MARTYRDOM OF HADHRAT UTHMAN (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
It is important to know facts of certain events in early Islamic history as a slight misunderstanding will have profound affect on Sahih Iman. It is important that we safeguard our Iman from the extreme opinions of Shias, Salafis, Ikhwan, Deobandis and their like minded groups.Martyrdom of Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) is one of the major incidents in Islamic History. We have described facts about it as contained in authentic History books / Islamic literature. Ahadith, Quranic verses and scholars' opinions have been cited all through the book.This book is aimed at clearing the misunderstanding on historical issues. We hope our readers will benefit from it.
Hadhrat Uthman's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was born in Makka in 577. He was the fourth person to accept Islam after Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Hadhrat Ali and Zayd Ibn Harith (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہم اجمعين).
Prophet Mohammad's (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) daughter, Sayyida Ruqayya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) was married to Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). After her death in 624, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) married his second daughter Umm Kulthum (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) to Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) in 625. This is the reason Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) is known as 'the possessor of two lights' (ذو النورين).
Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) participated in many battles alongside the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). He was very rich and extremely generous. In 630 when Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) decided to lead an expedition to Tabuk on the Syrian border, all Sahabah were invited to contribute for the expenses. Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) made the single largest contribution of 1,000 dinars in cash, 1,000 camels for transport, and horses for the cavalry.
Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) is best known for forming a committee during his Caliphate which produced multiple copies of the text of Qur'an. For this purpose he obtained complete manuscript of the Qur'an from Ummul Momineen Hafsah (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا), who was entrusted to keep the manuscript ever since the Qur'an was compiled by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) during his Caliphate. Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) summoned leading compiling authority, Zayd bin Thabit (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), and some other companions to make copies of the manuscript. Several copies of the manuscript were made and each one was sent to every Muslim province with the order that all other Quranic material, fragmentary or otherwise be destroyed. At that time the Islamic State was divided into 12 Provinces, namely, (1) Madina, (2) Makka, (3) Yemen, (4) Kufa, (5) Basra, (6) Jazira, (7) Faris, (8) Azerbaijan, (9) Khorasan, (10) Syria, (11) Egypt, and (12) Efriqya (Northern Africa).
Hadhrat Uthman's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Caliphate
Hadhrat Abu Bakr's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Caliphate lasted for two years (632-34), while the Caliphate of Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) lasted for 10 years (634-44). In 644 Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was martyred while he was leading the Fajr Salah in Masjid-e-Nabawi. Before his death, Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) formed a Committe of 6 persons (1) Hadhrat Ali, (2) Hadhrat Uthman, (3) Hadhrat Abdur Rahman bin Awf, (4) Hadhrat Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, (5) Hadhrat Zubayr Ibn al-Awam, and (6) Hadhrat Talha bin Ubaidullah (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہم اجمعين). After the death of Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), the Committee deliberated and selected Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) as the successor.
Hadhrat Uthman's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Caliphate lasted for 12 years, between 644-56. During the first half of his Caliphate there was relative calm, but in the later half he met with increasing opposition.
Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was wealthy and extremely generous. His generosity was appreciated by people while he was not Caliph. But when he took over as Caliph, his generosity was viewed with suspicion. It is a well known fact that he used his personal wealth in helping people and did not touch the treasury. He did not draw any allowance from the treasury nor did he receive a salary during his Caliphate. At the time of his martyrdom, he had only two camels left for use for Hajj as he had donated his entire wealth among the needy during his Caliphate. But people spread false stories among masses that he is favoring his people using his office and treasury.
Hadhrat Uthman's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) life as Caliph was foretold by Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).
It is in Hadith - Narrated by Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) : The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : “I entrust to you (O' Uthman - رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) the well-being of my Companions, and that of those that come after them. Then falsehood will spread. (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
Hadhrat Usman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was very gentle and forgiving; often overlooking the faults of others. This made the provincial governors and other officers overbold. Taking advantage of the soft attitude of the Khalifa, Marwan bin Hakam; a close relative of Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) infiltrated the Caliphate, won the trust of the Khalifa and became his Secretary. Gradually he started taking independent decisions in the name of the Caliph. History records that Marwan was the person behind relaxing strict disciplinary rules for Governors that were in place during the Caliphate of Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). Marwan enjoyed the trust of the Caliph and was free to use the official stationery and stamps of the Caliphate.
Islamic history records the following important incident.
'A group of seven hundred Egyptians came to complain to Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) about their governor Ibn Abi Sarh’s tyranny, so Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said: "Choose someone to govern you." They chose Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), so Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) wrote credentials for him and they returned. On their way back to Egypt, at three days' distance from Madina, a messenger caught up with them with the news that he carried orders from Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) to the governor of Egypt. They searched him and found a message from Uthman ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) to Ibn Abi Sarh ordering the killing of Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and some of his associates. They were furious for this double cross. They returned to Madinah, and demanded the Caliph to explain this double cross. Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) acknowledged that the camel, the servant, and the seal on the letter belonged to him / Caliph, but he swore that he did not write that letter nor ordered the letter to be written. It was discovered that the letter had been hand-written by Marwan Ibn al-Hakam.
