The Battle of Jamal

 This battle is the first battle in the history of Islam in which Muslims crossed swords with Muslims and shed the blood of innocent brethren. On one side was the army of Hazrat Ali (AS) that included a considerable number of regicides against Usman (RA) and on the other side were those who demanded retribution for the murder of the innocent deceased Caliph. Both the adversaries held each other in high esteem but the mischief-mongers sowed seeds of dissension in their hearts. They were so treacherous that they did not allow the rival groups to pacify. They tried to keep the Muslims involved in mutual fighting, so as to save their own skin. While negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the dispute were in progress, some miscreants made a surprise attack on one of the campus of Ayesha (RA) and terrible fighting ensued due to misunderstandings. Each side believed that the other had struck the foul blow. In fact Hazrat Ali (AS) hated bloodshed and endeavoured to hold back his supporters but of no avail. Ayesha (RA) tried to control the situation from the core of her heart but it was too late. It was very difficult to extinguish the flames of war which wrapped the whole land. The fighting was bitter because both sides were equally strong, courageous and resolute. They continued fighting furiously throughout the night. When the morning dawned, Ayesha (RA) had the Holy Quran hoisted by way of appeal to refrain from fighting but the regicides murdered the man who was holding the sacred Book of Allah in his hand. Hazrat Ali (AS) seeing the deteriorating situation, stepped forward into the battle field to remind  his companions of the ties of brotherhood. Their hearts melted due to their previous relations and they met one another with open arms. Zubair (RA) was convinced and agreed to give up fighting. He left the battlefield with the intention of proceeding towards Madina. He was shadowed by a few conspirators. They put him to death while he was prostrating in prayer. One of them chopped off his head and presented it before Hazrat Ali (AS) but he cursed them. Then Talha (RA) followed suit and decided to retire into an adjoining locality. He also breathed his last in Basra of the injury inflicted by an arrow. On this occasion, Hazrat Ali (AS) expressed his views in this way: “Talha died lonely in a foreign country. By Allah I did not like that the Quraish should be killed in the open field. Alas! The descendants of Abd Manaf treated me very cruelly, mercilessly and unjustly and the distinguished persons of Hijaz deserted me which was below their dignity. They came out of their houses and dragged the wife of the Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) like a slave girl. They took here to Basra. Those two persons (Talha and Zubair) left their wives in their houses and brought out the wife of the Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam). It was an undesirable act. They took her to an army of which every member had taken the oath of allegiance to me. They attacked my officials in Basra and surrounded the Bait-ul-Mal. They killed some people with cruelty and other with treachery”.  

