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Hazrat Ali part3 (Biography)

HADRAT 'AISHA GOES TO BASRAH
While Hadrat 'Aisha was on her way to Basrah more people joined her in the way. By the time she reached Basrah, there were three thousand men under her flag.

The governor of Basrah, Uthman bin Hanif (appointed by Hadrat 'All), sent some men to find out the object of her visit. She and other Muslims told them that they wanted to tell people of their duty towards the late Khalifah so that proper action would be taken to punish the assassins. The messenger of the governor asked Hadrat Talha and Zubair for what reason they were breaking the Bai'at on the hands of Hadrat Ali. They told them that the pledge (Bai'at) was taken from them at the point of sword, and that they would have kept the pledge if Hadrat Ali had avenged Uthman's assassination.

The governor of Basra decided not to allow them to enter the city till he got help from Hadrat Ali. He called a public meeting and asked people to fight against them. In the meeting some people favoured the governor while some of them supported Hadrat 'Aisha, Talha and Zubair. The supporters of Hadrat Ali (R.A.) and the governor came out to fight.

HADRAT 'AISHA TAKES OVER BASRA
Hadrat 'Aisha gave a stirring speech before the Muslims. It was so impressive that half of the supporters of the governor left him and joined Hadrat 'Aisha. Seeing this she tried to settle the matter peacefully instead of fighting. But there were same agents of Abdullah bin Saba (Sabaites) specially his famous disciple, Hakim bin Hublah, who did not allow any settlement. He attacked Hadrat 'Aisha's army before the governor gave him permission to do so.

The fight took place but no result came out till the evening. In the meantime the governor got instructions from Hadrat Ali to resist Hadrat 'Aisha's army if they did not agree to pledge loyalty to him. Then a furious battle took place in which Uthman bin Hanif, the governor, was defeated and captured. Hakim bin Hublah and some of his followers were killed, and Basra was occupied by Hadrat Aisha and her supporters.

MARCH TO BASRAH
The capture of Basrah by Hadrat 'Aisha (R.A.) made the situation very grave. The Islamic state was really on the verge of serious civil war. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) never wanted to start war against the Muslims but the internal situation at that time compelled him to do so. War was unavoidable.

The Khalifah, therefore, postponed his march to Syria for the time being in order to set things right in Iraq. He decided to march on to Basrah. A number of Ansar and other Companions were not in favour of Hadrat Ali (R.A.) leaving Medina, instead they asked him to send his army. When Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was leaving Medina, Abdullah bin Salam (R.A.) took hold of his camel and said, "0 Amirul-Mu'minin (Leader of the believers) don't leave Medina. If you leave it at this moment, you would never come back and the Capital would be changed." But he decided to go ahead with his mission because of the seriousness of the situation.

Some of the Companions remained neutral and did not join Hadrat Ali (R.A.) even though he asked them to do so. Among such persons were: Abdullah bin Umar, Muhammad bin Muslimah, Sa'd bin Waqqas and Usamah bin Zaid (R.A.)

Hadrat Ali started for Basrah towards the end of Rabi'ul Awwal, 36 (A. H.) i.e. Nov. 656 A.D. Abdullah bin Saba and his followers were accompanying Hadrat Ali.

HELP FROM BASRAH
Hadrat Ali (R.A.) asked Abu Musa Ash'ari to send help but he got no response because Hadrat Abu Musa (R.A.) dreaded a civil war. Therefore Hadrat Ali (R.A.) sent his eldest son, Hasan (R.A.) to Kufa who addressed the people and pleaded for Ali (R.A.). The people were stirred on the appeal and about nine thousand men marched on to join Ali (R.A.).

ALI (R.A.) SEEKS PEACE
Hadrat Ali (R.A.) assured all the people accompanying him that he would try his best to avoid blood-shed and to set the things right peacefully. On reaching Dhi Oar, a place near Basrah, Hadrat Ali, with his characteristic aversion to blood-shed sent his cousin 'Abdullah bin Abbas and Qa'qa bin Amr (R.A.) to negotiate peacefully with Hadrat 'Aisha, Talha, and Zubair (Rid. A.) who were preparing to face Hadrat Ali (R.A.) with a big army.

