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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - The Battle of Siffin

Hostilities on a limited scale

When the sacred month of Moharrum was over, and the possibilities of any settlement through peaceful means had receded, war between the two sides became imminent. Still hoping against hope, war on a full fledged scale was avoided, and hostilities began on a limited scale. A detachment from each side was led to fight each day. The battle waged for the whole day and the two detachments retired to their respective camps at nightfall. The following day other detachments took the field, and after a day long combat they retired to their camps when the night set. This process continued for a week. Losses of life occurred on both the sides, but these contests were more like tournaments than battles. After a week the patience of both the sides was exhausted, and the entire armies from both the sides took the field for a headlong clash.

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