Sermon 168: O my brothers! I am not ignorant of what you know….

After swearing of allegiance to Amir al-muminin, some people from among the companions of the Prophet said to him, You should punish the people who assaulted Uthman, whereupon he said:

يَا إخْوَتَاهُ!

O my brothers!

إنِّي لَسْتُ أَجْهَلُ مَا تَعْلَمُونَ،

I am not ignorant of what you know,

وَلكِنْ كَيْفَ لي بِقُوَّة وَالْقَوْمُ الْـمُجْلبُونَ عَلَى حَدِّ شَوْكَتِهِمْ،

but how do I have the power for it while those who assaulted him are in the height of their power.

يَمْلِكُونَنَا وَلاَ نَمْلِكُهُمْ!

They have superiority over us, not we over them.

وهَاهُمْ هؤُلاَءِ قَدْ ثَارَتْ مَعَهُمْ عِبْدَانِكُمْ،

They are now in the position that even your slaves have risen with them

وَالْتَفَّتْ إلَيْهِمْ أَعْرَابُكُمْ،

and Bedouin Arabs too have joined them.

وَهُمْ خِلاَلَكُمْ يَسُومُونَكُمْ مَا شَاؤُوا;

They are now among you and are harming you as they like.

وَهَلْ تَرَوْنَ مَوْضِعاً لِقُدْرَة عَلَى شَيء، تُرِيدُونَهُ؟!

Do you see any way to be able to do what you aim at?

إنَّ هذَا الاْمْرَ أَمْرُ جَاهِلِيَّة،

This demand is certainly that of the pre-Islamic (al-jahiliyyah) period

وَإِنَّ لِهؤُلاَءِ الْقَوْمِ مَادَّةً.

and these people have support behind them.

إنَّ النَّاسَ مِنْ هذَا الاْمْرِ ـ إذَا حُرِّكَ ـ عَلَى أُمُور:

When the matter is taken up, people will have different views about it.

فِرْقَةٌ تَرَى مَا تَرَوْنَ،

One group will think as you do,

وَفِرقْةٌ تَرَى مَا لاَ تَرَوْنَ،

but another will not think as you think,

وَفِرْقَةٌ لاَ تَرَى لا هذَا وَلاَ هذَا،

and there will be still another group who will be neither this way nor that way.

فَاصْبِرُوا حَتَّى يَهْدَأَ النَّاسُ،

Be patient till people quieten down

وَتَقَعَ الْقُلُوبُ مَوَاقِعَهَا،

and hearts settle in their places

وَتُؤْخَذَ الْحُقُوقُ مُسْمَحَةً;

so that rights can be achieved for people easily.

فَاهْدَأُوا عَنِّي،

Rest assured from me,

وَانْظُرُوا مَاذَا يَأْتِيكُمْ بِهِ أَمْرِي،

and see what is given to you by me.

وَلاَ تَفْعَلُوا فَعْلَةً تُضَعْضِعُ قُوَّةً،

Do not do anything which shatters your power,

وَتُسْقِطُ مُنَّةً،

weakens your strength

وَتُورِثُ وَهْناً وَذِلَّةً.

and engenders feebleness and disgrace.

وَسَأُمْسِكُ الاْمْرَ مَا اسْتَمْسَكَ،

I shall control this affair as far as possible,

وَإذَا لَمْ أَجِدْ بُدّاً

but if I find it necessary the last treatment will,

فَآخِرُ الدَّواءِ الْكَيُّ

of course, be branding with a hot iron (through fighting).


Alternative Sources for Sermon 168: Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh, V, 158, events of 35 H.; Ibn Miskawayh, Tajarib, I, 510.