Jabir b. Abdullah Ansari narrates – Once I had gone on a journey to Syria. There I met both sons of Muawiyah – Khalid and Yazid as also Amre Aas. While I was there, I saw an old man coming from Iraq. He was very weak and feeble, wearing a belt made of date palm leaves around his waist and his slippers too were from the same material. His clothes were worn out and his eyes were sunk in.
Muawiyah: Call this old man and let’s talk to him.
Muawiyah: O Sheikh! Where are you coming from and where are you headed?
The old man remained silent.
Amre Aas: O Sheikh! Why do you do not answer Ameerul Momineen (Muawiyah)?
Old man: After purifying us from ignorance and deviation, Allah the Almighty has made it mandatory to send greetings and salutations on us, which Muawiyah has not done.
Muawiyah: O Sheikh, you are right and I am wrong. Assalaamo alaika, O Sheikh!
Old man: Alaikum assalam
Muawiyah: Where are you coming from and where are you headed?
Old man: I have come from Iraq and I intend going to Bait al-Maqdas
Muawiyah: What is the news of Iraq?
Old man: It is in good and blessed condition.
Muawiyah: You said you are coming from Kufa, the land of Gharavi (Valley)?
Old man: Where is Gharavi?
Muawiyah: The land of Abu Turab.
Old man: Who is Abu Turab?
Muawiyah: Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s).
Old man: O Muawiyah, may Allah rub your nose in the ground, may your mouth break, Allah’s curse on your parents! Why don’t you instead refer to him (a.s.) as the just Imam, shelter of the people, chief of religion, killer of apostates, sword of Allah, cousin of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), husband of Batool, crown of the jurists, treasure of the impoverished, the fifth to enter the cloak of Tatheer, the dominant lion of Allah, father of Hasanain (a.s.), Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)?
Muawiyah: O Sheikh! I am seeing that your flesh and blood has got mixed with the flesh and blood of Ali but if he dies, you cannot do anything about it.
Old man: May Allah not show me that day when I am alive and he is not! His separation will increase my grief and suffering manifold. But Allah will not call him to His Abode, unless He has appointed a successor for him among his (a.s.) sons.
Muawiyah: O Sheikh, have you left anything for yourself?
Old man: I have been given the guidance of the right path (which is sufficient for me).
Amre Aas: O Muawiyah! Maybe the Sheikh does not know us – that is why he is arguing with us in this manner?
Muawiyah: O Sheikh, do you recognize me?
Old man: No
Muawiyah: I am son of Abu Sufyan, Shajar-e-Tayyibah (Pure Tree), and I am the leader and chief of Bani Umayyah
Old man: O Muawiyah! On the contrary you are the one cursed by Allah and his Prophet. The Quran labels you as Shajar-e-Maloonah (Accursed Tree). You are the degraded person who has oppressed himself and denied God. You are the one about whom the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed: Caliphate is prohibited on the sons of Abu Sufyan (Maqtal al-Husain of Khaarazmi p. 74). You are a sinner and the son of a sinner and Hind, the liver eater, was your mother. You are the rebel whose oppression has engulfed Allah’s servants.
On hearing this, it was as if Muawiyah’s body was on fire; due to anger, his face became red, the veins in his neck got swollen and he drew his hand over the sheath of his sword and moved forward but controlled his anger at the last moment and said: if forgiveness was not praiseworthy and recommended, I would have chopped off your neck. O Sheikh! If I chop off your neck, what will you do?
Old man replied calmly: Then I will attain good fortune (of martyrdom) and you will attain misfortune (of killing an innocent man).
Muawiyah noticed that the old man was so aged and feeble that it was only a matter of time before he dropped dead. That’s why he refrained from killing him. Suddenly, he changed the direction of his conversation and demanded:
Muawiyah: O Sheikh! Where were you the day Ali killed Usman?
Old man: I swear by Allah that Ali has not killed Usman because if Ali wanted to kill Usman, he wouldn’t have done it through deception but instead would have killed him with the strength of his sword. It was only due to the will of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that Ali (a.s.) remained silent.
Muawiyah: O Sheikh, were you present at the battle of Siffeen and did you see the bloodshed caused by Ali?
Old man: Not only was I present at the battle of Siffeen but I have made many of the children of your army as orphans and many of the women as widows. Like an angry lion I was fighting with the sword and the spears, I shot 73 arrows towards your army, among them I shot 2 arrows at your shield, 2 arrows at your prayer carpet, and 2 arrows at your arm – if you fold up your sleeves the scars may still be there.
Muawiyah: Did you participate in the battle of Jamal when Ali fought with the wife of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) Ayesha – so tell me who was on truth?
Old man: Truth was with Ali.
Muawiyah: Has Allah not said?
“And his wives are their mothers.”
(Surah Ahzaab (33): Verse 6)
Ayesha was Ummul Momineen then why did Ali (a.s.) fight her?
Old man: But did Allah not order Ayesha and other wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
“And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore…”
(Surah Ahzaab (33): Verse 33)
Among the wives of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ayesha was the only woman who had violated Allah’s order and ventured out of the house, just like in the period of ignorance and paganism, in the company of Muslim men prohibited for her and fought Ali (a.s.).
Didn’t the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) inform:
“O Ali after me you are my caliph and you are the caretaker of my wives and the authority to divorce them is also in your hands.”
Ayesha is the person who tried to create chaos on numerous occasions, resulting in bloodshed of Muslims, destruction of their wealth and property. Curse be upon the unjust!
And certainly Ayesha has committed injustice and like the wife of Nuh (a.s.) is the fuel of hellfire.
Muawiyah: I have nothing left to say. Will you be satisfied with rewards and favours – 20 red-eyed camels carrying a lot of honey, oil and wheat?
Old man: No, because the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had said that one permissible (halal) dirham is better than thousands of prohibited (haram) dirham.
Muawiyah: O Sheikh, when was the last time the nation got engulfed in darkness and mercy was severed?
Old man: When you became the chief of the nation and Amr Aas became your minister and advisor.
Muawiyah (furiously): Get away from my sight as soon as possible, if I ever see you again in Damascus I will have your neck severed.
Old man: It is impossible for me to stay in the same place as you. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touches you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped.”
(Surah Hud (11): Verse 113)
The old man, whose heart was full of faith and love of Ali (a.s.), glanced briefly at Muawiyah and the foolish faces of those surrounding him and departed for Bait al-Maqdas.
• Al-Fazaail, p. 76 by Ibn Shaazaan
• Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 33 p. 247
• Mawaaqif al-Shia, vol. 2 p. 57
• Al-Naasikh al-Tawaareekh, vol. 1 p. 323 by Mirza Muhammad Taqi Lisan al-Mulk