Know that the tongue is a part of a man's body. If the man desists, speech will not co-operate with him and when he dilates, speech will not give him time to stop. Certainly, we are the masters of speaking. Its veins are fixed in us and its branches are hanging over us.
Know that - may Allah have mercy on you - you are living at a time when those who speak about right are few, when tongues are loath to utter the truth and those who stick to the right are humiliated. The people of this time are engaged in disobedience. Their youths are wicked, their old men are sinful, their learned men are hypocrites, and their speakers are sycophants. Their youngs do not respect their elders, and their rich men do not support the destitute.
(1). Once Amir al-mu'minin asked his nephew (sister's son) Ja`dah ibn Hubayrah al-Makhzumi to deliver a sermon, but when he rose for speaking his tongue faltered and he could utter nothing, whereupon Amir al-mu'minin ascended the pulpit to speak and delivered a long sermon out of which a few sentences have been recorded here by as-Sayyid ar-Radi.