Sermon 025 – When Amír al-mu’minín received successive news that Mu`áwiyah’s men were occupying cities(1)

and his own officers in Yemen namely `Ubaydulláh ibn `Abbás and Sa`íd ibn Nimrán came to him etreating after being overpowered by Busr ibn Abí Artát, he was much disturbed by the slackness of his own men in jihád and their difference with his opinion. Proceeding on to the pulpit he said:
                Nothing (is left to me) but Kúfah which I can hold and extend (which is in my hand to play with). (O’ Kúfah) if this is your condition that whirlwinds continue blowing through you then Alláh may destroy you.
Then he illustrated with the verse of a poet:
O’ `Amr! 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 Alláh, 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 Imám 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 Alláh 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 Alláh melt their hearts as salt melts in water. By Alláh I wish I had only a thousand horsemen of Banú Firás ibn Ghanm (as the poet says):
If you call them the horsemen would come to you like the summer cloud.
 (Thereafter Amír al-mu’minín alighted from the pulpit):

as-Sayyid ar-Radí says: In this verse the word “armiyah” is plural of “ramiyy” which means cloud and “hamím” 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`áwiyah’s position was stabilised he began thinking of taking possession of Amír al-mu’minín’s cities and extend his domain. He sent his armies to different areas in order that they might secure allegiance for Mu`áwiyah by force. In this connection he sent Busr ibn Abí Artát to Hijáz and he shed blood of thousands of innocent persons from Hijáz upto Yemen, burnt alive tribes after tribes in fire and killed even children, so much so that he butchered two young boys of `Ubaydulláh ibn `Abbás the Governor of Yemen before their mother Juwayriyah bint Khálid ibn Qara~ al-Kinániyyah.

                When Amír al-mu’minín 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 Amír al-mu’minín observed their shirking from war he delivered this sermon wherein he roused them to enthusiasm and self respect, and prompted them to jihád by describing before them the enemy’s wrongfulness and their own short-comings. At last Járiyah ibn Qudámah as-Sa`dí responded to his call and taking an army of two thousand set off in pursuit of Busr and chased him out of Amír al-mu’minín’s domain.