`Uthman’s appointment as khalifah

Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was appointed the third khalifah of the Muslim ummah, whose appointment was approved of by the noble companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam; the first of whom being Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu. Regrettably, the version of events surrounding the appointment of Sayyiduna `Uthman has been manipulated by the Shi`ah in a manner that entirely contradicts historical fact. Tales of false promise, betrayal, threats and outright discontent have been craftily woven, to discredit those promised paradise by the truthful Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, in an effort to promote baseless Shi`i polemics. This article elucidates the true sequence of events surrounding the appointment of the third rightful khalifah and son-in-law of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Dhu al-Nurayn `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu.

 
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`Uthman’s appointment as khalifah

 

`Umar’s deep insight when appointing his successor

`Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu concern remained focused on the unity and future of the ummah even during the last moments of his life, despite the painful wounds from which he was suffering. Undoubtedly this was a critical moment in history, in which his deep faith, sincerity and selflessness were manifested.[1] During those critical moments, `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu managed to invent a new and unprecedented way of choosing the new khalifah.

This is tangible and clear evidence of his understanding and skill in running the affairs of the ummah. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had passed away before him without clearly appointing a successor, and when Abu Bakr al-Siddiq radiya Llahu `anhu passed away, he appointed `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu after consulting the senior Sahabah. When `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was asked to appoint a successor as he was on his death bed, he thought for a while, and then he decided on a different method that suited the situation.

When the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam passed away, the people were all agreed upon the superiority and seniority of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, so the possibility of conflict was remote, especially since Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, had shown the ummah, in word and deed, that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was the most qualified to take control after he passed away. When Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu appointed `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu as his successor, he knew that the Sahabah were all convinced that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was the strongest and most capable of bearing that responsibility after he was gone. So he appointed him as khalifah after consulting the senior Sahabah, and no one disagreed with him, so there was consensus and they all swore allegiance to `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu.[2]

The method of selecting the new khalifah was based on limiting shura to a specific number of people. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu chose six of the companions of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam all of whom were fit to become khalifah, even though they varied in their qualifications for the post. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu also defined the way in which the selection was to be made, and how long it should take. He ordered some troops to keep watch over the proceedings and stipulated punishments for anyone who went against the jama`ah. He sought to prevent disorder by ruling that no one was to enter upon them or listen to what was going on in the assembly of decision makers.[3] There follows a more detailed discussion of these events:

 

The number of those appointed for the shura, and their names

The number of men appointed was six. They were: `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam and Talhah ibn `Ubayd-Allah radiya Llahu `anhum. Sa`id ibn Zayd ibn Nufayl was excluded even though he was one of the ten who had been promised Jannah; perhaps that was because he was from the tribe of Banu `Adi (which was `Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu own tribe).[4] `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was very careful to exclude his relatives from positions of authority, even though there were among them those who were qualified for that. So he kept his relative Sa`id ibn Zayd radiya Llahu `anhu off the list of nominees for the khilafah.[5]

 

The way in which the khalifah was to be selected

He commanded them to assemble in the house of one of them and consult with one another. `Abd Allah ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was to be present among them as an advisor only, with no lot in the khilafah. Prayers were to be led by Suhayb al-Rumi during this consultation period, and he said to him: “You are the imam od salah for these three days.” He did not appoint any of the six to lead the prayers lest that be interpreted as `Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu nominating him to be khalifah.[6] And al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad and Abu Talhah al-Ansari were commanded to watch over the proceedings.[7]

 

How long the selection process took

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu stipulated a period of three days, which was sufficient time. If they took longer than that, it would mean that deep conflict would spread, so he said to them:

Do not let the fourth day come without you having a leader over you.[8]

 

The number of votes that were sufficient to elect the khalifah.

Ibn Sa`d narrated, with an isnad whose men are thiqah (trustworthy), that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said to Suhayb radiya Llahu `anhu:

Lead the people in salah for three days, and leave this group of men in a house. When they have agreed upon a man, then whoever disagrees with them, strike his neck (i.e., execute him).[9]

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu issued orders that anyone who tried to go against this group and cause division among the Muslims was to be executed, acting upon the command of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam:

مَنْ اَتَاكُمْ ، وَاَمْرُكُمْ جَمِيْعٌ ، عَلَي رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ ، يُرِيْدُ اَنْ يَّشُقَّ عَصَاكُمْ ، اَوْ يُفَرِّقَ جَمَاعَتَكُمْ ، فَاقْتُلُوْهُ

Whoever comes to you when you are united behind one man, seeking to cause division among you, then execute him.[10]

 

What is mentioned in the history books, that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu commanded them to gather and consult one another, and stated that if five of them agreed on a man and one objected, his head was to be struck with the sword, and if four of them agreed on a man and two of them objected, their heads were to be struck[11], is a report that has no sound chain of transmission. It is one of the weird reports concocted by Abu Mikhnaf, the Rafidi Shi`ah, and it is contrary to the sahih texts and what is known of the conduct of the Sahabah. Abu Mikhnaf narrated that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said to Suhayb radiya Llahu `anhu:

Stand over them – i.e., the people of shura – and if five agree on a man and one objects, strike his head with the sword. If four of them agree on a man and two objects, then strike their heads.[12]

But this is a false report. How could `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu have said such a thing, when he knew that they were among the elite of the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and he was the one who had chosen them for this task because he knew of their virtue and high status?[13]

It was narrated from Ibn Sa`d that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said to the Ansar:

Let them stay in a house for three days. If they come to an agreement (all well and good), otherwise enter upon them and strike their necks (i.e., cut off their heads).[14]

These narrations have unconnected chains and also include Sammak ibn Harb, who is a weak narrator.[15]

 

Ruling in the case of a difference of opinion

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu advised them that `Abd Allah ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu should be present with them in the gathering, but he was not to have a lot in the khilafah. But he told them:

 

If three men approve of one man and three approve of another man, then refer to `Abd Allah ibn `Umar, and whichever of the two groups he favours, let them choose a man from among themselves. If they do not approve of the ruling of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, then go with the group among whom is `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu.

