Besides these three, no one in Madinah – be it a Companion(ra) or anyone else – held sympathy for the rebels. Everyone would send curse upon the rebels and reproach them, but they did not care, because all the power was in their hands at the time. For up to twenty days the rebels tried to convince Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) to somehow step down from Khilafat through dialogue alone. However, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) plainly refused and said:
“Neither can I remove the garment which God the Exalted, has clothed me with, nor can I leave the people of Muhammad(sa) unsheltered so that anyone who wishes may oppress another.”1
Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) continued to admonish the rebels to refrain from creating conflict and went on to say:
“Today these people create disorder and detest my very existence. But when I shall be no more, they shall wish, ‘If only each and every day of the life of ‘Uthman(ra) was transformed into one year each and would that he had not departed from us so soon.’ For after me there shall be severe bloodshed, rights shall be violated and governance shall take a completely different turn.”
(As such, in the Banu Umayyah period, khilafat was replaced by secular rule and these rebels were given such harsh punishments that they forgot all their mischief ).
After twenty days had elapsed, the rebels thought that a quick decision was required, lest the armies from the surrounding provinces arrive and they were made to suffer the consequences of their actions. For this reason they stopped Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) from leaving his house, and also forbade the transfer of food and drink into his house. They thought that perhaps in this manner, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) would be compelled to accept their demands.
The administration of Madinah was now in their hands. The three armies collectively accepted Ghafiqi, the commander of the Egyptian armies, as their commander in chief. So, it was as if, Ghafiqi was the ruler of Madinah at the time; Ashtar commanded the army of Kufah and Hakim bin Jabalah (the same robber who had been imprisoned in Basrah, on the order of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra), for robbing the wealth of non-Muslim subjects) commanded the army of Basrah, under the leadership of Ghafiqi. Once again, this proves that the rebels of Egypt were the root cause of this conflict, where ‘Abdullah bin Saba was at work. Ghafiqi would lead the prayers in Masjid-e-Nabawi while the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) would either remain locked up in their homes or would be compelled to offer prayers behind him.2
The rebels did not cause people much hindrance until they decided to lay siege upon the house of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). However, as soon as they laid siege [upon his house], they began to oppress other people as well. Instead of being Darul-Amn [the House of Peace], Madinah had now become Darul-Harb [the House of War]. The respect and honour of the people of Madinah was in danger; no one would step out of his house unarmed and the rebels would kill anyone who confronted them.
When the rebels had surrounded Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) and even went so far as to stop water from entering [his house], he sent a neighbour’s son to Hazrat ‘Ali(ra), Hazrat Talhah(ra), Hazrat Zubair(ra) and the ummahatul-mu’minin3 for assistance saying, “The rebels have even cut our water supply. If you are able to do something, then please arrange for water to be conveyed to us.” From among the men, Hazrat ‘Ali(ra) was the first to arrive. He admonished the rebels saying:
“What sort of a behaviour have you adopted? Your actions neither resemble those of the believers nor the disbelievers. Do not prevent food and drink from entering the house of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). Even the Romans and Persians provide their prisoners with food and water. According to the Islamic practice your conduct is not acceptable in the least. Besides, what harm has Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) done to you that you deem it permissible to imprison him and kill him?”
This admonition of Hazrat ‘Ali(ra) had no influence on them whatsoever. They plainly said, “Whatever the case may be, we shall not allow food or water to reach him.” This was the reply the rebels gave to the person who they deemed to be the wasi of the Holy Prophet(sa) and his true successor. After this reply, does the need for any other testimony remain in order to prove that this party, who declared Hazrat ‘Ali(ra) to be the wasi, had not left their homes in support of the truth or out of their love for the ahl-e-bait; rather, only to fulfil their base desires?
1 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 180, Dhikrul-Khabari ‘An Qatlihi Wa Kaifa Qutila, Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition
2 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, pp. 155-156, Dhikru Masiri Mann Sara Ila Dhi Khashabin Min Ahli Misra….. / p. 172, Dhikrul-Khabari ‘An Qatlihi Wa Kaifa Qutila, Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]
3 A title for the wives of the Holy Prophet(sa) and literally means, ‘the mothers of the believers.’ [Publishers]