Battle of the Camel and the role of our moth A’ishah the Prophet’s wife

Is there any authentic evidence for what really happened in the battle of the camel and ‘Aishah’s may Allah be pleased with her role in it, as I noticed that there are quite a few sites put most of the blame on ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her and put her in a bad light?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad peace be upon him is His slave and Messenger.

The Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah (People of the Prophetic tradition and Community) prefer not to talk about the events that transpired between the Companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. They do not criticize any of them because they believe that all of them were seeking the truth. Thus, those who were right got two rewards while those who were wrong got only one reward.

However, since history books are full of incorrect and false information that degrade these honored Companions and describe what happened between them as a personal and worldly conflict, we find it necessary to give an accurate account with sound information about the Battle of the Camel and what pushed the noble Companions to fight internally.

First

Allegiance was pledged to ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him just after the murder of ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him did not like to be the successor of ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him. Thus, he refused this responsibility, but he was pressured and urged by the Companions to accept it.

He said,

I nearly lost my senses when I heard of the murder of ‘Uthman, and I denied myself. When they came to me to pledge allegiance, I said, ‘By Allah! I feel ashamed in front of Allah to accept the allegiance of people who killed a man of whom the Prophet peace be upon him said:

“Shouldn’t I be shy of a man before whom even the angels are ashamed?” and while ‘Uthman is murdered and is still lying on the ground and has not yet been buried.’ At this, they left until after the burial.

They came to me again and asked me to accept their allegiance. I said, ‘O Allah! Indeed, I am anxious and afraid of what I am about to undertake. Then a group came and pledged allegiance.

When they said, ‘O Leader of the Believers!’ it was as if my heart was stricken. Then I said, ‘O Allah! Take from me and give to ‘Uthman until you are pleased”. [Narrated by Al-Haakim, who said it was sound and that it fits the conditions of soundness set by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, seconded by ath-Thahabi]

‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him was not able to carry out retributive punishment against those who killed ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him because he did not know exactly who they were. Another reason is that the Khawaarij (Dissenters) were intermixed in his army.

They were numerous, fierce, and ready to fight. Some narrations say that their number reached 2000 men and some of them left Madinah for other places just after ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him was appointed Caliph.

Many Companions were outside Madinah at that time, among them the wives (Mothers of the Believers) of the Prophet peace be upon him as everybody was busy during the Hajj season. ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him was killed on 18th Thul Hijjah, (the month of Hajj) in the year 35 A.H.

Third

When ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him spent four months as Caliph without inflicting retribution on the killers of ‘Uthman, Talhah and az-Zubayr went to Makkah and met with ‘A’ishah there may Allah be pleased with them all. They decided to go to Basrah to meet with the soldiers there. Their ultimate goal was to pave the way for arresting those who had killed ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him and punish them according to the Shari’ah (Islamic law).

The evidence for this is the sound Hadith reported by Ahmad and al-Haakim may Allah be pleased with them which says, “When ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with him reached the waters of Bani Amr at night, she heard some dogs barking. She asked, ‘Which water is this?’ 

They replied, ‘The water of Hawab’. She said, ‘I think I had better return, the Prophet peace be upon him said to us once: “How will one of you be when the dogs of Hawab will be barking at her?”

 Az-Zubayr thereupon said to her, ‘How can you return! Perhaps Allah might make people reach an agreement through you'”. Al-Albani may Allah be pleased with him said the chain of this Hadith is authentic and five other scholars of Hadeeth grade it as sound.

Fourth

‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him considered their going to Basrah and their occupation of it as a form of disloyalty. He feared for the unity of the Muslim nation and decided to go to them {… And the Command of Allah is a decree determined.} [Quran 33: 78].

Fifth, ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him then sent Al-Qa’qaa’ ibn ‘Amr to Az-Zubayr and Talhah may Allah be pleased with them all, to call them to the unity of Muslims and the integrity of their nation. He started with ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with them and said, “O Mother, why did you come to this country?”

She said, “O son, it is only for the purpose of reconciling people.” Ibn Kathir may Allah be pleased with him says in his book Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah: ‘Then he (Qa’qaa’) returned to ”Ali may Allah be pleased with him and informed him. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him became convinced by this and so, the people moved very close to reconciliation regardless of their personal opinions about it.’

Thereafter, ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her sent a messenger to ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him to inform him that she had come only for reconciliation. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him then stood up and spoke about the pre-Islamic era and the hardship and persecution the early Muslims had faced. Then he mentioned Islam and the comfort and happiness in which Muslims were living, thanks to their unity and integrity.

Then he reminded them that Allah the Almighty had united them under the leadership of the Prophet peace be upon him then that of Abu Bakr, then that of Umar, then that of ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him all. Thereafter, he said, something strange had happened to the Ummah because some people developed a desire for worldly matters and became vexed by the favors Allah the Almighty bestowed on some other people. He pointed out that in doing so, they were working towards the detriment of Islam. However, Allah the Almighty does what He wishes.

Then he (‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him) added, “I am leaving tomorrow. So, you should leave with me except those of you who had anything to do with the murder of ‘Uthman”. When ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him said this, a group of the Khawaarij leaders met together. 

Al-Ashtar An-Nak’hai, Shurayh ibn ‘Awfah and Abdullah ibn Saba’ (also known as Ibn as-Sawda) – all leaders of the Khawaarij – met together and gathered 2,500 men, none of whom was a Companion of the Prophet peace be upon him.