The above incident shows what was going on inside the Caliphate and how the Khalifa was surrounded by the people who were working for the vested interests. It also shows that Marwan was working for some Governors to overthrow the Caliph.
The atmosphere in Madina was already charged up as trouble makers from other places, particularly from Kufa, Iraq, were demanding Caliph's ouster from office. The Saba'its, Qurras and Kharijites all played destructive role in creating anarchy during Hadhrat Usman's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) caliphate. All these people besieged the Caliph's house and demanded his resignation. Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) did not use force to disperse the crowed. The Caliph was not in favor of using force on the crowd as it might have resulted in killing of scores of people. The Khalifa was 80 years old and a father figure to his people. His heart was full of love for his people and he never wanted any kind of bloodshed on the street. His approach to the trouble makers was conciliatory. He tried hard to bring sanity to the rioters. During the siege, he used to climb over the roof of his house and address the rioters in a most conciliatory way. His conciliatory approach was viewed as his weakness by the rioters. They thought that the people had abandoned their Caliph. This was wrong perception. They did not know that if Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) had decided to use force, he could have gathered several thousand armed supporters, much higher than the number of rioters who had gathered around his house. In addition, he could have used security personnel to crush the uprising.
When rioters surrounded the Caliph's residence and continued the siege for 7 long weeks, the only province that could come forward to help the Caliph was Syria. But this help was not forthcoming. Some people say that the reason was, the Syrian Governor Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) was the key figure behind the disturbances. This was the reason his Province was quite while the trouble spread everywhere else. Marwan was Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) man working as Secretary of the Caliph. This is the reason Marwan was lavishly rewarded during Muawiya's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) time. Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) made him Governor of Madina during his rule. It looked that the entire net was spread by the Governor of Syria. The Sabaits were fully under his control and he knew how to exploit Qurras / Kharijites to his advantage. He continued his network operations during Hadhrat Ali's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) Caliphate and eventually captured the Islamic State from the back door and re-established their dynastic rule. Muawiya's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) family ruled Makka before the conquest of Makka. Therefore his aim was to re-establish his dynastic rule once again. This was the reason Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) made sure his son Yazid ( لعنة الله عليه ) to become Caliph after him.
Some people say that the Governor followed Caliph's instructions not to send Syrian troops to Madina because that would have resulted in street fighting in Madina resulting in a lot of deaths. However, he was continuously in touch with the Caliph.
Hadhrat Uthman ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) indeed refused to accept any help, but in spite of that, Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) asked his sons to guard the house of the Caliph against the rioters. He did that against the wish of the Caliph. He did not mind his own sons being killed while protecting the Caliph. This shows the model of conduct of our Khulafa-e-Rashideen. Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) was in a better position to ensure Caliph's safety. The Syrian troops could have surrounded the Caliphs house by creating a barricade for the rioters preventing them from going near the Caliph's house. Seeing the Army in action, the rioters would have come back to the negotiating table and guided to go home peacefully. Some accounts say that a Syrian contingent was sent but it was too late as the Caliph had already been assassinated by them.
After Hadhrat Uthman's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) assassination, his blood stained shirt and the severed fingers of his wife which were cut by the rioters' sword were transported to Syria. The blood stained shirt and the fingers were displayed in front of the people in Syria. They were incited to take revenge on the assassins. A mass scale frenzy was created in the entire Islamic State, particularly in Madina, which was aimed at harassing and pushing the new Caliph to a corner. Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) knew, Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) alone was not able to catch the criminals. They were spread all over the place. Many of whom were in Egypt and Syria under Muawiya's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) patronage. Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) needed time and support of all. If Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) helped him in this endeavor it could have been achieved easily. Instead, Muawiya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) became the leader of a united opposition and orchestrated a smear campaign claiming that the Caliph was protecting the assassins. It was a catch 22 situation for Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ). If he attempted to arrest the assassins, he would have ended up in a civil war. Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) would help the criminals secretly as he did during Hadhrat Uthman's ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) siege and murder. If he did not arrest them, then Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) would create a bigger trouble for him with his smear campaign and create divide between Sahabah and incite them to fight with each other. The battle of Camel was the result of this smear campaign. Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) had no escape. He was well aware of these facts. But he was a born fighter. He was trained under the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) right from his childhood. He fought till the end and tried to protect the Caliphate from falling into the wrong hands.
