When morality versus power, history tells us that in one of the battles, when Imam Ali (A.S) was having a break and he started repairing his shoe, the Sage of the nation Abdullah Ibn Abbas approached him and said to him, “O Abul Hassan, do you think that this is the right time for repairing your shoes?” He thought that when somebody is focused on the battlefield, he shouldn’t take care of something else. So, when he was surprised and asked Imam Ali about it, the Imam (A.S) responded that, “what do you think is the value of this slipper? How much is it worth?” So of course, Ibn Abbas was embarrassed to say anything about it. The Imam said “by Allah, the value of the slipper’s is less than the authority over the Muslim nation if the person is not able to secure morality, to support the truth, and abolish the falsehood and immorality”. When seeking power clashes with moral values and ethics, there are people who prefer to stick to power, to remain in authority even if it is clashing with moral values. For example, when we see that on many occasions people who supported the Islamic State, they didn’t bother with taking the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people, they did not respect for the lives of others, their properties, their dignities and everything in their mind was summarised in power and remaining in power.
We think of politicians, sometimes they promise people if they come to power, they will do this and that, in order to get the votes, they give false promises. But when it comes to practice, they forget all those promises and neglect all the morality of keeping and honouring the promises. If we go back again to history, and the battle of Safeen when there was confrontation between the troops of Imam Ali and the troops of Mu’awia, Mu’awia decided to deny access to Uphrates , to stop people who were in the camp of Imam Ali from having access to water, in order to force them, to corner them and that would lead to his victory, gaining power over them. This is wrong. It does not fit with the Islamic principles. Why? Because in the ethics of warfare, no one is allowed to poison the water, to stop the enemy or those who are opposing them from having access to water. Then it is not allowed to use the chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction. Those superpowers think that there is no problem in bombarding millions of people in order to remain in power, but it is immoral. Here is the clash between keeping the power and observing the morality and ethical obligations. On this occasion which I mentioned after a while, the commander of the army under Imam Ali (A.S), Malik Ashtar managed to expel those people who sanctioned and those who stood to make a barrier between the followers of Imam Ali and the water, they managed to expel them and now they gained the authority and the full control of the water. So, some of them came to Imam Ali and said to him “let us do exactly the same”. He said “no, in no way. Because if they break the law, if they disrespect the ethical and moral values, we are not going to treat them in the same way. Let them have water because it is immoral to fight people with sanctions, with depriving them from their rights”. Nowadays, we see that the imperialists, the superpowers, they exercise maximum of injustice and atrocity towards those who don’t bend, who don’t follow, who don’t obey them. And they claim by doing so, “we are fighting the powers, we are fighting the politicians, we are fighting those who are considered to be rulers”, but indeed they punish and do every atrocity to people, the innocent people not to the rulers.
Another example of history, we find it as we are commemorating the martyrdom of Lady Fatima peace be upon her, the only daughter of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) when they confiscated Fadak from her. The justification for that was “that we need to support the budget, the other needs of the nation” and unfortunately, they exercised and committed heinous acts, the most dreadful things were committed and insult was to Lady Fatima (S.A) which led to her martyrdom. To seek the power, to say that “we are supporting the authority of Islamic state” and by doing so they confiscate the right of others, especially the very family of the Prophet is wrong. And now we face something new in our time, what is called the deal of the century. When again the Palestinians are mistreated, the occupiers try to expand and extend their authority over the lands that they occupied and the justification for that is that “we are looking for peace”. So, how can you guarantee and secure peace by doing maximum of injustice and murder and confiscating lands and invading the whole territory of others, just to stay in power and keep that authority in their control only?
Brothers and sisters, when there is a clash between power and morality, Imam Ali (A.S) the very student of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) says that, “if the authority not over the land, even over all galaxies and universities, such authority is offered to me with the condition that I disobey Allah in the slightest way, the slightest way means that to take one seed from an ant, I’m not going to do that”. Why? Because, the ruler must stick to the morality, the law of Sharia to the teachings of the Quran. So, here political plans and projects which are not in line with the teachings of the Quran are not acceptable at all. In the time, again Imam Ali was governing as the Caliph, as the full authority in Kufa, when his own brother Aqil, came to request some extra share in the Baytul Mal (budget) for his children, the Imam says that “I saw that how poverty had its impact on the children of Aqil”, his own nephews, but he refused to misuse that power as the uncle of these children, to give them something more than they deserve in comparison to other members of the Muslim nation. So, brothers and sisters what we observe nowadays in Iraq, the corruption and people who stick to power and remain to exercise their authority even this leads to corruption, stealing the budget and money which belongs to all people of Iraq. Again, that is a source of what? Source of injustice, that is the reason that we see all this bloodshed and the waste of money going here and there and again this is the clash between morality and power.
To conclude, always whatever we seek, it must be in line with what Allah orders us to do. Allah orders us all human beings stick to justice, fairness and does not permit the misuse of other people’s property or causing damage to the lives and dignity of other people. Here, we have to see that the priority is with morality, with ethical issues and principles and that is what secures and guarantees us to walk in the path of Iman and Islam.