Introduction

 BACK Return to Table of contents

 

Introduction

 

The Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam are the best of creation after the ambiya’ `alayh al-Salam, and their virtues and merits have been expounded in numerous verses of the Noble Qur’an. Furthermore, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has described their salient features in an abundance of narrations. Yet, despite their virtue being engrained in the Qur’an and preserved in the blessed ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, some people still find it within themselves to criticise this excellent group; preparing against them a lengthy list of complaints, objections and criticisms against them.

In the present day as well this continues, particularly from that group who are opposed to the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum, namely the Shi`ah. Consequently, there are old and a few recent criticisms levelled against Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, and we have made a small effort — according to what is destined — to answer these baseless allegations. However, it would be fitting to first mention that we have not enumerated all the virtues of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, his excellences and services to the ummah in detail, for if we were to have done so then this would have lengthened this book considerably.

However, it would most definitely not be bereft of benefit to briefly touch on a few of his virtues, which will present an illustration of his high rank and status.

 

Name, Family, Virtues, Status and Service to the Ummah

His name is `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, his title is Dhu al-Nurayn and his agnomen is Abu `Abd Allah. His lineage meets with that of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam at the fifth generation.

`Uthman ibn `Affan ibn Abi al-`As ibn Umayyah ibn `Abd Shams ibn `Abd Manaf.

 

`Abd Manaf is the common ancestor.

 

Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu also has a close family relation to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam through his mother, who was the granddaughter of Hashim ibn `Abd Manaf (the great-grandfather of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam). The mother of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu is Arwa bint Kurayz. The mother of Arwa is Umm Hakim bint `Abd al-Muttalib, who is the aunt of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Umm Hakim was the twin sister of the father of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, `Abd Allah, and was famous by the name of al-Bayda’.

1. Thus the link between Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and Sayyiduna `Ali both, with Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was that he was the son of their (Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu) maternal cousin and their paternal cousin.[1]

 

2. During the initial stages of the call of nubuwwah, `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu accepted Islam upon the invitation of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu; and he did not relinquish his faith despite the persecution he had to endure at the hands of his own tribesmen.

 

3. Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu is counted among the forerunners of the Sahabah, sharing in their virtues. Glad tidings of Jannah have been mentioned for him by Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and he is amongst the `Asharah al-Mubasharah.

 

4. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam married his daughter, Sayyidah Ruqayyah radiya Llahu `anha, to Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu. After her demise, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam married his other daughter, Sayyidah Umm Kulthum radiya Llahu `anha, to him. On account of this, Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu attained the title of Dhu al-Nurayn (the possessor of two lights).

 

5. When the persecution of the disbelievers intensified then the Muslims were permitted to migrate to Abyssinia. Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu migrated with his wife, Sayyidah Ruqayyah radiya Llahu `anha.

After this, when the migration to Madinah Munawwarah took place, Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu returned from Abyssinia and migrated to Madinah Munawwarah. In this way, he had the honour of migrating twice.

 

6. During the Battle of Badr, which took place in 2 A.H, Sayyidah Ruqayyah radiya Llahu `anha was ill. In accordance with the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, he tended to her and thus could not participate in the battle. However, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam counted him among the participants of Badr, and gave him a share of the spoils of Badr, after which he said that he will receive the reward of having participated in it.

 

7. He had the honour of being a scribe of revelation and also of writing the epistles of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.

 

8. In 6 A.H, the incident at Hudaybiyyah took place, which we will discuss briefly:

 

When the Quraysh of Makkah prevented the Muslims from entering Makkah, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam sent Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu as an emissary to Makkah to negotiate with them. Shortly thereafter, news reached Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu had been martyred, so Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam took pledges of allegiance from all the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum beneath a tree to avenge the blood of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu.

He later received news that Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu is alive, and that it was only a rumour. At that time, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, classified his hand as the hand of Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, he placed one hand on the other and said: “This is the pledge from `Uthman.”

This great virtue was proven for Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, with the hand of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, he pledged allegiance at the hands of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.

The name of this pledge is Bay`at al-Ridwan. In the Qur’an, Allah said with regards to those who took this pledge:

 

لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا

Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, (O Muhammad), under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent victory.[2]

 

9. The Battle of Tabuk took place in 9 A.H. During that time, the Muslims were in great need and under financial strain. Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu would always provide financial help to the Muslims. On this occasion too, he showed unique generosity and financial support.

Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had requested the Muslims a number of times for financial support to prepare this army. At that time, Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu donated 960 camels, forty horses and ten thousand dinars. He brought it and placed it in the lap of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was immensely pleased and said:

 

ما ضر عثمان ما عمل بعد اليوم

No harm will come to `Uthman with regards to what he does after this day.

 

10. Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was appointed as khalifah in the following manner: Sayyiduna `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu appointed six people, viz. Sayyiduna `Uthman, Sayyiduna `Ali, Sayyiduna `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, Sayyiduna Talhah ibn `Ubayd Allah, Sayyiduna Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam, Sayyiduna Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu `anhum, with the instruction to choose the khalifah from amongst themselves within three days. Subsequently, after discussions between them, Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was chosen, without any dispute or difference of opinion amongst them. The rest of them pledged allegiance upon the hands of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, and in this way, he became the third khalifah of Islam.

The khilafah of Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu began in Muharram 24 A.H and ended on 18 Dhu al-Hijjah 35 A.H.

 

11. During his khilafah, Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu rendered great services to the ummah. One important and unique achievement of this era was that in the last days of 24 A.H and the beginning of 25 A.H, the Muslims began to fight the disbelievers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Different tribes joined this army. During this time there arose a difference with regards to the qira`ah of the Qur’an. The famous Sahabi, Sayyiduna Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman radiya Llahu `anhu, was very concerned about this and understanding the gravity of the situation felt, he immediately came to Madinah and voiced his concerns to Amir al-Mu’minin; Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu:

 

ادرك هذه الامة قبل ان يختلفوا في الكتاب اختلاف اليهود والنصارى

Save this ummah with regards to the Qur’an, before they differ with regards to the Qur’an as the Jews and Christians differed (with regards to their Books).[3]

 

In short, looking at these circumstances, Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu consulted with the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum, amongst whom was Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu. In the light of their decision, the copy of the Qur’an that was compiled in the era of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, and in the possession of Umm al-Mu’minin Sayyidah Hafsah radiya Llahu `anha, was taken and a uniform copy was prepared in the dialect of the Quraysh. Hafiz al-Dhahabi rahimahu Llah discusses this in the following text:

Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu gathered the ummah upon Mushaf and saved the ummah from differences in the Qur’an.[4]

 

Note:-

More detail with regards to this issue will be mentioned in the responses to the criticism about burning the Masahif.

 

12. Just as there were great conquests during the khilafah of Sayyiduna `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, in the same way it continued during the era of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu. After the martyrdom of Sayyiduna `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, some of the conquered lands had rebelled (e.g. Hamdan, Rayy, Azerbaijan, Armenia, etc.) and during the khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu these lands were reconquered and the rebellion put to an end.

Moreover, in the east; Khurasan, Tabristan, Bayhaq, Nayshapur, Herat, Balkh etc., were conquered, and to the west; Marakish and Tarablus (Andalus) came under Islamic rule.

In Africa, there was a great war by the name of ‘Harb al-`Ibadalah’ that took place. Through this, many areas of Africa came under the sway of Islam.

Naval battle began in the era of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, through the efforts of Sayyiduna Mu`awiyah radiya Llahu `anhu; and by means of it a number of islands were conquered (Jazirah, Qabras, etc.) and the Romans defeated. The authority of the Caesar of Rome had come to an end.

In short, during the khilafah of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, from Marakish in the west till Kabul in the east, Hijaz, Yemen, Egypt, Sham, Iraq, Persia; all these areas had come under Islamic rule.

The services of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu in spreading Islam are mentioned in detail in the books of hadith and history. We have only presented a summary here.

 

After this brief biography, the objections against Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu will be dealt with. The objective is not to deride or malign any particular individual or people, but rather to establish the truthfulness of the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, their just nature and defend their status; so that when Muslims face these criticisms they will not fall prey to them and destroy their hereafter.

 
 

 

NEXT⇒ Objection of not participating in the Battle of Badr


[1]  For more detail with regards to this relationship, refer to our work Ruhama’ Baynahum, `Uthmani section pg. 24 -30.

[2]  Surah al-Fath: 18

[3]Mishkat pg. 193

[4]Tadhkirah al-Huffaz vol. 1 pg. 8