Ad-Dahabi wrote in his book "Siyar A'alam Al-Nabula" about the battle of Siffeen - قلت : قتل بين الفريقين نحو من ستين ألفا وقيل : سبعون ألفا . وقتل عمار مع علي ، وتبين للناس قول رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- : تقتله الفئة الباغية (In my opinion about 60 to 70 thousand people died and Ammar Yasir ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) was killed fighting on the side of Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) and this demonstrates what the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said (to Ammar Yasir - رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ): 'you will be killed by the rebels!') (Hadith Bukhari)
Before that, in the battle of Camel, over 10 thousand people died. During the rule of his son Yazid, their Army ransacked Makka and Madina and over 10 thousand people were killed. Meaning, an estimated 100,000 people were killed by the father and the son together. Most of the martyres were Ahle Bait, Sahabah and taba'een.
Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti wrote in his book 'The History of the Rightly Guided Caliphs' (Tareekh ul Khulufa al - Rashideen) as follows.
"In the year 63 H. Yazid was involved in ransacking Madina, killing a generation of the Companions, and in desecrating and robbing Madinah. Masjid-e-Nabawi was filled with dead bodies and no one could perform Salah for days. After creating carnage in Madina in the incident of Harrah, the army of Yazid proceeded to Makkah and overpowered Zubair's (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) army. In Makka, Yazid's Army destroyed Ka'abatullah and committed unthinkable war crimes."The famous Ahle Sunnah Imam al-Barzanji (1640-1703), the Chief Mufti of Madinah (buried in Jannat ul Baqi) wrote in his book "Ishrat al-Sa'a" as follows.
QUOTE - It was a false pretext of Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) to justify his fight with Hadhrat Ali ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) under the guise of revenge for the murder of Hadhrat Uthman ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) because when he completely attained the power and became ruler of the whole State, he never opened the case of the murder of Hadhrat Uthman ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) and did not arrest the murderers though he claimed earlier that the killers were still around. This proves that all his fight was for worldly rule under the deceit of revenge for the murder. - UNQUOTE
Ibn Kathir wrote in his famous book al-Bidaya wan Nihaya as follows:
Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) was not appointed with the consensus of Muslims at large as was the case with his predecessors. Despite this Muawiya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) wanted to be the Khalīfa and he fought for this position and became ruler by force. When he imposed his Caliphate on people, they had no choice but to give him bay'a. If people did not give him bay'a, they would not only lose their positions/jobs but also would have lost their lives. It would have been a catastrophe for them. People would rather give bay'a than confront these consequences. That is why Imam Hasan ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) stepped down and other Sahaba joined him so as to avoid the risk of civil War amongst Muslims. Muawiyya ( رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ ) was well aware of this strategy. (Al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, Vol 8, P 132).
As far as we Ahle Sunnah are concerned, we say, be that as it may; it is consensus (Ijma) of Ahle Sunnah Ulema that Muawiya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was a Sahabi and respect of Sahabah is mandatory. Therefore, we keep our mouth shut in his case. We neither praise him nor condemn him. We will not be questioned about what Muawiya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Mdid during his life time. Whatever happened, we leave it to Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and His Apostle Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). They know it all. However, it is a good idea to know historic facts from authentic Ahle Sunnah accounts, it helps in keeping our Iman intact.
Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) did not use iron hand in curbing false rumors spread against him by trouble makers; rather he took a conciliatory approach. Unlike Hadhrat Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) often dealt kindly with the rebels and criminals. He gave numerous explanations for his rightful actions which were ignored by his detractors. His kindness allowed the trouble makers to fan dissent and revolt among people. He was eventually martyred in 656 by the rioters who had laid siege of his house demanding for his ouster.
Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was foretold about the troubles he will face and he knew he will be martyred.
(1) It is in Hadith - Narrated by Abu Sahla. Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said: "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) took a covenant from me (not to fight at the time of my martyrdom) and I shall fulfill it". (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, al-Hakim, and Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat - 3:66 - all with sound chains).
(2) It is in Hadith - Narrated by Ummul Momineen Aisha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : "O `Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)! It may be that Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) shall vest you with a shirt. If they demand that you remove it, do not remove it. ( Ibn Hibban, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, all with sound chains).
Tirmidhi narration adds, "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) repeated it three times." Another sound version in Ahmad states: "If the hypocrites ask that you remove it, do not ...."
(3) It is in Hadith - Narrated Abu Musa (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) : While I was with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) in one of the gardens of Medina, a man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said to me: "Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings that he will enter Paradise." I opened the gate for him, and behold! It was Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). I informed him of the glad tidings the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) had said, and he praised Allah.
Then another man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said to me: "Open the gate and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." I opened the gate for him, and behold! It was Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). I informed him of what the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) had said, and he praised Allah.
Then another a man came and asked me to open the gate. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said to me: "Open the gate for him and inform him of the glad tidings of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him." Behold! It was Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). I informed him of what Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) had said. He praised Allah and said, "I seek Allah's aid." (Bukhari)