Hadhrat ‘Uthman Al-Ghani Ibn ‘Affan (ra) – The Great Lover of Allah

12 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 Introduction Hadhrat ‘Uthman Ghani ibn Affan(ra) was the third Khalifah (Successor) after the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). A man of matchless modesty, he was born into the powerful Umayyad family of Makkah, and became an extremely wealthy merchant before his conversion to Islam. After the demise of ‘Umar(ra), ‘Uthman(ra) was chosen by a counsel to succeed ‘Umar(ra). His main achievement was centralising the institution of Khilafat, its related administrative set-up, and most importantly, compiling an official version of the Holy Qur’an. His tenure, however, was also marked as a time of great civil wars and unrest among Muslims. His assassination at the hands of a rebellious group signified the start of the first fitnah, a series of civil wars that threatened to tear the unity of the followers of Muhammad(saw) apart. Background His full name was ‘Uthman bin Affan bin Abu Al-’As bin Umayyah bin ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Qusai bin Kilab bin Murrah bin Ka’b bin Lu’ayy bin Ghalib. He was a close relative of Prophet Muhammad(saw), as his maternal grandmother was the real sister of the Prophet’s paternal grandfather, ‘Abdul-Muttalib. It was through this link that ‘Uthman(ra) and the Prophet(saw) were related as cousins. ‘Uthman(ra) was of middle height, fair complexion, had a full beard and curly-hair, was large-limbed, and had the most beautiful teeth. His most distinguishing physical feature was his exceptionally handsome face. It is not unusual for people to be described as beautiful or as possessing attractive facial features. Hadhrat ‘Uthman(ra), however, was unmatched. It seems that whoever Hadhrat ‘Uthman Al-Ghani Ibn ‘Affan(ra) The Great Lover of Allah By Amer Safir – London, UK Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 12 13The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) gazed upon his face unanimously agreed that they had never seen anyone more handsome than him. ‘‘Abdullah ibn Hazm al-Mazini is reported to have said: ‘I saw ‘Uthman ibn Affan and I have never seen a man or a woman with a more beautiful face than him.’1 It was solely a grace from Allah that he was granted with such excellent physical attributes. This alone, however, is not the only grace with which he was blessed. When one ponders on ‘Uthman’s life, it is clear that he was rewarded with numerous, remarkable and unique blessings, showing that he was a particularly beloved servant of Allah. One other such bounty was his great resemblance in terms of physical appearance to the Holy Prophet(saw). Hadhrat ‘A’isha(ra) said to ‘Uthman’s wife, Umm Kulthum(ra), who was also the daughter of the Prophet(saw): ‘Your husband, of all men, is the one who resembles your grandfather Ibrahim and your father Muhammad.’2 In another saying, Abu Hurairah(ra) relates that the Holy Prophet(saw) said: ‘‘Uthman, of my companions, most resembles me in character.’3 The Holy Prophet(saw) held ‘Uthman(ra) in the highest esteem and gave two of his daughters in marriage to him. ‘Uthman(ra) first married Ruqayyah(ra) before the Prophethood of Muhammad(saw), but she died during the Battle of Badr. It was a phenomenal honour for ‘Uthman(ra) to have married the daughter of the greatest of all Prophets(saw). This honour was doubled, because when Ruqayyah(ra) passed away, the Prophet(saw) gave his second daughter, Umm Kulthum(ra), to ‘Uthman(ra). This occurred soon after the Battle of Uhud took place. The Prophet(saw) said: ‘Get ‘Uthman married. Even if I had a third [daughter] I would have got him married, and I did not get him married except through revelation from Allah.’4 Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 13 14 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) It is evident from these words that the Prophet(saw) had his daughters married to ‘Uthman(ra) solely for the reason that he had been instructed ‘through revelation from Allah’. ‘Ali(ra) once heard the Prophet(saw) say to ‘Uthman(ra): ‘Even if I had forty daughters I would marry them to you, one after another, until none of them remained.’5 Having had the unique privilege of marrying two of the daughters of the Prophet(saw), ‘Uthman(ra) was known as ‘Dhun-Nurayn’, the possessor of two lights. It was an immense honour for ‘Uthman(ra), one that is unprecedented in history, and one that could only occur through Allah’s grace and to one that was exceptionally near to Allah. As ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar relates: ‘My maternal uncle Hussain al- Jufi said, “Do you realise why ‘Uthman was called the Possessor of Two Lights?” I said, “No.” He said, “No-one other than ‘Uthman” has ever been united to two daughters of a prophet since Allah created Adam (nor will anyone be) until the Hour arises ’.6 ‘Uthman(ra) and his first wife Ruqayyah(ra) were a very congenial couple, and it is apparent that the Prophet(saw) himself thought so too. Usamah ibn Zaid relates: ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent me to ‘Uthman’s house with a dish in which was meat. I went in, and there was Ruqayyah, may Allah be pleased with her, seated. I began to look at the face first of Ruqayyah and then of ‘Uthman, again and again. When I returned, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, questioned me and asked me, “Did you go in to them?” I said. “Yes.” He said, “Have you seen a couple more beautiful than them?” I said, “No, Messenger of Allah.”’7 Like Abu Bakr(ra) and Umar(ra), ‘Uthman(ra) was also a merchant by trade. He was extremely wealthy, a millionaire by today’s standards, and was considered to be one of Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 14 15The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) the richest men in all of Makkah. He never, however, displayed any boastfulness or pride, and never did he take wine in the age of ignorance before the laws of Islam had been introduced. He belonged to one of the most powerful families of Makkah, the well- known and influential Umayyad clan, a fact that later would prove crucial to the plight of the Muslims during the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah. Early days as a Muslim He was the fourth convert to Islam after Abu Bakr(ra), Khadijah(ra) and Zaid(ra), and was about thirty-five years of age when he converted through Abu Bakr(ra). Despite being very wealthy, he was amongst the most generous of the companions of the Prophet(saw). From the day he entered Islam he would set a slave free every Friday.8 During the early years of the Prophet’s ministry, persecution against the Muslims in Makkah was at its most intense. It was common for Muslims to endure torture and merciless beatings at the hands of the non-believers. ‘Uthman(ra) was a member of a powerful clan, and had been brought up in relative luxury and ease. Yet he bore the full brunt of the hardships faced by the Muslims. He was tied up by his uncle, Hakam bin Abi’l-‘Aas, and received a harsh beating. ‘Uthman(ra) displayed the utmost composure and faced this persecution without any hint of disapproval.9 Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Harith at-Taymi relates: ‘When ‘Uthman bin Affan became a Muslim, his paternal uncle, Al-Hakam ibn Abi’l- ‘Aas ibn Umayyah took hold of him, bound him with rope, and said, “Do you wish to leave the religion of your fathers for an innovated deen? By Allah, I will not leave you until you give up that which you are involved in.” ‘Uthman said, “By Allah, I will not give it up nor abandon it.” When Al-Hakam saw his firmness in his deen he left him.’10 When the oppression reached an intolerable level, the Prophet(saw) gathered his followers, and told Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 15 16 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) them of a land to the West where they could practice their faith without fear of retribution under a just ruler. A group of Muslim men, women and children thus migrated to Abyssinia. Amongst this small party of emigrants was ‘Uthman(ra). He took part in two migrations, first to Abyssinia11, and later to Madinah. Anas relates: ‘The first one to emigrate with his family to the Abyssinians was ‘Uthman ibn Affan. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “May Allah accompany the two of them. ‘Uthman is the first to emigrate with his family for the sake of Allah, since Lut (Prophet Lot)”’.12 When the Makkans discovered that a band of Muslim refugees had fled their hometown, they hatched a plan to force their return. After failing to convince the King of Abyssinia to hand them over, the Makkans began a rumour in Abyssinia that all of Makkah was under the fold of Islam. The incident of the so-called Satanic Verses about which orientalists have made much hue and cry is also reported to have occured at this time. Some Muslims then returned to Makkah only to find that the story had been false.13 ‘Uthman(ra) was also amongst this party. In keeping with the prevalent Arab tradition, a returning emigrant had to seek protection from a chief or high ranking resident. As the son of a prominent Makkan chief, ‘Uthman(ra) was given protection by Walid bin Mughirah, a friend of his father, and was thus able to live in peace. When he saw the plight of the other Muslims in Makkah who continued to endure severe persecution, he became very disheartened.14 How could he have such protection whilst his fellow Muslims continued to suffer from cruelty? He went to Walid bin Mughirah and renounced his protection and this was accordingly announced in Makkah. An instance occurred soon after where the chiefs of Makkah were seated in a gathering, listening to Labid, the poet-laureate of Arabia. Poets were held in high esteem by the Arabs and wielded consid- erable influence. They were seen Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 16 17The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) as leaders of the people and the poet-laureate therefore held an especially lofty status. Labid read a line which interpreted as, all graces are limited. Such was the strength of faith of ‘Uthman(ra) that he bravely contradicted Labid and said: ‘The graces of Paradise will be everlasting.’15 In his position as poet-laureate, Labid was not used to being contradicted. What made it an even more bold act on the part of ‘Uthman(ra) was the fact that the Chiefs of the Makkans were also present. Labid became infuriated and said: ‘Quraish, your guests were not insulted like this before. Whence has this fashion begun?’ To alleviate Labid’s temper, a man from the gathering arose and said: ‘Go on and take no notice of this fool.’ ‘Uthman(ra), however, remained steadfast to his statement, and argued that he had said nothing wrong whatsoever. The man who had stood up could take this disrespect to Labid no longer. He pounced on ‘Uthman(ra), delivering him a strong blow, knocking one of his eyes out. Walid, whose protection ‘Uthman(ra) had denounced, was also present amongst the gathering. He was close to ‘Uthman’s father and could not bear to see his deceased friend’s son being treated with such brutality. According to Arab custom, it was wrong for him to help someone who was not officially under his protection. He was therefore unable to help ‘Uthman(ra).16 In exasperation he turned to ‘Uthman(ra) and said: ‘Son of my friend, you would have saved your eye, had you not renounced my protection. You have to thank yourself for it.’ ‘Uthman’s reply shows the unrelenting fervour he had for Allah and His messenger: ‘I have longed for this. I Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 17 18 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 lament not over the loss of one eye, because the other waits for the same fate. Remember while the Prophet suffers, we want no peace.’17 ‘Uthman(ra) has often been accused by non-Muslims, and even by some Muslims, of weak character. Those who accuse allege that, especially when he became a Khalifah, he did not always stand up for what was right, and infer that he was often too weak to confront falsehood. Nothing could be further from the truth. His daring reply to Labid demonstrates the unquestionable strength of his faith and character, and the unflinching love he had for the Holy Prophet(saw). ‘Uthman(ra) cared not that the most important people of Makkah were sitting before him, and neither did he let traditions stand in his way when speaking out and defending the truth. The strength of his love for Allah was so powerful and intense that it was impossible for him to let anyone, whatever their status or position, infer that they were superior to Allah. The strength of ‘Uthman’s faith can be gauged in light of the following saying of the Holy Prophet(saw) where he explains how a Muslim should react having observed wrongdoing taking place: ‘He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do that, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do even that, then he should (at least abhor it) from his heart; and that is the least of faith.’18 The Prophet(saw) has advised Muslims on three courses of action that can be used to stop evil; physical intervention, vocal disapproval, and rejection in the heart. The latter action according to the Prophet(saw) displays the weakest kind of faith, whilst the first choice demonstrates the strongest conviction for Islam. In light of this quote, ‘Uthman(ra) demonstrated that he was of the latter category – he possessed the strongest faith. He bravely stood HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 18 19The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 up to contradict the most important and feared people in Makkah, and in the process defied all protocols and precedent. When he was rebuked by the angry poet laureate and a member of the crowd, he remained steadfast and continued to vociferously defend the honour of the Prophet(saw) and Allah. He not only offered his vocal disapproval; when he protested, he was attacked and lost his eye. In this way he also physically stood up against the falsehood of the Makkans. Surely this was not the action of a weak man, rather of a person of noble and fearless disposition. Character ‘Uthman’s generosity and his altruistic nature in giving alms and helping the needy is an example for all to aspire to follow. Despite being one of the richest men in Makkah, he was also one of the most generous. When a famine occurred in Madinah, ‘Uthman(ra) rose to the fore and gave food to the needy. In another instance, the people of Madinah were suffering due to a shortage of water. A Jewish person owned a well, which he would only sell at a very high price. ‘Uthman(ra) purchased the well for thirty-five thousand dirhams and gave it to the Muslims of Madinah for their use.19 Once a famine broke out during the Khilafat of