Sayyiduna `Ali is appointed as khalifah

The efforts of Ibn Saba’ against the khilafah of Sayyiduna `Uthman
January 7, 2015
A brief look at the beliefs of the Shi`ah
January 7, 2015

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Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is appointed as khalifah

When Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu refused to accept the post of khalifah, the rebels became worried. However, the mind of Ibn Saba worked best in such situations and upon his council, it was declared that the people of Madinah have always appointed the khalifah, therefore they will be granted two days respite and if a khalifah is not chosen within two days then they will kill Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The rebels had taken control of the entire city and the people of Madinah were left perplexed. They went to the three Sahabah concerned and all three refused to bear this enormous responsibility. Nevertheless, in the end Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu reluctantly[1] agreed to accept the appointment. One week after the martyrdom of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, on the 25 Dhu al Hijjah 35 A.H, Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu became the khalifah. People began to pledge their allegiance to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, on which Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu stated that it is necessary that the companions who participated in the Battle of Badr approve of his appointment and that the opinion of Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu must be ascertained as well. Malik al Ashtar and Hakim ibn Hablah forcefully brought Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu before Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Hakim ibn Hablah is the same person who Abdullah ibn Saba stayed with when in Basrah. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then said to both these two companions: “Whoever amongst you two desires to be the khalifah, I am ready to pledge allegiance at his hands.” When both of them stated that they had no desire for the post. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was pleased and asked them to then pledge their allegiance to him. They both hesitated and Malik al Ashtar drew his sword, threatening to behead them. Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that he will pledge his allegiance to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu on condition that he pass judgement in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah and meet out the required punishment upon the murders of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu agreed that he would act accordingly and Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu pledged his allegiance. The same treatment was meted out on Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he too pledged his allegiance on the same conditions. Sayyidina Sad radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that he would pledge his allegiance after everybody else and Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Umar requested to be given some time to think it over. Malik al Ashtar wanted to kill him but Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu stopped him and said that he takes responsibility for him. Many illustrious Sahabah did not pledge their allegiance and none from the Banu Umayyah did either. Instead, many of the Banu Umayyah left Madinah and travelled to Syria, where Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the governor. The severed fingers of Nailah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the blood stained shirt of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu also reached Sayyidina Muawiyah in Syria.

The next day Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu reminded Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu about the condition under which they had pledged their allegiance and stated that if it is delayed then their allegiance will be annulled. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that he would most definitely punish the murderers of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu but conditions were not suitable for doing so, as the rebels still maintained control over Madinah.

 

Abdullah ibn Saba disobeys the order of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu

On the third day, Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu ordered all the rebels who had come from Kufah, Basrah and Egypt to return to their lands but Ibn Saba and his disciples utterly refused to do so. These are the very individuals who claimed to be the supporters of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu but they never obeyed him throughout his Caliphate nor did they fulfil any of his orders. Instead, they opposed all of his decisions and remained a constant thorn in his side. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was frustrated with this group throughout his Caliphate, which he even voiced from time to time. They also deceived Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu on many occasions yet the Shia continue to follow Ibn Saba and disciples.

Sayyidina Muawiyah and the Syrians refused to pledge their allegiance to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and as a result Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu made preparations to march on them. The people of Madinah feared there would be more unnecessary bloodshed. Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu requested permission to go to Makkah to perform umrah and Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu seeing that it was not suitable for them to be in Madinah, acceded to their request. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then wrote to the governors of Basrah and Egypt, instructing them to prepare armies, ready to march on Syria as soon as they are summoned. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not appoint any of the rebels, a large number of which were still in Madinah, as generals of any of the contingents. This shows the noble intentions and truthfulness of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, that he did not even approve of their participation alongside him. The army had just left Madinah when news reached him that preparations were being made against him in Makkah and as a result he was forced to abandon his plans to march on Syria.

