Uthman Ibn Affan, The Oppressed Caliph

Uthman Ibn Affan, The Oppressed Caliph

Uthman Ibn Affan He is Abu Abdillah, Uthman Ibn Affan Ibn al-Ash bin Umayyah Ibn Abdi Syams Ibn Abdi Manaf. His pedigree meets the pedigree of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- on his fourth grandfather, Abdu Manaf. During the time of ignorance, he was dubbed Abu Amr, but when her wife, Ruqayya, the daughter of Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- gave birth to a boy named Abdullah, he is Abu Abdillah, and he was known by the title ‘Dzu nurain.’ (The owner of two lights)

During the time of ignorance, Uthman Ibn Affan was known as a noble and honored man among his people. He was known as a very shy man, wealthy, and people listened to his advices. That is why his people loved and honored him. He never prostrated to any of the statues, never do any wickedness, and never drink intoxicants before and after embracing Islam. Uthman told, ” I never sing, also not a dreamer, I never touch my testicles with my right hand after I pledged my loyalty to Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, I never drink any of intoxicants, not in ignorance time, also not in Islam”.

The Virtue of Uthman Ibn Affan

He was one of the first men to embrace Islam. He, aged 34 years, declared his testimony of faith through the hand of Abu Bakr Ash Shiddiq. At the time when his people refused and denied the enjoin of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- , he, on the contrary, opened his heart and hand to help him, without any doubt. When the emigration order announced, he was one of the first men to obey it, thus he had emigrated twice, to Habasya (Ethiopia) and Medina.

The excellence of Uthman got more prominent during several important conditions at the time of Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, and he was known by that time as one of the companions whose name didn’t pronounced but with kindness. At the long drought, poor and destitute afflicted every muslim. At that time too, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- called his people to a holy battle and he was preparing a great number of troops to fight in the Battle of Tabuk, against the Romans. The troop was dubbed ‘Jaisyul ‘Usroh’, due to the hardship in logistic of the companions at that time. But the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- kept on encouraging his companions to give alms and charities in order to help the preparation of the troop, until he -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Whoever prepares the jaisyul usyroh (troop), will be rewarded with Paradise.”

Suddenly, a very rich merchant came, Uthman Ibn Affan, brought 1000 dinars with him which he gave to the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. Still holding it, the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- uttered a famous saying:

“After this, Nothing he does will endanger Uthman.”

And when muslim populations got larger and larger, and Masjid Nabawi, Masjid of Medina, seemed not enough for them, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Whoever buy the land of so and add it, for the sake of masjid’s expansion, will be in Paradise later.” Uthman bought that piece of land, and endowed it for the sake of masjid’s expansion.

Also, when the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- emigrated to Medina, he didn’t find plain water but from a well in a house. The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Whoever buy this well and made his bailer together with other muslims’ bailer, will be in Paradise.” Hearing that, Uthman immediately bought that well.

Next, among the unforgettable thing that made him got more honored; he was a teacher who loved the Qur’an deeply. His love to Qur’an yielded a result that is still enjoyed and will always be enjoyed until the Last Day, that is the compilation of Qur’an and the unification of recitation. That is a real proof, for those who’d like to think about it. He is a companion who narrated the saying of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- ,

“The best of you is the one who learn the Qur’an and teach it.”

And one day, Uthman called some people, and performed ablution in front of them, and said, “Whoever perform ablution the way I perform it, after that he prayed two rak’ahs of prayer, which he doesn’t talk during that prayer, Allah the Glorified and Exalted will forgive his past sins.”

He often remind other people from the danger of telling lie in the name of religion, and he narrated the saying of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, “Whoever telling lie on behalf of my name intentionally, shall prepare his seat in Hell.”

And there are still many other virtues of him, but none of it better than the testimony of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- that Uthman will be one of the dweller of Paradise.