After the death of Zubair and Talha (RA), the conflict raged around the camel on which Ayesha (RA) was riding. She was encouraging her followers who were fighting dauntlessly for the safety and honour of the “Mother of the Faithful (RA)”. Even Hazrat Ali (AS) was wonderstruck to see their heroic deeds. One after another they rushed to catch hold of the standard of Islam but they were cut down turn by turn. Both the armies were anxious to shed each other’s blood. The land had become crimson with the blood of the Believers and still there seemed no end to it. Hazrat Ali (AS) was very worried. He found no solution to the problem. The devotees of the Rider of the camel fought desparately. Hazrat Ali (AS) himself had great regard for her but some rogues did not hesitate in adopting rude behaviour towards her. After a good deal of consideration, it was decided to disable the camel to stop the terrible slaughter of human life. Hazrat Ali (AS) beckoned someone to put the scheme into practice. So the hind legs of the camel were cut off with a single stroke of sword. No sooner did the animal fall down with a loud shriek then the dreadful fighting came to an end. The brave and respectable wife of the Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) was handled with great reverence and due regard. Hazrat Ali (AS) directed Muhammad bin Abi Bakr to look after his sister Ayesha (RA). Then Hazrat Ali (AS) also went near Ayesha (RA) and stated, “O Ayesha (RA)! Do you remember the Prophet of Allah (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) declared his wives as Mother of the Faithful and likewise you are also like my Mother”. Hazrat Ali (AS) asked Ayesha (RA) to remember holy sayings of the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) that Truth is with Ali (AS) and Ali (AS) is with Truth; Quran is with Ali (AS) and Ali (AS) is with Quran. He reiterated that the Messenger of Allah also said, “Who fights with Ali (AS), fights with me and with Allah”. Ayesha (RA) when  remembered these holy sayings of the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) started repenting on her act of confronting Hazrat Ali (AS) on the instigation of some conspirators.  Hazrat Ali (AS) issued strict instructions that the fugitives were not to be pursued. He ordered that the injured should neighter be trampled upon nor plundered. He commanded that the privacy of the houses should not be invaded in the absence of the male owners of the houses. Hazrat Ali (AS) accommodated the revered wife of his Master, Muhammad (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) in the house of the Chief of Basra. After a short stay, she expressed her desire to proceed to Mecca to perform Umra (off-seasonal pilgrimage). Before her departure, Hazrat Ali (AS) tried to pacify her. He, in person, watched her leave and covered a considerable distance in the company as a mark of respect. Afterwards Ayesha (RA) made no further attempt to take active part in politics. She retired to Madina and acted as the fertile source of the traditions of the Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam). It must remembered that Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) left no tradition for the women to wage any war. Therefore, Ayesha (RA) throughout her remaining life kept repenting on her act of fighting with Hazrat Ali (AS) just on the instigation of conspirators and miscreants.  

In the battle of Jamal both the armies wrought terrible havoc and destruction. The battlefield was covered with numerous dead bodies. After the performance of funeral prayers, the dead bodies were buried in trenches. The entire atmosphere of the country was gloomy and devastating. When Hazrat Ali (AS) saw the sword of Zubair (RA), he cursed the man who murdered him and remarked: “Many a time this sword has driven cure and sorrow from the brow of the Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam)”.   Although it was, virtually, the victory of the insurgents who were supporters of Hazrat Ali (AS) yet he pardoned all those who participated in the battle. He declared a general amnesty for all those persons who belonged to Umayyad clan. It was the result of Hazrat Ali (AS)’s hesitancy to take drastic action against the murderers of Usman (RA). After gaining a remarkable victory over the opponents Hazrat Ali (AS) said: “These persons thundered and flashed much. Despite their boasting they proved themselves to be cowards whereas we never thundered till we had fought to our entire satisfaction. Our opponents prided much but in vain. They were badly defeated”. It must be remembered again that war of Jamal was imposed by some miscreants of Moavia to keep Hazrat Ali (AS) off-sight from Syria. These miscreants created an atmosphere of misunderstanding between Ayesha (RA) and Hazrat Ali (AS).   Since Hazrat Ali (AS) was put in trouble by some miscreants and hypocrites, he had  no other option but to shift the capital of his government to Kufa. Hazrat Ali (AS) calculated numerous advantages of shifting his capital to Kufa. The inhabitants of this city were the most ardent supporters of his cause. Kufa enjoyed a central position in the vast empire where Madina was situated far from the Eastern possessions of the Caliphate. Above all, the Bedouin populace of Madina was disorganized and excitable. Their unruly nature was not yet tamed. They frequently created obstacles in the way of Caliphs. Hazrat Ali (AS) appointed Abdullah ibn Abbas as the new Governor of Basra and decided to transfer the seat of Government to Kufa. The citizens of Kufa were flattered by the honour bestowed upon them and offered him grand places to raside in. Hazrat Ali (AS) was simple at heart. He hated the worldly splendour. He declined all such offers and pitched his tent to the open. He preferred to stay there as a humble servant of Allah. Here he was confronted by more problems. Ashtar, one  of the insurgents against Usman objected to the appointment of the nrew Governor and rose in revolt against him. He accused Hazrat Ali (AS) of favouritism and began to poison the ears of his followers. 

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