Letter 41 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.
After glorifying Allah and praising the Holy Prophet (s) let it be known to you that I trusted you and appointed you on a very responsible post. I did this under the impression that from my own clan nobody will prove more sympathetic, more helpful and more trustworthy to me than you. But when you found that the times have gone against your cousin, his enemies are on the war path, wealth of the country is being recklessly plundered, the nation has lost sight of the true path of religion and it is confused and confounded, then you have also changed colour. You have forsaken your cousin, you left him along with other deserters and by joining the gang of dishonest persons, you have also betrayed the trust I reposed in you.
You have changed so much that you have not only lost the sense of sympathy for your cousin but you have also lost the sense of honesty and virtue. Your present behaviour indicates that you have never been sincere, as if your participating in jihad (the Holy Wars) was not in the cause of Allah and as if the true light of religion had never illuminated the dark recesses of your mind. Along with the majority, you had also participated in jihad to amass wealth under the pretence of serving Allah and religion and awaited opportunities to decamp with wealth of the Islamic State. And when the opportunity presented itself to you to be dishonest to your heart's content and when you found your ruler seriously engaged somewhere else you jumped at the evil chance, you invaded the Public Treasury and looted as much as was possible for you, the money which was reserved for widows, orphans and the poor. In this plunder your action was so quick, so nimble and so effective that it resembled the action of a very active and wary wolf attacking and snatching away a wounded and helpless goat.
You have with pleasure sent this looted wealth to Hijaz.
The sin pleased you and the loot made you happy. The thought that it was an evil deed never stopped you from the act. Did you take it for a heritage which you can take hold of and send home? Allahu Akbar! Do you not believe in the Day of Judgement? Are you not afraid of the reckoning on that Day?
O you whom we took for a wise and intelligent person! How can you happily and with easy conscience eat and drink things purchased by this wealth being aware all the time of its unlawfulness. Do you realise the enormity of your sin? Out of the money which was earmarked for the use of orphans, paupers and the destitute or which was reserved for faithful Muslims and Mujahids or was conserved for the defence of the Muslims State, you provided for yourself means of your enjoyments and pleasures, you purchased slave-girls out of it and you spent it on your marriages.
I advise you to fear Allah and return the money to those whom it rightfully belongs. If you do not do this and if Allah gives me a chance to punish you then I shall act in such a way that Allah will be pleased with me. I shall give you a stroke with that sword of mine which has sent all those whom I struck with it, to Hell. I swear by the Merciful Allah that even if all the wealth which you have so wickedly looted had come into my possession in a lawful way it would not have pleased me to leave it to my heir as a heirloom.
Control your inordinate desires, think well over what you have done and remember that you have reached the mature age, just try to visualize that death has brought an end to your life, you are lying in a grave with so much earth over you and your deeds are placed before you. What would you say and do at such a time and place, a place where tyrants and oppressors could only repent and wish to go back to the world they left behind but there will be no escape from the punishment.