A letter to Mu’awiya.
Quraysh was our tribe, but they wanted to kill the Holy Prophet (s) and to exterminate our family. They conspired against us and made plots after plots to harm us. They tried their best to frighten and injure us. They forced us to leave our homes and to retire to the cave of Shi'b Abi Taalib. It was a very rough and hard place to live in, and we were forced to lead a very harsh life. Their instigated their tribe as well as other clans to fight against us. The Merciful Allah came to our help. He protected and defended us. From amongst us those who had faith in the Holy Prophet (s) and Islam stood up to defend him and his cause; their desire was to achieve the favour of the Lord; and those of Bani Hashim who had not embraced Islam as yet like Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib also came to our help because we belonged to them and they to us. From amongst the Quraysh, the condition of those who had embraced Islam, was not as bad as ours.
Either they had defensive alliance with the non-believers or some tribes decided to defend them despite their differences in religion. While it was the practice of the Holy Prophet (s) that whenever a battle was raged and his companions behaved cowardly or ran away from the battlefield (as in Badr, Uhud and Hunayn) which was usually the case or started making the Muslims nervous (as in Khandaq), he sent members of his family (Bani Hashim) to fight out the battle to protect his companions. These members of Bani Hashim often fought single handed and some even met martyrdom as for instance, Ubayda bin Haarith was killed in the Battle of Badr, Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib in Uhud and Ja'far bin Abu Taalib in the Battle of Mu'tah. Besides these three, there was another person (here Imam Ali (a) meant himself) who also tried his best to meet martyrdom. I could name him but the date of his death had not yet approached and he passed through these terrible ordeals alive.
O time! O world! How could I wonder at your vagaries? People have started considering such a person (Mu’awiya) equal to me! He in his whole lifetime never exerted himself in the service of Islam and Allah as I have done at every moment of my life. In Islam there is no rank, no honour, no position and no merit for him as there is for me. No one can pretend to claim any superiority and excellence over me but a pretender. I do not know of anyone who served Islam and the Holy Prophet (s) as sincerely and as constantly as I have. The Almighty Lord knows that I am not wrong in claiming what I have said and no one can be compared to me in this respect. All Glory, Praise and Greatness belongs to Him and to nobody else.
You have requested me to send to you all those people who were responsible for the murder of Uthman. I pondered over your request and found that it was not in my power to send them to you or to anybody else.
I swear by my life that if you do not leave your hypocrisy, avarice and your rebellious activities they will make themselves known to you. Instead of your demanding them they will demand for you. On the sea and land and in the plains and on the hills they will make their presence known to you and you will not find it easy or pleasant to face them and will curse the day when you demanded to see them.