Letter 78: To Abu Musa al-Ash`ari

To Abu Musa al-Ashari in reply to his letter regarding the two arbitrators. Said ibn Yahya al-Umawi has mentioned this in his Kitab al-maghazi

فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ تَغَيَّرَ كَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ كَثِير مِنْ حَظِّهِمْ،

Certainly, many people have turned away from many a (lasting) benefit (of the next life),

فَمَالُوا مَعَ الدُّنْيَا،

for they bent towards the world

وَنَطَقُوا بِالْهَوى،

and spoke with passions.

وَإِنِّي نَزَلْتُ مِنْ هذَا الاْمْزِ مَنْزِلاً مُعْجِباً،

I have been struck with wonder in this matter,

اجْتَمَعَ بِهِ أَقْوَامٌ أَعْجَبَتْهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ،

upon which people who are self-conceited have agreed.

فإنِّي أُدَاوِي مِنْهُمْ قَرْحاً أَخَافُ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَلَقاً.

I am providing a cure for their wound but I fear lest it develops into a clot of blood (and becomes incurable).

وَلَيْسَ رَجُلٌ ـ فَاعْلَمْ ـ أَحْرَصَ

Remember that no person is more covetous than I

عَلَى جَمَاعَةِ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّد ـ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ ـ

for the unity of the ummah of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his descendants)

وَأُلْفَتِهَا مِنِّي،

and their solidarity.

أَبْتَغِي بِذلِكَ حُسْنَ الثَّوَابِ، وَكَرَمَ الْمَآبِ.

I seek through it good reward and an honourable place to return to.

وَسَأَفِي بِالَّذِي وَأيْتُ عَلَى نَفْسِي،

I shall fulfil what I have pledged upon myself

وَإِنْ تَغَيَّرْتَ عَنْ صَالِحِ مَا فَارَقْتَنِي عَلَيْهِ،

even though you may go back from the sound position that existed when you left me last,

فَإِنَّ الشَّقِيَّ مَنْ حُرِمَ نَفْعَ مَا أُوتِيَ مِنَ الْعَقْلِ وَالتَّجْرِبَةِ،

because wretched is he who is denied the benefit of wisdom and experience.

وَإِنِّي لاَعْبَدُ أَنْ يَقُولَ قَائِلٌ بِبَاطِل،

I feel enraged if anyone speaks wrong,

أَنْ أُفْسِدَ أَمْراً قَدْ أَصْلَحَهُ اللهُ،

or if I should worsen a matter which Allah has kept sound.

فَدَعْ مَا لاَ تَعْرِفُ،

Therefore, leave out what you do not understand,

فَإِنَّ شِرَارَ النَّاسِ طَائِرُونَ إِلَيْكَ بِأَقَاويِلِ السُّوءِ،

because wicked people will be conveying to you vicious things;


and that is an end to the matter.