Admonishing his own companions
Although Allah gives time to
the oppressor, His catch would not spare him.(1) Allah watches him on the
passage of his way and the position of that which suffocates the throats.
By Allah in Whose power my
life lies, these people (Mu`awiyah and his men) will overcome you not
because they have a better right than you but because of their hastening
towards the wrong with their leader and your slowness about my right (to
be followed). People are afraid of the oppression of their rulers while I
fear the oppression of my subjects.
I called you for war but you
did not come. I warned you but you did not listen. I called you secretly
as well as openly, but you did not respond. I gave you sincere counsel,
but you did not accept it. Are you present like the absent, and slaves
like masters? I recite before you points of wisdom but you turn away from
them, and I advise you with far reaching advice but you disperse away from
I rouse you for jihad
against the people of revolt but before I come to the end of my speech, I
see you disperse like the sons of Saba.(2)
You return to your places and deceive one another by your counsel. I
straighten you in the morning but you are back to me in the evening as
curved as the back of a bow. The sraightener has become weary while those
to be straightened have become incorrigible.
O' those whose bodies are
present but wits are absent, and whose wishes are scattered. Their rulers
are on trial. Your leader obeys Allah but you disobeyed him while the
leader of the people of Syria (ash-Sham) disobeys Allah but they obey him.
By Allah, I wish Mu`awiyah exchanges with me like Dinars with Dirhams, so
that he takes from me ten of you and gives me one from them.
O' people of Kufah, I have
experienced in you three things and two others: you are deaf in spite of
having ears, dumb in spite of speaking, and blind in spite of having eyes.
You are neither true supporters in combat nor dependable brothers in
distress. Your hands may be soiled with earth. O' examples of those camels
whose herdsman has disappeared, if they are collected together from one
side they disperse from the other.
By Allah, I see you in my
imagination that if war becomes intense and action is in full swing you
would run away from the son of Abi Talib like the woman who becomes naked
in the front. I am certainly on clear guidance from my Lord (Allah) and on
the path of my Prophet and I am on the right path which I adhere to
About the Household of the Holy Prophet
Look at the people of the
Prophet's family. Adhere to their direction. Follow their footsteps
because they would never let you out of guidance, and never throw you into
destruction. If they sit down, you sit down, and if they rise up you rise
up. Do not go ahead of them, as you would thereby go astray and go not lag
behind of them as you would thereby be ruined.
I have seen the companions
of the Prophet but I do not find anyone resembling them. They began the
day with dust on the hair and face (in hardship of life) and passed the
night in prostration and standing in prayers. Sometimes they put down
their foreheads and sometimes their cheeks. With the recollection of their
resurrection it seemed as though they stood on live coal.
It seemed that in between
their eyes there were signs like knees of goats, resulting from long
prostrations. When Allah was mentioned their eyes flowed freely till their
shirt collars were drenched. They trembled for fear of punishment and hope
of reward as the tree trembles on the day of stormy wind.
In the atmosphere that had been created soon after the Prophet the
Ahlu'l-bayt (members of his family) had no course except to remain
secluded as a result of which world has remained ignorant of their real
qualities and unacquainted with their teachings and attainments, and to
belittle them and keeping them away from authority has been considered as
the greatest service to Islam.
If `Uthman's open misdeeds
had not given a chance to the Muslims to wake up and open their eyes there
would have been no question of allegiance to Amir al-mu'minin and temporal
authority would have retained the same course as it had so far followed.
But all those who could be named for the purpose had no courage to come
forward because of their own shortcomings while Mu`awiyah was sitting in
his capital away from the centre.
In these circumstances there
was none except Amir al-mu'minin who could be looked at. Consequently
people's eyes hovered around him and the same common people who, following
the direction of the wind, had been swearing allegiance to others jumped
at him for swearing allegiance. Nevertheless, this allegiance was not on
the count that they regarded his Caliphate as from Allah and him as an
Imam (Divine Leader) to obey whom was obligatory. It was rather under
their own principles which were known as democratic or consultative.
However, there was one group
who was swearing allegiance to him as a religious obligation regarding his
Caliphate as determined by Allah. Otherwise, the majority regarded him a
ruler like the other Caliphs, and as regards precedence, on the fourth
position, or at the level of the common men after the three caliphs.
Since the people, the army,
and the civil servants had been impressed by the beliefs and actions of
the previous rulers and immersed in their ways whenever they found
anything against their liking they fretted and frowned, evaded war and
were ready to rise in disobedience and revolt.
Further, just as among those
who fought in jihad with the Prophet there were some seekers of this world
and others of the next world, in the same way here too there was no dearth
of worldly men who were, in appearance, with Amir al-mu'minin but actually
they had connections with Mu`awiyah who has promised some of them
positions and had extended to others temptation of wealth.
To hold them as Shi`ahs of
Amir al-mu'minin and to blame Shi`ism for this reason is closing the eyes
to facts, because the beliefs of these people would be the same as of
those who regarded Amir al-mu'minin fourth in the series. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid
throws light on the beliefs of these persons in clear words:
Whoever observes minutely
the events during the period of Caliphate of Amir al-mu'minin would know
that Amir al-mu'minin had been brought to bay because those who knew his
real position were very few, and the swarming majority did not bear that
belief about him which was obligatory to have.
They gave precedence to
the previous Caliphs over him and held that the criterion of precedence
was Caliphate, and in this matter those coming later followed the
predecessors, and argued that if the predecessors had not the knowledge
that the previous Caliphs had precedence over Amir al-mu'minin they
would not have preferred them to him.
Rather, these people knew
and took Amir al-mu'minin as a citizen and subject. Most of those who
fought in his company did so on grounds of prestige or Arab
partisanship, not on the ground of religion or belief. (Sharh Nahj
al-balaghah, vol.7, p.72)
The progeny of Saba' ibn Yashjub ibn Ya`rub ibn Qahtan is known as the
tribe of Saba'. When these people began to falsify prophets then to shake
them Allah sent to them a flood of water by which their gardens were
submerged and they left their houses and property to settle down in
This proverb arose out of
this event and it is now applied wherever people so disperse that there
can be no hope of their joining together again.