Abu Bakr(ra). The people were suffering greatly due to the shortage of food. News reached the people that ‘Uthman(ra) had entered Madinah with a huge supply of grain. The starving people of the city all rushed to him, pleading that he sell the grain at an affordable price.20 ‘Uthman(ra) said: ‘Bear witness that I have given away all the food grains to the poor and needy of Al- Madinah.’21 Whenever the Prophet(saw) called for Muslims to give alms for any purpose, ‘Uthman(ra) would always give bountifully. Because of this extraordinary generosity, the Prophet(saw) often praised ‘Uthman(ra) highly. ‘Abd ar- Rahman ibn Khabbab narrates: ‘I witnessed the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 19 20 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 peace, urging [people to] support the Army of Difficulty, and then ‘Uthman ibn Affan said: “Messenger of Allah, I will be responsible for one hundred camels with their saddle blankets and their saddles, in the way of Allah.” Then he further urged people to support the army and ‘Uthman said, “Messenger of Allah, I will be responsible for two hundred camels with their saddle blankets and their saddles, in the way of Allah.” Then he further urged people to support the army and ‘Uthman said, “Messenger of Allah, I will be responsible for three hundred camels with their saddle blankets and their saddles, in the way of Allah.” Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came down (from the minbar) saying, “There will be nothing at all against ‘Uthman whatever he does after this.”22 His generosity for the poor was such that he earned the title Ghani (meaning rich), which people duly incorporated into his name. One of ‘Uthman’s most outstanding characteristics was his exemplary modesty. This was particularly exceptional in the context of his background. He belonged to one of the most powerful families in Makkah. His influential family ties coupled with his immense wealth meant that ‘Uthman(ra) possessed a considerable social status. A lesser person in the same position, or one with less faith, could quite easily have shown arrogance in so many different ways. ‘Uthman(ra), however, displayed in his persona a matchless modesty. An interesting example in relation to ‘Uthman’s modesty is related by Al-Hasan, who said: ‘If he were in the middle of the house and the door were locked, then he would take off his clothes in order to pour water over himself. Modesty would prevent him from raising [straightening] his backbone.’23 Often people who are exceptionally handsome or beautiful often display pride in being more attractive than others. HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 20 21The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 Similarly, people with exceptional wealth, or who hold special positions of office, are also commonly known to show an air of superiority over others. This can be discerned by the boastful manner in which they walk, talk, and interact with other people. ‘Uthman(ra), was probably the richest man in Makkah, the most handsome person in all of Arabia, and belonged to one the most powerful and feared families, the great Umayyad clan. Not only was he humble, but, ‘Uthman(ra) displayed such modesty in his character that it was, in fact, unparalleled. His unrivalled modesty was most surely a result of his unflinching faith in Allah, and to his complete submission to his master the Holy Prophet(saw). Aisha(ra) relates that the Prophet(saw) gathered his clothes around him when ‘Uthman(ra) appeared and said: ‘Should I not feel shy of a man of whom the angels are shy?’24 In another saying, Ibn Umar related that the Prophet(saw) said: ‘The angels are shy of ‘Uthman, just as they are shy of Allah and His Messenger.’25 Role under the Prophet(saw) He was one of the closest companions to the Holy Prophet(saw) and amongst the most respected and learned. He memorised the entire Holy Qur’an and narrated one hundred and forty six Hadith from the Messenger of Allah. ‘Abd ar- Rahman ibn Hatib said: ‘I saw none of the companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who, when he narrated a hadith, narrated it more completely and more excellently than ‘Uthman ibn Affan, unless it was a man who was in awe of hadith.’26 He was also the most knowledgeable in regards to the rights of Hajj [pilgrimage], and after him was Umar(ra). He was ordained by the Prophet(saw) as one of the ten companions promised the glad tidings of heaven whilst yet still alive. The Holy Prophet(saw) appointed ‘Uthman(ra) as his deputy in charge of Madinah HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 21 22 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 during military campaigns to Dhat ar Riqa’ and Ghatafan. It has been related that ‘Uthman’s first wife, Ruqayyah(ra) fell ill and passed away during the Battle of Badr. Under the instruction of the Prophet(saw), ‘Uthman(ra) stayed behind on account of his wife’s illness, and thus was unable to take part in the Battle. The Prophet(saw), however, counted ‘Uthman(ra) amongst the people of Badr and even distributed a share of the spoils as a reward to him, saying: ‘Uthman should be included among the Companions of Badr.’27 Treaty of Hudaibiyyah In February 628, the Prophet(saw) headed for Makkah from Madinah with one thousand five hundred companions. He had been instructed by God to enter the vicinity of the Ka’abah and perform ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). The Muslims had not returned to Makkah since the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. ‘Uthman(ra) played a very important role in events surrounding the Muslims return to Makkah. The Prophet(saw) with his companions reached Makkah and camped nearby at Hudaibiyyah. He would not enter to perform the circuit of the Ka’abahh without the permission of the Makkans first and thus decided to make contact with them. Various chiefs and prominent Makkans came to the Prophet(saw) to parley with him. None, however, would grant his request to perform the circuit and leave immediately after.28 The Prophet(saw) decided that a wise person from amongst the Muslims should be sent to the Quraish of Makkah, who could put forward the Muslim’s viewpoint. First Kharash bin Umayyah of Khuzaa’ was sent. When he entered Makkah he was attacked and threatened with death. Thereafter the Prophet(saw) thought of sending someone with influence amongst the Makkan chiefs and their tribes. Umar(ra) was first suggested, however, he excused himself on the grounds that the Quraish bore great animosity towards him, and neither did he HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 22 23The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 have influential relatives who could protect him.29 The Prophet(saw) decided finally to send ‘Uthman(ra) as an envoy on behalf of the Muslims, as he belonged to one of the most powerful families in the city. ‘Uthman(ra) agreed to the task, and was provided with a written statement from the Holy Prophet(saw). Addressed to the leaders of the Quraish, the statement explained the purpose of their visit to perform Umra, and that having completed this and offering their sacrifices they would return peacefully to Madinah. The Prophet(saw) also instructed ‘Uthman(ra) to contact the poor Muslims of Makkah, to reaffirm that if they continued in their steadfastness God would open a way for them.30 ‘Uthman(ra) had many influential relatives in