When news of the treatment meted out to Hazrat Ummi Habibah(ra) spread throughout Madinah, the companions and residents of Madinah were left shocked; they understood that now it was useless to hope of any good to come from the rebels. It was at this very time that Hazrat ‘A’ishah(ra) decided to go for hajj and she began to make preparations for the journey. When people learned that she was about to leave Madinah, some of them requested that if she remained behind, perhaps this would be conducive to bringing an end to the conflict and the rebels would take heed. However, she refused saying:
“Do you want me to receive the same treatment as Ummi Habibah(ra). By God! I cannot put my honour at risk (as she was the honour of the Holy Prophet(sa)). If I am targeted in any way, what will be the means of my protection? Only God knows the extent to which the rebels will grow in their mischief and what will be their outcome.”
Just as Hazrat ‘A’ishah Siddiqah(ra) was leaving she devised a strategy; had it succeeded, this conflict may have been suppressed to some extent. She sent a message to her brother, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, that he should also accompany her to perform hajj but he refused. Upon this, Hazrat ‘A’ishah(ra) said, “What am I to do, I am helpless. If I had the strength, I would never allow these rebels to succeed in their designs.”
Hazrat ‘A’ishah(ra) had gone for hajj and some companions, who were able to leave Madinah, also left. The remaining people except for a few prominent companions remained in their homes. Ultimately, even Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) felt that the rebels would not settle through leniency and he dispatched a letter to all the provincial governors, the summary of which is as follows:
“After Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hazrat ‘Umar(ra), without any desire or request of my own, I was included among those who were entrusted the duty of holding counsel regarding Khilafat. Then, I was elected to the office of Khilafat without any desire or request of my own. Without fail, I continued the works which the previous Khulafa’(ra) undertook and I did not introduce any innovations in the faith of my own accord. However, the seed of evil was planted into the hearts of certain people, mischief arose and then they began to plot against me; they expressed one thing before the people, while concealing another thing in their hearts. These people began to level such accusations against me as were levelled against the Khulafa’(ra) before me as well. However, I remained silent despite knowing of this. Taking advantage of my mercy, these people grew even more in their mischief. Ultimately, they attacked Madinah in the likeness of disbelievers. So, if there is anything you can do then please arrange for some help.”1
Similarly, a few days later, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) wrote a letter to the people who had come to perform hajj. The gist of [this letter] is set out below.
1 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 154, Dhikru Masiri Mann Sara Ila Dhi Khashabin Min Ahli Misra….., Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]