 

He described `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu as being wise and mature, saying:

What a wise man `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf is, and how mature. He is guided and protected by Allah, so listen to him.[16]

 

A group of Muslim soldiers were to watch over the election and prevent disorder

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said to Abu Talhah al-Ansari radiya Llahu `anhu:

O Abu Talhah, Allah, may He be exalted and glorified, has supported Islam through you. Choose fifty men of the Ansar to urge this group until they choose a man from among their number.[17]

And he said to al- Miqdad ibn al-Aswad radiya Llahu `anhu:

When you have placed me in my grave, bring this group of men together in a house until they elect one of their numbers.[18]

 

Permissibility of appointing someone as khalifah even if there is someone else who is better than him

One of the things that we learn from the story of the shura is that it is permissible to appoint someone as khalifah even if there is someone else who is better than him, because `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu appointed six men for the shura even though he knew that some of them were better than others. This can also be seen in the fact that when `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu appointed governors, he did not take into account their level of religious commitment only, but he also looked at their ability in dealing with people whilst avoiding anything that goes against shari`ah.

So he appointed Mu`awiyah, Mughirah ibn Shu`bah and `Amr ibn al-`As radiya Llahu `anhum even though there were others who were superior to them in terms of religious commitment and knowledge, such as Abu al-Darda’ radiya Llahu `anhu in Syria and Ibn Mas`ud radiya Llahu `anhu in Kufah.[19]

 

`Umar’s compromise between appointing a successor and not appointing one

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu compromised between appointing a successor, as Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu had done, by selecting candidates, and not appointing one as Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had done. He selected six people and asked them to consult one another about the matter.[20]

 

Consultation was not only among these six

`Umar knew that consultation would not take place only among these six men, rather public opinion in Madinah on who should be appointed as khalifah would also be taken into consideration. He set a limit of three days so that their choice of the one who would be appointed as his successor would be based on the agreement of the majority of those present at that time in Madinah, where most of the Sahabah were living. All those living elsewhere would follow them in whatever they agreed upon. Until 23 A.H, Madinah was still the gathering place of the Sahabah, and the senior Sahabah were still there as `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu kept them by his side and did not allow them to migrate to the conquered lands.[21]

 

The shura council was the highest political body

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu gave the shura council alone the responsibility of selecting the new khalifah from among their number and it is important to note that not one of the shura council objected to this decision that was taken by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu and none of the other Sahabah objected either. This is what is indicated by the texts that we have before us, and we do not know of any other suggestion that was made or any objection that was raised by anyone at that time to `Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu command either during the last moments of his life or after his death. All the people agreed with this arrangement and thought that it was in the best interests of all the Muslims.

We can say that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu formed the highest political body and entrusted it with the mission of selecting the head of state or khalifah, and this was a new organisational system introduced by the genius of `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu which did not contradict the basic principles established by Islam, especially those that have to do with the principle of shura, because what matters is the general swearing of bay`ah (allegiance) which takes place in the Jami` Masjid.

There may be a question that arises here: who gave `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu the right to do this? What is the basis for `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu making this arrangement? It is sufficient to note that a number of Muslims approved of this arrangement and no voice was heard objecting to it, so we can be certain that there was ijma` (consensus) – which is one of the sources of shari`ah – that it was a valid arrangement.[22]

We should not forget that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was a wise khalifah, and we may be certain that this principle—- that the shura council is the highest political body — was approved by the Islamic regime at the time of the Rightly Guided Khulafa’. Moreover, the council that was appointed by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu enjoyed many advantages that were not shared by any other Muslim group, advantages that were bestowed by Allah and confirmed by Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and no other Muslim could reach the status of piety and trustworthiness that these ten had reached.[23]

Thus `Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu life came to an end, and neither the calamity that had befallen him nor the pangs of death could keep him from conducting the affairs of the Muslims and establishing an unprecedented system of shura. Undoubtedly the basic principle of shura is established in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah, both words and deeds, and the Rasul of Allah and Abu Bakr both implemented this principle. So `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was not introducing a new or innovated principle, rather what `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu did was to set out a method of selecting a new khalifah and limit the number of people from whom the choice was to be made. This was not done by Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam or by Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu the first one to do that was `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, and what a good thing he did. It was the best of the options available to the Sahabah at that time.[24]

 

`Umar’s advice to the khalifah who would come after him

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu offered important advice to the khalifah who was to come after him and lead the ummah. He said:

 

I advise you to fear Allah alone, with no partner or associate. I advise you to treat the first muhajirin well and acknowledge their seniority. I advise you to treat the Ansar well, and show approval of those among them who do well, and forgive those among them who make mistakes. I advise you to treat the people of the outlying regions well, for they are a shield against the enemy and conduits of fay’ (booty); do not take anything from them except that which is surplus to their needs. I advise you to treat the people of the desert well, for they are the original Arabs and the protectors of Islam. Take from the surplus of their wealth and give it to their poor. I advise you to treat Ahl al-dhimmah (Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands under government protection) well, to defend them against their enemies and not burden them with more than they can bear if they fulfil their duties towards the believers or pay the jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. I advise you to fear Allah and fear His wrath, lest you do anything wrong.