Makkah. When he entered the city they came out and surrounded him, placing him under their protection. When he went to Abu Sufyan and to other chiefs of the city he told them: ‘We come to visit the Holy House, and to honour it, and to perform worship there. We have brought sacrificial animals with us and after slaying them we shall depart in peace.31 He showed them the written statement produced by the Holy Prophet(saw) to try and persuade them that their only intention was to perform the Umra in peace. The chiefs examined the written confirmation with avid interest. ‘Uthman’s talks with the chiefs unceremoniously continued as he sought to convince them to heed to their requests. The chiefs told ‘Uthman(ra) that he would be allowed to perform the circuit of the Ka’abahh if he wished to, but they remained adamantly resolved that the Muslims should not be permitted to enter Makkah under any circumstance that year. ‘Uthman(ra) declined their offer, refusing to forsake the Prophet(saw) for his own desires; he rejected permission to perform the circuit unless it was in the company of his Master.32 Failing to persuade the Makkan chiefs, he thus made preparations to return to the Prophet(saw) and the Muslim camp. HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 23 24 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 At this time a segment of the Quraish withheld ‘Uthman(ra) in Makkah thinking that by detaining him they could negotiate better terms. Because he had not returned in due time to the Muslim camp, a rumour was spread that ‘Uthman(ra) had been murdered.33 The false rumour was heard by the Prophet(saw) who gathered his companions and said: ‘The life of an envoy is held sacred among all nations. I have heard that the Makkans have murdered ‘Uthman. If this is true, we have to enter Makkah, whatever the consequences.’ Standing under the shade of an Acacia tree with the Muslims all around him, he demanded an oath from the faithful that they would fight for ‘Uthman’s freedom to the death: ‘Those who promise solemnly that if they have to go further, they will not turn back save as victors, should come forward and take the oath on my hand.’34 The Holy Prophet(saw) had barely completed his pledge when all the one and a half thousand companions clamoured over one another to reach for the Prophet’s hand to take the oath.35 When all the Muslims present had finished the pledge placing their palms on the hand of the Prophet(saw), he himself placed his right hand over his left, and said: ‘This is the hand of ‘Uthman; for if he had been here, he would not have lagged behind anyone in making the holy bargain, but he is at the time occupied with the work of God and His messenger.’36 This oath is known as the Pledge of the Tree and holds a special place in the history of Islam. As Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad(ra) relates: ‘Everyone of those who took the oath remained proud of it to the end of his days. Of the fifteen hundred present on the occasion, not one held back. They all promised that if the Muslim envoy had been murdered, they would not go HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 24 25The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 back. Either they would take Makkah before dusk, or they would all die fighting.’37 It is also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in the following verse: Surely, Allah was well-pleased with the believers when they were swearing allegiance to thee under the Tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down tranquillity on them, and He rewarded them with a victory near at hand. (Ch.48:V.19) Before the pledge had been completed, ‘Uthman(ra) returned to the camp. He informed the Holy Prophet(saw) that the Makkans would not permit the Muslims to perform Umra until next year. Subsequently an agreement was reached in a settlement known as the ‘Treaty of Hudaibiyyah’. The role ‘Uthman(ra) played in the subsequent history of Islam and under both Abu Bakr(ra) and ‘Umar(ra) has been featured in The Review of Religions (November 2007). Khilafat Election ‘Uthman(ra) was elected as the third Khalifah of Islam by a panel composed of senior companions who pledged allegiance to him three days after Hadhrat Umar(ra) was buried in Madinah. ‘Abd ar- Rahman ibn Awf(ra), one of the six members of the Khilafat committee, decided to consult other members of the group in strict confidence to advise him about the right choice for the Khalifat. Speaking to ‘Uthman(ra) in private he said: ‘If I don’t pledge allegiance to you who would you point out to me?’ He replied: ‘Ali.’ He then asked the same to ‘Ali(ra), ‘If I don’t pledge allegiance to you who would you point out to me?’ He said: ‘‘Uthman.’ When he asked another member of the committee, Zubayr, ‘Whom would you point out to me?’ He was told, ‘Ali or ‘Uthman.’ He then asked another member, Sa’ad, ‘Whom would you indicate to me? Because, as for me and you, we do not want it.’ Sa’ad said, ‘Uthman.’38 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 25 26 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 In this manner ‘Abd ar-Rahman sought counsel from various people and he is reported to have said that amongst the people of sound judgement, no-one saw any equal to ‘Uthman(ra). Thus professing his faith in ‘Uthman’s Khilafat he took ‘Uthman’s hand and said, ‘We pledge allegiance to you according to the Sunna of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger and the Sunnah of the two khalifas after him.’39 ‘Uthman(ra) was thus chosen as the third Khalifah of Islam. Achievements His Khilafat is divided into two periods, between the first half, where there were significant developments and achievements, in contrast to the second half of his tenure, characterised by violence and unrest and his attempts to quell it. For the first six years of his Khalifat, the Muslim Ummah community enjoyed relative prosperity. Az- Zuhri said: ‘‘Uthman ruled as khalifah for twelve years. For six years he ruled without people criticising him at all.’40 Those first six years, as Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad states, were a ‘period of peace, progress and prosperity.’41 The Muslim army conquered many new territories. The Muslims were increasing in ascendancy, there was unity, and their success meant the Muslims were in a confident mood. Militarily, the first of the major victories was the conquest of Alexandria, where the Muslim army from Cairo defeated Heraclius’ son, Constantine. Thereafter, came success in Cyprus. ‘Uthman(ra) gave permission to ‘‘Abdullah bin Sa’d to lead the Muslim army to Libya in North Africa. In Armenia, the Muslims managed to conquer most of this area all the way up to parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Sind in the subcontinent of India.42 According to Abu ‘Ubaid, Abu Bakr(ra), ‘Umar(ra), Uthman(ra) and ‘Ali(ra) had committed the Holy Qur’an to memory. Probably ‘Uthman’s biggest achievement HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 26 27The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 was his initiative to preserve the Holy Qur’an in book form, a project assigned to him by Abu Bakrra). ‘Uthman(ra) decided that all variations should be forbidden and a single method of enunciating words should be dictated. One of the allegations made even today is that the Qur’an standardised by Hadhrat ‘Uthman(ra) was different from the one revealed to the