A man from among the companions of Amir al-mu'minin stood up and said, "O'
Amir al-mu'minin, you first stopped us from Arbitration and thereafter
gave order for it. We do not know which of these two was more
appropriate." Amir al-mu'minin struck one hand over the other and said:
the reward of one who breaks pledge. By Allah, when I gave you my orders
(namely) to abide by arbitration I had led you to an undesirable thing
(namely war) in which Allah had ordained good. If you had been steadfast I
would have guided you, if you had been bent I would have straightened you
and if you had refused I would have rectified you. This was the surest
But with whom and to whom. I
wanted my treatment from you but you proved to be my disease, like the
extractor of thorn with the thorn when he knows that the thorn bends
the physicians have despaired of this fatal ailment and water-drawers have
become tired with the rope of this well. Where (1)
are those who were invited to Islam and they accepted it? They read the
Qur'an and decided according to it.
They were exhorted to fight
and they leapt (towards it) as she-camels leap towards their young. They
took their swords out of the sheaths and went out into the world in groups
and rows. Some of them perished and some survived. The good news of
survival does not please them nor do they get condoled about the dead.
Their eyes have turned white with weeping.
Their bellies are emaciated
because of fasting. Their lips are dry because of (constant) praying.
Their colour is pale because of wakefulness. Their faces bear the dust of
God-fearing. These are my comrades who have departed. We should be
justified if we feel eager for them and bite our hands in their
Satan has made his ways easy for you and wants to unfasten the knots of
religion one by one and to cause division among you in place of unity.
Keep away from his evil ideas and enchantments and accept good advice of
one who offers it to you and preserve it in your minds.
Although all those who fought under the banner of Amir al-mu'minin were
called Shi`ahs of `Ali, yet only those who had tears in their eyes,
paleness on their faces, the Qur'anic verses on their tongues, zeal of
religion in their hearts, steadfastness in their feet, determination and
courage in their spirits, and patience and endurance in their minds could
in true sense he called Shi`ahs of `AIi.
These were the people in
whose separation Amir al-mu'minin's feelings were coming out in the shape
of sighs through the breath, while the flames of the fire of separation
were consuming his heart and spirit. These were the people who leapt
towards death like mad men and did not feel happy if they survived.
Rather, their heart's slogan was as the Persian hemistich says:
We are ashamed why we have
He who has even a slight
brilliance of these qualities can alone be called the follower of the
Descendants of the Prophet or the Shi`ah of `Ali, otherwise it would be a
word which has lost its meaning and been bereft of its dignity through
Thus tradition has it that
Amir al-mu'minin saw a group of men at his door and enquired from Qanbar
who they were and he answered they were his Shi`ahs. On hearing this Amir
al-mu'minin had a frown on his forehead and said.
"Why are they called
Shi`ahs? They have no sign of Shi`ahs." Thereupon Qanbar enquired what
were the signs of Shi`ahs and Amir al-mu'minin replied:
Their bellies are thin
through hunger, their lips dry through thirst and their eyes bleared