Nahjul Balagha Letter 9

To Muawiya

Our people (the Quraish) decided to kill our Prophet and to annihilate our root. They created worries for us, behaved with us harshly, denied us ease of life, exposed us to fear, forced us to take refuge in a rugged mountain and ignited for us flames of war. Allah gave us determination to protect His religion and defend his honour. The believers among us expected heavenly reward from it and the unbelievers among us gave support due to kinship. Those who accepted Islam from among Quraish were away from distresses which we were involved in either because of a pledge that protected them or due to the tribe that would rise to support them . They were therefore safe from killing. The way with the Prophet (pbuh) was that when the fighting became fierce and people began to loose ground he would send forwards members of his family and through them protected his companions from the attack of swords and spears.

In this way Obaida bin Harith was killed on the day of Badr, Hamza on the day of Uhud and Jafar on the day of Mauta. One more person whom I can name if you want, desired to seek martyrdom as they did but their deaths had approached while his death had not yet approached. How strange it is that I am being grouped with him who never evinced briskness of pace like me nor he had to his credit any achievement like mine unless he claims something of which I do not know and which I think Allah too does not know.

In regards to your request to hand over to you the murderers of Uthman, I have thought over this matter and I do not find their handing over to you or to someone else possible for me. By Allah, if you do not give up your wrong ways and disruptive acts you would surely know them. They would shortly be seeking you and would not give you the trouble of seeking them in land, sea, mountains or plain. But this search would be painful for you and their visit would not give you happiness. Peace be upon those who deserve it.