 

Sayyidah Aishah prepares to avenge the blood of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu

Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha was returning to Madinah after hajj when news reached her of the martyrdom of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. She immediately returned to Makkah and gathered the people, where she addressed them: “Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was wrongfully killed and we need to avenge the blood of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The rebels have spilled the very blood which Allah Taala has forbidden to spill. They have committed murder in the same city which Allah Taala has made the home of His Rasul radiya Llahu ‘anhu.They have committed murder in the same month wherein Allah Taala has forbidden bloodshed. They have plundered the very wealth which Allah Taala has forbidden them to take. Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was innocent of all the charges which caused these people to turn against him.”

Those of the Banu Umayyah who had come to Makkah after the martyrdom of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu immediately voiced their support When Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu were asked why they had come to Makkah, they replied that the rebels have taken over Madinah and that they had escaped. When they were asked if they would support the movement to avenge the blood of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they immediately confirmed their support. All of the people of Makkah were united behind them.

 

Sayyidah Aishah travels to Basrah

The decision was made that first they will gain the necessary strength required to avenge the blood of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This could not be achieved by staying in Makkah because even though they too desired justice for the murder of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they were not capable of defeating the rebels who had taken over Madinah. Abdullah ibn Amir- the former governor of Basrah expressed his opinion, which was accepted, that they should march to Basrah where a large number look up to Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and as a result their numbers will be increased. Abdullah ibn Amir and Yaala ibn Munabbih- the former governor of Yemen, provided a large sum which greatly aided in providing provisions for the journey. When the announcement was made for all those who wish to avenge the blood of Sayyidina Uthman to join the army, one thousand five hundred Makkans joined the army. Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha was joined by Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Mughirah ibn Said radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the two governors mentioned above, and the mother of Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu. As they were leaving, Marwan ibn Hakam- the scribe of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, reached Makkah and joined the contingent. Sayyidina Said ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu also joined the expedition. As soon as this delegation left Makkah, they were joined by people from all sides and their numbers grew to three thousand. All of the blessed wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, except for Sayyidah Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anha, who was kept back by her brother- Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, accompanied Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha until Dhat al Iraq, where they parted company and in tears returned to Madinah. Marwan was a person prone to cause trouble and due to some action of his, Sayyidina Said ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Abdullah ibn Khalid, Usayd, Mughirah ibn Said as well as the entire tribe of Thaqif returned to Makkah.

 

Sayyidah Aishah in Basrah

Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha and the army camped just outside of Basrah. Uthman ibn Hanif was the governor of Basrah at that time, who marched out with his army to face Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha and began forming rows for battle. Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu then stepped forward to deliver a sermon, wherein he mentioned the virtues of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and exhorted them to mete out the necessary punishments to his murderers. Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu also stepped forward and affirmed the speech of Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The simple yet moving speech of Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha had great effect on the troops of Uthman ibn Hanif and they were immediately divided into two groups. One group was still intent on fighting but the other group disliked fighting against such individuals such as Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Seeing this division amongst the opposition troops, Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to their quarters but the governor remained adamant on confrontation and sent a message to Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha which stated: “O Umm al Muminin! The murder of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was better than you mounting on that accursed camel and marching forth. If you have come of your own accord then return now to Madinah and if you have been compelled to do so then seek Allah’s help and order everyone to return.” He had not even completed his speech when Hakim ibn Hablah, the old friend and agent of Ibn Saba, launched an attack on the army of Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha. The battle began and ended at nightfall but continued again the next morning. Hakim ibn Hablah was killed and the governor defeated. The victorious army of Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha had gained control of Basrah. The governor was brought before Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha and she ordered him to be released. He immediately returned to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Basrah had been conquered but its people were divided into two groups. One which supported them and the other which opposed them.

