Demise of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan

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Demise of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan

The Rawafid and others opposed to Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu have reported such narrations with regards to the burial of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu that would unsettle any person. In these narrations, they have attempted to assert that Sayyiduna `Uthman’s radiya Llahu `anhu body was left discarded, after his martyrdom, and no one attempted to bury him for three days. He was just left in this condition, until finally some people buried hastily with his blood stained clothes.

 

Answer

It is imperative to state that some historians rendered a great disservice in the manner that they compiled their books, gathering all sorts of narrations — whether authentic, weak or even fabricated — without authenticating the material or clarifying the status thereof. This results in an inaccurate portrayal of history. For example:

  1. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari rahimahu Llah, author of Tarikh al-Tabari
  2. Ibn Qutaybah, author of Kitab al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah
  3. Ahmad ibn A`tham al-Kufi rahimahu Llah, author of Tarikh A`tham al-Kufi
  4. Mir Khawanid, author of Rowdat al-Safa

These and other historians have filled their works with every type of narration, without clarifying the status of the narrations.

 

Tarikh al-Tabari is a conglomeration of every type of narration, authentic and unauthentic, whereas the remaining three (above) are extremist Shi`ah; who penned these one sided biased books in support of their Rafd and Tashayyu`.

They did not consider the rank and status of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum, which they were awarded in the Qur’an and sunnah, nor the other historical narrations which answer these objections and criticisms. Instead they turned a blind eye to these (authentic) facts and only rely upon those narrations which support their dogma. Thus they relay information in accordance to their personal views. This is a regrettable effort that was made against the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum in an effort to drum up hatred for them. After this has been understood, in contrast to this, we present those narrations from history and hadith which depict the true sequence of events regarding the martyrdom of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu.

It has been mentioned in the biography of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu that when Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu passed away, then a few members of his household as well as a few others, like Sayyiduna Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam, Sayyiduna Hasan ibn `Ali, Sayyiduna Abu Jahm ibn Hudhayfah radiya Llahu `anhum, and Marwan ibn al-Hakam brought the bier out of the house of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu between Maghrib and `Isha’ for the Janazah. They brought it to Hash Kowkab (an extension to Jannat al-Baqi`). According to some, Jubayr ibn Mut`im radiya Llahu `anhu or Hakim ibn Hizam radiya Llahu `anhu or Marwan ibn al-Hakam performed the Salat al-Janazah. According to another view, Sayyiduna Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam radiya Llahu `anhu performed the Salat al-Janazah (and he was buried there).[1]

Imam Ahmad rahimahu Llah has recorded in his Musnad:

 

ثنا عبد الرزاق ثنا معمر عن قتادة قال صلى الزبير على عثمان رضي الله عنه ودفنه وكان اوصى اليه

Qatadah reported that Zubayr performed the Salat al-Janazah `Uthman and buried him. `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu had made a bequest for him to do so.[2]

 

The Muhaddithin have narrated this with a reliable chain of narration. Moreover, Hafiz Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah has reported the following narration:

 

قيل بل دفن من ليلته ثم كان دفنه ما بين المغرب والعشاء خفية من الخوارج وقيل بل استوذن في ذالك بعض روسائهم فخرجوا به في نفر قليل من الصحابة فيهم حكيم بن حزام وحويطب بن عبد العزى وابو جهم بن حذيفة ونيار بن مكرم الاسلمي وجبير بن مطعم وزيد بن ثابت وكعب بن مالك وطلحة والزبير وعلي بن ابي طالب وجماعة من اصحابه ونسائه منهن امراتاه نائلة (بنت الفرافصته) وام البنين بنت عبد الله بن حصين وصبيان …وجماعة من خدمه حملوه على باب بعد ما غسلوه وكفنوه وزعم بعضهم انه لم يغسل ولم يكفن والصحيح الاول

 

