If there is no alternative, then you should know that Ali was a man whose personality knew no limits, terrible in power, his speech was decisive, his judgements based on justice, his knowledge spread in all directions and wisdom was manifest in all his behaviour. Among the food he liked most was the coarse kind and among the clothes, the short (and humble) ones. By Allah he was among us as one of us. He used to respond to our questions and fulfill our requests. By Allah although he used to let us get close to him, and himself was close to us, we did not dare address him due to our feeling of awe towards him, nor did we dare speak first due to his greatness in our hearts. His smiled displayed a row of pearls. He used to honour the pious, be kind to the needy, feed the orphan, the near of kin or the needy man in misery on the day of hunger; to clothe the bare ones and to help the undefended person. He used to detest the world and its flowering. I stand witness that I have seen him on several occasions when night had spread, and he was standing in the niche (of the mosque) holding his beard, groaning like man bitten by a snake, and weeping as a grieved man saying:
O world, O world! Get away from me. Why do you present yourself to me? Or are you eager for me? You may not get that opportunity to impress me. Deceive some other person. I have no concern with you. I have divorced you thrice whereafter there is no restitution. Your life is short, your importance is little and your liking is humble. Alas! The provision is little, the way is long, the journey is far, and the goal is hard to reach.
When Mu’awiyah (l.a.) heard this from Diraar his eyes were filled with tears and he ( l.a.) said, ‘May Allah have mercy on Abul Hasan. He really was so.’ Then turning to Diraar he said, ‘How do you feel in his absence, O Diraar!’
Diraar replied, ‘My grief is like that of a woman whose only child is butchered in her arms.’
(Nahjul Balagha, saying no. 77)