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Reason behind actions of Imam Ali (as) after the Holy Prophet (saww)

Imam Ali Naqi(as) said:

When Imam Ali(as) returned from the battle of Siffeen, a group of hypocrites were telling one another: Look, despite such miracles, Ali(as) was humbled against Amr, Muawiyah and Yazid. Almighty made these talks reach Ali (as). 

The Imam (as) told the angels: O my Lord’s servants! Bring Amr, Muawiyah and Yazid here. The hypocrites then saw in the air, three angels in the forms of black Abyssinian soldiers and each of them had caught one of the said three men. Then the angels brought them before Ali (as). Suddenly what they saw was that one of them is Muawiyah, another Amr and the third Yazid. 

Ali (as) told those hypocrites:

Just look at them. Had I liked, I would have killed them, but I left them for the time being, just as Almighty Allah gave respite to the accursed Iblees till a fixed period of time. What you have seen from your chief, that is, from me, is not due to weakness or inability but it is a trial for you, so that it may become clear what you do. 

What if you taunt Ali? Prior to you also, infidels and hypocrites taunted the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), saying that one who could visit heavens, Paradise and divine kingdom and come back in a single night, why he should flee Mecca and hide in a cave?! How is that he should need eleven days to reach Medina?! 

So everything is from Almighty Allah. Whenever He wishes, He shows you His Might through miracles, so that you may see the truthfulness of His messengers and their legatees. Again it is He, Who takes your test by confronting you with things, which you dislike and abhor so that He may watch what you do and so that Allah’s evidence may come clearly before you.

Source: Tafseer of Imam Hasan Askari(as), Sura Baqara, Verse 23-25

Ash’as ibn Qays said to Imam Ali(as) :

Who stopped you, O ibn Abi Talib, when allegiance was paid to brother of Taim ibn Murra (Abu Bakr) and brother of Adi ibn Ka’b (Umar) and after these two, the brother of Bani Umayyah (Usman), that you fight and raise swords. Since you have come to Iraq, whenever you gave sermon, before coming down from the pulpit you always said this: 'By God, l have more authority on all people than they themselves have. And since the death of the Holy Prophet(saww) I have remained oppressed

Imam Ali (as) told him:

'O ibn Qays, you have said, so now listen to the answer. Neither did cowardice nor not wanting the pleasure of Allah stopped me. Also not that I did not know what better things are there with Allah for me, better than what is in this world and remaining in this world. But what stopped me was the order of the Messenger of Allah and what he told me in his will for me.

The Holy Prophet (saww) informed me about how the Ummah will behave towards me after his death, so I saw how it behaved towards me. I knew it from beginning and I had surety about it. But according to the saying of the Holy Prophet(saww), I absolutely believed in those things that happened in front of my eyes. I asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, when that happens what is your will for me?' He replied, 'If you find helpers then ignore them and fight against them, and if you do not find helpers then restrain your hand and save your blood until you find helpers to establish religion, the Book of Allah and my Tradition.'

And he(saww) also informed me that the Ummah would soon leave me and pay allegiance to someone else and follow him.

And he(saww) informed me that I had the same status with him that Haroon had to Moosa and the Ummah, after him, will soon become like Haroon and those who followed him and the cow and those who followed it.

 Source: Kitaab-e-Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilaali, Hadees 12