IMAM ALI (AS) Tells Us How to Live a Moral Life!
Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), the cousin and son-in-law of the Holy Prophet (sawa), is internationally recognised by Muslims and non-Muslims alike for his extraordinary commitment to ethics.
On the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annaan issued a powerful statement highlighting the excellent example of Imam Ali (as).
He said, “The Caliph Ali Bin Abi Talib is considered the fairest governor who appeared during human history (After the Prophet Muhammad)”.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), is revered in Islam by all sects, whether as the first Imam succeeding the Holy Prophet (saw), or as the fourth Rightly Guided Caliph. In our shared history, we have the ultimate champion of human rights. And yet, much of the Muslim world, and beyond, is filled with corruption, oppression, a lack of ethics, and negligence of the value of human life.
In a famous 7th century letter to Malik-al-Ashtar, the governor of Egypt of the time, Imam Ali (as) imparts timeless pearls of wisdom on how to be a just, equitable, and moral leader and person in general.
Here are 11 golden principles from his letter that apply to leaders and the general masses alike:
1. Have a system of checks and balances that oversees all activities in government.
2. Only the most qualified and honest individuals should be chosen to fulfil a particular role. This points to the fact that there is no place for nepotism in Islam. Imam Ali (as) emphasized that favouritism was a source of injustice.
3. Stay away from public property that others have equal rights to; do not take it for yourself or for your relatives.
4. Ensure that staff is consulted on all decision-making, so that no unilateral decisions are made. This eliminates the risk of authoritarianism.
5. Give credit where it is due by acknowledging and appreciating the work of others. This boosts morale and increases productivity, collaboration, and willingness to provide high quality work. There is much research being done today in the field of psychology demonstrating the effectiveness of leaders who adhere to this principle in yielding tangible results, both economically and socially!
In Regular Daily Life
1. Practice justice and social equality in all matters
2. Create a positive environment for others.
3. Create open, clear, and regular communication
4. Treat others with respect and forgive their slips and flaws, whether they were made intentionally or out of neglect.
5. Stay away from negative people who only seek out the flaws of others.
6. Be humble always
Do today’s leaders always adhere to the above principles?
Are they always the most qualified and the most honest?
In our own lives, do we practice the highest standard of ethics?
Do we truly follow the ethics of Imam Ali (as), the leader of our faith, to whom we look up and revere?
Do we make decisions fairly, or is there favouritism in our circles?
Are we forgiving of others’ shortcomings?
Do we actively seek to create a positive atmosphere?
How can the way we communicate with others improve so as to build, not break, relationships?
May humanity, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, unite under the principles of Imam Ali (as) by adopting the highest level of ethics in serving and supporting the global community.
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