They (1)thundered like clouds and shone like lightning but despite both these things they exhibited cowardice; while we do not thunder till we pounce upon the foe nor do we show flow (of words) until we have not virtually rained.
(1). About the people of Jamal (i.e. the enemy in the battle of Jamal) Amir al-mu’minin says that they rose thundering, shouting and stampeding but when encounter took place they were seen flying like straw. At one time they made loud claims that they would do this and would do that and now they showed such cowardice as to flee from the battle-field.
About himself Amir al-mu’minin says, that “We do not threaten the enemy before battle, nor utter boasts, nor terrorise the enemy by raising unnecessary cries because it is not the way of the brave to use the tongue instead of the hand.” That is why on this occasion he said to his comrades: “Beware of excessive talk as it is cowardice.”
Beware! Satan (1) has collected his group and assembled his horse-men and foot-soldiers. Surely, with me is my sagacity. I have neither deceived myself nor ever been deceived. By Allah I shall fill to the brim for them a cistern from which I alone would draw water. They can neither turn away from it nor return to it.
(1). When Talhah and az-Zubayr broke away by violating the Oath of allegiance and set for Basrah in the company of `A’ishah, Amir al-mu’minin spoke in these words which are part of the long speech. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid has written that in this sermon Satan denotes the real Satan as well as Mu`awiyah because Mu`awiyah was secretly conspiring with Talhah and az-Zubayr and instigating them to fight against Amir al-mu’minin but the reference to the real Satan is more appropriate, obvious and in accord with the situation and circumstances.