It has been said that he was buried the same night, between Maghrib and `Isha’, out of fear for the Khawarij. Some said that permission was taken from some of the rebel leaders and the people brought the bier of `Uthman out. Some of the Sahabah like Hakim ibn Hizam, Huwaytib ibn `Abd al-`Uzza, Abu Jahm ibn Hudhayfah, Niyar ibn Mukrim al-Aslami, Jubayr ibn Mut`im , Zayd ibn Thabit , Ka`b ibn Malik , Talhah , Zubayr , and `Ali ibn Abi Talib participated and were present. A group of his friends, and of his spouses Na’ilah and Umm al-Banin and some children. A group of attendants of `Uthman lifted him after the ghusl and shrouding and brought him to the door. Some are of the opinion that he was not given ghusl and a shroud but this is not correct, in fact, the first view is correct (that the ghusl and a shroud was given).[3]

 

In Tarikh al-Tabari, the following narration is mentioned:

 

خرج مروان حتى اتى دار عثمان رضي الله عنه فاتاه زيد بن ثابت وطلحة بن عبيد الله وعلي والحسن وكعب بن مالك وعامة من ثم من اصحابه فتوافي الى موضع الجنائز صبيان ونساء فاخرجوا عثمان رضي الله عنه فصلى عليه مروان ثم خرجوا به حتى انتهوا الى البقيع فدفنوه فيه مما يلي حش كوكب

Marwan left until he reached the house of `Uthman, where he was joined by Zayd ibn Thabit, Talhah ibn `Ubayd Allah, `Ali, Hasan, Ka`b ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu and whoever from among the friends of `Uthman, a number of women and children also participated. He was brought to the place where the Salat al-Janazah is performed and Marwan ibn al-Hakam performed the Salat al-Janazah and after this all of them brought him to Baqi` and he was buried in the area next to Hash Kawkab.[4]

 

Date of his martyrdom

Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was martyred on 18 Dhu al-Hijjah 35 A.H, Friday, corresponding to 655 C.E.

 

Dispelling a doubt

One may have the following question lingering on his mind; that the narrations of Tarikh al-Tabari which the critics have cited have been disregarded but then proof from the same book is cited. In this regard the following principle, as expounded by the scholars, should be kept in mind:

 

واذا اختلف كلام امام فيؤخذ ما يوافق الادلة الظاهرة ويعرض عما خالفها

When there is difference found in the speech of an imam in a certain issue, then whatever is in accordance to the apparent proofs will be taken, and whatever contradicts it will be discarded.

 

In the light of this law, only those narrations of al-Tabari which are in accordance with the laws of shari`ah, and correspond to the explanations of the senior scholars and historians, will be relied upon. As for all the other narrations which are cited by the critics they will not be considered on account of falling short in their authenticity.[5]

These narrations indicate that Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was buried the same day, i.e. the day of Friday after `Asr, after the rebels had oppressively murdered him. The rebels tried to prevent his burial, however, despite the opposition the senior Sahabah made arrangements to bury him that same night. The ghusl and shroud was done and the Salat al-Janazah was performed. Among those who participated in the burial were Sayyiduna `Ali, Sayyiduna Talhah, Sayyiduna Zubayr, Sayyiduna Hasan ibn `Ali and others radiya Llahu `anhum, as stated in the narrations. The above references testify to this as well. Those who raised the objection were dishonest, and only reported the narration which suited their needs and conveniently omitted those narrations which answer their allegations.

 

Note:-

We have discussed this issue at length in our work Ruhama’ Baynahum (vol. 3 `Uthmani section p. 190 – p. 194), which may be referred to.


[1] Kitab al-Tamhid wa l-Bayan pg. 142, Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat vol. 1 pg. 155, 156,

[2]Musnad Imam Ahmad, with footnotes of Muntakhab Kanz al-`Ummal vol. 1 pg. 74

[3]Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 191, Tarikh al-Madinah al-Munawwarah pg. 1240

[4]Tarikh al-Tabari vol. 5 pg. 144, al-Fitnah wa Waq`at al-Jamal pg. 84

[5]Al-Zawajir pg. 28, Radd al-Muhtar vol. 3 pg. 317