I advise you to fear Allah with regard to the people, but do not fear the people with regard to Allah. I advise you to treat the people justly, and to devote yourself to looking after them and protecting them against their enemies. Do not show any favour to the rich over the poor. That will be better for your spiritual well-being and will help to reduce your burden of sin, and it will be better for your hereafter, until you meet the One Who knows what is in your heart. I instruct you to be strict with regard to the commands of Allah, His sacred limits and disobedience with all people, both relatives and others. Do not show any mercy to anyone until you have settled the score with him according to his offence. Treat all people as equal, and do not worry about who is at fault or fear the blame of the blamers. Beware of showing favouritism among the believers with regard to the fay’ that Allah has put you in charge of, lest that lead to injustice. Keep away from that. You are in a position between this world and the hereafter. If you conduct your affairs justly in this world and refrain from indulgence, that will earn you faith and divine pleasure. But if you let whims and desires overwhelm you, you will incur the displeasure of Allah.

I advise you not to let yourself or anyone else do wrong to Ahl al-dhimmah. I am offering you sincere advice; seek thereby the Countenance of Allah and the Hereafter. I have chosen advice for you that I would offer to myself or my son. If you do as I have advised you and follow my instructions, you would have gained a great deal. If you do not accept it or pay attention to it, and do not handle your affairs in the way that pleases Allah, that will be a shortcoming on your part and you will have failed to be sincere, because whims and desires are the same and the cause of sin is Iblis, who calls man to everything that will lead to his doom. He misguided the generations who came before you and led them to Hell, what a terrible abode. What a bad deal it is for a man to take the enemy of Allah as his friend, who calls him to disobey Allah.

Adhere to the truth, strive hard to reach it and admonish yourself. I urge you by Allah to show mercy to the Muslims honour their elderly, show compassion to their young ones and respect the knowledgeable ones among them. Do not harm them or humiliate them, and do not keep the fay’ for yourself lest you anger them. Do not deprive them of their stipends when they become due, thus making them poor. Do not keep them away on campaigns for so long that they end up having no children. Do not allow wealth to circulate only among the rich. Do not close your door to the people lest that allow the strong to oppress the weak. This is my advice to you, as Allah is my witness, and I greet you with peace.[25]

 

This advice is indicative of `Umar’s radiya Llahu `anhu farsightedness with regard to matters of ruling and administration, which clearly reflects an integrated methodology and system of ruling and administration.[26] This advice covers a number of very important issues and deserves to be viewed as a precious document because it includes basic principles of ruling which incorporate the religious, political, military, economic and social aspects of rule.

 

How `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf conducted the shura process

 

Assembling the group for consultation

Barely had the people finished burying `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu when the members of the consultation group and the highest council of the state hastened to gather in the house of `A`ishah radiya Llahu `anha the Mother of the Believers, or it was said that they gathered in the house of Fatimah bint Qays al-Fihriyyah, the sister of al-Dahhak ibn Qays, to decide the most important issue facing the Muslims after the death of `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. The people spoke and expressed their opinions, and they were guided by Allah to agree on some terms that were approved by the notables and by all the Muslims.[27]

 

`Abd al-Rahman called for some of them to give up their candidacy for the khilafah.

When the members of the shura council had assembled, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu said to them: Delegate the matter to three among you. Zubayr radiya Llahu `anhu said: “I delegate my say to `Ali.”[28] Talhah radiya Llahu `anhu said: “I delegate my say to `Uthman.” Sa`d said: “I delegate my say to `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf.” So now there were three candidates: `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Uthman ibn `Affan and `Abd al- Rahman ibn `Awf. `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu said: “Which of you will declare that he should not be appointed, so we will give him the responsibility of choosing the khalifah, and Allah will watch over him, so that he may think to himself who is the best candidate?” The two men remained silent. Then `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf said: “Will you leave it up to me, and Allah is watching, so that I will only choose the better of you?” They said: “Yes.”[29]

 

Delegating Ibn `Awf to conduct the process of shura

`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu began to contact people and consult them as soon as the meeting with the six candidates ended, on the Sunday morning, and that went on for three whole days, until dawn on Wednesday, the 4th of Muharram, which was the end of the period stipulated for them by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. `Abd al- Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu started with `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu, and said to him: “If I do not choose you, then tell me who you would nominate for khalifah.” `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said: “`Uthman ibn `Affan.” `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu went to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu and said to him: “If I do not choose you, who would you nominate for khalifah?” `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu said: “`Ali ibn Abi Talib.” After that, Ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu went to the other Sahabah and consulted them, and he consulted each of the senior Sahabah whom he met in Madinah, as well as the commanders of the army, and visitors to Madinah. His consultation also included women in seclusion, who expressed their views, as well as children and slaves in Madinah.

The outcome of his consultation was that the majority of Muslims suggested `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu, and some of them suggested `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu. At midnight on Wednesday, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu went to the house of his sister’s son, al-Miswar ibn Makhramah, where he knocked at the door and found Miswar sleeping.[30] He banged on the door until he woke him up, then he said: “I see you sleeping but by Allah I have not slept much. Go and call Zubayr and Sa`d.” So I [Miswar] called them for him, and he consulted them, then he called me and said: “Call `Ali for me.” So I called him and he conversed with him until halfway through the night, then `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu got up and left. Then he said: “Call `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu for me.” So I called him and he conversed with him until the mu’adhin’s call to Fajr salah interrupted them.[31]

 

