A letter to the collectors of taxes and revenues. | Nahj Al Balagha Letters
A letter to the collectors of taxes and revenues.
A letter from the creature of Allah, Ali bin Abi Taalib (a) to the collectors of taxes and revenues. One who does not care for his salvation, will never think of providing for his life after death with good deeds and, therefore, he will not be able to escape the punishment.
Be it known to you that the responsibilities laid down upon you are a few but the Divine reward reserved for you is very high. Allah has forbidden you from tyranny and injustice; and even if there had not been any fear of punishment for these inequities, the mere reward of being just, kind and human would have been such that there could not have been any excuse for not trying to achieve it.
Treat the tax-payers with equity and justice and think over their wishes with patience and kindness because you are the treasurer of the subjects, representative of the people and the officer on behalf of higher authority. Do not force anybody to forsake his requirements and to do without his necessities (so that he may pay the taxes).
In collection of taxes and revenues do not sell their winter and summer clothing, their slaves or such of their animals as are of service to them, do not resort to whipping, do not touch their property, be they Muslims or non-Muslims, but if you find there armaments or weapons or horses of the non-Muslims for which there is a danger and a possibility of these being used in war against the State, you may confiscate them.
Such things as are dangerous to the safety of the country should not be left in the possession of unreliable persons so that they should not prove harmful and injurious to the Muslim State and its people.
Be kind to the people, treat the army well, do not grudge to do your best in helping the subjects and in guarding the religion.
These two duties are obligations laid down upon you by Allah because, in return to the Blessings and Bounties which He has granted us, He wants you and me to be thankful to Him as much as we can, and to help His cause to the best of our ability. You must remember that even our strength and capabilities are His Blessings granted to us.