A letter to Mu'awiya. | Nahj Al Balagha Letters
A letter to Mu'awiya.
Have you ever seriously considered what would happen to you if all your wealth and property is taken away from you. The possessions, the riches and the luxuries that you have surrounded yourself with, belong to this world, a world which has profusely decorated itself and which is bent upon alluring you with its enjoyments. It has enticed you away and you have fallen an easy prey to its allurements. It has dragged you and you have followed it like a tame animal on the other end of the rope. It has ordered you and you have obeyed its orders submissively.
You have forgotten that shortly you will be called to bear the consequences of such a life; consequences from which no one can shield, liberate or absolve you.
Abstain from such a life, keep yourself ready for the Day of Judgement; be ready for death which is inevitable, bound to come and sure to end every life, rich or poor. Do not listen to the exciting whispers of those who want to tempt you and do not make them believe that they and their heinous whisperings have any importance in your mind.
If you do not faithfully and sincerely follow the dictates of religion and do not act as I have advised you, then I want to warn you of something that you have entirely forgotten. It is that you are unthankful to Allah for all which He has granted to you and you are ungrateful to Him for the Favours bestowed upon you. Satan has taken possession of your soul. Its desire to secure you as his obedient slave, is fully fulfilled. It has a firm hold on your mind.
O Mu'awiya! Were you ever entrusted with the noble status of dispensing peace and justice to mankind? Have you the necessary knowledge for the work? Do you really know the canons of equity and justice as laid down by Islam? You and your ways of government! May Allah protect me from and may withhold me from behaving towards mankind the way you have behaved and from tyranny, exploitations and murders that you commit. Take care! You are being madly driven by the lust of wealth, power and vicious indulgence, you are behaving hypocritically against man and Allah. You shall be damned forever.
You have challenged me to a battle. I accept your challenge. But I have a proposal to make. Why have a war involving murder and bloodshed of thousands of ignorant people? Why be a scourge to mankind? Let us have mercy on them, whether they are sincere and Allah-fearing Muslims, or ignorant, unenlightened and greedy mercenaries misguided and fooled by you. Let there be peace and tranquillity for all the creatures of Allah.
Let us, you and I, have a single combat. Let it be a combat unto death. Let the soldiers of both
armies stand aside and let two of us alone combat with each other. Let the world see and realize who is the sinner and who has forgotten Allah and the Day of Judgement. Will you accept this invitation of mine? Have you the courage for it? Are you a man to face death boldly and bravely or are you merely a vampire sucking the blood of others surreptitiously?
Remember Mu'awiya! Though now old I am still Abu al-Hasan, the man who killed your maternal grandfather, your uncle and your brother in single combats in the Battle of Badr. The same sword is still in my hand, the same blood is still flowing in my veins, the same heart is still throbbing in my chest and with the same courage I still face my enemy. Will you come and face me alone?
Remember that I have not introduced any innovation in religion, nor have I insinuated schism. Verily, I sincerely believe in the religion which you pretended to embrace hypocritically with mental reservations and pretensions, a religion which you in your heart of hearts actually hated and which you gave up quickly and cheerfully.
You pretend that you want to avenge the murder of Caliph Uthman. Do you know who actually killed him and who caused his murder? If really you do so, then seek vengeance on them.
I see before me the day when you will be tired of this war, when you will face defeat, when you will find death or disgrace facing you, when I shall scatter your armies, killing your famous but misguided marshals, when I shall thin your ranks and files; then in despondency and despair you will turn towards the Book of Allah, though you will have no faith in it and no belief in the truth preached by it because you and your followers being hypocrites have no faith in Allah, in the Holy Prophet (s) and the Day of Judgement and who have gone back on their promises.
What a prophecy! It all took place as Imam Ali (a) had prophesied. While facing defeat in the Battle of Siffin, Mu'awiya following Amr bin Aas tied some scraps of paper to the spears of his soldiers and raising them declared that it was the Holy Qur'an and that they wanted the Holy Book to act as an arbitrator between him and Imam Ali (a).