Agreement to swear allegiance to `Uthman

After Fajr salah on the day of swearing allegiance (the last day of Dhu al-Hijjah 23 AH/ 6 November 644 CE), which was led by Suhayb al-Rumi radiya Llahu `anhu, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu came, wearing the head cover that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had put on his head. The men of the shura committee had gathered by the mimbar, and he sent for those of the Muhajirin, Ansar and army commanders who were present, among whom were Mu`awiyah radiya Llahu `anhu the governor of Syria, `Umayr ibn Sa`d radiya Llahu `anhu the governor of Homs, and `Amr ibn al-`As radiya Llahu `anhu the governor of Egypt. They had gone for hajj with `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu and had come with him to Madinah.[32]

In the report narrated by al-Bukhari it says:

 

When the people had prayed Fajr and that group had assembled by the mimbar, he sent for everyone who was present of the Muhajirin and Ansar, and he sent for the commanders of the army, who had attended hajj that year with `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. When they had gathered, `Abd al- Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu recited the shahadah, then he said:” O `Ali, I have spoken to the people and asked for their opinions, and I do not believe that they think anyone is as good as `Uthman, but do not give anyone a reason to criticise you (by expressing disagreement with the majority).”

He (i.e., `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu) said (to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu): “I swear allegiance to you in accordance with the way of Allah and His Rasul and the two Khulafa’ who came after him.” So `Abd al- Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu swore allegiance to him and the people swore allegiance to him, the Muhajirin and the Ansar and the commanders of the army and the Muslims.[33]

 

According to the report of the author of al-Tamhid wa al-Bayan, `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu was the first one to swear allegiance after `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu.[34]

 

The wisdom of `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf in conducting the shura process

`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu conducted the shura process in a manner that is indicative of his wisdom and noble character, and his preference for the general interests of the Muslims over any personal interest. He willingly gave up his chance for the highest position that any man could hope to attain in this world in order to keep the Muslims united, and he conducted the shura process in a systematic way to choose the one who would become khalifah and direct the Muslims affairs. He succeeded by means of deliberation, patience, resolution and good management in achieving his great mission .The steps that he took were as follows:

  • He explained his plan in the first meeting of the shura council, drawn up within the time frame stipulated by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. Thus he was able to make all the members of the council express their views and he managed to find out the views and aims of each of them, and he executed his plan with clarity.
  • He gave up his own right to candidacy so as to ward off any doubts about him and to create trust.
  • He found out what each of his partners in the shura council was hoping to achieve. He kept discussing it with them until he obtained a partial result in which `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was favoured with the support of Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas and Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam radiya Llahu `anhuma. Thus it seemed to him that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu had the majority of support from those present.
  • Then he sought to find out what each of the two leading figures, `Uthman and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhuma, thought of the other in relation to the other people nominated by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. He found out that each of them did not think that any of them was better than his counterpart, if he did not become khalifah himself.
  • He started to find out the opinion of those outside the shura council, among the notables of the ummah and the people of wisdom, then the common folk and the weakest members of society. Then he realised that most of the people did not regard anyone as equal to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, so he swore allegiance to him and the people followed suit.[35]

Thus by means of his smartness, honesty, straightforwardness and selflessness, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu was able to give up his own ambition for khilafa’ and showed no interest in the highest position in the state. He passed this test and led the shura council skilfully, which deserves the greatest appreciation.[36] Al-Dhahabi said:

 

One of the greatest deeds of `Abd al- Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu was when he took himself out of the race at the time of the shura; he chose for the ummah what the decision-makers suggested and did a marvellous job in uniting the ummah behind `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu. If he had been unfair, he could have tried to seize the position himself or given it to his cousin and the closest of the council members to him, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu `anhu.[37]

 

Thus another form of shura took place at the time of the Rightly Guided Khulafa’, which was appointing the khalifah by means of a shura council who were to select one of their number, after assessing public opinion, then the ummah in general was to swear allegiance to him.[38]

 

False reports inserted by the Rafidis into the story of the shura

There are false reports and lies that the Rafidi Shi`ah have inserted into the history of Islam, including the story of the shura and `Uthman’s radiya Llahu `anhu appointment as khalifah. These reports were then taken up by the Orientalists, who tried to spread them further, and many modern historians and thinkers have been influenced by them without examining the reports or checking their chains of transmission and texts, and thus they became widespread among the Muslims.

The Rafidi Shi`i historians paid attention to the story of the shura and the appointment of `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu as khalifah, and they inserted lies and false reports into it. Some of them wrote whole books on the topic. Abu Mikhnaf wrote a book called Kitab al-Shura, and Ibn `Uqdah and Ibn Babawayh also wrote similar books.[39]

Ibn Sa`d narrated nine reports via al-Waqidi about the shura, the oath of allegiance to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu and the story of how he was appointed khalifah.[40] He narrated another report via `Ubayd Allah ibn Musa which includes the murder of `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, his limiting the shura to six men, and his advice to both `Ali and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma if either of them should be appointed khalifah, and his advice to Suhayb radiya Llahu `anhu regarding this matter.[41]

Al-Baladhuri narrated a report about the shura and the oath of allegiance to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu from Abu Mikhnaf[42],and from Hisham al-Kalbi, some of which was quoted from Abu Mikhnaf and some of which was narrated only by him[43], and from al-Waqidi,[44] and from `Ubayd Allah ibn Musa.[45]Al -Tabari based his version of this story on a number of reports, such as that of Abu Mikhnaf.[46] Ibn Abi al-Hadid narrated some of the events of the shura story via Ahmad ibn `Abd al-`Aziz al-Jawhari[47] and he mentioned that he was quoting from the book al-Shura by al-Waqidi.[48] The Shi`i reports include a number of interpolations for which there is no sound evidence. These are:

 

