The following is a compilation of sermons in which Ali bin Abi Talib condemns his Shia. The sermons contain a lot of harsh criticisms that are directed to the original followers of Ali. Simply by reading these we realize that there is a major contrast between the companions of the Prophet – peace be upon him – and the companions of Ali. The sahaba were not only praised by the Prophet – peace be upon him – but were praised in the Qur’an several times (i.e. 9:100, 48:18, 48:29, 59:8, etc). Criticisms similar to those that can be seen below cannot be found directed at the sahaba either.
The shocking sermons below show that Ali was not only sick and tired of his companions due to their cowardice, hypocrisy, and disobedience, but that he wished that he could exchange ten of his own men for one of Mu’awiyah’s men.
Sermon #25: “By Allah, I have begun thinking about these people that they would shortly snatch away the whole country through their unity on their wrong and your disunity (from your own right), and separation, your disobedience of your Imam in matters of right and their obedience to their leader in matters of wrong, their fulfillment of the trust in favor of their master and your betrayal, their good work in their cities and your mischief. Even if I give you charge of a wooden bowl I fear you would run away with its handle. O’ Allah they are disgusted of me and I am disgusted of them. They are weary of me and I am weary of them. Change them for me with better ones and change me for them with worse one. O’ Allah, melt their hearts as salt melts in water.”
- Sermon #27: “When I ask you to move against them in summer you say it is hot weather. Spare us till heat subsides from us. When I order you to march in winter you say it is severely cold; give us time till cold clears from us. These are just excuses for evading heat and cold because if you run away from heat and cold, you would be, by Allah, running away (in a greater degree) from sword (war).O’ you semblance of men, not men, your intelligence is that of children and your wit is that of the occupants of the curtained canopies (women kept in seclusion from the outside world). I wish I had not seen you nor known you. By Allah, this acquaintance has brought about shame and resulted in repentance. May Allah fight you! You have filled my heart with pus and loaded my bosom with rage. You made me drink mouthful of grief one after the other.”
Sermon #29: “O people, your bodies are together but your desires are divergent. Your talk softens the hard stones and your action attracts your enemy towards you. You claim in your sittings that you would do this and that, but when fighting approaches, you say (to war), “turn thou away” (i.e. flee away). If one calls you (for help) the call receives no heed. And he who deals hardly with you his heart has no solace. The excuses are amiss like that of a debtor unwilling to pay. The ignoble cannot ward off oppression. Right cannot be achieved without effort. Which is the house besides this one to protect? And with which leader (Imam) would you go for fighting after me? By Allah! Deceived is one whom you have deceived while, by Allah, he who is successful with you receives only useless arrows! You are like broken arrows thrown over the enemy. By Allah! I am now in the position that I neither confirm your views nor hope for your support, nor challenge the enemy through you. What is the matter with you? What is your ailment? What is your cure? The other party is also men of your shape (but they are so different in character). Will there be talk without action, carelessness without piety and greed in things not right?!”
- Sermon #34: “Woe to you. I am tired of rebuking you. Do you accept this worldly life in place of the next life? Or disgrace in place of dignity? When I invite you to fight your enemy your eyes revolve as though you are in the clutches of death, and in the senselessness of last moments. My pleadings are not understood by you and you remain stunned. It is as though your hearts are affected with madness so that you do not understand. You have lost my confidence for good. Neither are you a support for me to lean upon, nor a means to honor and victory. Your example is that of the camels whose protector has disappeared, so that if they are collected from one side they disperse away from the other side.”
- Sermon #39: “I am faced with men who do not obey when I order and do not respond when I call them. May you have no father! (Woe to you!) What are you waiting for to rise for the cause of Allah? Does not faith join you together, or sense of shame rouse you? I stand among you shouting and I am calling you for help, but you do not listen to my word, and do not obey my orders, till circumstances show out their bad consequences. No blood can be avenged through you and no purpose can be achieved with you. I called you for help of your brethren but made noises like the camel having pain in stomach, and became loose like the camel of thin back. Then a wavering weak contingent came to me from amongst you: ‘“as if they are being led to death and they are only watching.’”
Sermon #67: “By Allah, he whom people like you support must suffer disgrace and he who throws arrows with your support is as if he throws arrows that are broken both at head and tail. By Allah, within the courtyard you are quite numerous but under the banner you are only a few. Certainly, I know what can improve you and how your crookedness can be straightened. But I shall not improve your condition by marring myself. May Allah disgrace your faces and destroy you. You do not understand the right as you understand the wrong and do not crush the wrong as you crush the right.”
- Sermon #68: “I was sitting when sleep overtook me. I saw the Prophet of Allah appear before me, and I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! What crookedness and enmity I had to face from the people. ‘The Prophet of Allah said: ‘Invoke (Allah) evil upon them,’ but I said, ‘Allah may change them for me with better ones and change me for them with a worse one.’”
Sermon #95: “By Allah in Whose power my life lies, these people (Mu`awiyah and his men) will overcome you not because they have a better right than you but because of their hastening towards the wrong with their leader and your slowness about my right (to be followed). People are afraid of the oppression of their rulers while I fear the oppression of my subjects. I called you for war but you did not come. I warned you but you did not listen. I called you secretly as well as openly, but you did not respond. I gave you sincere counsel, but you did not accept it. Are you present like the absent, and slaves like masters? I recite before you points of wisdom but you turn away from them, and I advise you with far reaching advice but you disperse away from it. I rouse you for jihad against the people of revolt but before I come to the end of my speech, I see you disperse like the sons of Saba. You return to your places and deceive one another by your counsel. I straighten you in the morning but you are back to me in the evening as curved as the back of a bow. The straightener has become weary while those to be straightened have become incorrigible. O’ those whose bodies are present but whose wits are absent, whose wishes are scattered, and whose rulers are afflicted by them. Your leader obeys Allah but you disobey him while the leader of the people of Syria (ash-Sham) disobeys Allah but they obey him. By Allah, I wish Mu`awiyah exchanges with me like Dinars with Dirhams, so that he takes from me ten of you and gives me one from them.”
- Sermon #104: “You now see pledges to Allah being broken but do not feel enraged although you fret and frown on the breaking of the traditions of your forefathers. Allah’s matters have been coming to you, and going from and again coming back to you; but you have made over your place to wrong-doers and thrown towards them your responsibilities, and have placed Allah’s affairs in their hands.”
- Sermon #178: “I praise Allah for whatever matter He ordained and whatever action He destines and for my trial with you, O’ group of people who do not obey when I order and do not respond when I call you. If you are at ease you engage in (conceited) conversation, but if you are faced with battle you show weakness. If people agree on one Imam you taunt them. If you are faced with an arduous matter you turn away from it. May others have no father (woe to your enemy!) what are you waiting for in the matter of your assistance and for fighting for your rights? For you there is either death or disgrace. By Allah, if my day (of death) comes, and it is sure to come, it will cause separation between me and you while I am sick of your company and feel alone although I am with you. May Allah deal with you! Is there no religion which may unite you or sense of shamefulness that may sharpen you? Is it not strange that Mu`awiyah calls out to some rude low people and they follow him without any support or grant, but when I call you, although you are the successors of Islam and the (worthy) survivors of the people, with support and distributed grants you scatter away from me and oppose me? Truly, there is nothing between me to you which I like and you also like it, or with which I am angry and you may also unite against it. What I love most is death!”
In conclusion, we find that Ali hated his companions and that they failed him when he needed them the most. When one compares what he says about them to what we find in the Qur’an about the companions of the Prophet – peace be upon him – we can understand why Sunnis regard them with such esteem.