Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Good Governance of al-Ghazali

Good Governance of al-Ghazali

Imam al-Ghazali (505 H / 1111 AC) in his 'Nasihat al-Mulk' (Counsel for Kings) pointed out that the Muslim authorities and rulers should subscribe to ten major rules in order to establish justice alas attaining God's love which is the summum bonum in their life. Those rules or principals are:

1) rulers should first of all understand the importance, and also the danger, of the authority entrusted to him. If the rules exercise the authority righteously will obtain unsurpassed happiness; but if they fail to do so, he incurs torment surpassed only by the torment for unbelief.

2) Rulers should be always thirsting to meet devout 'ulama' and ask them for advice; and that he should beware of meeting 'ulama' with worldly ambitions who might inveigle, flatter and seek to please him in order to gain control over his terrestrial bidy by stealth and deceit.

3) A Ruler should understand that he must not be content with personally refraining from injustice, but must discipline his slave-troops, servants, and officers and never tolerate unjust conduct by them; for he will be interrogated not only about his own unjust deeds but also about those of his staff.

4) The holder of authority should not be dominated by pride; for pride gives rise to the dominance of anger, and will impel him to revenge. Anger is the evil genius and blight of the intellect.

5) In every situation which arises, (the ruler) should figure that he is the subject and that other person is the holder of authority; and that [he should not sanction for others] anything that he would not sanction for himself. Were he to do so, he would be making fraudulent and treasonable use of the authority entrusted to him.

6) A ruler should not disregard the attendance of petitioners at his court and should beware of the danger of so doing. As long as the people have grievances, he need not occupy his time with supererogatory religious observances; for redressing the griviences of the people is more meritotious than any work of supererogation.

7) A ruler should not form a habit of indulging the passions. (For example), even though he might dress more finely or eat more sumptously, he should be content with all (that he has); for without contentment, just conduct will not be possible.

8) A ruler should make the utmost effort to behave gently and avoid governing harshly. It was mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad SAW that holders of authority who treat the subjects gently will themselves be treated gently during the Resurrection day.

9) A ruler should endavour to keep all the subjects pleased with him. A holder of authority should not let himself be so deluded by the praise he gets from any whoapproach him as to believe that all the subjects are pleased with him.

10) A ruler should not give satisfaction to any person if a contravention of God's law would be required to please him; for no harm will come from such a person's displeasure.

Cited from: Bagley, F.G. C. (1964). Ghazali's Book of Counsel for Kings (Nasihat al-Muluk), New York: London Oxford University Press.


  1. Assalamualaikum. Semoga berjaya mengejar cita-cita di UK.

  2. Extracted a copy.
    Keep sending more of them, and forward them mostly to Pakistan.