Letter 27 When Imam Ali (a) appointed Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as the Governor of Egypt, he gave him the following instructions.
Treat them (the Egyptians) with respect. Be kind and considerate with them. Meet them cheerfully. Be fair, just and impartial in your dealings so that even the influential persons may not dare take undue advantage of your leniency and the commoners and the poor may not be disappointed in your justice and fair dealings.
O creature of Allah! Remember that the Almighty Lord is going to take an account of everyone of your sins, major or minor and whether committed openly or secretly. If He punishes you for your sins, it will not be an act of tyranny and if He forgives you it will be because of His Great Mercy and Forgiveness.
O creature of Allah! Remember that pious persons passed away from this world after having led a respectable and fruitful life and they are going to be well-rewarded in the next world (when compared with the worldly-minded people they had equal opportunities of gathering fruits of this world and utilized them to the best of their abilities and at the same time kept away from all wicked and vicious ways of life). They did not jeopardize their salvation like worldly-minded persons. They led a more contented, more respectable and happier life than those who lived wickedly. They enjoyed the fruits of their labours and they had more gratifying, sober and healthy experience of the pleasures of life than the rich and the wealthy. They regaled themselves with the joys, the facilities and the bliss of this world as much as the tyrant and vicious people desired to enjoy. Yet while leaving this world they carried with them all that would be of use to them in the next world. While living in this world they enjoyed the happiness of relinquishing its evil ways.
They made themselves sure that in the life to come they will be recipient of His Grace and Blessings, their requests will not be turned down and the favours destined for them in Paradise will not be lessened or reduced.
O creature of Allah! Fear the inevitable and unavoidable death which is so near to everybody. Be prepared to meet it. Verily, it will come as the most important and the greatest event of your life; it will either carry unmixed blessings and rewards for you or it will bring in its wake punishments, sufferings, and eternal damnation. There will be no chance of its lessening or redemption or any change for the better. It is for you to decide whether to proceed towards perpetual peace and blessings - Paradise, or towards eternal damnation - the Hell. Remember that life is actually driving you towards death which will meet you if you are ready to face it and which will follow you like a shadow if you try to run away from it. Death is with you as if it has been twisted and tied round your head in between your hair and life is being rolled away from behind you with each exhalation of your breath, never to be unrolled.
Be afraid of the fire - the Hell, whose depth is fathomless whose intensity is enormous and where new kinds of punishments are constantly being introduced. The Hell is an abode where there is no place for His Mercy and Blessings. Prayers of those who are thrown there will neither be heard nor accepted and there will not be any lessening in their sufferings and sorrows.
If it is possible for you to be sincerely afraid of Allah as well as have sincere faith in His Justice, Mercy and Love of His creatures, then try to hold these two beliefs firmly because a man entertains and cherishes the love, reverence and veneration of Allah in proportion to His fear and awe that develops in his mind. Verily, among men he who fully believes in His Justice and is afraid of it, as well as likes it expects the best rewards from Allah.
O Muhammad, son of Abu Bakr! Remember that I have entrusted you with the command of the most important section of my army which is Egyptian. Do not allow your whims and passions to overrun your judgement. Keep on guarding and defending your religion and the State given under your trust. Take care that not for a single moment in your life, you incur the Wrath of Allah, to gain the pleasure of any person. Remember that the Pleasure of Allah can substitute the pleasure of everybody else and it will be the most beneficial substitute for you but His Pleasure cannot be substituted by anything. Offer your prayers on time, do not rush through them, and never delay in offering them. Remember that piety and nobleness of all your activities are subject to sincerity and punctuality of your prayers.
Remember that a true Imam and leader cannot be equal to the one who leads humanity towards wickedness and vice and eventually towards Hell nor can there be an equality between a follower of the Holy Prophet (s) and his sworn enemy. Remember the Holy Prophet (s) said that so far as his followers are concerned he was not afraid of encroachments upon any true Muslim by a heathen because Allah will protect every true Muslim from evil deeds on account of the sincerity of his faith and He will expose and avert the evils introduced by heathens, but he (the Holy Prophet (s)) felt anxious about the activities of hypocrites among Muslims, activities of those outwardly wise and learned people who loudly proclaimed greatness and virtues of their good deeds but who secretly indulged in vices and sins.