After Ali died , Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan said to Dirar bin Damrah
“Describe ‘Ali to me.”
“Will you not excuse me from answering you,” said Dirar.
“No, describe him,” insisted Mu`awiyah.
“Please excuse me from doing so,” said Dirar.
“I will not,” said Mu`awiyah.
” I will do so, then” said Dirar with a sigh.
“By Allah, he was (far-sighted) and very strong. He spoke with a truthful finality, so that, through him , truth became distinguished from falsehood. He ruled justly, and knowledge gushed forth from him, as did wisdom. He felt an aversion to the world and its (pleasure). He was comfortable with the night and its darkness ( meaning he prayed a lot). By Allah he would cry profusely ( from fear of Allah); long durations would he spend in contemplation, during which time he would converse with his soul. He showed a liking to coarse garments and lower-quality food. By Allah, it was as if – in his humbleness- he was one of us: when we asked him a question, he would answer us; when we would go to him, he would initiate (the Salam); and when we would invite him (to our homes), he would come to us . Yet, in spite of his closeness to us, we would not speak (freely) with him, because of the dignity and honor that he exuded if he smiled, he revealed the likes of straight and regular pearls (his teeth). He honored religious people and loved the poor. The strong person could not hope to gain favors from him through falsehood. And the weak person never lost hope of his justness. I swear, by Allah, that on certain occasions, I saw him in his place of prayer when the night was dark and few stars could be seen; he would be holding his beard and crying the way a very sad person cries; and I would hear him saying,
“O world, O world, are you offering yourself to me? Do you desire me? Never! Never! Deceive someone other than me, I have divorced you for the third time, so that you cannot return to me (metaphorically, of course; he is alluding to the fact that, in islam, the third divorce is final) your life is short, the existence you offer is base, and your danger is great. Alas for the scarcity of sustenance (good deeds), the great distance of the journey, and the loneliness of the road!”
Upon hearing this description, Mu`awiyah’s eyes swelled with tears, and not being able to hold them from gushing forth, he was forced to wipe them with his cuffs; and the same can be said for those who were present. Mu`awiyah then said, “May Allah have mercy on the father of Al-Hasan, for he was, by Allah, just as you described him to be. “
He then said, “O Dirar, describe your sadness at having lost him.”
“My sadness” began Dirar “is like the sadness of a woman who cannot control her tears or allay her grief after her child , while in her lap, has just been slaughtered.”
Dirar then stood up and left.
Source: Sifatus-Safwah 1/66
Note: Ali ibn Abi Talib was the Prophet’s cousin, son-in-law and the fourth Caliph after Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. He was also amongst the ten companions who were promised Jannah. Muawiyah was also a noble companion of the Prophet (Salalahu Alayhi wa Salam) and was also the fifth Caliph, after Ali.May Allah be pleased with them all! A'meen.
Quote:” A flower nipped in the bud, it was from paradise and it went to paradise.. but has left its fragrance in my mind”. This quote was said by Ali (r) towards his love, Fatima Zahra(ra), once she had passed away.