Sermon 5: O people, steer clear through the waves of mischief...

Delivered when the Holy Prophet died and `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb offered to pay allegiance to Amir al-mu’minin for the Caliphate

أَيُّها النَّاسُ،

O People!1

 شُقُّوا أَمْوَاجَ الفِتَنِ بِسُفُنِ النَّجَاةِ،

Steer clear through the waves of mischief by boats of deliverance,

وَعَرِّجُوا عَنْ طَريقِ الـمُنَافَرَةِ،

turn away from the path of dissension

وَضَعُوا تِيجَانَ الـمُفَاخَرَةِ.

and put off the crowns of pride.

أَفْلَحَ مَنْ نَهَضَ بِجَنَاح،

Prosperous is one who rises with wings (i.e. when he has power)

أوِ اسْتَسْلَمَ فَأَراحَ،

or else he remains peaceful and others enjoy ease.

 مَاءٌ آجِنٌ،

It (i.e. the aspiration for Caliphate) is like turbid water

وَلُقْمَةٌ يَغَصُّ بِهَا آكِلُهَا،

or like a morsel that would suffocate the person who swallows it.

وَمُجْتَنِي الَّثمَرَةِ لِغَيْرِ وَقْتِ إِينَاعِهَا كالزَّارعِ بِغَيْرِ أَرْضِهِ.

One who plucks fruits before ripening is like one who cultivated in another’s field.

خلقه وعلمه


فَإِنْ أقُلْ يَقُولُوا: حَرَصَ عَلَى الـمُلْكِ،

If I speak out they would call me greedy towards power

 وَإنْ أَسْكُتْ يَقُولُوا: جَزعَ مِنَ المَوْتِ!

but if I keep quiet they would say I was afraid of death.

هَيْهَاتَ بَعْدَ اللَّتَيَّا وَالَّتِي!

It is a pity that after all the ups and downs (I have been through).

وَاللهِ لاَبْنُ أَبي طَالِب آنَسُ بالمَوْتِ مِنَ الطِّفْلِ بِثَدْي أُمِّهِ،

By Allah, the son of Abu Talib2 is more familiar with death than an infant with the breast of its mother.

بَلِ انْدَمَجْتُ عَلَى مَكْنُونِ عِلْم لَوْ بُحْتُ بِهِ لاَضْطَرَبْتُمُ اضْطِرَابَ الاْرْشِيَةِ في الطَّوِيِّ البَعِيدَةِ!

I have hidden knowledge, if I disclose it you will start trembling like ropes in deep wells.