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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Ali's March to Rabda

Letters to Othman b Hanif, Governor of Basra

From the camp at Rabda, Ali addressed a letter to his Governor of Basra to the following effect:"

Calling God to witness I say that Talha and Zubair swore allegiance to me and then broke it. The devil has instigated them to follow a path which is not acceptable to God. These people are not afraid of God's wrath. When they come to you persuade them to stick to the path of fidelity for which they swore at Madina. If they submit behave kindly towards them. Should they persist in their treachery fight them until God decides between us."

Before this letter reached him, Othman b Hanif had made a truce with Ayesha, and deputed an emissary to Madina to inquire whether Talha and Zubair had taken the oath of allegiance to Ali voluntarily or under some duress. When Ali came to know of this development, he addressed another letter to Othman b Hanif in the following terms: "Talha and Zubair swore allegiance to me under no compulsion. Even if they did so under fear or compulsion, such a constraint was used on them for preserving solidarity of Islam and not for creating discard among the believers. If they recant from what they have sworn, and aim at forcing my abdication they are without any cause. If they have any other grievance besides their aspiration to the Caliphate I will be prepared to consider it." It appears that before the second letter could reach Othman b Hanif, Basra had already been occupied by the forces of the confederates and the Governor of Ali had been overthrown.

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