Accusation against the Sahabah of favouritism in issues concerning the Muslims

The Shi`i reports accuse the Sahabah of favouritism in issues concerning the Muslims and suggest that `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu was not happy about `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu choosing the khalifah. It was narrated by Abu Mikhnaf and Hisham al-Kalbi from his father and Ahmad al-Jawhari that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu gave the deciding choice in the event of an equal split to `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu, and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu realised that the khilafah had slipped from his grasp because `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu would choose `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu because they were related by marriage.[49]

But Ibn Taymiyyah refuted that there was any close relationship by blood between `Uthman and `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhuma. He said:

 

`Abd al- Rahman was not a brother or cousin of `Uthman, and he was not from the same clan at all. Rather one was from Banu Zuhrah and the other was from Banu Umayyah, and Banu Zuhrah was closer to Banu Hashim than Banu Umayyah. Banu Zuhrah were maternal uncles of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, including `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf and Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, of whom Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

هذَا خَالِيْ فَلْيُرِنِيْ امْرُؤٌ خَالَهُ

This is my maternal uncle; who dares to compare his maternal uncle to mine?[50]

 

Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam did not establish brotherhood between one Muhajir and another, or between one Ansari and another, rather he established brotherhood between the Muhajirin and the Ansar. He established brotherhood between `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf and Sa`d ibn al-Rabi’ al-Ansari.[51] This hadith is well known and established in the books of sahih and elsewhere, and all the scholars know that.[52] The Shi`ah based their reports of `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu favouring `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu on the fact that they were related by marriage, but they forgot that the ties of blood are stronger than ties through marriage, and they also forgot the nature of the relationship between the believers in the first generation of Islam, and that it was based on neither ties of blood nor ties through marriage. The way in which `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu were related through marriage was that `Abd al- Rahman was married to Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`it, the sister of al-walid.[53]

 

The Umawi party and the Hashimi party

The report of Abu Mikhnaf suggests that there was a dispute between Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah during the swearing of allegiance, but this is not true. It is not mentioned in any report, sound or weak.[54] Some historians were influenced by the reports of the Rafidi Shi`ah and based their incorrect analysis on these reports, so they portrayed the discussion among the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam about the appointment of the new khalifah as a tribal dispute, saying that they divided into two groups, the Umawi party and the Hashimi party. This is an imaginary idea and incorrect conclusion for which there is no evidence at all, because that is not the kind of atmosphere in which the companions of the Rasul of Allah were living when a Muhajir would stand with an Ansar against his own father brother or cousin or tribe.

It ignores the fact that these Sahabah are the ones who sacrificed all worldly gains in order to protect their religion. It is not based on sound knowledge of these nobles who had been given the glad tidings of Jannah. There are many events in their lives which prove that these people were far above looking at things from such a narrow perspective when dealing with their affairs. It was not the matter of family or tribal representation; they were appointed to the shura council because of their status in Islam.

 

Words that were falsely attributed to `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu

Ibn Kathir said:

 

What is said by many historians such as Ibn Jarir and others who narrated from unknown men about `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu saying to `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu: “You deceived me; you only appointed him because he is related to you through marriage and so that he would seek your advice every day,” and that he did not swear allegiance to `Uthman until `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf said:

اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ یُبَایِعُوْنَكَ اِنَّمَا یُبَایِعُوْنَ اللّٰهَؕ   یَدُ اللّٰهِ فَوْقَ اَیْدِیْهِمْۚ   فَمَنْ نَّکَثَ فَاِنَّمَا یَنْكُثُ عَلٰی نَفْسِهٖۚ   وَ مَنْ اَوْفٰی بِمَا عٰهَدَ عَلَیْهُ اللهَ فَسَیُؤْتِیْهِ اَجْرًا عَظِیْ

Verily, those who give bay`ah (pledge) to you (salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) they are giving bay`ah to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.[55]

is false.

 

Accusation against `Amr ibn al-`As and Mughirah ibn Shu`bah

Abu Mikhnaf stated in his report about the shura that `Amr ibn al-`As and al-Mughirah ibn Shu`bah radiya Llahu `anhuma sat at the door and Sa`d told them off. This would be strange if it was done by low-class people, let alone the noble Sahabah. How could Sa`d have said to them: “You want to say that you were present and were among the people of shura,” when people already knew the people of shura by name and that was well established among them? In fact, the report of Abu Mikhnaf contradicts itself, as is clear to anyone who studies it and examines it against the sound sources.

It is too obviously strange to mention. Dr Yahya al-Yahya has produced examples to disprove this report and show that it is not worthy of attention.[56] These are some of the ideas that he mentioned in order to warn against these poisonous notions that are widespread in our classical history books, which have influenced our thinkers, writers and historians.

 

`Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was more qualified to become the khalifah

No believer would doubt that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was more qualified to become khalifah and that his claim to the khilafah was more valid. No one can criticise that except one who has deviation in his heart and who bears a grudge against the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam because of the hatred that he has in his heart towards them. This only applies to the Rafidi Shi`ah who have made it their main aim in life to slander and express hatred towards the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum.

