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Battle of Jamal:

The Battle of Bassorah, Battle of the Camel, or Battle of Jamal was a battle that took place at
Basra, Iraq in 656 between forces allied to Ali ibn Abi Talib (Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law,
Rightly Guided Caliph and Commander of the Faithful) and forces allied to Aisha ( r ) (widow of
Muhammad, and called the Mother of the Faithful) who wanted justice on the perpetrators of the
assassination of the previous caliph Uthman (r.a)

On the morning of Friday, the 16th of Jamadi II, 36 A.H. (November 656 A.D.) Ayesha took the
field, mounted in a litter on her great camel Al-Askar and riding up and down among her troops,
animating them by their presence and by her voice. In history, the battle is named 'the battle of
the camel' after the strange animal on which Ayesha was mounted, though it was fought on the
field of Khoreiba close to Basra.

Ali's army faced the enemy in the battle array, but the Caliph ordered them not to take the
offensive unless the enemy began the onset. He further gave stringent orders that no wounded
should be slain, no fugitive pursued, no plunder seized nor the privacy of any house violated. No
sooner had he given these orders when showers of arrows started to pour from the enemy but, still
Imam Ali (a.s.) forbade his soldiers to retaliate and bade them wait.

Carnage in the battle :


The losses in the battle were very great. Some historians say that 16,796 men of Ayesha's
forces and 1,070 of Imam Ali's (k.u.w) army were killed in the battle. The field was covered all
over with dead bodies. A trench was dug and the dead bodies of friends and foes together were
buried by the order of the Caliph.

The spoils of war :


It has been mentioned earlier that Imam Ali (a.s.) had forbidden his army to seize any plunder.
"So clearly were Ali's orders against plundering observed, that whatever was found on the field,
or in the insurgent camp, was gathered together in the great mosque, and every man was allowed
to claim his own. To the malcontents, who complained that they were not allowed to take the
booty, Ali replied that the rights of war, in this case, lasted only so long as the ranks were arrayed
against each other, and that immediately on submission, the insurgents resumed their rights and
privileges as brother Muslims. Having entered the city, he divided the contents of the Treasury
amongst the troops which had fought on his side, promising them a still larger reward should the
Lord deliver Syria into his hands." Muir's Annals, p. 366.

Sir William on the battle of the Camel

"The carnage in the ill-starred Battle of the Camel (for so it came to be called) was very great.
The field was covered with over 10,000 bodies and this, not-withstanding that the victory was
not followed up, for Ali had given orders that no fugitive should be pursued, nor any wounded
soldier slain, nor plunder seized, on the privacy of any house invaded. A great Trench was dug,
and into it the dead were lowered, friends and foes alike. Ali encamped for three days outside the
city, and himself performed the funeral service. It was a new experience to bury the dead slain in
battle not against the infidel, but Believer fighting against Believer. Instead of cursing the
memory of his enemies (too soon the fashion in these civil wars), Ali spoke hopefully of the
future state of such as had entered the field, on whatever side, with an honest heart." Sir William
Muir - The Caliphate, it's Rise, Decline and Fall page 250.