From Abu Musa al Asy’ari. he said: The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- entered a garden and ordered me to guard its gate. A man came and asked permission to enter. The Prophet – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him -said, “Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise.” Behold! It was Abu Bakr. Another man came and asked the permission to enter. The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise.” Behold! It was Umar. Then another man came, asking the permission to enter. The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- kept silent for a short while and then said, “Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him.” Behold! It was Uthman bin Affan.

Ishaq Ibn Abi Rahawaih said, “after the death of Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- there were no such of best man upon this earth, but Abu Bakr, and no one after him that was better but Umar, and no one after him that was better but Uthman, and no one after him that was better but Ali.”

The wave of trials

Whatever said by The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- would be real, as a part of the miracles of his prophecy. Abu Huraira narrated from the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Indeed, you will find after me trials and feud or feud and trials.” One of them said, “Then, in who’s side shall we be?” The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Hold tight to this Al Amiin (The trusted man) and his companions.” And he gestured to Uthman.”

Hearing the news from the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- , Uthman knew that later he would be killed unjustly, and people who would disobey him and legalize his blood (legalize to kill him) will be from the hypocrites. And that saying of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- indeed happened; when he was appointed to be caliph, he got a lot of protests and allegations from the rebellions. That trial, that fire, made them believe that it was legal to kill him. Among the wicked allegations are:

First: They accused Uthman of not being fair in appointing some of his authorities, because he prioritized his family and firing some of the senior companions. and replaced them with the younger men.

The Answer:

As for the replacement of the senior companions by the youth, he definitely had a better example set before him. Wasn’t the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- also appointed Usama Ibn Zaid to lead the army that would fight against thr Romans, while Usama at that time was still a teenager, and there were many senior companions such as Abu Bakr and Umar behind him??? And when the army was about to depart, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- died, and people came to Umar to persuade Abu Bakr to replace Usama as the commander of that army, what did Abu Bakr said? He went furious and told Umar, “O Umar, he is a man, that was directly appointed by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, and you ask me to replace him?!!”

Al Imad Ibn Katsir said, “Uthman is a noble man, a very shy one, and generous. He often prioritize his family and kith and kin because of Allah the Glorified and the Exalted, to soften their hearts, to achieve an eternal goal, through worldly matters, as the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- used to give something to so and so and hold it from the other, so that they would get guidance and be faithful, and indeed, they understood it for that goal, unlike the Khawarij who had protested over the action of Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.”

Second: He was accused of making innovations, such as compiling the verses of Qur’an in a mushhaf (a book), he didn’t shorten his prayer when he was in Mina, and he added another adzan (the calling for prayer) at Friday prayer.

The Answer:

As for his action to burn all mushaf and make it into only one, agreed mushaf, the scholars viewed it as a noble act, that even add the virtue of Uthman. Because by that act, he has extinguished all seeds of split-ups in muslim society due to differences in their Qur’an recitation. Look what did Abu Huraira do after Uthman did those actions to Qur’an. Abu Huraira came to him and said, “Indeed, you are right and you’ve done right.”

As for his prayer in Mina, when he did four perfect rak’ahs, and didn’t shorten it, he answered the accusation, saying:” Know that I did that, because I came to a country where my relatives live in, thus I perfect it due to two reasons; I settled and visited my family.”

And Al Hafizh has cited from Al Imam Az Zuhri, who said, “Uthman performed four perfect prayer in Mina because at that year, there were so many bedouins came, and Uthman wanted to teach them that zuhr and ashr prayer are with four rak’ahs.”

As for hid addition to the first adzan in Friday prayer, that is because he saw a benefit that force him to do so, because the city of Medina got larger and population increased, thus the adzan he added would be the sign that the Friday prayer was about to start.

Al Imam Al Bukhari narrated from Saib Ibn Yazid that Uthman added the second adzan because the population of Medina at that time were numerous.

And supposed that he did wrong, the other senior companions who still alive at that time would surely deny it. But no one did. hence, we must believe that what he did was one of the guidance of the four guided caliphs, and to hold tight to their guidance is one of the order of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- that we must hold on to.