The criticism that they direct against the first three khulafa’ is not worth paying attention to because it is obviously unfounded and fabricated. In a number of definitive sahih texts and well known reports there are signs that `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was qualified to become khalifah. These reports include the following:[57]

1. Allah says:

وَعَدَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا مِنْكُمْ وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ لَیَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِی الْاَرْضِ کَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِیْنَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ۪     وَ لَیُمَکِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِیْنَهُمُ الَّذِی ارْتَضٰی لَهُمْ وَ لَیُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِّنْۢ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ اَمْنًاؕ   یَعْبُدُوْنَنِیْ لَا یُشْرِكُوْنَ بِیْ شَیْئًاؕ   وَ مَنْ کَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ فَاُولٰٓئِكَ هُمُ الْفٰسِقُوْنَ

Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to [the present rulers] in the land, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely, give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (the believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the fasiqun [rebellious, disobedient to Allah].[58]

The relevant point in this verse with regard to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu being qualified for the khilafah is that he was one of those to whom Allah granted succession in the land and granted authority. During his khilafah he did well and ruled the people with justice, establishing regular prayer, paying zakah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. So this verse indicates that he was qualified to become khalifah.[59]

 

2. Allah says:

قُلْ لِّلْمُخَلَّفِیْنَ مِنَ الْاَعْرَابِ سَتُدْعَوْنَ اِلٰی قَوْمٍ اُولِیْ بَاْسٍ شَدِیْدٍ تُقَاتِلُوْنَهُمْ اَوْ یُسْلِمُوْنَ ۚ   فَاِنْ تُطِیْعُوْا یُؤْتِكُمُ اللهُ اَجْرًا حَسَنًاۚ   وَ اِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا کَمَا تَوَلَّیْتُمْ مِّنْ قَبْلُ یُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا اَلِیْمًا

Say (O Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) to the Bedouins who lagged behind: “You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender. Then if you obey, Allah will give you a fair reward; but if you turn away as you did turn away before, He will punish you with a painful torment.”[60]

The relevant point in this verse with regard to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu being qualified for the khilafah is that those who called these Bedouins would call them after Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was gone, and that was Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhum. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhucalled them to fight the Byzantines, Persians and Turks. So it was obligatory to obey these three according to the text of the Qur’an, and if it was obligatory to obey them then their khilafah was valid.[61]

 

3. It was narrated that that Abu Musa radiya Llahu `anhu said:

أَنَّ النَّبِىَّ ﷺ دَخَلَ حَائِطًا ، وَأَمَرَنِىْ بِحِفْظِ بَابِ الْحَائِطِ ، فَجَاءَ رَجُلٌ ىَسْتَاْذِنُ فَقَالَ: ائْذَنْ لَهُ وَ بَشِّرْهُ بِالْجَنَّةِ.فَإِذَا أَبُوْبَكْرٍ ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ آخِرُ ىَسْتَاْذِنُ فَقَالَ: ائْذَنْ لَهُ وَ بَشِّرْهُ بِالْجَنَّةِ.فَإِذَا عُمَرُ ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ آخِرُ ىَسْتَاْذِنُ فَسَكَتَ هُنَىْهَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ: ائْذَنْ لَهُ وَ بَشِّرْهُ بِالْجَنَّةِ.عَلَي بَلْوَى سَتُصِىْبُهُ.فَإِذَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ عَفَّانَ

Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam entered a garden and told me to watch the gate of the garden. A man came and asked permission to enter, and he said: “Let him in and give him glad tidings of Paradise.” And that was Abu Bakr. Then another man came and asked permission to enter, and he said: “Let him in and give him glad tidings of Paradise.” And that was `Umar. Then another man came and asked permission to enter, and he said: “Let him in and give him glad tidings of Paradise for a calamity that will befall him.” And that was `Uthman ibn `Affan.[62]

This hadith points to the order of the first three khulafa’, and foretells a calamity that would befall `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu. This calamity befell him when he was besieged in his house, until he was killed unlawfully. So this hadith is one of the signs of nubuwwah and indicated that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu would be a martyr.[63]

 

4. Abu Dawud rahimahu Llah narrated with his isnad from Jabir ibn `Abd Allah radiya Llahu `anhu that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

أُرِيَ اللَّيْلَةَ رَجُلٌ صَالِحٌ أَنَّ أَبَابَكْرٍ نِيْطَ بِرَسُوْلِ اللهِ ﷺ وَ نِىْطَ عُمَرُ بِأبِيْ بَكْرٍ وَ نِىْطَ عُثْمَانُ بِعُمَرَ

Last night a righteous man was shown (in a dream) that Abu Bakr was tied to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and `Umar was tied to Abu Bakr, and `Uthman was tied to `Umar.

Jabir radiya Llahu `anhu said: When we left the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, we said:

As for the righteous man, that was the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and as for their being tied to one another, they will be in charge of this matter with which Allah has sent His Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.[64]

 

5. Abu `Abd Allah al-Hakim narrated with his isnad that Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam say:

إِنَّهَا سَتَكُوْنُ فِتْنَةٌ وَاخْتِلَافٌ أَوِ اخْتِلَافٌ وَ فِتْنَةٌ ، قَالَ : قُلْنَا: يَا رَسُوْلَ اللّٰهِ ، فَمَا تَاْمُرُنَا؟ قَالَ: عَلَىْكُمْ بِا لْأَمِيْنِ وَ أَصْحَابِهِ

There will be turmoil and conflict – or conflict and turmoil. We said: “O Rasul of Allah, what do you command us to do?” He said: “Be with the trustworthy one and his companions.”

