After the martyrdom of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and absolute domination of Mu'awiyah over the Caliphate, willy-nilly contacts were taking place between him and the sincere followers of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). He tried hard to make them confess that they did not gain anything by their friendship with Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). Obviously they had lost everything on the altar of that friendship. He longed to hear from their mouth at least some expression of regret and remorse, but this wish never materialized. The followers of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), after his martyrdom, had become more and more aware of his virtues and greatness. Whatever their sacrifices during his lifetime, now they were doing more for his love, for his principles and for keeping his mission alive. They were facing all kinds of hardship very courageously. And, as a result, the endeavors of Mu'awiyah sometimes produced opposite results.
Adi son of Hatim, the paramount chief of the Tai Tribe, was one of the devoted, sincere and knowledgeable followers of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). He had many sons. He, his sons and his tribe were always ready to sacrifice their all for Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). His three sons named Tarfa, Turaif and Tarif were martyred in the battle of Siffin under the banner of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). The time went on; Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was martyred; Mu'awiyah usurped the Caliphate; and once Adi son of Hatim came face to face with Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan.
To revive his sad memories and to make him confess how much harm had come to him in the friendship of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), Mu'awiyah said:
"What happened to your three sons, Tarfa, Turaif and Tarif?"
"They were martyred in the battle of Siffin under the banner of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)."
"Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) did not do justice to you."
"Why?", asked Adi son of Hatim.
"Because he threw your sons in the mouth of death and preserved his own sons in safety."
"I did not do justice to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)."
"Why?", asked Mu'awiyah.
"Because he was killed and I am still alive. I ought to have sacrificed myself for him in his lifetime."
Mu'awiyah saw that he was not getting what he had aimed at. On the other side, he also wanted to hear about the character and life of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) from those who had been nearer to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and had lived with him day in and day out. Therefore, he asked Adi son of Hatim to narrate to him the character of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) as he had seen it. Adi son of Hatim asked to be excused; but Mu'awiyah insisted and then Adi son of Hatim said.
"By Allah (SWT), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was the most farsighted and strong man. He talked with righteousness and decided the cases with clarity. He was an ocean of knowledge and wisdom. He hated the worldly pomp and show, and liked the solitude of night. He wept more (in love of Allah) and thought more (about Allah). In solitude, he scrutinized his own self and pitied about the past. He preferred short clothes and simple life. Amongst us he was like one of us. If we requested him for anything he granted our request. When we visited him he made us sit near him without keeping any distance. Inspite of all this humbleness, his presence was so awe-inspiring that we did not dare utter any words before him. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was so majestic that we could not look at him. When he smiled his teeth appeared like a string of pearls. He respected honest and pious people and was kind to indigent. Neither a strong man had any fear of injustice from him, nor a weak person ever lost hope of his justice. By Allah (SWT), one night I saw him standing in his place of worship when the dark night had engulfed everything; tears were rolling down on his face and beard; he was restless like a snake bitten person and was weeping like a bereaved man."
"It seems as if even now I am hearing his voice as he was addressing the world: 'O World, thou is coming towards me and want to lure me? Go deceive someone else. Thy time is not come. I have divorced thee thrice after when there is no return. Thy pleasure is valueless and thy importance insignificant. Alas! The provision is too little, the journey too long and there is no companion."
Hearing these words of Adi son of Hatim, Mu'awiyah started crying, and then wiping off the tears, he said: "May Allah (SWT) bless Abul Hassan [Imam al-Muttaqeen (Leader of the Pious), Ali (as)]. He was as you have said. Now tell me how do you feel without him?"
"I feel like a mother whose dear one is beheaded in her lap." Replied Adi son of Hatim.
"Wouldn't you ever forget him?" asked Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan.
"Would the world allow me to forget him?" Replied Adi son of Hatim.