Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a Ramadan meeting on Tuesday with President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet, explained and elucidated the highlights of instructions by Imam Ali, the first Shia imam, to his close confidante Malek Ashtar.
Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Mental, spiritual and intellectual capital holds the key to solving all problems, and such capital can be provided by reflecting upon Nahj al-Balagha (the name of a collection of speeches and letters by Imam Ali) of the Master of the Pious (an allusion to Imam Ali).”
Referring to remarks made by President Rouhani at the beginning of the meeting about the outcome of nuclear talks with the P5+1 group of world powers on Iran’s nuclear program, the Leader thanked honest and untiring efforts and endeavors made by the Iranian nuclear negotiating team.
Then, referring to the characteristics and special position of Malek Ashtar in view of Imam Ali, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Hadhrat Ali bin Abi-Taleb (Imam Ali) issued his command[s] to such a person, and that is a point to reflect upon.”
Explaining the obligations of officials, as mentioned in Imam Ali’s instructions to Malek Ashtar, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Levying taxes and duties which people owe to the government, defending people and their territory, directing the society towards salvation and deliverance as well as development and reconstruction of the country are the four main missions assigned to governors, [as mentioned] in a letter addressed to Malek Ashtar by the Master of the Pious.”
The Leader referred to “recommending Islamic governors [embrace] divine piety under any conditions and circumstances”, “full seriousness in performing [religious] duties, traditions and recommendations”, “allegiance to God in the heart, in word and in deed” and “reining in the evil-commanding soul against all carnal desires” as some of the main instructions addressed to Malek Ashtar by Imam Ali with regard to self-purification.
Making a fair judgment about former officials was another point which the Leader underscored with reference to highlights from Imam Ali’s instructions to Malek Ashtar.
Ayatollah Khamenei said good deeds were the best legacy of any person during his term in office, adding: “People do not make mistakes in their well thought-out judgments. Therefore, based on people’s judgments, one can understand whether an official has been competent or not.”
“Strict protection of the soul to prevent it from corruption and deviation” and “preferring divine obligations to anything else” were two other recommendations expressed by the Leader with reference to Imam Ali’s instructions about governance.
Ayatollah Khamenei added: “The late great Imam [Khomeini] was the symbol of compliance with these divine recommendations.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to “loving people from the bottom of the heart” and “kindness and tolerance towards them” as other highlights of Imam Ali’s instructions to Malek Ashtar, saying: “Upon the order of the Master of the Pious, people’s errors and mistakes should be condoned except for cases in which divine instructions are neglected or there is a question of enmity toward Islam and the Islamic government.”
In conclusion, Ayatollah Khamenei described Imam Ali’s instructions to Malek Ashtar as an extraordinary cultural legacy and wished Cabinet members success while appreciating their efforts.
Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks, President Rouhani referred to the outcome of the nuclear talks and expressed gratitude to the Leader for his support and guidelines for the administration as well as for the nuclear negotiating team.
Rouhani expressed hope that this issue would contribute to relieving pressures [piled up on Iran] and disproving unsubstantiated allegations leveled by enemies against the Islamic Republic, and will give fresh impetus to the country’s progress.
The president went on to submit a report about the measures undertaken by his administration.
Referring to the achievements of his administration and also the problems it has faced over the past two years, Rouhani said close relations with neighbors and the continuation of nuclear talks were among the actions taken by his administration in the foreign policy arena. He added: “At a time when the [Middle East] region is engulfed in chaos and terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran is supporting the regional countries facing the scourge of terrorism and it will continue this path.”
On the economic front, the president cited the country’s exit from stagnation, a switch from economic shrinkage to economic growth, curbing inflation, reducing wheat imports and boosting non-oil exports as the achievements of his administration. “In order to resolve the problems related to employment and economic growth, we need capital and technology.”
Rouhani said among the problems facing the governments are heavy debts to the Central Bank of Iran and private companies, difficulties associated with cash hand-outs given to people as subsidies, unemployment, low productivity, the activities of unauthorized credit institutes, banking liabilities, shortage of water and underground resources, drought, environmental issues and a drop oil prices.
Underscoring the fact that his administration is doing its utmost to resolve the problems of the country and the people, the president said: “In order to resolve the problems, we need the cooperation of three branches [of government] in order to take the remaining steps at a higher pace.”