Prophet(saw). The opponents argue that because Uthmanra) made changes to the text of the Qur’an, the accuracy of the sacred text as a whole is brought into disrepute.43 It is important to provide some background to the reasons why ‘Uthman(ra) chose to promulgate a single standard copy of the Holy Qur’an, because it is that very version of the Qur’an that is used by millions of Muslims today. At the time of his Khilafat, the various tribes of Arabia pronounced words of the Qur’an in their own distinctive style, and consequently non-believers assumed that the differences in pronunciation meant that there were variations in the text of the Qur’an. In fact, the variations arose out of differing tribal dialects.44 Amongst the many tribes of Arabia, people would pronounce certain words according to their own tribal practices e.g. ‘q’ in Najaf and is pronounced as ‘j’ in Egypt to this day. These differences did not affect the meaning of the words being recited in any way.45 When these tribes accepted Islam the Arabs became united under one social structure, thus abandoning their former tribal practices. Arabic became the common language, and as literacy began to significantly improve, Arabs were able to easily learn the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.46 ‘Uthman(ra) wisely decided that the thought it wise to forbid all variations even of enunciation of vowel points. He decided on a single method of pronunciation of Qur’anic words.47 He sent seven copies of the standardised version of the texts which had been collected in the time of Abu Bakrra). to all parts of the Muslim world. Copies were dispatched over time until almost every Muslim who could read had in his possession a copy of the HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 27 28 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 standardised version of the sacred text.48 Disturbances, Violence and Civil Unrest ‘Uthman’s Khalifat suffered from civil unrest that began to spread across the Muslim world. Many of the disturbances arose out of disagreement with the decisions made by the Khalifah, whilst the spread of malicious and false rumours also played a significant role in the events that would shape much of ‘Uthman’s reign. Many of the rumours originated from new converts who lacked under- standing of Islam, and were susceptible to false propaganda and the malicious designs of hypocrites. The violence and unrest divided the Muslims and lead to a number of terrible events; a dark period in the history of Islam. Probably the first signs of discontent came around the year 25AH. After the successful conquest of Armenia, ‘Uthman(ra) reinstalled Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas(ra) as governor of Kufah. When Sa’d(ra) ran into difficulties, ‘Uthman(ra) replaced him with Walid bin Uqbah. Walid was a close relative of ‘Uthman’s, and according to the eminent historian As-Suyuti: ‘…that was the first thing for which he was disliked; because he appointed his relatives to posts of authority.’49 Subsequent to Walid’s appointment, people began spreading rumours to defame him as related by As-Suyuti: ‘It has been told as a tale that al-Walid led them in prayer for the dawn prayer with four raka’at when he was drunk, and that then he turned to them and said, “Shall I do more (raka’at) for you?”’50 The rumour had spread that the governor was a drunkard. The case was brought before the caliph. When he entered the city and shook hands with Walid, people were upset. ‘Uthman(ra) was reluctant to hand out any punish- ment because no eye witnesses could confirm the alleged crime. ‘Uthman’s hesitancy was inter- preted as a sign of weakness whilst HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 28 29The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 others assumed that the Caliph was showing leniency to his own kin. Finally an eyewitness came forth and said that he had seen Walid vomit wine. However, this particular instance is debated by eminent historians such as Tabari, who relate that the eye witness was unreliable.51 Nevertheless ‘Uthman(ra) decided, after consultation that Walid would be whipped and removed from his post. In Egypt, ‘Uthman’s decision to appoint another family member in a prestigious post provoked a similar reaction. Abdullah bin Sa’d(ra), foster brother to ‘Uthman(ra), was sent to Egypt as governor and to take care of the public treasury. Although renowned for his bravery, some Egyptians were shocked at his appointment over ‘Amr bin al- ’Aas(ra), who was kept as only a military officer.52 ‘Amr(ra) had far more experience, and was popular amongst the Egyptians. The Egyptians were outraged that the Caliph had dismissed ‘Amr(ra) and handed control over Egypt instead to ‘Abdullah(ra). In addition, when Amr(ra) was removed, and news reached the Caesar of Constantinople, he began preparing a formidable army headed by an experienced general to invade Muslim-occupied Alexandria. The result of these events incensed the Muslims so greatly that it led to a revolt against the new governor.53 ‘Amr(ra) was subsequently sent back to govern Egypt. He defeated the advancing Romans, causing them to retreat. The situation was quelled thereafter and relative normality ensued in Alexandria and Egypt, although ‘Amr(ra) was once again replaced by ‘Abdullah(ra) as governor. Muhammad bin Abu Hudhaifah and Muhammad bin Abu Bakr began to openly show their opposition to the Khalifah, such was their outrage. They were incensed that ‘Uthman(ra) had chosen ‘Abudullah even though the Prophet(saw) had once shown displeasure at him.54 The victories of the army were not without consequence. The strains of army life led to discontent and unrest amongst the soldiers. They were covering huge distances, HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 29 30 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 fighting in summer and winter, and spending a long time away from their families. In addition, ‘Uthman’s policy of not permitting Commanders and rich Makkans to possess private land in Iraq and other areas led to further discontent.55 In similar fashion. unrest began to spread at his choice of governors, and other decisions. Around 33AH in Kufah, decisions taken by the newly appointed governor, Sa’eed bin Al-’Aas(ra), led to widespread civil unrest. When Sa’eed(ra) tried to suppress the uprising, rebels beat him unconscious. As a result, he imposed strict counter- measures to try and quell the disobedience.56 The changes only made the situation worse as people reacted angrily. Opposition against the governor became opposition against the Khalifah. People took to the streets; however, eventually the situation was resolved when ‘Uthman(ra) sent the rebels to the governor of Hims, who was able to pacify the protestors. They were then allowed to return to Kufah.57 It is difficult, writing more than 1400 years after an event, to determine the motives and intentions of the people involved in the unrest. At times, it seemed like segments of the Muslims were looking for any opportunity to criticise the Khalifah, without good reason. For example, the Muslims of Madinah were outraged that ‘Uthman(ra) had given many of the important posts in the city to members of his own Umayyad family. They chose to ignore the possibility that he may have appointed these people on merit, rather than due to personal affinity. Karen Armstrong supports this view and argues that pride and arrogance caused these Muslims to object to ‘Uthman(ra). She says: ‘They accused him of nepotism, even though many of the Umayyad officials were men of great ability. ‘Uthman had, for example, appointed Mu’awiyah, the son of Muhammad’s old enemy, Abu Sufyan, governor of Syria. He was a good Muslim, and a skilled administrator, known for his steadiness of character and his measured assessment of circumstances. But it HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 30 31The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) seemed wrong to the Muslims of Madinah, who still boasted of being the ansar (helpers) of the Prophet, that they should be passed over in favour of Abu Sufyan’s offspring.’58 Abdullah bin Saba The main protagonist of the civil unrest and opposition to the Khalifah was a Jewish convert, ‘Abdullah bin Saba. He began hatching plans against the Khilafat, and his plot spread to pockets across the Muslim world, resulting ultimately in the martyrdom of ‘Uthman(ra). Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad provides a background on ‘Abdullah: ‘He proclaimed himself a devoted admirer and a zealous champion of the house of the Holy Prophet(saw). In this way he started a campaign against Othman. The chief source of his recruits were the newly converted Muslims who knew but little about the funda- mentals of Islam. To mould them to his own views, he used artful means. He was a past master in the art of innovations.’59 According to Akbar Shah Najeebabadi: ‘‘Abdullah bin Saba was antagonistic to Islam on one hand and was hostile to ‘Uthman ibn Affan(ra) on the other. He was, therefore, restless to take his revenge on the Khalifah.’60 After a fruitless period in Madinah, ‘Abdullah moved to Basra and convinced many innocent Muslims that the Khalifah should be removed and replaced by ‘Ali(ra). To justify his claim he said that the Prophet(saw) had chosen ‘Ali(ra) as executor of his will. He gained support from new converts from Iraq and Iran, but his propaganda was thwarted by the governor of Basra, and he was expelled to Kufah. He left behind secret instructions for his followers. In Kufah he found other people mischievously plotting against the Khilafat and therefore, he needed no encouragement to continue.61 He established himself as a pious person and soon gained respect and status. But here too the Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 31 32 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) governor, Saeed bin Al-’Aas(ra), began to suspect his designs and ‘Abdullah was again forced to leave for Syria. Once again he left a significant group of followers determined to help him. After failing to make headway in Syria, he moved to Egypt, this time treading carefully so as to not raise suspicions; Abdullah still managed to gain followers easily. The Egyptians were dissatisfied with the appointment of Abdullah bin Sa’d(ra) as governor. Moreover, the governor himself was too distracted to notice his mischief.62 Abdullah began a letter campaign to Basrah, Kufah, Damascus, Egypt and Madinah detailing complaints against various governors. He described the governors as harsh and unfair in their rulings. The letters also accused the Khalifah of favouring his own family, and blamed him for an inability to dismiss despotic Muslim rulers. His malicious campaign was gathering strength among the new converts and was spreading across the Muslim world. When ‘Uthman(ra) came to know of these happenings, he sent ‘Ammar bin Yasir(ra) to Egypt and Muhammad bin Masalamah(ra) to Kufah to investigate and report back. ‘Ammar(ra), was prevented from returning to Madinah, and was told not to follow what they saw as the deplorable ways of ‘Uthman(ra).63 From Kufah, Muhammad bin Masalamah(ra) reported that people were openly plotting against the Khilafat and were restless. Sa’eed(ra), the gov- ernor, decided to depart for Madinah to personally relate the situation in his city. He was a strict governor, and when he left Kufah, the rebellious elements came out into the open, publicly voicing criticism.64 Emergency Conference ‘Uthman(ra) gave urgent orders for all governors to meet him for a conference in Madinah to discuss the growing discord in the Muslim Ummah. Mu’awiyah(ra) from Syria, ‘Abdullah(ra) from Egypt, Sa’eed(ra) from Kufah, ‘Abdullah(ra) from Basra, as well as governors from smaller provinces and also senior Muslims were all called for urgent consultations.65 Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 32 33The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) ‘Uthman(ra) rejected suggestions to use brute force. Mu’awiyah(ra) recommended that the capital and seat of Khilafat be moved from Madinah to Damascus. ‘Uthman(ra) declined this offer; he could never leave the home of the Prophet(saw). Mu’awiyah(ra) then suggested that a part of the Syrian army be posted in Madinah for the safety of the Khalifah. ‘Uthman(ra), however, ever concerned for his people, declined this proposal on the grounds that a large army could cause disturbance to the residents of Madinah.66 At the same time, the rebels decided to make for Madinah to put forward their grievances. When they arrived, ‘Uthman(ra) sent two senior Companions to meet the rebels and enquire about their grievances. They reported that the rebels would settle for nothing less than the abdication of ‘Uthman(ra), and were prepared to kill him. ‘Uthman(ra) sought advice from the leaders of the Quraish and the Ansaar. They also suggested the use of force. ‘Uthman(ra) would not kill without justification, and therefore refused their proposal. Instead he sent for the leaders of the rebel party to discuss their grievances directly. The fact, however, is that the rebels had no intention of listening to his perfect and logical answers – They had evil intentions. Six allegations were raised against ‘Uthman(ra). He answered them so beautifully and with such overpowering logic, that no honest person could be left with any doubt about his integrity and right to be the Khalifah of the Muslims. The dialogue between the rebels and ‘Uthman(ra) speaks for itself. The first man stood up and raised the objection: “You unlawfully gave away wealth and property to your relatives; for instance, you once gave the entire booty to ‘Abdullah bin Sa’ad.” ‘Uthman(ra) replied: “I have given him one- fifth from the one-fifth of the booty. And we have such examples during the Khilafat of Abu Bakr(ra) and Umar(ra).” A second man stood and said: “You have conferred power and rule on your relatives; for instance, Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 33 34 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) you have appointed Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan governor of Syria. You made ‘Abdullah bin ‘’Amir governor of Basra by deposing Abu Musa Ash’ari; you installed Walid bin Uqbah and then Saeed bin Al-As governors of Kufah by removing Mughirah bin Shu’bah.” ‘Uthman(ra) replied: “Those governors are not my relatives but they have the ability to manage the affairs well. However, if they do not deserve the post, I am always ready to change them for others. Thus, I have already put Abu Musa Ash’ari as the governor of Kufah by removing Saeed bin Al- As.” In another report ‘Uthman(ra) said: “Did not the Holy Prophet(saw) give preference to the Quraish over the rest of the Arabs? And from among the Quraish, did he not give preference to Bani Hashim?”67 A third man