al-mu'minin received successive news that Mu`awiyah's men were occupying
and his own officers in Yemen namely `Ubaydullah ibn `Abbas and Sa`id ibn
Nimran came to him retreating after being overpowered by Busr ibn Abi
Artat, he was much disturbed by the slackness of his own men in jihad and
their difference with his opinion. Proceeding on to the pulpit he said:
Nothing (is left to me) but
Kufah which I can hold and extend (which is in my hand to play with). (O'
Kufah) if this is your condition that whirlwinds continue blowing through
you then Allah may destroy you.
Then he illustrated with the verse of a poet:
By your good father's life. I have received only a small bit of fat from
this pot (fat that remains sticking to it after it has been emptied).
Then he continued:
I have been informed that
Busr has overpowered Yemen. By Allah, I have begun thinking about these
people that they would shortly snatch away the whole country through their
unity on their wrong and your disunity (from your own right), and
separation, your disobedience of your Imam in matters of right and their
obedience to their leader in matters of wrong, their fulfilment of the
trust in favour of their master and your betrayal, their good work in
their cities and your mischief.
Even if I give you charge of
a wooden bowl I fear you would run away with its handle.
O' my Allah they are
disgusted of me and I am disgusted of them. They are weary of me and I am
weary of them. Change them for me with better ones and change me for them
with worse one.
O' my Allah melt their
hearts as salt melts in water. By Allah I wish I had only a thousand
horsemen of Banu Firas ibn Ghanm (as the poet says):
call them the horsemen would come to you like the summer cloud.
(Thereafter Amir al-mu'minin alighted from the pulpit):
ar-Radi says: In this verse the word "armiyah" is plural of "ramiyy" which
means cloud and "hamim" here means summer. The poet has particularised the
cloud of summer because it moves swiftly. This is because it is devoid of
water while a cloud moves slowly when it is laden with rain. Such clouds
generally appear (in Arabia) in winter. By this verse the poet intends to
convey that when they are called and referred to for help they approach
with rapidity and this is borne by the first line "if you call them they
will reach you."
(1). When after arbitration
Mu`awiyah's position was stabilised he began thinking of taking possession
of Amir al-mu'minin's cities and extend his domain. He sent his armies to
different areas in order that they might secure allegiance for Mu`awiyah
In this connection he sent
Busr ibn Abi Artat to Hijaz and he shed blood of thousands of innocent
persons from Hijaz upto Yemen, burnt alive tribes after tribes in fire and
killed even children, so much so that he butchered two young boys of
`Ubaydullah ibn `Abbas the Governor of Yemen before their mother
Juwayriyah bint Khalid ibn Qaraz al-Kinaniyyah.
When Amir al-mu'minin came
to know of his slaughtering and blood shed he thought of sending a
contingent to crush him but due to continuous fighting people had become
weary and showed heartlessness instead of zeal. When Amir al-mu'minin
observed their shirking from war he delivered this sermon wherein he
roused them to enthusiasm and self respect, and prompted them to jihad by
describing before them the enemy's wrongfulness and their own
At last Jariyah ibn Qudamah
as-Sa`di responded to his call and taking an army of two thousand set off
in pursuit of Busr and chased him out of Amir al-mu'minin's domain.