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Sermon 239: O Ibn al-`Abbas!...

When `Uthman ibn `Affan was surrounded, `Abdullah ibn al-`Abbas brought a letter to Amir al-mu'minin from `Uthman in which he expressed the desire that Amir al-mu'minin should leave for his estate Yanbu` so that the proposal that was being mooted out for him to become caliph should subside. `Uthman had this request earlier also. Upon this Amir al-mu'minin said to Ibn al-`Abbas:

ومن كلام له عليه السلام

قاله لعبد الله بن العباس وقد جاء برسالة من عثمان بن عفان وهو محصور يسأله فيها الخروج إلى ماله بينبُع، ليقلّ هتف الناس باسمه للخلافة، بعد أن كان سأله مثل ذلك من قبل. فقال عليه السلام:

O Ibn al-`Abbas! `Uthman just wants to treat me like the water-drawing camel so that I may go forward and backward with the bucket. Once he sent me word that I should go out then sent me word that I should come back. Now, again he sends me word that I should go out. By Allah, I continued protecting him till I feared lest I become a sinner.

يَابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، مَا يُرِيدُ عُثْـمَانُ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَجَعَلَنِي جَمَلاً نَاضِحاً بِالْغَرْبِ أَقْبِلْ وَأَدْبِرْ! بَعَثَ إِلَيَّ أَنْ أَخْرُجَ، ثُمَّ بَعَثَ إِليَّ أَنْ أَقْدُمَ، ثُمَّ هُوَ الاْنَ يَبْعَثُ إِلَيَّ أَنْ أَخْرُجَ! وَاللهِ لَقَدْ دَفَعْتُ عَنْهُ حَتَّى خَشِيتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ آثِماً.

Alternative Sources for Sermon 239

(1) Ibn Qutaybah, al-'Imamah, I, 34;

(2) al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, I, 11;

(3) Ibn `Abd Rabbih, al-`Iqd, IV, 309.

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