The administrator, Imam Ali Ibn-Abi Talib AS
In the 4 and half years of Khilafat of Hazrat Ali, he fought so many battles and went through so many mischieves and disturbances by the enemy forces. He not only tried to bring back the stolen Baitul-Maal and he not only did Jihad to bring back Shariat into Islam but he infact brought reforms into state administration. He laid foundation of the government administration and designed the working policies as a statesman. I can write many pages on this, but just to highlight him as an administrator, I would take previlege to write few words.
This is the first rule in the Islamic history and the Muslim rule after the Holy Prophet where the Muslim states were ruled by a through planning and the procedures were laid. The government was divided and the responsibilities were shared with a strict eye on the government officials. Hazrat Ali laid the foundation of the government administration.
He divided his entire state services into departments and sub-departments,
1. Finance department
3. Central Secretariat
5. Provincial offices
The Fiance department was sub-divided into Collection section and Distribution section
Then Collection section was again sub-divided into 3 Heads
1. Land Revenue: Usually collected in coins of silver, gold or in bullion
2. Zakat(poor rate) and Sadaqaat(poor fund): Usually collected in live-stock
3. Jizya(tax) from non-muslims
Every tax- payer had the right to apeal to the court. He introduced Budgetary system for collection of Revenues and its Expenditure. Every province had to present their budget to him for approval. He divided that into Provincial and Central. The rates of land revenues were fixed by him according to fertility of the land in grades.
The Jizya, the personal tax rates were fixed by him according to classes like,
Landlords 48 dirhams,
Middle class 42 dirhams,
Busnessmen 40 dirhams and
General public 12 dirhams.
There were strict orders not to collect taxes from following category,
1. Those who were above 50 years
2. Those who were below 20 years
3. All women-folks
4. All paralysed, disabled, blind and mad people
Income from the sources of Zakat and Sadaqat was reserved for,
1. Administration of department of Collection and Distribution
2. Grants, donations and aids to poors, orphans, aged widows and disable people
3. Volunteers who fought for state
4. Pensions to widows, orphans of soldiers and officers of army
5. To acquire and to set free slaves from bondage of slavery
6. Reparation of government loans
7. To help Hajis when they found stranded.
Hazrat Ali was the first person to declare that the ruler's (Ali's) share of income from the state was equal to that of the common person.
Income from Jizya was spent on
1. Maintenance of army
2. Construction and Maintenance of forts
3. Contruction and maintenance of roads and bridges
5. Construction of Rest houses
Land revenues were spent on maintenance of courts, offices etc.
All the important people in his government were appointed by Hazrat Ali himself. Hazrat kept strict eye on the work of his officers and used to take strict account from the officers in regular meetings. Every complaint was dealt with strictness. Every Thursday was the payday for the Muslims and every Thursday the accounts were closed. Friday was the national holiday. Many times he gave away his share to poor and needy people and returned home empty handed.
Some of the administration policies brought many enemies for Hazrat Ali and people started leaving him and gathering around Mua'via. Those policies were,
- This equal distribution of wealth.
- Bringing important and rich persons down to the level of common general public
- Raising the status of Negroes and Persians to that of Arabs
- Allotting shares to slaves equal to their masters
- Depriving the rich persons of their Jagirs
- Stopping special grants enjoyed by the rich people provided to them by previous governments.
Othmaan ibn-Haneefa, the trusty companion told Ali that those policies are doing more harm to Ali than doing any good to him.
So Ali replied, "I cannot allow rich and influential people to exploit the society of this Muslim state and to run unjust system of distribution of wealth. I cannot for a moment tolerate this. This is public wealth, it comes from the masses it must go back to them."
"As far as their desertion goes, I am glad they have deserted me. I am not helping them to secure my services, but they are unable to serve me. May Allah help me to do my duty as He wishes me to do" (Kitab al-Gharaa).
There are a lot of services to discuss as they are worth discussing specially the rules & regulations he designed for each and every department etc. People in his Khilafat acknowledged the rule as the Godly and fair administration.
Food of Ali ibn-Abi Talib : Just to mention an incident recorded by all muslim historians in their books. A man saw Ali wrapping an old cloth over something very tightly and then he (Ali) put that bundle over the tree. Then Ali left on his daily work. It was the summer time on the Arab land. That man waited near the tree to see what Ali has hidden in that bundle. Later in the noon-time, Ali returned to the tree, brought the bundle down and was opening it. The man who was hiding came near Ali to see what Ali was hiding which was so precious to him. Ali opened it, sat down and started eating a crumbled, dried piece of bread. The man was stunned and told Ali, who is the Khalifa of the time, that even if he kept that bread on the tree without the cloth on it, nobody would eat it. To which Ali replied that he was afraid that Hassan or Hussain (his children) might put something over it if they came to know that it was their father's food. Ali said that he prefers that kind of food because his food cannot be better than the food of the poorest person in his Khilafat. It is questionable by Allah SWT that when HE gave the rule or Khilafat into Ali's hands, why did he (Ali) lead the life that was better than the poorest person in his rule.
This is true that in his rule nobody slept with hunger in the home-town of Koofa, for which Ali ibn-Abi Talib was the immediate Governor as well as the Khalifa of the muslim world. It was late evening, when Imam Hassan was returning back after burying Hazrat Ali ibn-Abi Talib. From a distance he saw that there is an old man, who was blind with trembling limbs was coming out of his small broken house, looking here-and-there and then getting back into his house again, as though he was impatiently waiting for someone. Imam Hassan approached him and asked him if he is waiting for somebody. The old man stopped, put his hand on Imam Hassan's shoulder and said that his (Imam Hassan's) voice and tone is similar to the person's voice & tone that he is waiting. The old man said that, every evening, a man used to come to his door. He used to talk to him with great love & respect. He used to strengthen him morally. He also used to bring bread with him and used to feed him with his own hands while talking. The old man said that he did not come for the past 3 days. He said that he is not worried about the food that he used to bring, but he is more worried about that person himself. Imam Hussain with the tears rolling down his eyes said that it was his father Ali ibn-Abi Talib, the Khalifa of the time and was martyred in the mosque of Koofa by the enemies. He said that Ali was hit in the head with the sword dipped in poison while praying in the mosque. He struggled for 3 days as the poison spread the whole body. The old man cried bitterly and showed surprised as to how could there be enemies of a person like Ali ibn-Abi Talib.
Yet after displaying the remarkable qualities of a noble Administrator and laying a great foundation of political administration for the Muslim Ummah, the name of Hazrat Ali was included in Khalifa-e-Rashidoon only in 230 by Imam Ahmed Ibn Hambal.
A remarkable way of displaying loyality and 'Love of Ahlebayt', indeed!