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1130 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

hundred thousand dinars, the donative being

appropriated out of the spoils of Africa. Nor

would the haughty old potentate brook with

patience the criticisms and complaints of his

people.

His conduct in removing the able Amru

from the governorship of Egypt and the

appointment in his stead of Saad, his own

foster brother, had laid the foundations of

distrust in the beginning of his administration.

Other removals of faithful officers had added

to the discontent, and now, for the first time

in the history of Islam, were heard the mutterings of revolt and mutiny.

Accidental circumstances fired the train of

rebellion. On a certain occasion the Caliph

went into the pulpit of the mosque and defended himself against the charges which were

freely circulated. He declared that the money

in the public treasury belonged to Allah, and

that the Caliph, as the successor of the

Prophet, had a right to distribute the funds in

what manner so ever he would. Hereupon a

certain veteran Moslem, named Ammar lbn

Yaser, who had been one of the companions of

the Prophet, spoke out openly in the mosque, contradicting what the Caliph had said. For

this he was attacked by the kinsfolk of Othman and shamefully beaten until he fainted

away. When the intelligence of this outrage

was spread abroad through the land the

smoldering elements of sedition were fanned

into a flame.

At this juncture a certain leader arose,

being a converted Jew of the name of Ibn

Caba. Knowing the distempered spirit of the

people he went about inciting to revolt. He

visited Yemen, Hidschaf, Bassora, Cufa, Syria,

and Egypt, denouncing the government of

Caliph Othman and inviting the multitude to

dethrone their sovereign. He advised that a

fictitious pilgrimage to Mecca be undertaken

with the ulterior object of collecting an army

against the government. It began to be said

that Ali was the rightful potentate of Islam,

and that the reign of Othman had been a

usurpation from the first. This was done,

however, without the connivance of Ali, who

remained faithful to Othman.

The seed sown by Ibn Caba took root and

grew and flourished. Bands from all parts of

the country began to assemble at Medina.

Encamping at a distance of a league from the

city, the insurgents sent a message to the Caliph, demanding that he should either reform

the abuses of his government or abdicate the

throne.

So critical became the situation that Othman was obliged to seek the services of

Ali as a mediator of the people. The latter

agreed to use his influence for peace on condition that the Caliph would denounce the errors

of his reign and make reparation for the wrongs

which he had inflicted. The aged Othman was obliged to go

into the mosque and make a public confession of his sins, and to offer prayer to Allah

for reconciliation and forgiveness. The multitude was quieted, and a temporary peace

secured.

In a short time, however, the Caliph, acting under the inspiration of his secretary, who

had been absent from Medina during the recent crisis, returned to the old abuses; and the

people, learning of his perfidy, again rose in

revolt. Ali refused to interfere; for Othman

had broken faith. When the rebellion was

about to break into open violence, the Caliph

again came to his senses and eagerly sought

to maintain the peace. He implored Ali to

lend his aid in placating the multitude. The

latter finally agreed, on condition of a written

pledge, that the abuses in the government

should be corrected, to go forth again and persuade the people to desist from violence. Saad

was removed from the governorship of Egypt,

and the popular Mohammed, son of Abu Beker,

was appointed in his stead. The new officer

set out for Alexandria, and affairs at Medina

again assumed a more peaceable aspect; but

while Mohammed was on his way to Egypt,

one of the slaves of Merwan, riding by, was

taken, and upon his person a dispatch was

found directed to Saad, and signed by Othman. The former was directed by the latter

to seize Mohammed on his arrival in Egypt,

and put him to death! Thus had a double

treachery been perpetrated by the government

at Medina.

Mohammed at once marched back to the

capital. Othman was confronted with his letter, but he denied all knowledge of its composition. Suspicion fell on Merwan, but the Caliph refused to give up his secretary to the

vengeance of the people. A great tumult arose

in the city. Ali and other patriotic Moslems

sought in vain to allay the excitement. The

insurgents, led by Mohammed and Ammar