 

Sayyidina Ali and Sayyidah Aishah reconcile and the efforts of Ibn Saba to obstruct it

When Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu learnt that Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu had marched with an army to Basrah, he immediately sought help from the people of Madinah and made preparations for battle. The people of Madinah were sceptical and found it hard to rise up against the likes of Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, after it became known that a few eminent companions had joined Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they too prepared for battle. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu set of in the direction of Basrah and his army included the groups from Kufah and Egypt. One other individual along with his followers had also joined the army of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and that was none other than Abdullah ibn Saba.

On route they met Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Salam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who addressed Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with much affection and concern: “O Amir al Muminin! Do not leave Madinah. For I take an oath by Allah, if you leave Madinah then the leader of the Muslims will never return to Madinah again.” On the other hand people were so overwhelmed with fervour that they were not even willing to accept this advice, which apparently seemed against them, and abandoning all respect and social values they rushed forward to kill Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Salam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, despite him being amongst the eminent companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu intervened saying that he was amongst the noble companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had only travelled a short distance when he learnt that Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu had taken over Basrah. He encamped at a place called Rabdah, where he issued orders, preparing his army for battle. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent emissaries to Kufah to summon its armies to him. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was aware that its people did not desire to fight against Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu and in order to persuade them, he informed them that his intention was not to fight and that he would not attack them unless they attacked him first, forcing him to retaliate. He would try to the best of his abilities to bring them back to the correct path. Thereafter Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu proceeded until he reached the area of Thalabah, where he learnt that Hakim ibn Hablah had been killed. When Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached Dhi Qar, Uthman ibn Hanif arrived and Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu informed him that Sayyidina Talhah, radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu had taken the pledge of allegiance to him but then they broke this pledge and rallied against him. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “They have been obedient to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu but they have disobeyed me. If only they knew that I am no different than them.”

Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ashari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the governor of Kufah, who disliked participating in this battle because of the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He said that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had said: “Very soon there will be turmoil in which the one who sits will be better than the one who stands. The one who stands will be better than the one who walks and the one who walks will be better than the one who rides. Every Muslim is the brother of the next Muslim and his blood and wealth is Haram upon him.” Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu continued to send messengers to Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ashari radiya Llahu ‘anhu requesting troops but Abu Musa al Ashari radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not comply. Eventually Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent Sayyidina Hassan ibn Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu but still Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ashari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not pleased.

While this was taking place, Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha wrote a letter to the people of Kufah stating: “None of you should aid either side but remain in your homes. If you insist on taking sides then you should consider that we have set out with the intention of avenging the blood of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.” Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ashari radiya Llahu ‘anhu also encouraged the people to remain in their homes and not participate in this battle, whereas Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu exhorted people to participate and join with Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The speech given by Sayyidina Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu had a great effect on people’s hearts and many voiced their support to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had sent Malik al Ashtar as well for this same purpose and he arrived at the exact same time that Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was delivering his speech, which gave it further effect. As a result of this an army of nine thousand set out from Kufah to join Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Dhi Qar.

 

Sayyidina Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu efforts to reconcile

Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as negotiator to Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in an effort to reconcile. Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was an extremely intelligent, prominent and well recognised Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When he reached Basrah, he addressed Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha saying: “What has driven you to adopt such behaviour and what is your desire?” She replied that their purpose was only the reformation of the Muslims and to exhort them to practise upon the Quran. He asked Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu the same question and they gave the same reply. Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that if this was the case then this could not be achieved by acting in this manner. They replied we wish to avenge the blood of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that the establishment and function of the Caliphate was necessary first before qisas (death penalty) could be applied, so that they may be law and order. Qisas (death penalty) can only be applied if the Caliphate is in order but in present conditions, where there is no law and order, and no formal ruler then every person does not have the right to issue the death penalty. He continued: “In avenging the blood of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, you have killed many of the people of Basrah. Harkuth ibn Zubair fled and when you pursued him then six thousand men stood up against you and you were forced to abandon your chase out of prudence. In a similar manner, if Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, out of prudence has delayed issuing the death penalty until law and order is established and he gains sufficient authority to do so, then it was only befitting that you too wait for a while before adopting such drastic actions. You rising up and intending to avenge Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu on your own can never be permissible. For Allah’s sake, help reduce the turmoil. Do not increase it. By adopting such a route the blood and lives of innocent Muslims will be shed and the murderers of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu will go unpunished. The best path to adopt at this moment is to sign a peace treaty with Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, so that the lives of the Muslims will be safe. We ask you in the name of Allah, do not lead us into tribulation, because remember you will be dragged into it as well and that will be a great loss for the entire Muslim Ummah.”

