Letter 7


Hussein Rashid

islamicate, L3C
January 26, 2021

Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Members of the 117th Congress,

As-salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu. May God’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be with you.

In the seventh century, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, successor to the Prophet Muhammad’s religious and political authority, wrote a letter about good governance. This letter is recognized through history as a model for good leadership. Although it is grounded in a Muslim ethical worldview, it is broadly applicable in practice. One of the points of the letter that I would like to bring to your attention is this line: “A nation in which the rights of the weak are not wrested in an uninhibited manner from the strong will never be blessed.”

“…when the majority of society is well-cared for, society functions well…”

Imam Ali quotes this sentence from Prophet Muhammad as the Imam develops what this teaching means in practice. He says a good leader should pay attention to “the lowest class, those who have no wherewithal, the destitute, the needy, the afflicted, the disabled… Be mindful of God in regard to their rights, for  [God] has entrusted these rights to your care.” The lesson here is that you need to be most available to those who have no access to you. They are the ones you are entrusted to care for.

The Imam continues to remind us that when the majority of society is well-cared for, society functions well, and the elite benefit; but when only the elite are cared for, society falls apart. As Imam Ali says, the elite are not helpful in trials, none are more repelled by justice, nor less grateful.

Following Iman Ali’s letter, I implore you to remember those whom we would rather forget. Make them the focus of this administration. May Allah bless us all.


Hussein Rashid

Hussein Rashid, Ph.D.
Independent Scholar (NYC) and Itinerant Preacher

the author

Hussein Rashid, Ph.D. is a freelance academic, currently affiliated with several universities in New York City. He is a scholar of religion, focusing on Muslims and U.S. popular culture and Shi’i theologies of justice. Dr. Rashid is also the founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He co-edited a book on Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel called Ms. Marvel’s America. He worked with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as a content expert on their exhibit “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.”