[ The following is a letter from Imam Ali (a) to Ziyad who was appointed as the
Commissioner of Basra by Abdullah bin Abbas, the Governor of the provinces of Ahwaz,
Basra, Kirman and Fars. Ziyad was from the very beginning dishonest and corrupt, a man
who would not stop short at any vice or sin to gain his end. He had come from a very low
family so much so that nobody knew his father's name; his mother was a harlot. Ummul
Mu'minin Aisha had nicknamed him as "His father's son" and he was known all over Arabia
by this insulting name.
But he was a self-made man, a great conspirator. Ibn Abbas had found him a useful officer as
he could suppress any voice raised against his government. He appointed him as a
commissioner and had recommended him to Imam Ali (a). Imam Ali (a) also gave him a
chance and wanted to see whether he could give up his bad ways. But he did not change his
behaviour, so Imam Ali (a) dismissed him.
Later on Mu'awiya in his court declared him to be his father's (Abu Sufyaan's) illegitimate
son. Ziyad was glad that atleast he could name some big man - though thirty years after the
death of that man - to be his father, and thus became a staunch friend of Mu'awiya - his socalled
half brother. Imam Ali (a) wrote this letter to Ziyad when he was still the
Commissioner of Basra. ]
I swear by Allah that if I find you misappropriating the wealth of Muslims I will punish you
in such a way that you will be left poor. Besides this poverty there will be the burden of sins
on your shoulders, you will be disgraced and humiliated, losing your position and prestige.
[ The following is a letter from Imam Ali (a) to Ziyad. ]
Give up extravagance and be sparing and moderate in your expenditure. Do not let the
pleasures of today make you forget the tomorrow, the Day of Reckoning and Judgement.
Keep money with you strictly according to your real requirements and give away the rest to
the poor so that it may act as a provision for you in the next world.
Do you expect Allah to grant you rewards reserved for courteous, kind and benevolent
people, while you actually are proud, vain, haughty and miserly? Do you hope to receive His
Blessings reserved for charitable, generous and kind-hearted persons who always help the
poor and the needy, while you, rolling in wealth and luxuries, prevent any part of your wealth
from reaching the disabled persons and poverty-ridden old widows?
Remember a man receives the reward according to actions he has done in this world because
in the next world only the result of such deeds as he has done during his lifetime shall reach