Sermon 119

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Amir al-mu'minin collected the people and exhorted them to jihad but they observed long silence. Then he said: "What is the matter with you. Have you become dumb?" A group of them replied: "O' Amir al-mu'minin if you go forth we shall be with you." Whereupon Amir al-mu'minin said:

What has happened to you? You may not be guided aright or shown the right path. Should in these circumstances I go forth? In fact, at this time one of the brave and the valorous among you whom I select should go out. It does not suit me to leave the army, the city, the public treasury, the land revenue, the dispensation of justice among Muslims and looking after the demands of the claimants and to follow one contingent after the other moving here and there like a featherless arrow moving in the quiver.

I am the axis of the mill. It rotates on me while I remain in my position. As soon as I leave it the centre of its rotation would be disturbed and its lower stone would also be disturbed. By Allah, this is a very bad advice. By Allah, if I had not been hoping for martyrdom by my meeting with the enemy - and my meeting with him has been ordained, I would have secured my carrier and gone away from you and would not have sought you so long as North and South differed.

(You are) calumniators, fault-finders, deviators (from the truth) and guileful! There is no benefit in the majority of your numbers because of lack of unity of your hearts. I have put you on the clear path whereon no one will perish except who perishes by himself. He who sticks to it would achieve Paradise and he who deviates goes to Hell.

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