Then they said, ‘What an opinion! (Referring to those who wanted to punish the murderers of ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him). We know, by Allah, that ‘Ali knows the Quran better than those who want to punish the murderers of ‘Uthman, and he is more entitled to do so. And he had said what you heard. He will surely gather people against you tomorrow and all the people would seek you out only. So, you would not be able to do anything when they outnumber you’.

Al-Ashtar said, ‘We have come to know the opinion of Az-Zubayr and Talhah about us and today ‘Ali has expressed his. So, if he has reconciled and reached a consensus with them, it is only upon shedding our blood.’ Then Ibn as-Sawda said, ‘O people, when the two groups meet, start the battle to get them to fight each other and do not let them get together’.

Ibn Kathir may Allah be pleased with him also mentioned that ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him spent three days after reaching Basrah, sending and receiving messages from Talhah and Az-Zubayr may Allah be pleased with them both. Some people suggested to Talhah may Allah be pleased with him to take the opportunity and kill the killers of ‘Uthman may Allah be pleased with him. However, he said, ‘ ‘Ali suggested that we temporize this matter and we sent him our agreement’.

Ibn Kathir may Allah be pleased with him added,

 ‘People spent a good night while the killers of ‘Uthman spent a bad night. They spent the night consulting each other. Then, they agreed to start the war at dawn and woke up before dawn. They were about 2000 in number. Each group of them attacked the people closest to them. Then the two parties started to fight in order to protect their own soldiers. Thus, the people woke up and took up their weapons. They said, ‘The people of Koofah invaded us at night. They attacked us at night, deceiving us.’

They thought that this was from a group of ‘Ali’s army. Then ‘Ali was told about what happened and he said, ‘What happened to the people?’ They said, ‘The people of Basrah have attacked us at night’. Then each party got prepared for the battle. So, the fighting started, and no party was aware of the plan of the Khawaarij. There were 20,000 men with ‘Ali and 30,000 with ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with them both.

The companions of Ibn Sawda did not stop killing, although the caller of ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him kept repeating: ‘O people, stop this! Stop this!’ But nobody listened’.

Six, one should know that the Companions of the Prophet peace be upon him were known for their honesty, devotion, and their great love of Allah the Almighty despite the fighting that took place between them.

Here are some examples:

Ibn Abi Shaibah narrated from Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with them both, that he said, ‘I saw him (‘Ali) when the fighting became fierce move around me and say: ‘O Hasan, if only I died 20 years before this!’

Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, left the fighting and went to a valley. Then ‘Amr ibn Jurmuz followed him and killed him while he was sleeping. When the news came to ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him he said, ‘Say to the one who killed Ibn Safiyyah (i.e., az-Zubayr may Allah be pleased with him):

‘You will be a dweller of Hell-fire.” Then Ibn Jurmuz came carrying the sword of Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him said, ‘This sword has many times protected the face of the Prophet peace be upon him….’

As for Talhah may Allah be pleased with him; he was killed by an arrow wound to his ankle. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him stood in front of his dead body and said, ‘May Allah bless you O Aba Muhammad. It is disheartening for me to see you twisted dead under the stars of the sky!’ Then he said, ‘I complain to Allah! I wish I had died twenty years ago’.

It is also reported that ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him said, ‘I hope that Talhah, Az-Zubayr and I will be among those Allah described as (what means): {“And We shall remove from their breasts any sense of injury (that they may have), (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones.} [Quran 15: 47]’

Someone said to ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him that two men were cursing ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her at which he ordered Al-Qa’qaa’ may Allah be pleased with him to give each of them 100 lashes.

‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her was asked about the Muslims who died during this battle from the side of ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him, and she asked Allah’s forgiveness for all those who were mentioned to her.

When ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her decided to leave Basrah, ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him sent her all she needed for her trip. He chose for her 40 of the eminent women from Basrah and he sent her brother Muhammad – who was in his army – with her. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him also saw her off and left his children with her all day.

‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her presented her farewells to the people, saying, ‘My children, none of us should have any grief towards the other. By Allah, there was nothing between me and ‘Ali in the past, except that which is usually between a woman and her son-in-law. He is one of the good people. ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him then said, ‘It is true that there was nothing between me and her except what she mentioned, and she is the wife of your Prophet peace be upon him in this life and the Hereafter.’

‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him told someone to call out to people saying, ‘Do not kill anybody who is fleeing, do not harm any wounded person. Anybody who has closed his door; he is safe and anyone who gives up his weapon is safe’.

 Then ‘Ali may Allah be pleased with him ordered his people to gather all the belongings of the followers of ‘A’ishah may Allah be pleased with her in the mosque and ordered that anybody who recognizes his belongings should be given back to its owner.

All this is sound evidence of the nobility, honesty and frankness of the Companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. It is also clear evidence that they were not driven by individual desires, may Allah get pleased with them all.

As for references on this subject, please read the following books: Al-‘Awaasim Min al-Qawaasim by Ibn al-Arabi, Minhaj al-Sunnah by Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah by Ibn Kathir and Asr al-Khilaafah ar-Raashidah by Akram Dhia al-Omari.

Allah Knows best.

Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.

Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia.

www.IslamCompass.com 

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.