Examples of Imam Ali’s Moral Virtues

Guidelines to rulers
Abd al-Rahman ibn Sulayman says reporting from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s): Amir al-Muminin (A.S.) sent a man to the desert of Kufah to collect alms, saying:
O servant of Allah! Fear Allah and do not prefer the world to the hereafter. Be careful about what I have entrusted you with. Guard Allah’s right until you reach such and such tribe. Place yourself in their region with out residing near their houses.
Then proceed towards them solemnly so as to be among them. Greet them and say: O servants of Allah! The friend of Allah has sent men to you to receive what is due to Allah from you. Is there anything due to Allah in your property to pay to the friend of Allah? If anyone them of answers negatively, say no more. If a rich man answers affirmatively, go with him, without intimidating him. Do not promise (of anything) but good to him until you reach his camels and cattle.
Do not go among them unless you are given permission, for most of them belong to him. Say to him: O servant of Allah! Will you permit me to go among them? If he says yes, do not go among the camels and the cattle like a rough man who has an upper hand. Divide them into two halves. Then let him choose the one he likes. Do not protest him for his choice. Divide the remaining into two. Keep on this division until what is due to Allah will remain and then collect it. If he asks you to cancel the division, accept it. Mix them altogether and so the same as you have done before until you collect of the camels and cattle what is due to God.
Then take for yourself an agent who is benevolent, Muslim, sympathetic, trustworthy and a safe keeper who does not treat them roughly. Therefore send to me immediately whatever you collect of each of the tribes to be put in a place Allah has commanded. If your emissary brings them here, advise him not to hide the young camel from its mother, nor milk it fully so as to harm the young camel, nor tire it by riding but to ride them equally, to take them to a place to drink water, not to push them from pasture to the plain road when they are having rest and at times it is hard for them, to make use of them softly so that Allah willing, they will come to us fat and fleshy, not tired out or exhausted so that they will be divided according to the Book of Allah and the tradition of Allah’s Messenger.
This attitude will make your reward greater and is closer to your interest. Allah will look at them, you, your endeavor and sympathy with the one who has sent you and the ones who need the alms. Allah’s Messenger has said: Allah favors an agent who does his best to obey his leader with sympathy.60
Fighting Oppression
Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) has reported: One Day when Amir al-Muminin (A.S.) was returning home, found a woman waiting. Seeing him, she came near and said, “I am in trouble. My husband oppresses me. He has turned me out form the house and has threatened to beat me. If I go to him, he will beat me. I request you to do justice between us.” Amir al-Muminin (A.S.) said, “O Servant of Allah! It is too hot now. Wait until it cools down in the afternoon. Then I shall come with you and redress your grievances.” The woman said, “If I stay out too long, I am afraid it may increase his anger.”
For a moment he bowed his head and then raised it up saying to himself:
By Allah, one should not delay getting justice to the oppressed. The right of the oppressed should certainly be taken from the oppressor; and every fear should be taken out from her heart so that she maystand boldly before the oppressor and demand her right.
The Imam (A.S.) further asked where her house was and she told him. He accompanied her to her house, stood at the door and called out loudly, “O master of the house! Peace be upon you.” A young man came out. He was her husband. He did not recognize the Imam (A.S.); he found that an old man of about sixty years had accompanied her and assumed that she had brought him for support and mediation, but he kept silent. At this moment Ali (A.S.) said, “This lady has a complaint against you. She says that you have done injustice to her and turned her out of the house. Besides you have threatened to beat her. I have come here to tell you to fear Allah and be kind to your wife.”
The man said, “In what way does it concern you if I have not treated my wife well? Yes, I had threatened to beat her, but now, since she has brought you to plead for her, I shall throw her into fire and burn her alive.”
Ali (A.S.) was disturbed by the impudence of the man. Drawing out his sword, he said, “I am admonishing you from bad deeds but you are replying me in such manner clearly saying to burn this woman in fire! Do you think there is no authority in this world?” His loud voice drew the attention of the passers by and a huge crowd gathered. Whoever came saluted him respectfully saying, “Peace be on you Amir al-Muminin (A.S.).” When the rude young man realized as to whom he was talking, he trembled and supplicated, “O Amir al-Muminin (A.S.)! Forgive me. I confess my faults and promise that henceforth I shall obey my wife.” Ali (A.S.) turned to the woman and told her to go to the house and cautioned her not to behave in such a manner that her husband had to be angry again.61
29. Al-Manaqib: 1112/2
30. Al-Kafi: 268/7, H. 40
31. Al-Amali: 467, H. 10
32. Al-Manaqib: 114/2
33. Al-Manaqib: 115/2
34. Bihar al-Anwar, 54/41, H. 1
35. Al-Manaqib: 104/2
36. Al-Mahasin: 629/2, 12, H. 104
37. Hilyat al-Awliya: 139/4
38. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 65/17
39. Al-Manaqib: 98/2
40. Al-Gharat: 35/1
41. Al-Gharat: 36/1
42. Al-Gharat: 46/1
43. Ihqaq al-Haqq; 539/8
44. Kashf al-Ghummah: 173/1
45. Al-Manaqib: 97/2
46. The Path of Ali: 42
47. Al-Manaqib: 74/2
48. Al-Manaqib: 76/2
49. The path of Ali: 53
50. Kashf al-Yaqin: 86
51. Kashf al-Ghummah: 163/1
52. Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah: 430/2
53. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 253/11
54. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 201/2
55. Al-Gharat: 55/1
56. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 249/1
57. Nahj al-Balaghah: 880, Maxim, 412
58. Jami al-Akhbar: 138
59. Al-Gharat: 65/1
60. Al-Gharat: 75/1
61. Al-Manaqib: 106/2

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