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Contemplations for the election of a Caliph in place of Osman

After the murder of Osman terror reigned in the city and the regicides had the entire mastery of the situation, there being no settled government in Medina. The principal citizens, feeling the tumultuous state of the populace and apprehending civil war, clamoured for immediate election of a Caliph. The threatening attitude of those who had come from various parts of the empire, viz. Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia on the occasion was a source of great alarm, because they were resolved not to disperse until they knew whom they were to have as their Caliph.

There were two candidates, Talha and Zubeir (both brothers-in-law of Ayesha) who aspired to secure the Caliphate with the powerful support of Ayesha. (Ayesha was the daughter of the first Caliph Abubakr, and a wife of the Holy Prophet. Her youngest sister was a wife of Talha, who was also a cousin of her father. Her eldest sister was a wife of Zubeir, whose son Abdullah was adopted by Ayesha. Thus doubly related to both, Talha and Zubeir put her in the unique position of lending her powerful support to both the claimants to the Caliphate) To their great disadvantage, she was not present in Medinc at this juncture, having gone on pilgrimage to Mecca. Talha, who had taken an active part in inistigating those who had besieged Osman's dwelling and his associate Zubeir had some people of Basra and Kufa to support their pretensions, but the majority of the general public of Medina, who enjoyed the exclusive right of electing a Caliph, considered quite a different person to be best fitted for the office. He was a man admired by his friends and foes alike for his courage, eloquence, magnanimity, piety, nobility, and his near kinship to the Prophet.

This was Ali, the cousin of the Prophet and the father of the Prophet's posterity from his beloved daughter Fatima. He was considered as the rightful successor to the Caliphate; and the people, now wishing to be governed by the Prophet's heir, desired to see Ali elevated to his Legitimate Dignity. Talha and Zubeir, cautioned by the mood of the moment, held their peace and thought it prudent to dissemble their feelings so far as to take the oath of allegiance to Ali with a steadfast resolve, however, of breaking it as soon as a favourable opportunity should occur.

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