What should we do to have an Ideal Society?

What is best in a community? What an ideal society should be? In other word, what can be done to ensure the interests of the people and the government? Of course, anyone does not deserve to rule over the people but what should we do on the assumption of presence of the being righteous ruler?

“The most important of these rights which God the Almighty has made incumbent are the rights of the ruler incumbent upon the people, and the rights of the people incumbent upon the ruler.” (Imam Ali, Nahjul Balaghah, sermon no .207)

These mutual rights are very important because “The affairs of the people shall not improve unless the rulers are good people [and also] rulers will not be good people unless the people are hard-working and steadfast.” (Ibid)

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So, what will happen if these rights are respected? “If the two respect each other’s rights, then their religion will be honored, and its practice will survive. Then the signs of justice will be established firmly, and divine traditions will take their natural course. If these principles are recognized and these rights are respected, then there will be an era of improvement and progress. The rule of government will last, and the enemies will be disappointed.” (Ibid)

Yes dears! To having an ideal society, first a righteous ruler must be appointed and then people and ruler should try to respect each other’s rights.

Rule Can Never Last With Oppression

One of the main things for a good ruler is justice. It can be said that no issue in Islam is as important as the issue of justice. The justice is one of the major principles of religion, and also is one of the firm ideological foundations of the Muslims. “God commands justice, the doing of good…” (The Holy Qur’an, 16:90)

It is not surprising to realize that justice has been recognized as a factor of sustaining a rule. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him And His Progeny) said: “Rule can be sustained with unbelief, but it can never last with oppression.” (Al-Amali, p.310)

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A just ruler must act similar to a kind father, must not violate people’s rights and must treat everyone under his rule equally.
This was put into practice during the rule of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Muslims) and the Imam made the following recommendations to Malik al-Ashtar in his well-known letter to him: “Let your heart harbor feelings of mercy for your subjects, and love and kindness for them. Do not be like a rapacious beast of prey against them, seizing them in order to devour them, for people are in two groups: either they are your brothers in religion or they are equal to you in creation.” (Nahjul balagha, letter no.53)

However, Islam has invited all men to justice especially rulers.

The Mutual Rights of the People and the Ruler

In a civilized society, the government and the people should do their duty, because only in this way that everyone will get their rights. In this regard, the sacred religion of Islam takes into consideration concerning the mutual Rights of the People and the Ruler. Imam Ali (the first Imam of Muslims) has said: “O people! I have rights incumbent upon you, and you have rights incumbent upon me.” (Nahjul Balaghah, sermon no.34)

First, Imam has mentioned the rights of people incumbent upon ruler: “Your rights incumbent upon me include my advising you, paying your dues fully, educating you so that you do not remain ignorant, and training you until you learn.” (Ibid)

As you see the economic and educational needs of the society should be attend by a ruler, because the poor and ignorant society cannot be successful. Poverty and ignorance are the enemies of human perfection.

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On the other hand, there are the rights of ruler upon people. And since the ruler, without the support of the people, cannot manage the society well, these rights should be respected.

Imam Ali (Peace Be Upon Him) continues: “And my rights [as a ruler] incumbent upon you include your remaining loyal to your pledge of allegiance to me, sincerely advising both in public and private,  responding when I call you, and obedience when I command you.” (Ibid)

As a result, according to Islam, without the cooperation of the people with the ruler the community will not be happy.