The History of the Battle of Jamal (the Camel) (1)

The History of the Battle of Jamal (the Camel) (1)


The battle of Jamal occurred in November 656 A.D. between Aisha, Talhah and Zubayr on one side and Imam Ali, the ruler (Caliph) of that time, on the other side. It was the first war between Muslims and is named “Jamal” (male camel) because Aisha was on a camel named ‘Askar’ in the middle of the field.

The pretext of this war was to take revenge for Uthman’s murder; Aisha blamed Ali as the reason for the murder of the third Caliph.

Prediction of the Event by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِیلَ، حَدَّثَنَا جُوَیْرِیَةُ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِیَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: قَامَ النَّبِیُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَطِیبًا، فَأَشَارَ نَحْوَ مَسْکَنِ عَائِشَةَ، فَقَالَ: «هُنَا الفِتْنَةُ – ثَلاَثًا – مِنْ حَیْثُ یَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّیْطَانِ»

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) faced toward the house of Aisha and said: “Here is the place of intrigue; here is the place of intrigue; here is the place of intrigue; from here comes out the horn of the Devil”

Sahih_al-Bukhari, Section of what related about the houses of the Prophet’s wives, and what attributed to them:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَکْرِ بْنُ أَبِی شَیْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا وَکِیعٌ، عَنْ عِکْرِمَةَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ: خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ بَیْتِ عَائِشَةَ، فَقَالَ: «رَأْسُ الْکُفْرِ مِنْ هَاهُنَا، مِنْ حَیْثُ یَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّیْطَانِ» یَعْنِی الْمَشْرِقَ

The prophet (PBUH), came out of the house of Aisha and said: “The horn of the Devil will appear here.

صحیح المسلم – بَابُ الْفِتْنَةُ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ مِنْ حَیْثُ یَطْلُعُ قَرْنَا الشَّیْطَانِ- ج4 ص2229

Sahih-Muslim, Section: The sedition from the east from which the horn of the devil shall appear

The prophet of God (PBUH), told Ali (PBUH): “Things will happen between you and Aisha, soon.’ Ali (PBUH) Asked: ‘Between me and her?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Yes’. Ali asked: ‘Will I be on the wrong way at the time?’ and The Prophet replied: ‘No, but whenever it happened, return her to her house.”(1) After quoting this narration, Haythami says:  “This narration is quoted by Ahmad, Buzar and Al-Tabarani; which are trusted.”(2)

Decision to Disobey

When Aisha decided to disobey Imam Ali (PBUH), they looked for a camel to carry her camel litter; a man named “Ya’la ibn Umayya” brought a camel for her, named “Askar”, which was strong and able to carry the litter. Aisha saw the camel and liked it. The owner describe the strength of his camel and named the camel as “Askar”. When Aisha heard the name; trembled and whispered “Inna Lillahi wa Inna ilayhi raji’un (We indeed belong to Allah, and we indeed toward Him are returning)” and said:  “Take this camel away, I don’t need it”.

When her army asked the reason, she said that the Prophet (PBUH) had told her the name of this camel and advised her not to ride it. Then ordered to find another camel for her. People looked for, but could not find another camel, able to carry her litter; so changed the appearance of the camel and brought it back. They told Aisha: “We brought a stronger camel for you”; then she became satisfied and accepted it.

After mentioning this event, Ibn Abi’l-Hadid quotes another event from Abu-Mikhnaf that on the way to Basra (for the battle), Aisha and her army arrived at a village called “Hawab”; the dogs of Hawab were barking at their army, in such a way that their camels stampeded.

A person from her army said: “Hawab has so many dogs and they make a lot of sounds’. Aisha stopped her camel and said: ‘Is this place Hawab and are these the dogs of Hawab barking? Return me right now; the Prophet told me to beware the day that the dogs of Hawab are around me and barking loudly!’

At that moment, in order to dissuade her of return, someone said: ‘God bless you; it’s a while since we have passed Hawab.’ Aisha said: ‘do you have any witnesses?’; then they gathered 50 Bedouins and bribed them to testify that the place was not Hawab and they had passed it; then Aisha accepted it and continued toward Basra. (3)

The manner of Imam Ali (PBUH), before the battle

In order to prevent the war, ImamAli (PBUH) sent more than 10 messengers and letters to the opposing army. Imam Ali (PBUH) wrote a letter to the commanders of this group (who later were named Nakesin) at Dhi Qar and mentioned the great sins they had committed in Basra, such as killing Muslims and torturing Uthman ibn Hunaif and asked them to stop opposing and to join other Muslims. He sent this letter to Talhah, Zubayr and Aisha through one of his followers named Sa’sa’a bin Sohan; but the letter did not change their minds. They were determined to wage war.

