Sermon 3: By Allah, the son of Abu Quhafah….

ومن خطبة له (عليه السلام) المعروفة بالشِّقْشِقِيَّة
Known as the Sermon of ash-Shiqshiqiyah1
وتشتمل على الشكوى من أمر الخلافة ثم ترجيح صبره عنها ثم مبايعة الناس له

أَمَا وَالله

Beware! By Allah,

لَقَدْ تَقَمَّصَها ابْنُ اَبى قُحافَةَ ،

the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr)2 dressed himself with it (the caliphate)

وَإِنَّهُ لَيَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَحَلِّيَ مِنهَا مَحَلُّ القُطْبِ مِنَ الرَّحَا،

and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill.

يَنْحَدِرُ عَنِّي السَّيْلُ،

The flood water flows down from me

وَلا يَرْقَى إِلَيَّ الطَّيْرُ،

and the bird cannot fly upto me.

فَسَدَلْتُ دُونَهَا ثَوْباً،

I put a curtain against the caliphate

وَطَوَيْتُ عَنْهَا كَشْحاً،

and kept myself detached from it.

وَطَفِقْتُ أَرْتَئِي بَيْنَ أَنْ أَصُولَ بِيَد جَذَّاءَ،

Then I began to think whether I should assault

أَوْ أَصْبِرَ عَلَى طَخْيَة عَمْيَاءَ،

or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations

 يَهْرَمُ فيهَا الكَبيرُ،

wherein the grown up are made feeble

وَيَشِيبُ فِيهَا الصَّغِيرُ،

and the young grow old

وَيَكْدَحُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنٌ حَتَّى يَلْقَى رَبَّهُ.

and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death).

ترجيح الصبرعلى فقد الاعوان

Proposes Patience in Absence of Supporters

فَرَأَيْتُ أَنَّ الصَّبْرَ عَلَى هَاتَا أَحْجَى،

I found that endurance thereon was wiser.

فَصَبَرتُ وَفي الْعَيْنِ قَذىً،

So I adopted patience although there was pricking in the eye

وَفي الحَلْقِ شَجاً،

and suffocation (of mortification) in the throat.

أرى تُرَاثي نَهْباً،

I watched the plundering of my inheritance

حَتَّى مَضَى الاْوَّلُ لِسَبِيلِهِ،

till the first one went his way

فَأَدْلَى بِهَا إِلَى ابْنِ الْخَطّابِ بَعْدَهُ.

but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself.

( ثم تمثل بقول الاعشى):

(Then he quoted al-A`sha’s verse):

شَتّانَ ما يَومي عَاى كُوْرِها * و يَوْمُ حَيَّانَ أخي جابِرِ

My days are now passed on the camel’s back (in difficulty) while there were days (of ease) when I enjoyed the company of Jabir’s brother Hayyan.3

فَيَا عَجَباً!!

It is strange that

بَيْنَا هُوَ يَسْتَقِيلُها في حَيَاتِهِ إِذْ عَقَدَهَا لاخَرَ بَعْدَ وَفَاتِهِ ـ

during his lifetime he wished to be released from the caliphate but he confirmed it for the other one after his death.

لَشَدَّ مَا تَشَطَّرَا ضَرْعَيْهَا ! ـ

No doubt these two shared its udders strictly among themselves.

فَصَيَّرَهَا في حَوْزَة خَشْنَاءَ،

This one put the Caliphate in a tough enclosure

يَغْلُظُ كَلْمُهَا،

where the utterance was haughty

وَيَخْشُنُ مَسُّهَا،

and the touch was rough.

وَيَكْثُرُ العِثَارُ فِيهَا وَالاْعْتَذَارُ مِنْهَا،

Mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore.

فَصَاحِبُهَا كَرَاكِبِ الصَّعْبَةِ،

One in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel.

إِنْ أَشْنَقَ لَهَا خَرَمَ،

If he pulled up its rein the very nostril would be slit,

وَإِنْ أَسْلَسَ لَهَا تَقَحَّمَ،

but if he let it loose he would be thrown. Consequently,

فَمُنِيَ النَّاسُ ـ لَعَمْرُ اللهِ ـ بِخَبْط وَشِمَاس،

by Allah people got involved in recklessness, wickedness,

وَتَلَوُّن وَاعْتِرَاض.

unsteadiness and deviation.