now stood, objecting: “You have appointed undeserving and inexperienced persons as governors; for instance, ‘Abdullah bin ‘’Amir is a young man and, he should not have been given such a high post.” ‘Uthman(ra), replied, “‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir is distinguished in prudence, ability and religiosity; being young is not a shortcoming.” Another man raised and rose yet another objection with the Khalifah: “You love family members most, and you give them heavy gifts.” ‘Uthman(ra) replied: “Love of the family members is not a sin. And I give them gifts of my own possessions and not from the public treasury. How can I give them anything from the public treasury when I myself do not take a single dirham from there? I am at liberty to give away anything to anybody from my personal property.” Another person arose to the fore to object to ‘Uthman(ra): “You have used your position for yourself and reserved grazing grounds for your camels.” ‘Uthman(ra) responded: “When I took charge of the Khalifat, nobody in Al-Madinah had camels more than me. But, today I possess only two camels and that only for the purpose of Hajj, and I do not allow them to go to any meadow. However, there is a reserved grazing ground for the Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 34 35The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) state camels and I cannot be blamed for this because this has come to me from the past.” Another objected: “Why did you offer the complete prayer in Mina while it should have been a Qasr (shortened one)?” ‘Uthman(ra), replied: “Since my family members were then residing in Makkah, it was not valid for me to perform the Qasr prayer.”68 The governors left Madinah. The rebels made their final move. In the guise of pilgrims, they convened in their thousands in Madinah pretending to perform Hajj, and there they decided to strike the Khalifah. Forged letter When the rebels arrived in Madinah, ‘Uthman(ra) sent ‘Ali(ra) to intercede on his behalf. They told ‘Ali(ra) that they wanted certain high-ranked officials removed. ‘Uthman(ra) duly replaced the governor of Egypt. Seemingly satisfied that their demands had been met, the rebels departed from Madinah. After a few days, the rebels returned. They were fervent and cordoned off the house of ‘Uthman(ra). ‘Ali(ra) enquired as to why they had returned when their demands had been met. The rebels said that they had captured a slave, sent by ‘Uthman(ra), with a letter instructing ‘Abdullah bin Sa’ad that a number of the party that had just departed should be killed. The letter also said that appointment of the new governor should be terminated. ‘Ali(ra) told them: “By Allah this is an act of conspiracy and you are ill-mentioned.” They responded: “Whatever be the case, we have decided to kill the Khalifah.”69 ‘Ali(ra) told them that this story was false. He pointed out that the rebels had come in three different parties, from three routes. How could they all have seen the same slave? Despite the truth, they were intent on mischief. The Darkest Days In the History of Islam The Khalifah wrote letters to various people in Muslims lands to come to his aid. Parties rushed from Egypt, Syria, Kufah and Basra to help the Khalifah but none could reach in time to save the life of ‘Uthman(ra). The rebels Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 35 36 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) laid siege to his house for forty days and even cut-off the water supply.70 Amongst the people who tried to intercede on behalf of the Khalifah was ‘Abdullah Bin Salam(ra), an eminent Jewish convert and Companion of the Prophet(saw) who had the distinction of being mentioned in the Qur’an (Ch.13:V.44).71 He offered to guard ‘Uthman(ra) but was asked to speak to the rebel ringleaders to try and remove their grievances and stop their evil actions. Risking his safety, he approached the ringleaders. The rebels, cowards and hypocrites that they were, refused any of his approaches. ‘Uthman(ra) appointed Abu Ayyub al-Ansari(ra) to lead prayers while he was unable to reach the Mosque. After a few days, the chief of the rebels, al-Ghafiqi bin Harb al-‘Akki, began leading the prayers himself. ‘Ali(ra) sent his sons Hasan(ra) and Hussain(ra) to stand guard at the door of ‘Uthman(ra) to lock themselves in and stop the rioters from entering ‘Uthman’s house with their lives. The rebels would think twice before attacking ‘Ali’s sons, and thereby risking the wrath of the powerful Banu Hashim tribe. When the rioters confronted ‘Uthman(ra) with the forged letter, he rejected any involvement in writing it, or having any knowledge of it. They said even if he was telling the truth, he was at fault for being weak in managing the Muslim lands and letting someone write a letter in his name. ‘Uthman(ra) repeatedly attempted to pacify the rebels and explained to them their errors in judgment. At one time he went to the roof, and told the rebels of their responsibilities in Islam and of his own eminent position. Some seemed to forgive him, but the ringleaders intervened to maintain the rebellion. It is important to note that ‘Uthman’s martyrdom had been prophesied by the Holy Prophet(saw) who once mentioned a fitnah, or trial, and referring to ‘Uthman(ra) said: “This one will be killed wrongfully in it.” Zaid ibn Thabit heard the Prophet(saw) say: ‘Uthman passed Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 36 37The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) by me while one of the angels was with me, and he said, “A martyr whose people will kill him. We are shy of him.’” In another case, Aisha(ra) reports that the Prophet(saw) said: “‘Uthman, perhaps Allah will robe you in a garment, so if the hypocrites wish to strip it off you, do not take it off until you meet me.” Hence, when he was asked to abdicate the Khilafat, ‘Uthman(ra) replied: “I cannot put off the garment that Allah has caused me to put on.”72 The rebels were now becoming restless and concerned that help was soon arriving: so they decided to act quickly. Although ‘Ali’s son’s were guarding ‘Uthman(ra) from inside, the rebels broke in from the rear. What happened next was the darkest chapter in the history of Islam. No Muslim can read an account of what follows without welling up with emotion. On entering, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, son of Abu Bakr(ra), got hold of ‘Uthman’s beard. ‘Uthman(ra) asked him: “What would your father have thought of you if he had been alive today, to behold what you are doing?”73 He was taken aback by the thought of this, and withdrew. However two men standing behind struck the Khalifah. ‘Uthman’s wife, Naela, put her hand in front of her husband to protect him and lost three of her fingers. ‘Uthman’s blood dripped; his blood fell on the pages of the Holy Qur’an that he was reading at the time smearing the Verse that he was reciting; And if they believe as you have believed, then are they surely guided; but if they turn back, then they are only creating a schism, and Allah will surely suffice thee against them, for He is All-Hearing, All- Knowing. (Ch.2: V.138) The Khalifah, ‘Uthman ibn Affan(ra), had been martyred in the cruellest of ways. He was laid to rest next to the Holy Prophet(saw), Abu Bakr(ra) and Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 37 38 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) Umar(ra) in Madinah, thus fulfiling the dream