ومن كلام له (عليه السلام) بعد ليلة الهرير وقد قام رجل من أصحابه فقال: نهيتنا عن الحكومة ثمّ أمرتنا بها، فما ندري أيّ الامرين أَرشد؟ فصفق (عليه السلام) إحدى يديه على الاخرى ثمّ قال:
A man from among the companions of Amīr al-mu’minīn stood up and said, “O Amīr al-mu’minīn, you first stopped us from Arbitration and thereafter gave order for it. We do not know which of these two was more appropriate.” Amīr al-mu’minīn struck one hand over the other and said :
This is the reward of one who breaks pledge. By Allāh, when I gave you my orders (namely) to abide by arbitration I had led you to an undesirable thing (namely war) in which Allāh had ordained good. If you had been steadfast I would have guided you, if you had been bent I would have straightened you and if you had refused I would have rectified you. This was the surest way. But with whom and to whom. I wanted my treatment from you but you proved to be my disease, like the extractor of thorn with the thorn when he knows that the thorn bends towards itself. My Allāh, the physicians have despaired of this fatal ailment and water-drawers have become tired with the rope of this well.
Where  are those who were invited to Islam and they accepted it? They read the Qur’ān and decided according to it. They were exhorted to fight and they leapt (towards it) as she-camels leap towards their youngs. They took their swords out of the sheaths and went out into the world in groups and rows. Some of them perished and some survived. The good news of survival does not please them nor do they get condoled about the dead. Their eyes have turned white with weeping. Their bellies are emaciated because of fasting. Their lips are dry because of (constant) praying. Their colour is pale because of wakefulness. Their faces bear the dust of God-fearing. These are, my comrades who have departed. We should be justified if we feel eager for them and bite our hands in their separation.
Certainly, Satan has made his ways easy for you and wants to unfasten the knots of religion one by one and to cause division among you in place of unity. Keep away from his evil ideas and enchantments and accept good advice of one who offers it to you and preserve it in your minds.
 Although all those who fought under the banner of Amīr al-mu’minīn were called Shī‘ahs of ‘Alī, yet only those who had tears in their eyes, paleness on their faces, the Qur’ānic verses on their tongues, zeal of religion in their hearts, steadfastness in their feet, determination and courage in their spirits, and patience and endurance in their minds could in true sense be called Shī‘ahs of ‘Alī. These were the people in whose separation Amīr al-mu’minīn’s feelings were coming out in the shape of sighs through the breath, while the flames of the fire of separation were consuming his heart and spirit. These were the people who leapt towards death like mad men and did not feel happy if they survived. Rather, their heart’s slogan was as the Persian hemistich says :
We are ashamed why we have remained alive.
He who has even a slight brilliance of these qualities can alone be called the follower of the Descendants of the Prophet or the Shī‘ahs of ‘Alī, otherwise it would be a word which has lost its meaning and been bereft of its dignity through misuse. Thus tradition has it that Amīr al-mu’minīn saw a group of men at his door and enquired from Qanbar who they were and he answered they were his Shī‘ahs . On hearing this Amīr al-mu’minīn had a frown on his forehead and said, “Why are They called Shī‘ahs? They have no sign of Shī‘ahs.” Thereupon Qanbar enquired what were the signs of Shī‘ahs and Amīr al-mu’minīn replied:
Their bellies are thin through hunger, their lips dry through thirst and their eyes bleared through weeping.