Following are excerpts from a lecture delivered by Kuwaiti Shiite cleric Yasser Al-Habib, which was posted on the Internet site wwww.alqatrah.org.
Yasser Al-Habib: Abu Bakr ended his life with sorrow, regret, and laments. He would say: “Oh me, oh my, if only my mother had never given birth to me.” The same thing happened with Omar [Ibn Al-Khattab]. He ended his life with sorrow, regret, and laments, regretting that he was not feces. Do you know what feces is? It is shit, God forbid – the kind of shit that comes out of the body. This is what Omar wished he had been. He wished he had been shit, and not just plain shit, mind you. Some shit comes out of humans, some shit comes out of animals, and sometimes it is produced by other mechanisms. Omar wished he had been shit of the most contemptible kind. He did not wish he had been something else. He could have said, for example: If only I was dirt. No, he wished he had been genuine shit. Al-Mutaqi Al-Hindi wrote in Kanz Al-‘Amal, part six, page 345, that Omar said: “I wish I were a sheep or a lamb, fattened by my owners to their hearts’ desire. Then, when I became as fat as could be, people they liked would visit them, and they would turn part of me into roast meat and part into jerky. Then they would eat me, and push me out in the form of feces. This way, I would never have been a human.” This is what Omar wanted. Why? Because he was beginning to see the eternal fire of Hell. This is why he wished he had been feces. And why not? It’s the lesser evil.
In any case, we apologize to our master, the Emir of the Believers [Ali], for wasting time on this disgraceful comparison between Ali and whom?! Ali cannot be compared to Abu Bakr or Omar. If you want, you can draw a comparison between Ali and Abraham, Moses, Jesus, or the other prophets. In these cases, a comparison may be drawn. But to compare Ali with people like those two?!
Once upon a time, there was a debate in Zahdan, between a Shiite cleric and a Sunni cleric. The Shiite cleric was Abu Al-Qassem Ibn Muhammad Al-Hassini, and the Sunni cleric was called Rafi’ Al-Din something. They argued who was better – Ali or Abu Bakr and Omar. The Sunni said that Abu Bakr and Omar were better, while the Shiite said that Ali, peace be upon him, was undoubtedly better. Most of the people in that city were Sunnis. The Sunni cleric, who wanted to make fun of the Shiite cleric, said: Let’s ask the first person to enter the mosque. You will present your position, and I will present mine. The winner of this debate will be whoever he chooses. He knew that most of the people in that region were of his own sect, so they would be sure to choose him. A man walked in. The characteristics of the righteous were evident in this young man. His face was radiant with light and honor. The Shiite presented his position, and the Sunni presented his. But then, the young man would not acknowledge that Ali was better than Abu Bakr and Omar. The Sunni cleric began to rejoice, thinking that the matter was resolved in his favor. But the young man corrected him. He recited two beautiful stanzas of a poem. He said: Had I said that my master [Ali] was better than those two, I would have belittled the one I favored. Don’t you see that a sword would be put to shame, if you said that it is sharper than a club? How can you possibly compare Ali bin Abu Taleb with the likes of Abu Bakr and Omar? It is like comparing the sharpness of a sword and a club. Don’t you see that a sword would be put to shame, if you said that it is sharper than a club? Of course it is sharper, but there is no comparison whatsoever. You can draw a comparison between a sword and some other tool. You cannot draw a comparison between gold and shit, God forbid. There is no room for comparison. You may draw a comparison between gold and silver. The Sunni cleric was surprised. He looked at the young man and asked him: Who are you? All of a sudden, the young man vanished, and the Shiite cleric said: This was our master [the Hidden Imam].