Now then, O ‘ people(1) of Iraq! You are like the pregnant woman who, on completion of the period of pregnancy delivers a dead child and her husband is also dead and her period of widowhood is long while only remote relation inherits her. By Alláh, I did not come to you of my own accord. I came to you by force of circumstances. I have come to know that you say `Alí speaks lie. May Alláh fight you! Against whom do I speak lie? Whether against Alláh? But I am the first to have believed in him. Whether against His Prophet? But I am the first who testified to him. Certainly not. By Alláh it was a way of expression which you failed to appreciate, and you were not capable of it. Woe to you. I am giving out these measures of nice expression free of any cost. I wish there were vessels good enough to hold them.
Certainly, you will understand it after some time. (Qur’án, 38:88)
(1). When after Arbitration the Iraqis displayed lethargy and heartlessness in retaliating the continuous attacks of Mu`áwiyah, Amír al-mu’minín delivered this sermon abusing and admonishing them. Herein he has referred to their being deceived at Siffín and has likened them to a woman who has five qualities:
- Firstly, she is pregnant. This implies that these people had full capability to fight, and were not like a barren woman from whom nothing is expected
- Secondly, she has completed the period of pregnancy. That is they had passed over all difficult stages and had approached near the final goal of victory.
- Thirdly, she wilfully miscarries her child. That is after coming close to victory they came down to settlement and instead of achieving the coveted goal faced disappointment.
- Fourthly, her period of widowhood is long. That is they fell in such a state as though they had no protector or patron and they were roaming about without any ruler.
- Fifthly, her successors would be distant persons. That is the people of Syria who had no relationship with them would occupy their properties.