Unlike most of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu’s) governors, Sayyiduna Muawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) displayed great administrative ability and was very popular. He was a God-fearing man and was especially known for his mercy. Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was very strict in piety and straightforward. Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) declared his disobedience to him because he felt that he was better qualified to lead the Muslim world.
Battle Of The Camel
Another serious development took place. Sayyadah Aishah (radi Allahu anha) and two leading Sahaba, Sayyiduna Talha and Sayyiduna Zubair (radi Allahu anhuma) declared their opposition to the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu). They left Madinatul Munawwarah for Makkatul Mukarramah and from there travelled to Basrah where they rallied men and new supporters.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) had to crush all opposition. A bloody battle took place near Basrah on the 9th of December 656 A.C. This battle was sparked off by a third force who were the real troublemakers. Just before the battle, both parties had already reached an agreement to settle the dispute. But this third force, the real assassinators of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu), launched an overnight attack on both camps simultaneously. Each side was under the impression that the other had attacked. The battle began. Several thousand men were lost including the two Sahaba. Sayyadah Aishah (radi Allahu anha) was safe. She was riding a camel during the battle-hence the name “Battle of the Camel.” Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) treated her in a most noble and dignified manner and respectfully sent her back to Madinatul Munawwarah. She praised him and deeply regretted opposing Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu). Kufa was now made the capital of the Islamic world.
Battle Of Siffin
Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) rallied an army to face Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu). A battle took place at Siffin on the Syrian border in the July of 567 A.C. Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) was no match for Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and began to retreat. By the clever proposal of Sayyiduna Amr bin Al As (radi Allahu anhu), the retreating army raised pieces of the Holy Quran on their spears demanding judgment between the two parties. Many pious Muslims on the side of Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) refused to fight seeing the Holy Quran displayed in the air.
Two men, one from each side, were appointed to settle the dispute. Sayyiduna Abu Musa (radi Allahu anhu), a pious Sahaba from Sayyiduna Ali’s (radi Allahu anhu’s) side, and the skilled Sayyiduna Amr (radi Allahu anhu) from Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu’s) side. Sayyiduna Musa (radi Allahu anhu) declared in front of the Muslims that it was decided to recommend the removal of both Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhuma) and that the Muslims should select another man for the Khilaafat. Sayyiduna Amr (radi Allahu anhu) replied that: “He has declared the removal of his leader, while I would conform Muaawiyah as the Caliph.” Chaos followed.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) prepared to meet Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) again in battle, but he was moved from his task by a serious conflict that occurred among his men. Some narrow-minded people accused Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) of accepting a man-made judgment. Their slogan was: “There is no judgment but with Allah.” They declared that Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Muaawiyah, and Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhumul ajma’in) were unbelievers and that Jihad should be declared against them. Ever since this event, they have been known as the “Khaarijees”, which means, “those who left the fold.” They maintained that the Khilaafat should be given to the most eligible Muslim, regardless of his origin. The Kharijees are not regarded as Muslims.