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Shurayh bin Haarith had been holding an important post during the previous regimes. Imam Ali (a) had also appointed him as a Qadhi (Chief Judge) of Kufa. It was brought to the notice of Imam Ali (a) that he had purchased a house for himself in the city (rather a costly and expensive house, perhaps more expensive and luxurious than his status demanded and that too rather at a cheaper price).
Ash’ath bin Qays was a hypocrite and time-sever. For sometime he attached himself to Imam Ali (a) pretending to be his sincere follower. The ulterior motive behind this was to amass wealth and to grasp power. Imam Ali (a) had appointed him as the Governor of Azarbaijan. He started collecting and procuring wealth by every means possible. When this was reported to Imam Ali (a), he wrote the following letter to Ash’ath: On receipt of this letter he wanted to abscond with the wealth so amassed but good counsels prevailed upon him and he was persuaded by Hujr bin Adi Kindi to got to Imam Ali (a). When his accounts were audited he had to surrender 400,000 dirhams.
The following is a letter to Mu’awiya and in it Imam Ali (a) has used the same principle that he applied on Talha and Zubayr. Imam Ali (a) in this letter has raised all the points which were once quoted against him.
Jarir bin Abdullah Bajali was sent to Damascus. He was carrying a letter for Mu’awiya. Some delay occurred in his return. Imam Ali (a) felt anxious about his safety and wrote the following letter to him:
The following is a letter to one of his governors. It speaks volumes about the ways of Divine Rule. It shows how Imam Ali (a) was training the Muslims to behave tolerantly towards other religions, how minority was to be treated and what should those who hold a different creed, expect of a Muslim ruler.
The following is a letter from Imam Ali (a) to Ziyad who was appointed as the Commissioner of Basra by Abdullah bin Abbas, the Governor of the provinces of Ahwaz, Basra, Kirman and Fars. Ziyad was from the very beginning dishonest and corrupt, a man who would not stop short at any vice or sin to gain his end. He had come from a very low family so much so that nobody knew his father’s name; his mother was a harlot. Ummul Mu’minin Aisha had nicknamed him as â€œHis father’s sonâ€ and he was known all over Arabia by this insulting name.
After returning from the Battle of Siffin, Imam Ali (a) gave certain pieces of advice to one of his sons. Some historians consider him to be Imam Hasan (a) while others are of the opinion that he was Muhammad Hanafiya. He wrote them in the form of a will. They deal with almost every aspect of life which goes a long way to make a man successful in life â€“ brave, humane, generous, virtuous and pious.
Muhammad, son of Abu Bakr (the First Caliph) was the favourite disciple and companion of Imam Ali (a). Imam Ali (a) had treated and trained him like his own child and had appointed him as the Governor of Egypt. Later on Imam Ali (a) called him back from Egypt and sent Maalik Ashtar as the Governor. Muhammad thought that he was deposed and felt sad about it. When Imam Ali (a) came to know of this he wrote the following letter to him.
When Muhammad bin Abi Bakr was killed in Egypt by the guerrillas of Mu’awiya through disloyalty of his (Muhammad’s) own companions and officers, Imam Ali (a) felt sad and wrote the following letter to Ibn Abbas.
The following is a letter written by Imam Ali (a) to his brother Aqil. It so happened that Zahaak bin Qays Fahri was sent to Makkah by Mu’awiya with a force of guerrillas to ravage the city. Imam Ali (a) had sent Hujr bin Adi Kindi to defend the city of Makkah. Hujr defeated Zahaak. Aqil at that time was in Makkah. He wrote to Imam Ali (a) offering his voluntary services saying that the Quraysh were not sincerely serving the cause of Islam and were bent upon the enmity of Imam Ali (a). In reply Imam Ali (a) wrote:
The following is a letter written to a Governor who left Imam Ali (a) and ran away with Public Treasury, this man was a cousin of Imam Ali (a) and was his confidant. Some historians say that he was Abdullah bin Abbas who was Imam’s cousin and had once behaved in this way.
The following is a letter which Imam Ali (a) wrote to Umar bin Abi Salama Mukhzumi when Imam Ali (a) called him back from the Governorship of Bahrain and appointed Nu’man bin Ajlan Zuraqi in his place.
Ziyad was the son of a slave named Ubayd, his mother was Sumaiyya, a slave-girl of Haarith bin Kalda, a woman of flexible virtues and very elastic conscience. But Ziyad grew up to be an intelligent man and a very good orator. Everybody knew that Ziyad was born out of wedlock. Umar during his caliphate, did not give him any chance but later on he became a governor and Imam Ali (a) had allowed him to retain that post. When Mu’awiya came to power, he started corresponding secretly with Ziyad, inviting him to leave the side of Imam Ali (a) and to join him, offering him the bribe of being declared the son of Abu Sufyan. When Imam Ali (a) came to know of these secret messages he wrote the following letter to Ziyad.
Uthman bin Hunayf was the Governor of Basra. He was one of those persons who were held in respect by Imam Ali (a). During his governorship Ibn Hunayf once attended a feast given by a rich man of Basra. It was a very sumptuous dinner. When Imam Ali (a) heard of this he wrote the following letter to him. It shows that the more Imam Ali (a) liked a person the more severely he judged his activities.
This is a letter written by Imam Ali (a) to Talha and Zubayr and sent to them through Imran bin Hasin Khuza’i. Imran was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s). He had embraced Islam before the Battle of Khaybar and from then onwards he remained in his company. He was a very pious person and one of the very authentic narrators of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s). Besides Nahjul Balaagha, this letter has also been narrated by Abu Ja’far Iskaafi in his famous book â€œAl-Maqamat fi Manaqib Amir al-Mu’mininâ€.
A letter from Imam Ali (a) to Kumayl bin Ziyad Nakha’i, expressing his displeasure and rebuking him in leaving his province unguarded and allowing the army of the enemy to enter and carry on loot. He was the Governor of Hayit and had not properly defended the province against the Syrian guerrillas. After their attack and loot he wanted permission of Imam Ali (a) to take revenge upon the Syrian province of Kirkisiya. Imam Ali (a) replied to him in the following letter.
Abdullah bin Qays, better known in history as Abu Musa Ash’ari, was a man with weak faith, more inclined to look after his worldly interest than the cause of religion. At the beginning of the Caliphate of Imam Ali (a) he was in Kufa.
Abu Musa Ash’ari (Abdullah bin Qays) wrote a letter to Imam Ali (a) from the place where decision of the arbitration took place. Imam Ali (a) wrote to him the following letter in reply. Sayyid bin Yahya Amawi has quoted this letter in his book Al-Maghazi.