فَصَبَرْتُ عَلَى طُولِ الْمُدَّةِ، وَشِدَّةِ الْمحْنَةِ،

Nevertheless, I remained patient despite length of period and stiffness of trial,

حَتَّى إِذا مَضَى لِسَبِيلِهِ جَعَلَهَا في جَمَاعَة زَعَمَ أَنَّي أَحَدُهُمْ.

till when he went his way (of death) he put the matter (of Caliphate) in a group4 and regarded me to be one of them.

فَيَاللهِ وَلِلشُّورَى!

But good Heavens! What had I to do with this “consultation”?

مَتَى اعْتَرَضَ الرَّيْبُ فِيَّ مَعَ الاْوَّلِ مِنْهُمْ،

Where was any doubt about me with regard to the first of them

حَتَّى صِرْتُ أُقْرَنُ إِلَى هذِهِ النَّظَائِرِ!

that I was now considered akin to these ones?

لكِنِّي أَسفَفْتُ إِذْ أَسَفُّوا،

But I remained low when they were low and flew high when they flew high.

وَطِرْتُ إِذْ طَارُوا، فَصَغَا رَجُلُ مِنْهُمْ لِضِغْنِه،

One of them turned against me because of his hatred

وَمَالَ الاْخَرُ لِصِهْرهِ، مَعَ هَن وَهَن.

and the other got inclined the other way due to his in-law relationship and this thing and that thing,

إِلَى أَنْ قَامَ ثَالِثُ القَوْمِ،

till the third man of these people stood up

نَافِجَاً حِضْنَيْهِ بَيْنَ نَثِيلهِ وَمُعْتَلَفِهِ،

with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder.

وَقَامَ مَعَهُ بَنُو أَبِيهِ يَخْضَمُونَ مَالَ اللهِ خَضْمَ الاْبِل نِبْتَةَ الرَّبِيعِ،

With him his children of his grand-father, (Umayyah) also stood up swallowing up Allah’s wealth5 like a camel devouring the foliage of spring,

إِلَى أَنِ انْتَكَثَ عَلَيْهِ فَتْلُهُ، وَأَجْهَزَ عَلَيْهِ عَمَلُهُ، وَكَبَتْ بِهِ بِطْنَتُهُ.

till his rope broke down, his actions finished him and his gluttony brought him down prostrate.

 

 

مبايعة علي (عليه السلام(

Allegiance paid to ‘Ali

فَمَا رَاعَنِي

At that moment, nothing took me by surprise,

إلاَّ وَالنَّاسُ إليَّ كَعُرْفِ الضَّبُعِ،

but the crowd of people rushing to me.

يَنْثَالُونَ عَلَيَّ مِنْ كُلِّ جَانِب،

It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much

حَتَّى لَقَدْ وُطِىءَ الحَسَنَانِ،

so that Hasan and Husayn were getting crushed

وَشُقَّ عِطْفَايَ،

and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn.

مُجْتَمِعِينَ حَوْلي كَرَبِيضَةِ الغَنَمِ.

They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats.

فَلَمَّا نَهَضْتُ بِالاْمرِ نَكَثَتْ طَائِفَةٌ،

When I took up the reins of government one party broke away

وَمَرَقَتْ أُخْرَى،

and another turned disobedient

وَفَسَقَ [وقسط] آخَرُونَ كَأَنَّهُمْ لَمْ يَسْمَعُوا اللهَ سُبْحَانَهُ يَقُولُ:

while the rest began acting wrongfully as if they had not heard the word of Allah saying:

(تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الاخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا للَّذِينَ لاَ يُريدُونَ عُلُوّاً في الاَرْضِ وَلاَ فَسَاداً وَالعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ(،

That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exult themselves in the earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones. (Qur’an, 28:83)

بَلَى! وَاللهِ لَقَدْ سَمِعُوهَا وَوَعَوْهَا،

Yes, by Allah, they had heard it and understood it

وَلكِنَّهُمْ حَلِيَتَ الدُّنْيَا في أَعْيُنِهمْ،

but the world appeared glittering in their eyes

وَرَاقَهُمْ زِبْرِجُهَا!

and its embellishments seduced them.

