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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Political Thought of Ali

Functionaries of the State

Ali held that only such persons should be appointed as the functionaries of the state who spoke the truth, however unpalatable it might be. The functionaries of the state should fear God, and they should perform their duties with pious intentions, good faith, and the fear of God. They should be scrupulously honest. They should not oppress the people. They should be paid reasonable remuneration so that they are not beguiled into monetary temptations. There should be a good system of espionage to watch the working of the functionaries of the state at various levels. Ali held that good care should be taken of the soldiers. They should be respected and treated kindly. Only pious and holy men with fear of God should be appointed as Qadis, and they should administer justice without fear or favor in accordance with the commandments of God. They should not be greedy and should not make errors in their judgments. The businessmen and traders should be protected, and proper facilities should be provided for the development of trade and industry. Ali laid down that the government was under an obligation to insure that prices of commodities were kept at a reasonable level, and the businessmen were not allowed to make exorbitant profit. The functionaries of the state had to take steps to insure that there was no hoarding or black marketing. Ali enjoined that public funds were to be administered as a trust. Liberal allowances were to be paid to the people. The state should avoid ostentation. Public funds should not be wasted. Only as much should be spent as was absolutely necessary.

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