When Hazrat Ali (AS) decided to march against his chief rival Moavia, he got wind of new trouble, which was rapidly developing and which was initiated by some eminent companions like Zubair, Talha and Ayesha (RA), a wife of the Messenger of Allah. Hazrat Ali (AS) changed his plan to attack Syria and marched instead towards Basra which was under the occupation of the rebels. Hazrat Ali (AS) wished to avoid bloodshed at any cost because killing of Muslim brethren was too high a price to pay for restoring peace and tranquility in the Empire. The armies faced each other but none was desirous of starting the combat. Hazrat Ali (AS) stepped forward and opened negotiations with the opponents. Both the parties expressed sentiments of compromise and brotherhood. They dispersed for the night to think about solving their differences. Some mischief-mongers were deadly set against any amicable settlement of the dispute. They apprehended that they would be severely dealt with in case both the parties arrived at a compromise. They met secretly under the chairmanship of Al-Ashtar and hatched a conspiracy to wreck all chances of peace. They planned to launch an attack in the darkness of the night Some of the regicides were deputed to carry their evil designs into execution. They attacked the forces of Ayesha (RA) while they were enjoying a sound sleep. On seeing this, the people gathered under the banner of Islam to support the noble cause of the Mother of the Faithful (RA) who desired to take revenge for the murder of the pious Caliph Usman(RA). She wished to punish those who marred the sanctity of Madina which was the religious centre of Islam.
The Beginning of Dissensions