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Journeying to Damascus, he had an interview with Moawyah, and publicly cast in his fortunes with

those of the rebellion. It thus became necessary for Ali to continue in the field in order

to keep the throne.

For the prosecution of his Syrian campaign

the Caliph raised an army of ninety thousand

men. Arriving on the borders of Syria, the

soldiers suffered for water; but a Christian

monk who lived in the neighborhood produced

an ancient parchment, said to have been written by Saint Peter, wherein it was predicted

that a well dug by Israel should be reopened by the lawful successor of the last

of the prophets. Ali accordingly directed his

attendants where to dig, and a huge stone

being with difficulty overturned, the well of

antiquity was found. The army was saved

from thirst and the hermit converted to Islam.

In the year 657 the forces of the Caliph

came face to face with those of Moawyah in

the plain of Seffein, near the Euphrates. The

army of the enemy, led by the rebellious governor and Amru, numbered eighty thousand

men. The leaving generals on the other side

were Ali himself and the venerable Ammar Ibn

Yaser, now ninety-two years of age, of old time

one of the companions of the Prophet. When

the two hosts came in sight Ali attempted to