The messengers of Hadrat Ali (R.A.) assured Hadrat 'Aisha, Talha, and Zubair (Rid. A.) that Hadrat Ali would avenge the assassins of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) as soon as peace was established in the state. Hearing this they were satisfied and there were hopes for a peaceful settlement.

But in the army of Ali (R.A.) there were Abdullah bin Saba and his henchmen to whom peace was fatal. At the possibility of peaceful settlement they were much disturbed. They met in a secret council and whispered to each other that Ali (R.A.)was prepared to avenge the death of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). They were determined to make the peaceful settlement a total failure. They sent their agents to Basrah to incite the Muslims population by saying that if Ali (R.A.) entered Basrah he would enslave all the inhabitants and would kill all the youths. The Basrites, therefore, must check and fight him back.

Hadrat Ali (R.A.) hoping for a peaceful settlement, marched towards Basrah to talk personally with Hadrat Talha and Zubair (R.A.). The two armies were facing each other. Hadrat Ali gave an address to Basrites in which he said, "I am but your brother........I will avenge Uthman's assassins," Hadrat Talha, Zubair and Basrites were fully satisfied with what Hadrat Ali (R.A.) told them. Ali (R.A.) also returned to his camp very satisfied. He gave strict orders to his men not to fight in any case, and prayed all the night to Allah.

But Ibn Saba and his henchmen had planned otherwise. In the darkness of night they made a sudden attack on Hadrat 'Aisha's army. Hadrat Talha and Zubair were startled by the sudden attack and said that Ali (R.A.)could not desist from shedding Muslim blood and he has ordered a night attack. On the other hand Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was shocked when he was told by Sabaites that Talha and Zubair had taken them by surprise. He also remarked in the same way that they did not stop from taking the blood of Muslims. According to Tabari the following Sabaites were the leaders behind this plan: Ashtar Nakh'i Ibn Sauda, Khalid bin Muljam, Alba bin Haitham and Shuraib bin Aufa. Ibn Saba was the ring leader.

THE BATTLE OF CAMEL (JAMAL)
Soon a full scale war started. Hundreds of Muslims fell on each side. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was greatly pained at the situation. He tried to stop the battle but the battle had already flared up.

In the dawn the troops of Hadrat 'Aisha (R.A.) apprised her of the situation and suggested that she should mount on a camel in Hijab (Pardah) so that the situation might ease. But it worked the other way and Basrites thought tfiat Hadrat Aisha came in the field to fight with them. During the fight Hadrat Ali reminded Talha and Zubair(R.A.) the words of the Holy Prophet: "One day you (Talha and Zubair) will fight Ali wrongly." They remembered the saying and left the battlefield but when Talha was leaving the field somebody rained arrows on him and he was killed.

When the fight did not come to an end Hadrat Ali (R.A.) ordered one of his men to cut the hind legs of the camel on which Hadrat 'Aisha was mounting in a "howdah". The order of Hadrat Ali was carried out and the camel fell on its forelegs. Hadrat 'Aisha was taken out of the "howdah" with due respect. The battle came to an end in favour of Hadrat Ali (R.A.). Hadrat Aisha (R.A.) was sent with due respect to Medina escorted by her own brother, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr. In this battle about ten thousand Muslims on both sides lost their lives. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) felt deeply moved because of the loss of Muslim blood. Hadrat Zubair who had already left the field after remembering the Holy Prophet's saying was going to Mecca. He stopped in a valley to perform his Salat, but was slain by a man, named Amr bin Jarmoz while he was busy in his Salat. When Hadrat Ali came to know, he rebuked the murderer by saying: "I have seen him fight for the Prophet of Allah several times. I give the murderer the news of hell-fire."

After the battle he took pledge of loyalty from the people of Basrah and appointed Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas as the governor of Basrah. He gave general amnesty to all those who fought against him including Marwan bin Hakam and other persons of Banu Umayyah family. The address which Hadrat Ali (R.A.) gave at Jami' Mosque of Basrah before the Bai'at (pledge of loyalty) moved the Muslims, and they were convinced that Ali (R.A.) was a just Khalifah.