This speech of Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu greatly moved Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied: “If this is the intention of Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he truly intends exacting justice on the murderers of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then there remains no dispute with him. We were under the impression that he supports the actions of the rebels and that is why they are a part of his army and even participate in various important affairs as well.” Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied that whatever he has voiced is the true opinion of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and all three companions responded that they too have no difference with Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

The misconception was removed

This makes it clear that neither Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu nor Umm al Muminin Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha and her companions desired war. It was a huge misconception, which was removed and thereafter there remained no disagreement.

Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to Sayyidina Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu camp with a delegation of esteemed and respected individuals from Basrah, who had heard that Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended to conquer Basrah, slay all the men and make the women and children slaves. Therefore they had come to verify whether Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the people of Kufah truly desired peace or not. It was Abdullah ibn Saba and his agents who had spread the rumour in Basrah that Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended to kill its populace. One can gauge the evil intentions and plans that this group concealed in their hearts. The summary of which was to create as much division amongst the Muslims as possible such that they will kill each other.

When Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu related his entire conversation to Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he was extremely pleased. When he discussed the matter with the contingent from Kufah, they too voiced their desire for peace. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed the delegation from Basrah and laid all their fears to rest. The delegation returned to Basrah pleased and informed everyone about the reality of the peace treaty. This news was not taken well by Abdullah ibn Saba and his group, who were disconcerted by this sudden change of events.

Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then delivered an inspiring speech before his troops and informed them that they will be marching to Basrah but not with the intention of war but with the intention of peace. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then ordered for all those who participated in the siege on Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to separate themselves from the army and not accompany them to Basrah. This news struck Abdullah ibn Saba and the Egyptians like lightning as they were the true rebels and the murderers of Sayyidina Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. At that time the rebels numbered approximately two thousand, which consisted of a number of shrewd individuals. Abdullah ibn Saba called a meeting which comprised of the likes of Ibn Muljim, Al Ashtar and his close confidants, Ulya ibn Tayhim, Salim ibn Thalabah, Shurayh ibn Owfa as well as many other rebel leaders. The rebel leaders discussed amongst themselves: “You have all heard the news, Amir al Muminin now also holds the same opinion as Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If they make peace with each other then we will surely be put to death. There entire dispute is about avenging the blood of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu so if they have come to an agreement then it can only be upon our lives. It does not look good for us. Is it not compulsory for us to save our own lives and instead rid this world of the likes of Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This will not be easy as Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu has his army and Talhah and Zubair have their own, and in comparison to both these armies, our numbers are miniscule.” Opinions were exchanged on this until Abdullah ibn Saba spoke: “Express your opinions but my opinion is that we should not separate from the army of Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu even if he orders us to do so a thousand times. If he breaks us off then too remain close to the army and say to them that we are staying close in case the peace efforts fail and war breaks out then we can come to your aid. However, we should endeavour to prevent this peace agreement and let war break out, which is not difficult in the least. As soon as they are fighting against each other then we will no longer have anything to fear.” All present agreed with Ibn Saba.

The next morning the army made its way towards Basrah. The rebels remained close behind and laid camp at a place close to Basrah. The opposing armies camped on the same field and for three days they remained silent. In both camps were those who suggested to fight but Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu stated respectively that the agreement was made not to fight and one must wait to see the final outcome. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu informed the opposing army that if they abide by the conditions that Sayyidina Qaqa ibn Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had mentioned then the ceasefire would remain until a final decision is made. Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu both assured Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that they still abide to the conditions.

