In this session the Ayatollah discusses the Nahj al-Balaghah and the principles of the ‘Alawi government, its importance, and examples of governance.
The first principle that is mentioned was taking precision in dealing with the public treasury. This was already discussed.
The second principle is that the Islamic leader must live in the same class level as the indigent people of the society.
There are a few points that were discussed regarding indigent people:
First: It is an Islamic command to like indigent people. We must be aware of their pains and must show compassion for them. There are many traditions that state that we must love the impoverished and this is extremely important for the scholars.
There is an ethical point to this as well: when one sits with poor people and compares his life to theirs he will become optimistic about his life. The opposite is true with sitting and socializing with rich people.
Second: Sitting and socializing with poor people.
Third: The Islamic leader must live as a poor person. Not being attached to the world is of utmost importance. The Prophet (s) told Imam Ali (a): “O’ Ali! Allah has adorned you with a beauty and no other servant has been adorned with a beauty that Allah loves more than this. Your beauty is not being attached to the world and love for the impoverished while the impoverished love you.”
The 160th sermon of Nahj al-Balaghah is a sermon where Imam Ali (a) describes the characteristics of the prophets including Prophet Muhammad (s). At the end of the sermon it states: “By Allah, I have been putting patches in my shirts so much that now I feel shy of the patcher. Someone asked me whether I would not put it off, but I said, “Get away from me.” Only in the morning do people (realised the advantage of and) speak highly of the night journey.”
There is a tradition from Imam Baqir (a) which states that Imam Ali ruled the government for five years but did not leave anything as inheritance due to poverty.
A person who has a social position in the society and is attached to the world, from the Islamic point of view, would not be able to perform his duties. This is something that is necessary for scholars as well. The Prophet (s) said that a person who gains knowledge but whose attachment to the world does not lesson to that same degree will distance himself from Allah.
This sermon has many interesting topics in it. The beginning of it is about tawhid and was read because it is good to read the words of the Imams. This part of the sermon states:
O’ my Allah! Praise be to Thee for what Thou takest and givest and for that from which Thou curest or with which Thou afflictest; praise which is the most acceptable to Thee, the most like by Thee and the most dignified before Thee; praise which fills all Thy creation and reaches where Thou desirest; praise which is not veiled from Thee and does not end, and whose continuity does not cease.
We do not know the reality of Thy greatness except that we know that thou art Ever-living and Self-subsisting by Whom all things subsist. Drowsiness or sleep do not overtake Thee, vision does not reach Thee and sight does not grasp Thee. Thou seest the eyes and countest the ages. Thou holdest (people as slaves) by foreheads and feet. We see Thy creation and wonder over it because of Thy might, and describe it as (a result of) Thy great authority; whereas what is hidden from us, of which our sight has fallen short, which our intelligence has not attained, and between which and ourselves curtains of the unknown have been cast, is far greater.
He who frees his heart (from all other engagements) and exerts his thinking in order to know how Thou established Thy throne, how Thou created Thy creatures, how Thou suspended the air in Thy skies and how Thou spread Thy earth on the waves of water, his eyes would return tired, his intelligence defeated, his ears eager and his thinking awander.
It is interesting that at the beginning Imam Ali speaks about the greatness of the world and then he speaks about not being attached to it. The Ayatollah mentioned that when he was younger he studied a little about the universe. He said that there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the world and that in each galaxy there are over 100 billion stars. If you multiply this number you would get 10,000,000,000,000,000 stars. This shows the greatness and enormity of the universe.