Amir al-mu’minin said:
ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)
في معنى قتل عثمان
[و هو حكم له على عثمان و على الناس بما فعلوا و براءة له من دمه]
If I had ordered his assassination I should have been his killer, but if I had refrained others from killing him I would have been his helper. The position was that he who helped him cannot now say that he is better than the one who deserted him while he who deserted him cannot say that he is better than the one who helped him. I am putting before you his case. He appropriated (wealth) and did it badly. You protested against it and committed excess therein. With Allah lies the real verdict between the appropriator and the protester.
لَوْ أَمَرْتُ بِهِ لَكُنْتُ قَاتِلاً، أَوْ نَهَيْتُ عَنْهُ لَكُنْتُ نَاصِراً، غَيْرَ أَنَّ مَنْ نَصَرَهُ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ يَقُولَ: خَذَلَهُ مَنْ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ، وَمَنْ خَذَلَهُ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ يَقُولَ: نَصَرَهُ مَنْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِنِّي. وَأَنَا جَامِعٌ لَكُمْ أَمْرَهُ، اسْتَأْثَرَ فَأَسَاءَ الاْثَرَةَ وَجَزِعْتُمْ فَأَسَأْتُمُ الجَزَعَ وَللهِ حُكْمٌ وَاقِعٌ في المُسْتَأْثِرِ وَالجَازعِ .
(1) Al-Baladhuri, Ansab, V, 98, 101.