“O Allah! Send your blessings to the purified spirit and the holy body that is placed in grave; the one with whom justice and righteousness was also buried; the one who was united with truth by oath, and did not breach his oath at any price; he always accompanied truth and faith”(1).
These were poems recited by an oppressed woman as a response to the angry yells of a brutal caliph. “Suda” is the name of this oppressed woman whose rights and the rights of her tribe were ignored by “Busr ibn Artaat”, the governor of Mu’awyiah. She did whatever she could to take back her rights, but it did not work out. Thus, she decided to go directly to Mu’awyiah in Shaam in person. Therefore, being highly motivated, she traveled all the way from Hamdan to Shaam and entered the palace of Mu’awyiah.
After having a discussion with Mu’awyiah about the battle of Siffin, Suda addressed Mu’awyiah by saying,” O Mu’awyiah! “Busr ibn Artaat” has become the governor over our tribe in your name and with your support; he killed our men and plundered our properties. Moreover, he is trying to force us to say things which may Allah forbid us from saying. We do not want to cause chaos; however, our brave men are not entirely dead. You have two options now: either you dismiss him so that we will thank you, or ignore my words so that we will come to know you completely”.
Mu’awyiah, who did not expect a woman to speak to him like this, became extremely angry and shouted,” Are you threatening me? I will now order you to be sent on a rebellious camel to Busr ibn Artaat so that he will treat you however he wishes”.
At this moment, everyone became silent. All the entourage of Mu’awyiah lowered their heads, and they did not dare to say anything or ever look at each other; nonetheless, the only person who was not afraid of the anger of the caliph was the same oppressed woman, who broke the silence by reciting the following poems: “O Allah! Send your blessings to the purified spirit and the holy body that is placed in grave; the one with whom justice and righteousness was also buried; the one who was united with truth by oath, and did not breach his oath at any price; he was always accompanied by truth and faith”.
After reciting the poems, Mu’awyiah asked her,” Who are you referring to?”
Suda replied,” Ali ibn Abi Talib”.
Mu’awyiah asked,” What has Ali said?”
Suda replied,” Once I had a dispute with one of his governors. So I went to him to complain, and I found him praying. After he finished his prayers, he turned to me with kindness and asked,” Did you need anything?” I told him the story. Then, he became so upset that he broke into tears. Then, he stretched his hands towards the sky and said,” O Allah! You know that I never ordered my governors to oppress people or to deprive them from their rights”. Then, he immediately took out a piece of skin and wrote on it:
“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Indeed, clear proof has come to you from your Lord; therefore, give full measure and weight, and do not diminish to men their things, and do not make mischief on earth. What Allah has left with you (of permissible wealth) is better for you if you are believers, and I am not a keeper over you (1). As soon as you finish reading my letter, behold whatever is with you from us until someone comes to you from us to take over your position. Peace!”
Then, he wrapped the letter and gave it to me. In this manner, Ali dismissed his governor due to his oppression against the people”.
Then, Suda continued by saying,” That was how Ali treated an oppressed, defenseless woman, and this is your treatment!”
Mu’awyiah, who noticed that the governance of Imam Ali (PBUH) and the bravery and courage of the people educated by him had stunned even his entourage, wanted to show off his just behavior; therefore, he ordered one of his secretaries to write a letter ordering that the woman be treated with justice and fairness.
At this point, Suda said to him,” Only me?! Never! This is an inappropriate and wicked act. If justice is to be applied, it has to be applied to all the people of the tribe; otherwise, I am no worthier than the others”.
Mu’awyiah moved a bit, looked at the woman again, and responded,” Indeed! Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) has trained you like this to be courageous and dauntless before your rulers”. Then, he ordered that the letter be written however Suda wished (2)”.
(The above is a selection taken from “The behavioral examples of Imam Ali (PBUH) and educational discussions”, by Muhammad Dashti (with some changes))
The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims and free thinkers of the world, especially you dear friend, upon 13th of Rajab, the birthday anniversary of the just Imam and truthful ruler, Amir al Mu’minin, Imam Ali (PBUH)
1- From the Holy Quran (7, 85) and (11, 86)
2- Ihqaaq al-Haq, vol. 8, pp. 562-563