To Muawiya bin Abi Sufian
Those who swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have sworn allegiance to me on the same basis on which they swore allegiance to them. He who was present has no choice and he who was absent has no right to reject.; and consultation is confined to Muhajirs and Ansars. If they agree on an individual and take him to be Caliph it would be deemed to mean Allah’s pleasure. If anyone keeps out by way of objection or innovation they would return him to the position from where he kept out. If he refuses they would fight him for following a course other then that of the believers and Allah would put him back from where he had run away. By my life, O Muawiya, if you see with your brain without any passion you would find me the most innocent of all in respect of Uthman’s blood and you would know that I was in seclusion from him, unless you conceal what is quite open to you.