CHANGE OF CAPITAL
Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was very much grieved on seeing the disrespect of the "Haram" (Forbidden Place) of Medina when the insurgents laid siege to the late Khalifah's house and then assassinated him. He wanted to change the Capital to save Medina from future political disturbance. After staying for a few days at Basrah, Hadrat Ali (R.A.) went to Kufa. There he was given a warm welcome. He got more supporters at Kufa and thought it to be a more suitable place as the Capital of his Khilafat. Therefore in Rajab 36 A.H., he decided to transfer the capital from Medina to Kufa.

HADRAT ALI'S FINAL INVITATION TO HADRAT MU'AWIYAH
Hadrat Ali (R.A.) now turned his attention towards Hadrat Mu'awiyah (R.A.). He was then ruling over the whole Islamic State with the exception of Syria. The peace minded Hadrat Ali (R.A.) wanted a peaceful settlement. He, therefore, wrote a letter to Hadrat Mu'awiyah (R.A.) asking him to take pledge of loyalty at his hand in the interest of Islam and the unity of the Muslims. But Hadrat Mu'awiyah again demanded of him to avenge Hadrat Uthman's assassins first.

The show of Hadrat Uthman's blood-stained shirt and the chopped-off fingers of his wife, Hadrat Nailah, was still going on in the Jami' Masjid of Damascus. The powerful Syrians had rallied round Hadrat Mu'awiyah. On the other hand Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was still unable to overcome the insurgents. When Hadrat Amir Mu'awiyah's messenger came to Hadrat Ali to put the demand to hand over the assassins, 10,000 men of Hadrat Ali's army said with one voice: "All of us are the assassins of Uthman (R.A.)." Hadrat Ali (R.A.) then said to the messengers, Hadrat Muslimah, "You can see for yourself the situation. I am still unable to find out the real assassins." But Hadrat Mu'awiyah was determined not to give up his demand. Hadrat Ali (R.A.), finding no other way, was compelled to declare war against Hadrat Mu'awiyah (R.A.).

THE BATTLE OF SIFFIN
The above situation forced Hadrat Ali (R.A.) to march out against Syria. In the beginning there was not much response for Hadrat Ali's call. But when Hadrat Ali explained the position to the Muslims, a large army gathered around Hadrat Ali and 50,000 Muslims came out under his banner to fight the Syrians. When Mu'awiyah (R.A.)came to know about Hadrat Ali's advance, he too proceeded with a vast army and occupied a better position in the field. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) encamped at Siffin, and Amir Mu'awiyah on the other side of Siffin.

Hadrat Ali's intention was not to shed Muslim blood in vain. He therefore again tried and sent a deputation of three men on peace mission to Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.). Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.) again demanded that the assassins of Hadrat Uthman must be slain before any compromise can be reached and that he was demanding this as a "Wall" (next of kin of a murdered person) of Hadrat Uthman. The demand was again refused by Hadrat Ali (R.A.) on the ground that he was not able to locate the real assassins and it would need some time, and that the Pledge of Loyalty must be taken without any condition.

In the month of Dhul Hijjah 36 A.H., Hadrat Ali (R.A.) ordered his troops to take positions. But there seemed unwillingness to fight on both the sides. Muslims were facing Muslims. However in the beginning fighting began with single combats followed by light encounters of single battalions. Thus the whole month of Dhul Hijjah ended without any big fight. When the moon of Muharram appeared Hadrat Ali and Mu'awiyah made a truce for one month. During this time he again got an opportunity for renewed peace talks. Hadrat Ali(R.A.) sent another mission led by 'Adi bin Hatim Tai to Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.). But this time Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.) took it as a threat and refused to recognise Hadrat Ali (R.A.) as the Khalifah unless he avenged Hadrat Uthman's assassination. In this way the last attempt proved to be fruitless.

On the evening of the last day of Muharram, 37 A.H. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) gave orders to his army to attack the Syrian forces because they had been given enough time to think. The war started the following morning. Hadrat Ali (R.A.) gave strict orders that no person should be killed if he left the field or ran away. Women and old people would be secure. Hadrat Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.) also gave the same order to his army.

