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Hadrat Ali as the fourth Khalifah

The insurgents' shameful act of assassination of the Khalifah could never have been imagined by Hadrat Ali or any other eminent Companion at Medina. 
It came as a total surprise to Hadrat Ali  whose two sons, Hasan and Husain  were guarding the gate of Uthman’s residence. 
The insurgents after climbing the back wall of the residence had assassinated the Khalifah. 
The assassination of Hadrat Uthman was really due to creation of faction among the Muslim Community which was the goal of ‘Abdullah Bin Saba and his followers , and they achieved it.
After the assassination of Hadrat Uthman, the insurgents virtually controlled the Capital, Medina for several days. 
The Muslims were frightened and sat behind closed doors. After the assassination of Hadrat Uthman  an unprecedented calamity had fallen on the Muslims and for three days, Medina was without any government.
Afterwards the insurgents approached Hadrat Ali  to be the Khalifah.
 Egyptians led by Ibn Saba and Ghafqi were the main group of insurgents behind the proposal for the Khilafat of Hadrat Ali  Hadrat Ali first declined to bear the responsibility of this great office. 
But the insurgents pressed him to accept it. As a matter of fact Hadrat Ali wanted to approach Hadrat Talha and Hadrat Zubair  who were included in the panel of the six persons appointed by Hadrat Umar  to select a Khalifah.
 He wanted to take pledge of loyalty  at the hands of any of these two gentlemen. 
But at the end, pressed by the threats of the regicides he decided to put the matter before Muslim public in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). 
Most of the Companions in Medina considered him, to be the fittest person for "Khilafat" after Hadrat Uthman . He then agreed to take the responsibility and gave his consent.
On 21st Dhul-Hijjah 35 A.H. pledge of loyalty took place at the hands of Hadrat Ali .
 First of all the leading insurgents took the pledge of loyalty on his hands, followed by the general public, at Medina. Hadrat Talha and Zubair  did not want to take a pledge (Bai'at) until the case of Hadrat Uthman assassination was decided. 
Before that Hadrat Ali had offered the office of Khilafat to both of them but they had declined. However under the threats of insurgents they took the pledge of loyalty at Hadrat Ali’s hands, on the condition: "You (i.e.’ Ali) have to decide matters according to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah (ways of the Holy Prophet) and would punish the guilty according to Islamic Law." 
Hadrat Ali agreed to their conditions. 
Hadrat Sa'd bin Waqqas said that he would take pledge when all the Muslims had done so. Following Companions did not take pledge at the hands of Hadrat Ali. Muhammad bin Muslimah, Usamah bin Zaid, Hassan bin Thabit. Ka'b bin Malik, Abu Sa'id Khudri, Nu'man bin Bashir, Zaid bin Thabit, Mughirah bin Shu'bah and 'Abdullah bin Salam. Most of the members of Banu Umayyah (Uthman's family) also did not take pledge of loyalty at Hadrat Ali’s hands. Some of such persons who did not take Bai'at went to Syria.
However the majority of the Muslims in Medina took pledge at the hands of Hadrat Ali. According to "Ahli Sunnah wal Jama'ah", Hadrat Ali was the most suitable and the fittest person for Khilafat after Hadrat Uthman . 
If some of the Companions did not take pledge on his hands, because of the political situation of that time, it did not mean that his Khilafat was not accepted by the Muslim majority. 
Besides Hadrat Ali  nobody including Hadrat Mu'awiyah  claimed to be the Khalifah at that time. 
The difference between them was the question of punishment to the assassins, which took the shape of various battles. 
As it would be seen afterwards Hadrat Amir Mu'awiyah  declared his Khilafat only after the death of Hadrat Ali . 
Hadrat Ali was declared to be the Khalifah not only by the insurgents but by the Muslim public as well including the leading Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajirin (Emigrants). 
This could also be noticed with the fact that in the first battle which took place between Hadrat Ali and Hadrat 'Aisha (and her group) about 800 of those Companions who had participated in the Treaty of Hudaibiyah were with Hadrat Ali besides other Companions. 
As a matter of fact Hadrat Ali was the most popular figure at that time and was the most appropriate person to be the fourth caliph.