Third: He was mocked because his actions, such as absent in the Battle of Badr, runaway at the battle of Uhud, and didn’t join the pledge of Ridwan.

Abdullah Ibn Umar has answered all of those accusations, as narrated by Imam Al Bukhari: An Egyptian who came and performed the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (Ka’bah at Makkah) saw some people sitting. He enquired, “Who are these people?” Somebody said, “They are the Quraish.” He said, “Who is the old man sitting amongst them?” The people replied, “He is Abdullah bin Umar.” He said, “O Ibn Umar! I want to ask you about something; please tell me about it. Do you know that Uthman fled away on the day (of the battle) of Uhud?” Ibn Umar said, “Yes.” The (Egyptian) man said, “Do you know that Uthman was absent on the day (of the battle) of Badr and did not join it?” Ibn Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Do you know that he failed to attend Ar-Ridwan Pledge and did not witness it (i.e., Hudaibiya Pledge)?” Ibn Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Allahu Akbar!” Ibn Umar said, “Let me explain to you (all these three things). As for his flight on the day of Uhud, I testify that Allah has excused him and forgiven him, for Allah decreed,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ بِبَعْضِ مَاكَسَبُوا وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللهُ عَنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ

“Surely those of them who turned their backs on the day when the two armies met did so because Satan made them slip because of some of their lapses. But Allah has pardoned them; He is All-Forgiving, All-Forbearing.” (Q.S. Ali-Imran/The Family of Imran: 155)

and as for his absence from the (battle of) Badr, it was due to the fact that the daughter of Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- was his wife and she was sick then, Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him -said to him, “You will receive the same reward and share (of the booty) as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr (if you stay with her).” As for his absence from Ar-Ridwan Pledge, had there been any person in Makkah more respectable than Uthman (to be sent as a representative), Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him would have sent him instead of him. No doubt, Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had sent him, and the incident of Ar-Ridwan Pledge happened after Uthman had gone to Makkah. Allah’s Messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- held out his right hand saying, “This is Uthman’s hand.” He stroke his (other) hand with it saying, “This (pledge) is on behalf of Uth man.” After that, Ibn Umar said to that man: “Now go.”

The death of Uthman Ibn Affan

When those accusations, that was actually, became uncontrollable, the flame of hatred started to burn the hearts of the rebels. Finally, they came to Medina and surrounded Uthman’s house, asking Uthman to leave his position as caliph, or they’d kill him.

But Ibn Umar came and met Uthman, suggested him not to leave his position, because that would set a bad example; every time men dislike their leader, they will replace that leadership by force. Uthman, in the other hand, has realized that this is the trial that have long been told by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. He chose patience and left his affairs to Allah the Glorified and Exalted.

The rebels finally climbed Uthman’s house, and stabbed him with their swords, pouring his pure blood while he as fasting and reciting the Holy Qur’an, thus his first drop of blood fell when he was reciting the verse:

فَسَيَكْفِيكَهُمُ اللهُ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“Allah will suffice you for protection against them. He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Q.S. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 137)

At the night before his death, Uthman dreamed of seeing the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- who said to him, “O Uthman, break your fast with us.” When the dawn came, he fasted and he died later at that day.

Pearls of Wisdom

There are precious lessons that we can infer from this story, such as:

The act of Demonstration and protests are the inheritance of Khawarij, who, by standing upon weak accusations, legalizing the illegal. They are, in essence, people who love to make destruction on this earth.

It is an obligation of a believer to be cautious in receiving a news, to clarify it first, and do not trust it at once. Moreover if it comes from wicked men who do not maintain their dignity. The Qur’an has taught us to be cautious in receiving unclear news, especially news regarding the honor of muslims.

Uthman is a role model for us, in spending the riches Allah the Glorified and Exalted has given to him. Thus, the rich merchants and businessmen should realize that their wealth will be useful for them, if it is used to obtain the eternal life in the Hereafter.

Source of reference: Al Furqon magazine (Gresik, Indonesia). 8th edition, year 10, Muharram 1431 H/2010 M

Article of www.whatisquran.com

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