Imam Ali's Caliphate and the Conspiracies and Intrigues against His Rule
Next morning (on the fourth day after Osman’s- murder), the people assembled in large numbers in the great mosque. Here Ali made his appearance clad in a simple cotton gown and a coarse turban wound round his head and carrying a bow in his right hand and in the left hand his slippers that he had taken off in reverence for the place. Talha and Zubeir not being present, he caused them to be sent for. When they came, they offered him their hands in approbation of his election as Caliph. But Ali paused and said to them that if they were sincere in their hearts they might do him fealty in good earnest assuring them at the same time that if either of them would accept the Caliphate, he was quite willing to swear fealty with perfect sincerity and would be glad rather to serve as an adviser than to take the government upon himself.
This, however, both of them declined, and expressing their perfect satisfaction, stretched forth their hands to pay homage to Ali. Talha’s right arm was maimed as a result of a wound he had received in the battle of Ohad, and therefore could stretch it -forth with difficulty. As he was the first to begin with the ceremony, the audience took it as an evil omen and a by-stander remarked: ‘It is likely to be a lame business that is begun with a lame hand.’ The presage proved only too true as subsequent events showed. The assemblage then swore allegiance to Ali and the general public followed their example. None of the Umayyads and the immediate adherents of Osman came in, nor did Ali press any one to come and do fealty to him. There were also some prominent men in Medina who kept them aloof, being disinclined to pay homage to Ali.
These were according to Mas’udi, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, Maslama b. Khalid. Moghira b. Shoba, Qidama b. Matzun, Wahban b. Saifi, Abdullah b. Salam, Hassan b. Thabit, Kab. b. Malilk, Abu Sa’id Khudri, Mohammed b. Maslama, and Abdullah1 b. Omar, Fidzala b. Abeed, Kab b. Ajza;
Habib-al-Siyar adds: Zaid b. Thabit, Osama b. Zaid, Abu Musa Ashari, Zaid b. Rafe, Salma b. Salama, Sohaib b. Sinan, Noman b. Bashir; Tabari adds: Rafe b. Khadij. These people were named Motazilities. Having done homage to Ali, the insurgents returned to their homes.
1. Mas’udi assails the character of Abdullah’h b. Omar by his keeping himself from paying homage to Caliph Ali and later on swearing allegiance to Yazid b. Muawiya as Caliph, and again to Abd al Malik b. Marwa’n.
Intrigues and Conspiracies against Imam Ali (A.S.)
After the inauguration of Ali, Talha and Zubeir with several others came to him and requested that the murder of Osman should by all means be avenged, proffering their services for the purpose. Ali knew full well that the crime was perpetrated hardly against their own will and even before their eyes, that now their cry for vengeance was nothing but a design to foment dissension by calling up a host of enemies.
He, therefore, explained to them that the tragedy bad its roots in old enmity; that there were several parties having different opinions; that it was not the moment to stir up a civil war; that the discontent was instigated by the devil, who, when once he holds the ground, never quits it easily; and that the very measure they suggested to undertake was the devil’s own proposal to foment unrest and tumult. However, he told them that he had already sent for Marwan, formerly a secretary of Osman, and Naela, the wife of Osman, who were all the time in the same house with Osman, to enquire as to whom the real culprits were who perpetrated the murder. Marwan was not forthcoming, while Naela said that two persons were culprits but that she could not name or identify them.
Hazrat Ali further added that several persons were said to be implicated in the crime but no evidence was available against them. Under the circumstances, he declared that unless all parties united, it would be difficult to take effective steps. He asked them what method they would propose as best suited to gain the end. They replied that they knew of none. Then he said: ‘If you will point out the real assassins of Osman, I shall not fail to vindicate the majesty of the Divine Law in putting them to their dues’. They were silent. Their insidious proposition being thus turned down, they departed.
In the meantime, warned by the sudden departure of the Umayyad families, Ali began to secure the good will of the Quraish and the Ansars by showing his high appreciation of their worth, for he was desirous of having as many friends as possible against the apprehended trouble with the Umayyads.
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