Sermon 47: O Kufah! It is as if I see you ...

About calamities befalling Kufah

ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)

في ذكر الكوفة

O Kufah, as though I see you being drawn like the tanned leather of ‘Ukazi1 in the market, you are being scraped by calamities and being ridden by severe troubles. I certainly2 know that if any tyrant intends evil for you Allah will afflict him with worry and fling him with a killer (set someone on him to kill him).

كَأَنَّي بِكِ يَاكُوفَةُ تُمَدِّينَ مَدَّ الاْدَيمِ الْعُكَاظِيِّ، تُعْرَكِينَ بِالنَّوَازِلِ، وَتُرْكَبِينَ بِالزَّلاَزِلِ، وَإِنَّي لاَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ مَاأَرَادَ بِكِ جَبَّارٌ سُوءاً إِلاَّ ابْتَلاَهُ اللهُ بِشَاغِل، وَرَمَاهُ بِقَاتِل!

Alternative Sources for Sermon 47

(1) Ibn al-Faqih, Kitab al-buldan, 163;

(2) al-Zamakhshari, Rabi’, I, bab al-bilad wa al-diyar.

  • 1. During pre-Islamic days a market used to be organised every year near Mecca. Its name was `Ukaz where mostly hides were traded as a result of which leather was attributed to it. Besides sale and purchase literary meetings were also arranged and Arabs used to attract admiration by reciting their works. After Islam, because of the better congregation in the shape of hajj this market went down.
  • 2. This prophecy of Amir al-mu'minin was fulfilled word by word and the world saw how the people who had committed tyranny and oppression on the strength of their masterly power had to face tragic end and what ways of their destruction were engendered by their blood-shedding and homicidal activities. Consequently, the end of Ziyad ibn Abih (son of unknown father) was that when he intended to deliver a speech for vilification of Amir al-mu'minin suddenly paralysis overtook him and he could not get out of his bed thereafter. The end of the bloodshed perpetrated by `Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was that he fell a prey to leprosy and eventually blood thirsty swords put him to death. The ferocity of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqafi drove him to the fate that snakes cropped up in his stomach as a result of which he died after severe pain. `Umar ibn Hubayrah al-Fazari died of leucoderma. Khalid ibn `Abdillah al-Qasri suffered the hardships of prison and was killed in a very bad way. Mus`ab ibn az-Zubayr and Yazid ibn al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufrah were also killed by swords.