Next time, Imam Ali (PBUH) sent Ibn-Abbas to remind them of the allegiance covenant they had with him. In another letter, in order to attract the enemies, he called Talhah, “Sheikh al-Muhajirin” (The elder of Muhajerin) and called Zubayr “The Unique Rider of Quraysh”

On another occasion, Imam sent the well-known companion of the Prophet, Qa’qa’ ibn Amr to the army of Nakesin, who could to some extent convince them toward peace. When the report of his negotiations was told to Imam, he was surprised by their resistance and sent another letter to them, with Imran ibn Husain as the messenger.

In another case, Imam sent Ibn-Abbas to negotiate with Zubayr, hoping to attract him, since he had a tendency toward Imam. Once more Imam sent Abdullah ibn-Abbas and Zeyd ibn Suhan (whom the Prophet had testified will go to heaven) to Aisha hoping that their esteem would make her remorse; but Aisha in reply to their reasoning, advice and Benevolence said: “I won’t reply Ali anymore, since, in reasoning, I’m not as skilful as him.”

Another time, Imam gave a Quran to Ibn-Abbas and told him to remind them, of their allegiance covenant and ask them to accept the holy Quran as the arbitrator. But they replied: “we have no answer but the swords”. Ibn-Abbas took their answer to Imam and said “They will not reply to you with anything but the sword, so attack them. Before they attack you.”

Once more, Imam appeared between two armies, unarmed, riding the horse of the Prophet and called Zubayr. Zubayr came full-armed and stood in front of him. They hugged each other. Then Ali told Zubayr:

“Do you remember that once you and the Prophet were passing by me? The Prophet smiled at me and I also smiled at him. At this moment, you told him: ‘O the prophet of God! Ali won’t stop bragging’. Then the Prophet replied to you: ‘Zubayr! Be quiet! He is far distant from bragging, but you will soon fight him and will be the tyrant one in the battle.”

On other occasions, in order to make peace, Imam told his followers: “Who will take this Quran and call the Nakesin to it? Be informed that whoever volunteers, will be martyred and I guarantee Heaven for him.”

A young man from Abdul-Qays tribe, named Muslim, stood up and said: “I will present this Quran to them and will sacrifice myself for the satisfaction of God”. The man went and stood in front of the Nakesin Army and said: “This is the book of God. Amir al-Mu’minin calls you to this book.”

The Jamal (Nakesin) Army cut off his right hand in response. He took the Quran with his left hand. They cut off his left hand too. The man, while bleeding all over, held the book with his teeth. At this moment, Aisha ordered the archers to shoot him. (4)

Beginning of the Battle

When Imam Ali was preaching to his followers, the rain of arrows by the Nakesin archers was shot toward them. The followers, who could not bear this-much munificence, tenderness and mercy, shouted: “O Imam, the bows of the enemy massacred us.”… Some of the followers were martyred in the tents, but Imam was still advising to be patient. Shortly after that, Abdullah ibn Badil, the famous companion of the Prophet, put the body of his brother, who had been martyred by the arrows, on the ground, in front of Imam and said: “O Amir al-Mu’minin, this is my brother who is martyred”.

At that moment, Imam was totally disappointed about guiding the Nakesin and came to the decision that every evidence is presented to them. So, despite his inner will, in order to protect his soldiers and perform his duty, he got ready for the war.

It is said that on the day of Jam Imam gave their flag to his son, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, but told him and others to wait until noon; perhaps some people of the other army would be remorseful. In the meanwhile, he was adjuring the makes and asking them to change their mind and turn to peace. (5)

Continue in the next article: ( The History of Jamal Battle (the Camel) (2) )




1. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol.6, p.393, Item #27242) and (Al Mu’jam Al Kabir, Vol.1, p.332, Item #995). Also: (Sharh al-akhbar fi fada’il al-A’imma al-Athar, Vol.1, p.395.

2. Majma’ al-Zawa’id wa Manba’ al-Fawa’id, Vol.7, 234

3. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-balagha (Commentary on Nahj al-Balagha), Vol.6, p.225

4. Shiekh Mufid, Battle of Jamal, Islamic Information Office, pp.314-339 and (Sibt_ibn_al-Jawzi, Tazkirat ul-Khawas (Introduced eminence of the heirs of Muhammad The Prophet of Islam), Narrated by Seyed-Morteza Askari, Islamic Science Society, Vol.1, p.199 and pp.213-215, a section of the Hadiths about Umm Al-Mu’minīn (Aisha) ) And (Jafar Sobhani, ‌Blaze of Vilayat, Sahifeh Pub., p.400) also (Abu Hanifa Dinawari, News of Ages (Akhbar al-Tival), Sharif Razi publications, p.147).

5. Shiekh Mufid, Battle of Jamal, Islamic Information Office, p.342 and (Sibt ibn_al-Jawzi, Tazkirat ul-Khawas (Introduced eminence of the heirs of Muhammad The Prophet of Islam), Narrated by Seyed-Morteza Askari, Islamic Science Society, Vol.1, pp.221-222, a section of the Hadiths about Umm Al-Mu’minīn (Aisha) ) and Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.32, p.172.

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