yourself. Exert yourself in what Allah has made obligatory on you, hoping for His reward and fearing His chastisement.

أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فإِنَّ الْوَالِيَ إِذَا اخْتَلَفَ هَوَاهُ مَنَعَهُ ذلِكَ كَثِيراً مِنَ الْعَدْلِ، فَلْيَكُنْ أَمْرُ النَّاسِ عِنْدَكَ فِي الْحَقِّ سَوَاءً، فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِي الْجَوْرِ عِوَضٌ مِنَ الْعَدْلِ، فَاجْتَنِبْ مَا تُنْكِرُ أَمْثَالَهُ، وَابْتَذِلْ نَفْسَكَ فِيَما افْتَرَضَ اللهُ عَلَيْكَ، رَاجِياً ثوَابَهُ، وَمُتَخَوِّفاً عِقَابَهُ.

Know that this world is the place of trial. Whoever here wastes any hour of his time will repent it on the Day of Judgement, and nothing can ever make you free of need of what is right. One of the rights on you is that you should protect yourself (from sins) and look after the subjects to your best. The benefit that will come to you from this will be greater than that which will accrue (to people) through you; and that is an end to the matter.

وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الدُّنْيَا دَارُ بَلِيَّة لَمْ يَفْرُغْ صَاحِبُهَا قَطُّ فِيهَا سَاعَةً إِلاَّ كَانَتْ فَرْغَتُهُ عَلَيْهِ حَسْرَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ،أَنَّهُ لَنْ يُغْنِيَكَ عَنِ الْحَقِّ شَيْءٌ أَبَداً، وَمِنَ الْحَقِّ عَلَيْكَ حِفْظُ نَفْسِكَ، وَالاْحْتسَابُ عَلَى الرَّعِيَّةِ بِجُهْدِكَ، فَإِنَّ الَّذِي يَصِلُ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ ذلِكَ أَفْضَلُ مِنَ الَّذِي يَصِلُ بِكَ، وَالسَّلاَمُ.