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Imam Ali and Political Leadership

the Divine law, Imām identifies judgment based on genuinely fixed Islamic rules as disuniting and its execution as detrimental to the foundation of the government. Therefore, he did not permit any judgment to be made on that basis in order to prevent the society from falling prey to disunity. This is why he ordered Shurayh the following:
إِقضِ بِما كُنتَ تَقضي ، حَتّى يَجتَمِعَ أمرُ النّاسِ.Judge as you have been judging (before), so that the affairs of people are set together and organized.

Six: Security Policies

An insecure and chaotic society is more like a lawless jungle than being a human society. From the perspective of Imām Ali (a.s.), a society devoid of peace and security is the worst place to be. Imām (a.s.) regards the restoration of peace and security to the society as among the most important reasons for his acceptance of government and he was therefore highly concerned with security. His principles and procedures for security policies and his attempts in maintaining security among his people are listed as follows:

1. Establishing an Efficient Intelligence System

Although in Imām Ali’s (a.s.) code of conduct (sira) no reference is made to an establishment entitled ‘intelligence organization’, yet there are various texts concerning intelligence missions and the measures taken by him in his ruling days on the basis of reports gathered secretly. These all suggest that Imām’s government enjoyed an efficient and vigilant establishment. Secret investigations and collection of various reports in relation to internal security, all sorts of military information and the behavior of administrators were the major responsibility of this organization. Unfortunately, there is nothing in hand of the details regarding the above-mentioned organizations, but through the outcomes of Imām’s decisions and the way he made them, it is clear that such an establishment existed. This organization can be regarded as one or even more than one intelligence systems.


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difference in judgments would disrupt the establishment of justice and create disunity in the society. He enjoins then the judges to discuss and consult with each other concerning the things they disagree on, in order to achieve a consensus, or else take the issue to the leader and submit to his verdict. This means that it is in fact the responsibility of the leader to create a unity of judicial procedure in all judgments.

7. Equality of All before the Law

Imām Ali (a.s.) stressed the equality of all people in the implementation of rulings. In his (a.s.) system of ruling, all people are equal before the law, and the Judiciary enjoys such a high status and firm station that it can execute the law for all people, and people must also submit to the verdicts of the judges and the judiciary irrespective of their social status. In his doctrines, Imām stressed on this equality and, despite his greatness, reverence and lofty status in his knowledge and action, he would humbly stand before his state judiciary and answer to the questions of his own appointed judges. Doing so, he was indicating the importance of the judiciary system and safeguarding the station of judgment and practically protecting people’s rights so as to set an example for all people and for future generations.

8. The Status of the Interests of the Islamic State in the Issuing of Verdicts

We previously mentioned that Imām Ali (a.s.) never sacrificed truth for interests and never took a stand for the sake of specific interests. He was a leader, leader of the people and a protector of the state and at the service of all. He therefore placed the highest value and significance on the most superior expedience, which was the protection of the state that belongs to the people and is at their service.
Imām emphasizes that in judgments the state’s interests should be taken into consideration. In his (a.s.) system of government, nothing can hinder the carrying out of the genuine laws of Islam in the Judiciary, nevertheless the state’s interests have a special status in the implementation of laws. In one case, due to certain social, cultural and political circumstances and also the people’s particular notion of

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