Sermon 55: As to your statement that ...

When Amir al-mu’minin’s men showed impatience on his delay in giving them permission to fight in Siffin, he said:

ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)

وقد استبطأ أصحابه إذنه لهم في القتال بصفين

Well, as for your idea whether this (delay) is due to my unwillingness for death, then by Allah I do not care whether I proceed towards death or death advances towards me. As for your impression that it may be due to my misgivings about the people of Syria (ash-Sham), well by Allah, I did not put off war even for a day except in the hope that some group may join me, find guidance through me and see my light with their weak eyes. This is dearer to me than to kill them in the state of their misguidance although they would be bearing their own sins.

أمَّا قَوْلُكُمْ: أَكُلَّ ذلِكَ كَرَاهِيَةَ الْمَوْتِ؟ فَوَاللهِ مَا أُبَالِي دَخَلْتُ إِلَى المَوْتِ أَوْ خَرَجَ المَوْتُ إِلَيَّ.

وَأَمَّا قَوْلُكُمْ: شَكّاً في أَهْلِ الشَّامِ! فَوَاللهِ مَا دَفَعْتُ الْحَرْبَ يَوْماً إِلاَّ وَأَنَا أَطْمَعُ أَنْ تَلْحَقَ بِي طَائِفَةٌ فَتَهْتَدِيَ بِي، وَتَعْشُوَ إِلى ضَوْئِي، فهُوَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ أَنْ أَقْتُلَهَا عَلَى ضَلالِهَا، وَإِنْ كَانَتْ تَبُوءُ بِآثَامِهَا.

Alternative Sources for Sermon 55

(1) Nasr, Siffin, 209;

(2) ‘Abd al-Zahra', Masadir, II, 27, says that statements to this effect have been widely narrated from ‘Ali (A).