A letter written to Suhayl bin Hunayf, the Governor of Madina (and brother of Uthman bin Hunayf) about some Madinites who had left him and gone over to Mu’awiya. The two brothers, Uthman & Suhayl, were favourite companions of Imam Ali (a). Whenever he felt that they had made even a minor error (like attending the dinner of a rich man by Uthman) Imam Ali (a) warned them of the viciousness of such an action.
After glorifying Allah and praising the Holy Prophet (s) be it known to you that I am informed that some Madinites are leaving you covertly and surreptitiously to join the hordes of Mu’awiya. Do not feel sorry for those who have left you and have thus refused you their help and assistance.
Their turning of faces away from Allah and His Guidance and of stealthily walking over to sin and vice is enough proof of their apostasy and schism and enough reason for you to be thankful for good riddance of bad rubbish. These are worldly-minded people. They are drawn towards the vicious world and are running fast after it. They have heard (from the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a)) what equity and justice mean, they have seen a just and equitable rule; they have recognized the implications of these principles and they have fully realized how the use of these principles will bring them in level with the commonest and poorest person of the country and how they will be treated like every other human being. Therefore, they are rushing towards a society where corruption is at premium, where favouritism holds sway and where justice and equity are abhorred.
I swear by Allah that these people are not running away from injustice, inequity, oppression or tyranny, nor are they attaching themselves to truth, justice, equity and fair-play. I pray to Allah to ease the difficulties and remove the obstacles this exodus has created and make our work easy for us.