And he pointed to `Uthman.[65]

This hadith is an evident miracle of the Rasul and points to the truth of his nubuwwah, as it foretells the turmoil that would occur during the khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu and it happened as it was foretold. The hadith also indicates that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was a legitimate khalifah, as Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam commanded the people to rally around `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu: when there arose turmoil and conflict with the khalifah and leader, he commanded them to unite around him and stay with him, because he would be following the truth, whereas those who rebelled against him would be following falsehood, deviancy, whims and desires. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam testified that he (`Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu) would be adhering to the truth and would not depart from it. [66]

 

6. Abu `Isa al-Tirmidhi narrated with his isnad going back to `A`ishah radiya Llahu `anha that Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

يَا عُثْمَانُ! إِنَّهُ لَعَلَّ اللّٰهَ يُقَمِّصُكَ قَمِيْصًا فَإِنْ أَرَادُوْكَ عَلَي خَلْعِهِ فَلَا تَخْلَعْهُ لَهُمْ

O `Uthman, Allah may give you a garment to wear, and if they want you to take it off, do not take it off for them.[67]

In this hadith the khilafah is likened to a garment, and the fact that he mentions that some people will want him to take it off is like a nomination, as if he is saying: Allah will make you khalifah, so if the people want to depose you, do not depose yourself for their sake, because you will be following truth whilst they will be following falsehood.[68]

 

7. Al-Tirmidhi narrated with his isnad that Abu Sahlah said:

`Uthman said to me on the day when he was besieged: “The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam gave me some advice and I am going to adhere to it.”[69]

The advice given was not to give up the khilafah, as he said:

فَإِنْ أَرَادُوْكَ عَلىَ خَلْعِهِ فَلَا تَخْلَعْهُ َلهُمْ

If they want you to take it off, do not take it off for them.[70]

The words I am going to adhere to it mean I am going to follow that advice.

 

8. Abu `Abd Allah al-Hakim narrated with his isnad going back to Abu Sahlah, the freed slave of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

 

Call for me – or I wish there was here with me – one of my Sahabah. She said: “I said: Abu Bakr?” He said: “No.” I said: “`Umar?” He said: “No.” I said: “Your cousin `Ali?” He said: “No.” I said: “Then `Uthman?” He said: “Yes.” So `Uthman came and he said (to `A`ishah): “Get up (and leave us).” Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam started whispering to `Uthman and his colour changed. He (the narrator) said: “Then when the day of the siege came, we said: ‘Will you not fight?’” He said: “The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam gave me some advice and I will adhere to it.”[71]

 

This hadith and the one before it both point to the legitimacy of `Uthman’s radiya Llahu `anhu khilafah. Whoever rejects his khilafah and does not believe that he is one of the people of Paradise and martyrs, and speaks disrespectfully of him; is beyond the pale of faith and Islam.[72]

 

9. Another indication of the legitimacy of his khilafah is the report narrated by al-Bukhari with his isnad from Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu who said:

At the time of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam we did not regard anyone as equal to Abu Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthman, then after that we left the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and did not differentiate between them.[73]

This indicates that Allah had instilled in their hearts the order of khulafa’ which He had ordained for after His Rasul’s salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam demise.[74] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

 

This hadith tells us what the Sahabah believed at the time of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that Abu Bakr was the best, then `Umar, then `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhum. It was narrated that the Rasul heard about that and did not deny it. So this superiority is proven by the text, and even if that were not the case, it would still be proven by the attitude of the Muhajirin and Ansar at the time of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam without any disapproval on his part, and by their attitude when `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu passed away, as they all swore allegiance to `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu without any materialistic motive and without fear, and no one disagreed with his being appointed khalifah.[75]

 

All the texts that we have quoted here offer strong evidence that the khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was legitimate and there is no doubt concerning that and no conflict among those who adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah, to whom nothing brings greater joy than adhering to them, namely Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama`ah. Every Muslim is required to believe that the khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was legitimate and he must accept fully the texts which indicate that.[76]

 

Consensus concerning the khilafah of `Uthman

The Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and those who came after them and followed their way, Ahl al-Sunnah wa l- Jama`ah, are agreed that `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu was the most qualified of people to become khalifah after `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu, and no one objected or disagreed with that. Rather they all submitted to that because he was the best of Allah’s creation after the two Shuyukh Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhum, and a number of scholars of hadith and others narrated that there was consensus on the legitimacy of `Uthman’s radiya Llahu `anhu khilafah after `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. These reports include the following[77] :

1. The report of Ibn Abi Shaybah with his isnad going back to Harith ibn Mudarrib who said:

I performed hajj during the khilafah of `Umar and they did not doubt that the khilafah would pass to `Uthman after him.[78]

 

2. Abu Na`im al-Asbahani narrated with his isnad going back to Hudhayfah that he said:

I was standing with `Umar, my knee touching his knee and he said: “Who do you think the people will appoint?” I said: “The people have already decided on Ibn `Affan.”[79]

 

3. Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi narrated that Sharik ibn `Abd Allah al-Qadi radiya Llahu `anhu said:

 

Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam passed away and the Muslims appointed Abu Bakr as his successor; if they had known that there was anyone better than him among them, then they would have deceived (the ummah, by doing that). Then Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu appointed `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu as his successor and he was a man of truth and justice. When he was dying, he delegated the matter (of succession) to a council of six men, who agreed on `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu. If they had known that there was anyone better than him among them, then they would have deceived us (by doing that).[80]

 

All these reports clearly indicate that it was well established among the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu was more qualified to succeed to the khilafah when `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu was still alive, because they already knew and had learned from the texts which spoke of his position in the order (of khulafa’) that he would become khalifah after `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, and because they knew that he was the best of all the people after Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma.[81]

4. Ibn Sa`d narrated with his isnad going back to al-Nazzal ibn Subrah radiya Llahu `anhu who said:

`Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud said, when `Uthman was appointed as khalifah: “We have appointed as khalifah the best of those who are left, and we did not fail to select the best.”[82]

 

5. Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Za`farani said:

I heard al-Shafi`i say: “The people were unanimously agreed on the khilafah of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, and Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu appointed `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu as his successor, then he delegated a council of six men to appoint one of their number, and they appointed `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu.[83]

Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Maqdisi narrated some words which he attributed to Imam al-Shafi`i:

