Abu Dharr . . . the fearless

He said: Abul Hasan ‘Ali ibn Bilal al-Mahlabi reported to me from ‘Ali ibn Abdullah al-Ishfahani, who reported from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Thaqafi, who reported from Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, who reported from al-Husayn ibn Sufyan, from his father, from Abu Jahdham al-Azdi, from his father who said that:
When Uthman ordered Abu Dharr al-Ghifari - may Allah bless him with mercy, into exile from Medinah to Syria, he (i.e. Abu Dharr) used to stand up everyday admonishing people, exhorting them to obey Allah, warning them against committing sins. And he used to narrate from the messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, whatever he had heard about the virtues and excellence of his Ahlul Bayt, peace be upon them, enjoining upon them to follow his progeny.
So, Mu’awiyah wrote to Uthman: "Be it known to you that Abu Dharr, at all times during the day, morning and evening, has a large group of people around him and to them he says such and such things. Well, if you have any need of me among the people, then I would send Abu Dharr to you, for I fear that he will instigate people against you; with Salaams."
Then Uthman wrote to him: "As this letter reaches you, send Abu Dharr back to me; with Salaams."
Then Moawiyah sent for Abu Dharr and made him read the letter from Uthman, saying: "Make haste, and go now." Abu Dharr came to his camel fastened his saddle to set off. The people gathered around him saying: "O Abu Dharr! May Allah have mercy on you, where are you going?"
He said: "They drove me out to come to you, as they were angry with me, and now they are driving me away from you to them, messing around with me. And this will continue as I see it, because of my difference with them, till the righteous relaxes or is relieved of the wicked one." Then he left.
As people heard of his departure, they followed him till outside Damascus and remained in his company till he reached the monastery of Murran. He alighted and with him the people also stopped. He was asked to lead, so he prayed with them and then he addressed: "O people! I admonish you about things, which will benefit you, and I do not resort to speeches and eloquence. All of you praise Allah, Most High."
So they said: "All praise be to Allah." He said: "I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and His messenger." They repeated what he uttered. Then he said: "I testify that the resurrection is truth and that the heaven is truth and that the hell is truth; and I confirm what he (i.e. Muhammad) has come with from Allah. So bear witness for me over what I have confirmed." And they said: "And we are among those who testify."
He said: "Whoever among you dies on these tenets of faith, may he have good tidings of Allah's mercy and honour; as long as he does not support the wrongdoers, and does not justify the torture of the tyrants nor does he assist them in anyway.
'O people! Let your daily prayers and fasts be combined with your displeasure for the sake of Allah, whenever He is disobeyed on the earth! Do not please your leaders to incur the wrath of Allah. And if they come up with innovations of which you know not, stay aloof from them; and remain strong against them, even if you were tortured, deprived or rusticated, so that Allah may be pleased with you! Surely, Allah is Most High and it does not behave to displease Him, by pleasing His creatures. May Allah forgive me and you all. I entrust you to His care, and sent you greetings and the grace of Allah."
Then people exclaimed: "May Allah greet you with safety and shower upon you His mercy, O, Abu Dharr; O companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny; we will not send you back if they expel you and we will not refuse you entry." Abu Dharr said: "Return to your places, may Allah have mercy upon you; for I am more tolerant of the adversities than you are. And be careful, never be disunited."
So, he went away till he arrived at Uthman's and upon his arrival, Uthman told him: "May Allah show no favour to the eyes, which behold Amru." Upon this, Abu Dharr reported: "My parents did not name me Amr. But may Allah not favour the one who disobeys Him, acts against His commands and follows his own base desires."
At that time, Ka'b al-Ahbar stood up against him and said: "You old man! Do you not fear Allah when you talk back this way to Amirul Mu’mineen?" Then Abu Dharr raised the stick, which he had in his hands and hit Ka'b on his head, saying: "O son of the Jewish parents, why do you have to speak on behalf of the Muslims? For, By Allah, your jewishness has not come out of your heart yet."
Then Uthman said: "May Allah not unite me with you under one roof! You have indeed gone senile and you have lost your senses. Get him away out of my sight, mount him on a bare camel and then hasten the camel to reach him uncomfortably to Rabdhah. Then drop him there alone, till Allah may decide his fate." So he was pushed away with humiliation, with his ribs prodded.
It was declared in advance that no one should bid him farewell. When the news reached ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, peace be upon him, he wept till his beard was wet with tears and then he said: "Is this the way to treat the companion of the messenger of Allah? We are for Allah, and unto Him shall we return!"
Then he stood up, accompanied by al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Abdullah ibn Abbas, al-Fadhl, Qathum and Ubaidullah and proceeded till they drew close to Abu Dharr. They continued following him. When Abu Dharr, may Allah have mercy on him, saw them, he wept in sympathy for them and said: "May my father be ransom for the faces which remind me of the Prophet (peace be upon him, and his progeny) when I see them; and mere sight of them overwhelms me with divine blessings."
Then he raised his hands towards the heavens and said: "O Allah! I love them; and shall remain steadfast even if I were cut into pieces because of their love! And that is only for Your pleasure and for the next abode! Return to your places, may Allah have mercy upon you, and I pray to Allah that He may keep me in the best relationship with you." Then they bid him farewell and returned with tears in their eyes.