Soon thereafter, Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu went out to meet Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “You have led this army against me and to oppose me. Do you have an answer to give to Allah for your actions? Am I not your brother in din? Is not my blood haram upon you and yours upon me?”

Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked: “Did you not have a hand in the murder of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu?” Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied: “Allah Taala is All-Seeing and All-Hearing, He will send his curse upon the murderers of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. But did you not pledge your allegiance to me?”

He replied: “Yes I did but under what conditions? With a sword placed on my neck! And that too I did on condition that you exact justice upon the murderers of Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.”

Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then addressed Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “Do you not remember when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to you that you will fight against another person and you will be the one in the wrong.” Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied: “I have just remembered. Why did you not remind me of this earlier then I would never have left Madinah. Now I take an oath by Allah, I will not fight against you.”

Thereafter all returned to their armies.

Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu went to Sayyidah Aishah radiya Llahu ‘anha and informed that Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had reminded him of such a thing after which he will never fight against Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and that now he would return back to Madinah. This conversation had removed any desire to fight from both parties and on the third night all the conditions of the peace treaty were decided and it was to be written out and signed the next morning.

 

Battle of Jamal

Ibn Sabas plan

This information reached Ibn Saba and his group, and they became anxious. They held discussions throughout the night and at first light the next morning they launched an attack against the army of Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who in turn defended themselves and like this the battle began. Hearing the clamour Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked what had caused the fighting only to discover that Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had launched a sudden attack. They replied: “Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu will not leave without war.”

On the other end, Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu enquired what was going on and the agents of Ibn Saba, who had been positioned beforehand for this very purpose, informed him that Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu had launched a sudden attack and they were forced to defend themselves. Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was terribly saddened and said: “How distressing! Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu could not leave without shedding blood.” As a result war broke out with neither party knowing the true reality of how it began. Each party accused the opposition of dishonesty and treachery but at the same time both parties ordered that those who flee should not be pursued, the injured should not be attacked and the wealth of the opposition not taken. This makes it clear that both parties still did not desire battle and that they were forced to fight against each other. There existed no real enmity between both these parties.

Sayyidina Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu left the battlefield and was performing salah at a distance away from the battle when someone attacked and martyred him. This wretched person then went to inform Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu about the ‘good news’, to which Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied: “Rasulullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu has said that the murderer of Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu is destined for Jahannam.”

Later Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed the slain body of Sayyidina Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he fell to the ground weeping. He said: “How I wish I had died twenty years before this.” He kissed the hands of Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu again and again saying that these are the very hands that defended Rasulullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu from harm.”

After the battle, Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the Salah al Janazah upon the martyrs from both parties and then buried them. Many were martyred in this battle, amongst whom were some of the most prominent companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

What a great loss indeed! You can judge for yourself, who was the cause of this great loss and who started the battle.

 

NEXT A brief look at the beliefs of the Shia


[1] Sayyidina Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu refusal to accept the post of khalifah is recorded in the recognised books of the Shia as well. It is reported in Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 198:

ومن خطبة له عليه السلام لما اريد على البيعة بعد قتل عثمان: دعونى و التمسوا غيرى فانا مستقبلون امرا له وجوه و الوان (الى ان قال) و ان تركتمونى فانا كاحدكم و لعل اسمعكم و اطوعكم لمن وليتموه امركم و انا لكم وزيرا خير لكم منى اميرا

Leave me and find someone else for the position because such conditions of various sorts are going to come in the future. If you will leave me then I will be like the rest of you and it is possible that I will listen and obey whoever you appoint more than you would. It is better for you that I be his advisor than for me to be your leader.

This last statement of Sayyidina Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is extremely noteworthy and true. The entire period of Sayyidina Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Caliphate testifies to its reality.

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