The accounts that have come down to us about the activities of the rebels are very much distorted and confused. The usual version is that Uthman appealed to Ali to intervene and use his influence with the rebels to prevail upon them to withdraw from Madina. It is related that Ali was critical of the conduct of Uthman, and Uthman gave a solemn undertaking that in future he would be guided by the counsels of Ali. It is said that Ali met the rebels, and prevailed upon them to retire from Madina. They agreed to do so, in case formal orders were passed by the Caliph for the deposition of Abdullah b Sa 'ad from the governorship of Egypt. Had rat Uthman passed the orders for the deposition of Abdullah b Sa'ad, and the appointment of Muhammad b Abu Bakr as the Governor of Egypt.
It is stated that on the demand of Ali, Uthman addressed the people in the Prophet's mosque; admitted his mistakes; prayed for the forgiveness of Allah and the people; and undertook to make amends within three days. It is said that on this occasion Uthman wept and the audience wept with him. The accounts continue that under the influence of Marwan b Hakam Uthman retracted from his repentance, and did not make any amends. Uthman and Ali had another meeting at which Ali accused Uthman of breach of faith. Ali felt deeply annoyed, and said that that was the parting of ways between them.
The accounts that have come down to us continue that when the rebels from Egypt proceeded a few stages from Madina they came across a slave of Uthman who was carrying a letter of Uthman to the Governor of Egypt commanding him not to give effect to the orders regarding his deposition, arrest the rebels and execute them. That made the rebels return to Madina. The rebels from Kufa and Basra returned likewise. It is stated that the rebels brought this breach of faith on the part of Uthman to the notice of the leaders of public opinion in Madina and invoked their assistance. Uthman admitted that the letter bore his official seal, but he denied all knowledge about the contents of the letter. It was contended that the letter was in the handwriting of Marwan. Marwan was however never confronted with the letter, and the accounts recorded in histories leave the matter about the contents of the letter unresolved.