(Sunnah view, I guess)
Well, this will be quite the story. My reference shall be the documentary series aired in Ramadan 1432 Hijri. (Al-Hassan Wa Al-Hussain [RA]).
First, to give you a complete idea about the situation, what were Ayesha (RA), Talha (RA) and Zubair (RA) doing? Where where they?
It all began with the murder of the Caliph Othman bin Affan (RA). He happens to be a relative to Moawiya bin Abi Sofyaan (RA) (Ruler of Al-Shaam [Syria, Jordon, Palestine ... etc.] and Ayesha (RA). So naturally, they, above all other Muslims, felt the need to pass judgment on these murderers promptly, before doing anything else. However, the murderers have already left Madina Al-Munawara (were they killed the Caliph) and went towards the east to Iraq.
Ayesha (RA) took some of the Caliphs belongings, that had blood on them, and sent them to Muaviyeh (RA) so he can help pass justice on the murderers.. She (RA) was against the Murderers!
After the death of the Caliph, there were two main issues:
- Appointing a new Caliph.
- Passing judgment on the murderers (whose numbers exceeded 100).
Ali bin Abi Talib (RA) was chosen by the Muslims as the new Caliph, and he decided that it would be wise to wait a few months for the events to calm down before pursuing the murderers. Ayesha (RA), along with a small army, decided to dispatch and pursue the murderers under the impression that the murderers would dissolve between the Muslims and would never be found later.
Ali (RA) in that context of events saw this as a bit chaotic for anyone to go pass judgement on his own. After all, he is the Caliph and he should take matters in his own hands. Thus, he dispatched and army, too, and told Ayesha's (RA) army to halt.
After reaching Ayesha's (RA) army's camp, they came to an agreement. I would like to emphasize here, this is only natural. History tells us how these people are all wise and in the end do not seek self interest. Sadly, however, war broke out.
How did that happen? Apparently, some of the murderers, who were later known as "Al-Khawarij" have entered with Ali's (RA) army, and during the night, just before dusk, they attacked Ayesha's (RA) army screaming that it's war!
Yes, this particular battle was a misunderstanding, and caused by "Al-Khawarij".
Not long after the war broke out, Ayesha (RA) herself went into the battle on her camel (She was inside the thing over the camel), and things slowly calmed down.