Riding on the horses, the Commander of believers, Imam 'Ali ('a) and his army set for Nahrawan. Suddenly, one of the heads of his Companions arrived, accompanied with a man, and said: "O Commander of believers! This man is an astrologer, he has something to say to you!"
The astrologer: "O Commander of believers! Do not move at this hour. Wait for a while! At lease, let two or three hours of the day pass before departing!"
The Imam ('a) asked: "What for?"
The astrologer replied: "Because the position of the stars indicates that whoever starts on the way at this moment will be defeated by his enemy and will sustain a heavy loss for himself and his Companions, but if you depart at the time that I have indicated, you will gain the victory and will attain your goal.
Imam 'Ali (‘a) said: "This mare of mine is pregnant. Can you tell me her colt is male or female?"
The astrologer: "If I do a calculation. I will be able to say that."
Imam 'Ali (‘a): "You are telling a lie. You won't be able to do so! The Holy Qur'an says: "No one except Allah is aware of unseen. Only Allah knows what He has created in the womb." Muhammad (S), the Messenger of Allah, did not pretend what you are pretending: do you affirm your being informed of what all is happening and do you know at what moment the good luck and bad luck arrives? Thus, if someone has confidence on you with this pretending and perfect science, he will not be in need of Allah."
Then he (‘a) addressed the assembly: "Take care to follow these things which lead you to divination and to pretention of prophecy. The diviner is like a sorcerer: a sorcerer is the same as an infidel and an infidel is in the Fire (Hell)."
Turning his face towards the sky, he ('a) recited some words of prayer relative to the confidence and reliance on the Almighty Allah, then he ('a) looked at the astrologer and said: "We will oppose your prescription deliberately and we will set out just now."
Imam 'Ali ('a) issued an immediate order to depart and move towards the enemy. The victory and success achieved in this war by Imam 'Ali ('a) was easier than any other of his earlier wars.1
- 1. Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon 77; Wasa'il. v. 2, p. 181.