[Zirar bin Zamra Zibabi, known as Zirar Suda’i, was a companion of Imam Ali. When, after the martyrdom of Imam Ali, he went to Damascus, Muawiya called him and asked him to say something about Imam Ali. Zirar, knowing that Muawiya hated Imam Ali intensely tried to avoid this topic, but Muawiya forced him to speak.
Thereupon, Zirar said: “O Amir, I had often seen Imam Ali in the depth of nights, when people were either sleeping or engrossed in amusements, he would be standing in the niche of the Masjid, with tears in his eyes and he would beseech Allah to help him maintain a pious, a virtuous and a noble character and to forsake the world. He would then address the world, saying:
‘O vicious world!
Be away from me, why do you come in front of me like this?
Do you want to allure me?
Allah forbids that I should be allured and tempted by you and your pleasures.
It is not possible. Go and try your allurements on somebody else.
I do not desire to own you and do not want to have you.
I have forsaken you thrice. It is like divorcing a woman thrice after which act she cannot be taken back as a wife.
The life of pleasures that you offer is of a very little duration.
There is no real importance in what you offer,
the desire of holding you is an insult and a humiliation to sober minds.
Sad is the plight of those who want to acquire you.
They do not provide for the Hereafter.
They have to pass through a long journey over a very difficult road towards a sad destination’.
Zirar says that when he stopped, there were tears in the eyes of Muawiya who said, ‘May peace of Allah be upon Abul Hasan Ali bin Abi Talib, he was undoubtedly like that. Now tell me, Zirar! How do you feel his separation?’ Zirar replied, “My sorrow and grief is like that of woman whose only child has been murdered in her lap”. With this remark Zirar walked out of the court of Muawiya and left the city.] (nahjulbalagha saying#78)