seen by Aisha of three moons having descended in her chambers. Conclusions The repercussions of ‘Uthman’s martyrdom are amply explained by Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad: ‘Othman’s death is one of the saddest chapters in the history of Islam. This tragedy, without any doubt, shook the foundations of Islam and shattered the bonds of Muslim harmony and accord forever. Subsequent history has borne out that the prediction, which he made a little before his death, has been literally fulfilled. He had said, “By God, if you kill me today, the Muslims will never unite in prayers till the end of days.” The Muslims have therefore remained divided into sects and factions…’74 Although ‘Uthman’s life is often seen by non-Muslim writers in the light of his martyrdom alone, it is impossible to overlook the incredible progress and achievements that occurred in his time. He was one of the most generous companions of the Prophet(saw), so much so that, as previously mentioned, he earned the title Ghani. He was extremely tolerant, as was shown by his repeated willingness to engage in dialogue with the rebels rather than resort to force. Many Muslims drank alcohol prior to accepting Islam but he never drank in his life. He would perform Hajj every year, and without fail fed pilgrims there, arranging meals for them at his own expense. The Prophet(saw) held him in incredibly high esteem, giving two of his daughters in marriage to him, and also prayed regularly for him: “O Allah, I am pleased with ‘Uthman; You also be pleased with him. O Allah, I am pleased with ‘Uthman; You also be pleased with him. O Allah, I am pleased with ‘Uthman; You also be pleased with him.”75 It has been mentioned that Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 38 39The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) ‘Uthman(ra) would free a slave every Friday. Incredibly, he continued this amiable act when he was besieged by the rebels, and his water was cut off. Despite being the most handsome and very wealthy, he lived humbly and simply, wearing ordinary clothes, and eating simple food. He generously provided for his guests. The same spirit drove him to expand the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah at his own expense. He was also responsible for standardising the Qur’an into one version, which billions of Muslims benefit from today. During his Khilafat, the number of attendees at Friday Prayers rose to such an extent that some could not even hear the Adhan. ‘Uthman(ra) decided to add a second Adhan before Jumu’ah, a practice which continues today. The Khutbah (sermon) was placed at ‘Eid prayers for the first time. He was accused of being weak, yet his actions speak of a fearless man. When he became a Muslim, he sacrificed his lofty social status, and faced the full brunt of persecution, remaining steadfast. He stood up to the most powerful men in Makkah and subsequently, as we have seen, lost his eye. He was not weak, but rather a man of reason. A weak man would have abdicated the Khilafat, or at least wilted under the shadow of death. However, he was not afraid of being slain. ‘Uthman(ra) showed that he had total trust in Allah, and complete submission to the Holy Prophet(saw). He, therefore, com- pletely refused to take off the garments of Khilafat. Although ‘Uthman’s life is blessed, it is also one of tragedy. Here was a man graced with such favours from Allah that it seemed as if there was nothing Allah had not bestowed upon him with. A multi-millionaire, handsome, powerful, loved dearly by the Prophet(saw), son-in law twice to him, yet, this most humble, pious, revered, and knowledgeable man, was opposed as Khalifah like never before. People openly questioned him, taunted him, and refused to accept him. However, the rebels were nothing but utter hypocrites. They refused to listen to reason. Their arrogance prevented them from hearing the Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 39 40 The Review of Religions – December 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) truth. They believed false allegations against ‘Uthman(ra), and despite his eloquent rebuttals of their accusations, they could not absorb what was right. The biggest losers were the Muslims them- selves, because the unity of Islam was broken and threatened never to mend. REFERENCES 1. Suyuti, p.160. 2. Ibid, p.161. 3. Ibid, p.164. 4. Ibid, p.164. 5. Ibid, p.164. 6. Ibid, p.159 7. Ibid, p.161. 8. History of Islam, p.380. 9. Ibid, p.380. 10. Suyuti, p.161. 11. Life of Muhammad. 12. Suyuti, p.161. 13. Life of Muhammad. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Sahih Muslim, hadith 79 narrated by Abu Sa’eed al Khudri. 19. History of Islam, p.380. 20. Ibid, p.424. 21. Ibid, p.424. 22. Suyuti, p.162. 23. Ibid, p.164. 24. Ibid, p.162. 25. Suyuti, p.164. 26. Suyuti, p.164. 27. History of Islam, p.380 28. Life of Muhammad, p.109. 29. Zafrulla Khan, Chapter 12. 30. Ibid, Chapter 12. 31. Ibid, Chapter 12. 32. Ibid, Chapter 12. 33. Life of Muhammad, p.109. 34. Ibid, p.108. 35. Ibid, p.109. 36. Zafrulla Khan, Chapter 12. 37. Life of Muhammad, p.109. 38. Suyuti, p.165. 39. Ibid, p.165. 40. Ibid, p.166. 41. Intrigues against Khilafat, p.24. 42. Karen Armstrong, p.28. 43. Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an. 44. Ibid. 45. Ibid. 46. Ibid. 47. Ibid. 48. Ibid. 49. Suyuti, p.166. 50. Ibid, p.166. 51. History of Islam, p.392-405. 52. Ibid, p.392-405. 53. Ibid, p.392-405. Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 40 54. Ibid, p.392-405. 55. Ibid, p.392-405. 56. Ibid, p.392-405. 57. Ibid, p.392-405. 58. Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an. 59. Intrigues against Khilafat, p.25. 60. History of Islam, p.402. 61. Ibid, p.392-405. 62. Ibid, p.392-405. 63. Ibid, p.392-405. 64. Ibid, p.392-405. 65. Ibid, p.404. 66. Intrigues against Khilafat, p.27. 67. Ibid, p.29. 68. History of Islam, p.409-410. 69. Ibid, p.392-405. 70. Ibid, p.405. 71. Intrigues against Khilafat, p.36. 72. History of Islam, p.415. 73. Intrigues against Khilafat, p.38. 74. Ibid, p.38. 75. History of Islam, p.424. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. The History of Islam, Vol I, Akbar Shah Najeebabadi, Darrussalam, NY, 2000 2. The History of the Khalifahs who took the right path, Imam Jalal ad-Din as- Suyuti. 2006. Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. London. 3. Muhammad; Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad Zafrulla Khan. Routledge & Keagan Paul. London 4. Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud- Din Mahmud Ahmad. 1989 Islam International Publications. Islamabad (England). 5. Islam, A Short History, Karen Armstrong, Phoenix Press, London. 6. Life of Muhammad, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Islam International Publications Ltd, Tilford, UK, 1990. 7. The Armies of the Caliphs : Military and Society In the Early Islamic State, Hugh Kennedy, Routledge, London, 2001. 8. The Cambridge History of Islam, Vol I, The Central Islam Lands, edited by P.M Holt, Cambridge University Press, 1970. 9. Early Islam, Collected Articles, W. Montgomery Watt, Edinburgh University Press, 1990. 10. The Holy Qur’an; With English Translation and Commentary. 1988. Islam International Publications. U.K. 41 HADHRAT ‘UTHMAN AL-GHANI IBN ‘AFFAN(RA) The Review of Religions – December 2007KHILAFAT: Special Edition 3 Dec 2007.qxd 3/1/08 19:29 Page 41

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