The Friday Message - Issue No: 303 - How do you connect to others?

najafSalamun alaykum,

Imposed by the people:

In the year 1215 Magna Carta, meaning Great Charter, was issued. This manuscript, in Latin, was the first document forced onto an English King- King John- by a group of his subjects. The clauses of the agreement included proclamation by the King for rights pertaining to freedom, respect for certainlegal procedures, appeal against unlawful imprisonment and accept that the will of the King could be bound by the law. In summary it was a contract between the Ruler – King - and his subjects where the powers of the ruler were limited.

Issued by the Ruler:

Five centuries before Magna Carta was drawn, history records publication of another governance document. Unlike the Magna Carta of England that had been imposedupon the Ruler by his subjects, this document was issued by the Ruler, for the people, to his Governor. This epistle was written by Imam Ali bin Abi Talib a.s. in the year 658 (38 A.H.) to his Governor of Egypt, Maalik ibn Al Harith Al Ashtar.

'Magna Carta' from Kufa:

This Great Charter, authored by Imam Ali a.s., the Ruler based in Kufa, is a summary of the principles of administration and justice forthe subjects under his domain as dictated by Islam. It contains such basic principles of the fulfilment of Allah's obligations, the duties and obligations of rulers, dispensation of justice, the protection of human rights without distinction of religion or community, the care of the destitute and the poor and the provision of support to the low and down trodden, the establishment of peace and security and the prosperity and wellbeing of the people.

The letter can be found in the book: Nahjul Balagha Letter No: 53.

Two kinds of people:

The contents of this valuable epistle can also serve to guide on the interaction between people. Here below is a passage from this letter outlining the theme of the whole document:

"Maalik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous beast and as if your success lies in devouring them.

Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: either they are your brothers in religion or they are human beings like you."

Interestingly the above paragraph was quoted by the former Secretary General of United Nations, Kofi A. Annan, in a speech delivered on 10th December, 1997 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights - http://www.un.org/rights/50/dpi1937.htm

How does Man connect today?

We live in a world full of injustice, oppression and strife. Has man lost the supreme value of relating to one another as human beings? How deep and wide does kindness, compassion and love radiate to one another? As a Muslim how do you interact with people around you? What does Imam Ali a.s. expect from his Shia?

Reflect on this as you celebrate the auspicious birth date of Amiral Muminin Imam Ali bin Abi Talib a.s.

Heartiest Felicitations on the Happy and Auspicious Occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Amiral Muminin Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.)

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah

Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat

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