أَمَا وَالَّذِي فَلَقَ الْحَبَّةَ، وَبَرَأَ النَّسَمَةَ،

Behold, by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings,

لَوْلاَ حُضُورُ الْحَاضِرِ،

if people had not come to me

وَقِيَامُ الْحُجَّةِ بِوُجُودِ النَّاصِرِ،

and supporters had not exhausted the argument

وَمَا أَخَذَ اللهُ عَلَى العُلَمَاءِ أَلاَّ يُقَارُّوا عَلَى كِظَّةِ ظَالِم،

and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor

وَلا سَغَبِ مَظْلُوم، لاَلقَيْتُ حَبْلَهَا عَلَى غَارِبِهَا،

and the hunger of the oppressed I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders,

وَلَسَقَيْتُ آخِرَهَا بِكَأْسِ أَوَّلِها،

and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one.

وَلاَلفَيْتُمْ دُنْيَاكُمْ هذِهِ أَزْهَدَ عِنْدِي مِنْ عَفْطَةِ عَنْز!

Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat.

قالوا: وقام إِليه رجل من أهل السوادعند بلوغه إلى هذا الموضع من خطبته،

(It is said that when Amir al-mu’minin reached here in his sermon a man of Iraq stood up

 فناوله كتاباً،

and handed him over a writing.

فأقبل ينظر فيه، فلمّا فرغ من قراءته قال له ابن عباس:

Amir al-mu’minin began looking at it, when Ibn `Abbas said,

يا أميرالمؤمنين،

“O’ Amir al-mu’minin,

لو اطَّرَدت مَقالتكَ من حيث أَفضيتَ!

I wish you resumed your Sermon from where you broke it.”

فَقَالَ(عليه السلام):

Thereupon he replied,

هَيْهَاتَ يَابْنَ عَبَّاس!

“O’ Ibn `Abbas

تِلْكَ شِقْشِقَةٌ هَدَرَتْ ثُمَّ قَرَّتْ!

it was like the foam of a Camel which gushed out but subsided.”

قال ابن عباس: فوالله ما أَسفت على كلام قطّ كأَسفي على ذلك الكلام

Ibn `Abbas says that he never grieved over any utterance as he did over this one

أَلاَّ يكون أميرالمؤمنين (عليه السلام) بلغ منه حيث أراد.

because Amir al-mu’minin could not finish it as he wished to.)

 

 

قال الشريف الرضي: قوله (عليه السلام) في هذه الخطبة:

Al-Sharif al-Radi says: The words in this sermon

«كراكب الصعبة إن أشنق لها خرم، وإن أسلس لها تقحم» يريد: أنه إذا شدد عليها في جذب الزمام وهي تنازعه رأسها خرم أنفها، وإن أرخى لها شيئاً مع صعوبتها تقحمت به فلم يملكها، يقال: أشنق الناقة، إذا جذب رأسها بالزمام فرفعه، وشنقها أيضاً: ذكر ذلك ابن السكيت في «إصلاح المنطق».

“like the rider of a camel” mean to convey that when a camel rider is stiff in drawing up the rein then in this scuffle the nostril gets bruised, but if he lets it loose in spite of the camel’s unruliness, it would throw him somewhere and would get out of control. “ashnaq an-naqah” is used when the rider holds up the rein and raises the camel’s head upwards. In the same sense the word “shanaqa an-naqah” is used. Ibn as-Sikkit has mentioned this in Islah al-Mantiq.

 وإنما قال (عليه السلام): «أشنق لها» ولم يقل: «أشنقها»، لانه جعله في مقابلة قوله: «أسلس لها»، فكأنه (عليه السلام) قال: إن رفع لها رأسها يعني أمسكه عليها بالزمام .

Amir al-mu’minin has said “ashnaqa laha” instead of “ashnaqaha”, this is because he has used this word in harmony with “aslasa laha” and harmony could be retained only by using both in the same form. Thus, Amir al-mu’minin has used “ashnaqa laha” as though in place of “in rafa`a laha ra’saha”, that is, “if he stops it by holding up the reins.”