About keeping aloof from oppression and
`Aqil's condition of poverty and destitution
I would rather pass a night in wakefulness on the thorns of as-sa`dan (a
plant having sharp prickles) or be driven in chains as a prisoner than
meet Allah and His Messenger on the Day of Judgement as an oppressor over
any person or a usurper of anything out of worldly wealth.
And how can I oppress any
one for (the sake of a life) that is fast moving towards destruction and
is to remain under the earth for a long time.
I certainly saw (my brother) `Aqil fallen in destitution and he asked me a
sa` (about three kilograms in weight) out of your (share of) wheat, and I
also saw his children with dishevelled hair and a dusty countenance due to
starvation, as though their faces had been blackened by indigo. He came to
me several times and repeated his request to me again and again.
I heard him, and he thought
I would sell my faith to him and follow his tread leaving my own way. Then
I (just) heated a piece of iron and took it near his body so that he might
take a lesson from it, then he cried as a person in protracted illness
cries with pain and he was about to get burnt with its branding. Then I
said to him, "Moaning women may moan over you, O' `Aqil.
Do you cry on account of
this (heated) iron which has been made by a man for fun while you are
driving me towards the fire which Allah, the Powerful, has prepared for (a
manifestation of) His wrath? Should you cry from pain, but I should not
cry from the flames?"
incident than this is that a man
came to us in the night;with a closed flask full of honey paste but I
disliked it as though it was the saliva of a serpent or its vomit. I asked
him whether it was a reward, or zakat (poor-tax) or charity, for these are
forbidden to us members of the Prophet's family. He said it was neither
this nor that but a present. Then I said, "Childless women may weep over
you. Have you come to deviate me from the religion of Allah, or are you
mad, or have you been overpowered by some jinn, or are you speaking
without senses? "
even if I am given all the domains of the seven (stars) with all that
exists under the skies in order that I may disobey Allah to the extent of
snatching one grain of barley from an ant I would not do it. For me your
world is lighter than the leaf in the mouth of a locust that is chewing
What has `Ali to do with
bounties that will pass away and pleasures that will not last? We do seek
protection of Allah from the slip of wisdom and the evils of mistakes, and
from Him we seek succour.
It was al-Ash`ath ibn Qays.