Ali's arrival at Busra
- :Yousuf N. Lalljee
Ayesha's army numbered thirty thousand, but it consisted mostly of raw recruits, while that of Ali's was composed principally of veterans and men who had seen service and were the Companions of the Prophet. When Ali appeared with his forces marshalled in an imposing battle array before Busra, Ayesha and her confederates were struck with terror. 1 Approaching Busra, Ali sent Qa'qa b. Amr, a Companion of the Prophet, to the rebel leaders to negotiate peace if possible. Ayesha replied that Ali should personally negotiate with them. 2 When Ali arrived, messages passed between the hostile forces with a view to compromising the matter. Ali, Talha and Zubeir were seen holding long conversations, walking together backward and forward in the sight of both the armies, the negotiations went so far that every one expected that a peace would be effected; for Ali, with his impressive eloquence, touched the hearts of Talha and Zubeir, warning them against the Judgment of Heaven and challenging them to the ordeal of invoking heavenly wrath on those who promoted and prompted the murder of Osman instigating the malefactors.
In one of their conferences Ali asked Zubeir "Hast thou forgotten how the Apostle of God once asked thee if thou did not love his dear Ali, and thou answered 'Yes', dost thou not remember the Prophet's prophecy that 'nevertheless, there will come a day when thou wilt rise up against him and bring many miseries upon him and upon all the Muslims'. Zubeir answered that he remembered it perfectly well and he felt sorry, that had he remembered it before, he would never have taken up arms against him. Zubeir appeared most inclined not to fight against Ali.
He returned to his camp and acquainted Ayesha with what had passed between himself and Ali. "It is said that upon this hint he declined fighting with Ali, but that having acquainted Ayesha with the circumstances, she was so furious against Ali, that she would not listen to an accommodation on any terms. Others say that his (Zubeir's) son Abdallah (adopted by Ayesha) made him change his mind by asking him whether or not he was afraid of Ali. Upon Zubeir answering, 'No, but that he was sworn to Ali', Abdallah bade him expiate his oath, which he did by giving a slave his liberty, and forthwith prepared without further hesitation, to fight against Ali." S. Ockley's History of the Saracens p. 307.
The two armies were camping opposite one another on the same field. During the night one p2rty fell upon the other, each blaming the other for provoking a drawn battle. The reader may question which of the two parties was to blame for this nocturnal attack. Which party attempted at pacification to avoid bloodshed, and which thwarted the attempts. The circumstances related above are only too clear to indicate the truth.
1 Al-Murtudza ; Abbasi.
2 Tabari; Rawdzat-al-Ahbab; Imamat-wal-Siyasat.
Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"
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