A Timeless And Priceless Advice Worthy Of The Ears Of Nigeria's New Leaders.

Why the Newly elected President and Governors must read Caliph Ali Ibn Talib’s letter to Malik Al Ashtar before the Swearing-in Ceremony? Islamic scholars regard the 7th century letter written and sent by Caliph Ali to Malik Al Ashtar when Ali appointed him as Governor of Egypt in 656 A.D as one of the most eloquent, timeless and universally applicable blueprints for good governance in the world; indeed, the UN in its ‘2002 Arab Human Development Report’ “called the rulers of the world to follow the example of his (Ali) sound and humanitarian method in ruling which revealed the spirit of social justice and peace”  - Here are some excerpts from Ali’s letter: (1) “Be it known to you, O, Malik, that I am sending you as Governor to a country which in the past has experienced both just and unjust rule. Men will scrutinize your actions with a searching eye, even as you used to scrutinize the actions of those before you, and speak of you even as you did speak of them” (2) “The fact is that the public speak well of only those who do good. It is they who furnish the proof of your actions; hence the richest treasure that you may covet would be the treasure of good deeds (3) “Keep your desires under control and deny yourself that which you have been prohibited from, for, by such abstinence alone, you will be able to distinguish between what is good to them and what is not" (3) “Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them.." (4) “Some indeed do commit mistakes. But forgive them even as you would like God to forgive you” (5) “Bear in mind that you are placed over them, even as I am placed over you. And then there is God even above me who has given you the position of a Governor in order that you may look after those under you and to be sufficient unto them. And you will be judged by what you do for them” (6) “Do not set yourself against God, for neither do you possess the strength to shield yourself against His wrath, nor can you place yourself outside the pale of His mercy..." and "Do not rouse yourself to anger, for no good will come out of it. Do not say: “I am your overlord and dictator, and that you should, therefore, bow to my commands”, as that will corrupt your heart, weaken your faith in religion and create disorder in the state” (7) “Should you be elated by power or ever feel in your mind the slightest symptoms of pride and arrogance, then look at the power and majesty of the Divine governance of the Universe (God) over which you have absolutely no control” (8) “Beware! Never put yourself against the majesty and grandeur of God and never imitate His omnipotence; for God has brought low every rebel of God and every tyrant of man. Let your mind respect through your actions the rights of God and the rights of man, and likewise, persuade your companions and relations to do likewise. For otherwise, you will be doing injustice to yourself and injustice to humanity” (9) “Thus both man and God will turn unto your enemies. There is no hearing anywhere for one who makes an enemy of God himself. He will be regarded as one at war with God until he feels contrition and seeks forgiveness as nothing deprives man of divine blessings or excites divine wrath against him more easily than cruelty. Hence it is, that God listens to the voice of the oppressed and waylays the oppressor” (10) Ali continued: "Seek the company of the learned and the wise in search of solving the problems of your region..." and "Choose the best among your people to administer justice…” (11) Ali advised further that leaders should not deal with people with hatred or preconceived ideas as it causes disunity and inhibits peace and progress as Ali put it: “Unfasten every knot of hatred in the people and cut away from yourself the cause of every enmity” instead “Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them” (12) That he should listen to constructive criticisms, not praises and should not hide from the people but keep the doors open to them or in his words: “Fix a time for complainants wherein you make yourself free for them (citizens), and sit with them in common audience and feel humble therein for the sake of Allah who created you” (13) Ali went further: “Do not keep yourself secluded from the people for a long time, because the seclusion of those in authority from the subjects is a kind of narrow-sightedness and causes ignorance about their affairs” (14) Based on Q4:58/Amanah, Q5:9/Justice, Q49:13/Equality, Q3:26/Allah gives and takes power, Q3:159 & Q42:38/Shura, etc. Ali’s letter was actually spelling out the qualities, duties and responsibilities of a good leader (15) Of course, Nigeria would be a better, prosperous, just and peaceful country to live if politicians and leaders can be a little bit God-fearing and listen to the great lessons in Caliph Ali’s letter, otherwise called ‘Islamic Governance Blueprint’. The hopes of Nigerians are high and so we pray to Allah to guide this incoming govt to adopt the governance best practices in Ali's letterπŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸΏπŸ™

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