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Ayesha's plans for rebellion

Ayesha, on her way back from the pilgrimage at Mecca, met Ibn Omm Kalab at Safif. He informed her of Osman's murder and All's accession to the Caliphate. When Ayesha heard of Ali's election as Caliph she said, "I wish Heavens had fallen and I had not seen this day." Ref. Historians History of the World. Vol. VIII page 170. She further added 'carry me back to Mecca' and, repeating it, she said, 'By God! Osman was innocent, I will avenge his blood.' She went instantly back to Mecca along with her confederate Hafsa 1 and began to propagate sedition there. Sit. W. Muir in his Annals of the early Caliphate on page 351 and 352 gives the following account of Ayesha relating to this incident: "In the early period of Osman's troubles, Ayesha is said to have contributed her share towards fomenting public discontent. We are told that she even abetted the conspirators, among whom her brother Muhammad, son of Abubakr, was a chief leader. When on receiving the tidings of the murder, on her way back from Mecca, she declared that she would avenge Osman's death. 'What cried her informant, startled by her zeal, 'is this thy speech now, whilst but yesterday thou wast foremost to press the attack upon him as an apostate?'

'Yea', she replied, 'but even now he repented of that which they laid to his charge, and yet after that they slew him.' In reply her informant recited the verses purporting to say: 'Thou wast the first to foment the discontent. Thou commanded us to slay the prince for his apostasy.' Anyhow it must be admitted that Ayesha was a jealous, violent, intriguing woman, a character that may well account for much that would otherwise appear strange." In fact Ayesha expected either of the two, Talha or Zubeir, to succeed Osman, but contrary to her expectations, Ali was elected. She detested Ali and was extremely disturbed in mind and thought of resorting to open hostilities. Declaring herself avenger of Osman's blood, she induced the great and powerful clan of Umayyah to which Osman belonged to join her cause.

The Umayyads who still resided at Mecca and those who had fled from Medina on the accession of Ali, readily gathered under her flag. The deposed Governors of several provinces also came in, one after the other, and, persuading easily a large number of malcontents, made common cause with her. Yala, the ex-governor of Yemen, furnished her with ample means to carry on the war by presenting her the State treasure, which he had carried off from Yemen.

1 Tabari.

Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"

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