The war started on Tuesday 1st Safari, 37 A.H. On the first day a battalion of Hadrat Ali's army, led by Ushtar fought with the Syrians led by Habib bin Muslimah. On the second day another battalion led by Hashim bin 'Utbah from Hadrat Ali's side fought with the Syrians led by Abul A'war Salama. On the third day the battalion from Hadrat Ali side was led by Hadrat Ammar bin Yasir and the Syrians were led by 'Amr Bin As (R.A.). During the battle Hadrat Ammar bin Yasir (R.A.) was martyred but no result came out. The martyrdom of Hadrat 'Ammar bin Yasir, however, proved that Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was right because of the following Hadith mentioned in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and other authentic books of Hadith: According to this Hadith the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi we Salaam) said, "'Ammar bin Yasir would be killed by a group of rebels." Since Hadrat 'Ammar (R.A.) was fighting in favour of Hadrat Ali, and was killed by the army of Hadrat Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.), Hadrat Ali (R.A.) was in the right and his opponents were the rebels.

For seven days the battle continued in this way. A new battalion used to fight from each side under a new commander. On the 8th day the whole army of Hadrat Ali (R.A.) clashed with that of Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.). A fierce battle was fought but with no end in sight. According to most of the historians, Hadrat 'Ammar bin Yasir was martyred on that day. However no result came out till the evening. The death of Hadrat 'Ammar bin Yasir was a shock to Hadrat Ali (R.A.). The battle went on the whole night. At one time Hadrat Ali reached the tent of Hadrat Mu'awiyah and challenged him to fight personally with him instead of shedding Muslim blood, the winner would be the Khalifah. But Hadrat Mu'awiyah (R.A.)did not accept the challenge because Hadrat Ali was a noted warrior of Arabia.

On the second day of the battle Amir Mu'awiyah (R.A.) was about to lose the battle. But, Amir Mu'awiyah was a shrewd person and had been the governor of Syria from Hadrat Umar's time. He had with him Hadrat Amr bin 'As (R.A.), the conqueror of Egypt and a recognised statesman of Arabia. Seeing the impending defeat he consulted Hadrat 'Amr bin 'As (R.A.) who advised Amir Mu'awiyah to give orders to the troops of the front ranks to fasten the Holy Qur'an to their lances as a sign that war would cease and that the decision would be referred to the Holy Book.

Seeing copies of the Holy Qur'an on lances, Hadrat Ali (R.A.) recognised it as a clever move of the enemy but a good many men of his army did not share his view and stopped fighting. Being helpless he ordered his troops to stop fighting.

ARBITRATION
Hadrat Ali (R.A.) sent his envoy to Hadrat Mu'awiyah (R.A.) to find out what he meant by making the Holy Qur'an a judge. Hadrat Amir Mu'awiyah told him that he wanted an arbitration through judges, one from his side and the other from Hadrat Ali's side, and that both the parties should abide by the decision of the judge. Had rat Ali accepted it. He tried to make Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas as the arbitrator from his side, but some of his followers objected to it on the ground that he was related to Hadrat Ali. They proposed the name of Hadrat Musa Ash'ari (R.A.). Hadrat Ali accepted their proposal and he was appointed as the arbitrator of Ali's (R.A.) side. Hadrat Mu'awiyah appointed 'Amr bin 'As (R.A.) as the arbitrator from his side, and none of his followers questioned his choice although he was related to Amir Mu'awiyah. This shows that the followers of Hadrat Mu'awiyah were more united than the followers of Hadrat Ali. There were many Sabaites in Hadrat Ali's camp and they were the real cause of such differences. Whenever they saw the Muslims uniting they tried to create confusion with the aim of disuniting them.

In case the two arbitrators could not come to an agreement, the decision was to lie with eight hundred men (four hundred from Hadrat Ali's camp and four hundred from Hadrat Mu'awiyah camp) and it would be settled by the majority. A place named Dumat-ul-Jandal, in between Syria and Iraq, was proposed for the talks. Both the judges with 800 would go there to finalise their award by the month of Ramadan, and to make it public. A temporary agreement was signed on 13th Safari, 37 A.H. between Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Mu'awiyah. The two armies then left for their homes leaving about 90,000 men dead in the field of Siffin, which number exceeded the total Muslim casualties in all the Islamic battles against the non-Muslims by the time.

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