With the capture of power by Muhammad b Abu Hudhaifa in Egypt the stage was set for an open revolt against the caliphate of Uthman. In Kufa though Abu Musa Ashtari, as Governor, paid nominal allegiance to Uthman, he was really a nominee of the rebels, and could not go against their wishes. In Basra the Governor Abdullah b 'Aamir left for Hajj, and in his absence the affairs of the province fell into a state of confusion. Thus the three main provinces of Egypt, Kufa, and Basra came to be cut off from the caliphate of Uthman, and became the center of revolt.
In the month of Shawwal, a contingent of about 1,000 persons was sent from Egypt to Madina. These persons traveled in four separate groups, and gave out that they were going to perform the Hajj. They were fully armed, and their instructions were to overthrow the government of Uthman, and to murder him. The contingent was led by Amir Ghafqi b Harb. Ibn Saba accompanied the contingent as their general adviser.
Similar contingents marched from Kufa and Basra to Madina. The Kufa contingent was led by Ashtar Nakh'i while the contingent from Basra was led by Hakim b Jabala.
All these contingents converged on Madina according to a pre-arranged plan. Reaching the neighborhood of Madina the contingent from Egypt encamped at Dhil Marwah. The contingent from Basra encamped at Dukhshab, while the contingent from Kufa encamped at Ahwas. From these camps the contingents sent their representatives to one another for mutual consultation. They also sent their representatives to Madina to contact the leaders of public opinion The representatives of the contingent from Egypt waited on Ali, and offered him the caliphate in succession to Uthman. Ali turned down their offer. The representatives of the contingent from Kufa waited on Zubair, while the representatives of the contingent from Basra waited on Talha, and offered them their allegiance as the next Caliph. These offers were turned down. This move on the part of the rebels neutralized the bulk of public opinion in Madina. Madina could no longer offer a united front; it became a divided house. Uthman could enjoy the active support of the Umayyads, and a few other persons in Madina. The rest of the people of Madina chose to be neutral and help neither side. That was a big gain for the rebels. After surveying the situation in Madina, the rebels felt satisfied that the circumstances were favorable to the launching of their campaign for overthrowing the government of Uthman.