Known as the Sermon of Ash-Shiqshiqiyyah (1)
Beware! By Allah SWT, the son of Abu Quhafah(abu baker) (2) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in the relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill. The flood water flows down from me and the bird cannot fly up to me. I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it.
Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the grownup are enfeebled and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah SWT(on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So, I adopted patience although there was prickling in the eye and suffocation (of mortification) in the throats. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the caliphate to ibn-al-khattab after him.
(Then he quoted al-A’sha’s verse)
My days are now passed on the camel’s back (in difficulty) while there were days (of ease) when I enjoyed the company of Jabir’s brother Hayyan.(3)
It is strange that during his lifetime, he wished to be released from the caliphate but he confirmed it for the other one after his death. No doubt, these two shared its udders strictly among themselves. This one put the caliphate in a tough enclosure where the utterance was haughty and the touch was rough, mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore. One in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel. If he pulled up its rein, the very nostril would be slit but if he let it loose, he would be thrown. Consequently, by Allah SWT, people got involved in the recklessness, wickedness, unsteadiness and deviation.
Nevertheless, I remained patient despite length of period and stiffness of trial, till when he went his way ( of death) , he put the matter (of caliphate) in a group(4) and regarded me to be one of them. But, Good Heavens! What had I to do with this “consultations”? Where was any doubt about me with regard to the first of them that I was now considered akin to these ones? But I remained low when they were low and flew high when they flew high. One of them turned against me because of his hatred and the other got inclined the other way due to his in-law relationship and this thing and that thing, till the third man of these people stood up with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder. With him, his children of his grandfather(Umayyah) also stood up swallowing up Allah’s SWT wealth(5) like a camel devouring the foliage of spring till his rope broke down, his actions finished him and his gluttony brought him down prostrate.
At that moment, nothing took me by surprise but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced me from every side like the mane of the hyena, so much so that Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like the herd of sheep and goats. When I took up the reins of government, one party broke away and another turned disobedient, while the rest began acting wrongfully as if they had not heard the Word of Allah SWT, saying:
That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exult themselves in the Earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones (Quran:28:83)
That Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous.
(Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali; May Allah SWT bless him for his efforts)
Yes, By Allah SWT, they had heard it and understood it but the world appeared glittering to their eyes and its embellishments seduced them. Behold! By Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings, if people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah SWT with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the rope of caliphate on its own shoulders and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one. Then you would have seen that in my view, this world of yours is no better than the squeezing of a goat.
(It is said that when Amir-ul-Momineen(AS) reached at this point in the sermon, a man of Iraq stood up and handed over a writing to him . Amir-ul-Momineen(AS) began looking at it when ibn-Abbas said: “ O! Amir-ul-Momineen(AS), I wish, you resumed your sermon from where you broke it.” There upon, he replied, “O! ibn- Abbas, it was like the foam of a camel which gushed out but subsided.”Ibn-Abbas says that he never grieved over any utterance as he did over this one because Amir-ul-Momineen(AS) could not finish it as he wished to)