You should know that the rightful ruler after `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu was `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu. That is because the members of the shura council delegated the task of choosing the khalifah to `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu and he chose `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, and the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum were unanimously agreed on that. The people approved of what `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu did, and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu led the people in the path of truth and ruled with justice until he was martyred.[84]

 

6. Ibn Taymiyyah narrated that Imam Ahmad said:

They did not all agree to swear allegiance to anyone as they all agreed to swear allegiance to `Uthman.[85]

 

7. Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari said:

The khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu after `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu is proven because he was chosen by the members of the shura council who were appointed by `Umar Taymiyah. They chose him and approved of his leadership, and they were unanimously agreed about his virtue and justice.[86]

 

8. `Uthman al-Sabuni said, explaining the belief of the salaf and of the scholars of hadith concerning the order of the khulafa’, after mentioning that they said that the khilafah of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu came first, then `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, then came the khilafah of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu by the consensus of the shura council and all the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and with their approval, thus he became the khalifah who was in charge.[87]

 

9. Ibn Taymiyyah said:

 

All the Muslims swore allegiance to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu and no one held back. When the prominent people and people of authority and power swore allegiance to him, he became the ruler. If `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu had sworn allegiance to him but `Ali and other prominent and powerful Sahabah had not done so, he would not have become the ruler. But `Umar appointed six men to the shura council – `Uthman, `Ali, Talhah, Zubayr , Sa`d and `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhum, then Talhah, Zubayr and Sa`d radiya Llahu `anhum withdrew from the race willingly, leaving `Uthman, `Ali and `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhum, who did not withdraw but he was delegated to select one of the other two. For three days during which `Abd al-Rahman swore that he did not sleep much, he consulted the first Muslims and those who had followed them in truth. He consulted the commanders of the troops who had gone for hajj with `Umar that year.

The Muslims suggested to him that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu should be appointed khalifah, and he said that they all favoured `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, so they swore allegiance to him, not because of something that he gave them or because they were afraid of him. Hence more than one of the salaf and A’immah, such as Ayub al-Sakhtiyani, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al- Daraqutni and others said: “Whoever prefers `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu has thought badly of the Muhajirin and Ansar. This is another sign of `Uthman’s superiority, because they appointed him as their leader willingly and on the basis of shura.”[88]

10. Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah narrated that there was consensus among the Sahabah about the appointment of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu as khalifah and he reported that the members of the shura council delegated the matter to `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu, for him to work out for the Muslims who was the best of them to be appointed to this position. He asked those whom he could ask of the shura council members, and others, and they did not suggest anyone but `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu. He said to `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu: “If I do not appoint you, who do you suggest?” He said: “`Uthman.” And he said to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu: “If I do not appoint you, who do you suggest?” He said: “`Ali ibn Abi Talib.” It seems that this was before the matter was limited to three people and `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu withdrew from the race in order to choose the best candidate.

Then `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu began to consult the people about these two and he collected the opinions of both the ordinary Muslims and their leaders, consulting them in groups and individually, secretly and openly, even consulting the women in seclusion from behind their curtains and asking the children in their schools. He even asked the travellers and Bedouin who came to Madinah during those three days. He did not get much sleep, rather he spent his time in prayer and supplication, seeking guidance and asking wise people. He did not find anyone suggesting that anyone was better than `Uthman ibn `Affan radiya Llahu `anhu.

On the fourth day after the demise of `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu, he came to the house of his nephew Miswar ibn Makhramah and told him to call `Ali and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma for him. So he called them and they came to `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu. He told them that he had asked the people and he did not find anyone who suggested that anyone was better than either of them, then he took a solemn promise from each of them that if he was appointed he would be just, and if he was not appointed, that he would hear and obey.

Then he went out to the masjid, wearing the head cover that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had put on him and with a sword by his side. He sent for the most prominent people among the Muhajirin and Ansar, and the call went out to the people at large: Al-Salat Jami`ah (prayer is about to begin). The masjid filled with people and was so crowded that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu could not find a place to sit except at the back, and he was a very shy man. `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf radiya Llahu `anhu ascended the mimbar of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam where he stood for a long time and said a lengthy du`a that the people could not hear. Then he spoke and said: “O people, I have asked you secretly and openly about your leader, and I did not find suggesting that anyone was better than either of these two men, `Ali and `Uthman. Come here, O `Ali.” He came and stood beneath the mimbar, and then `Abd al-Rahman radiya Llahu `anhu took him by the hand and said: “Will you swear allegiance to me in accordance with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Rasul and the deeds of Abu Bakr and `Umar?” He said: By Allah, no, but on the basis of my efforts and ability (i.e., I will do my best). He let go of his hand and said: “Come here, O `Uthman.” He took him by the hand and said: “Will you swear allegiance to me in accordance with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Rasul and the deeds of Abu Bakr and `Umar?” He said: “By Allah, yes.” He looked up at the ceiling of the masjid, still holding `Uthman’s radiya Llahu `anhu hand, and said:” O Allah, listen and bear witness; O Allah, listen and bear witness; O Allah listen and bear witness. O Allah that which was on my shoulders I place on the shoulders of `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu.” The people crowded around, swearing their allegiance to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, until they surrounded him beneath the mimbar.

`Abd al-Rahman sat down where the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam used to sit and `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu sat beneath him on the second step, and the people came to him and swore allegiance to him, and `Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu `anhu swore allegiance to him first – or it was said that he was the second to do so.[89]

 

These reports, all of which mention the consensus of all these leaders, offer definitive proof that the oath of allegiance to `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu as khalifah was done with the consensus of all the Sahabah and no one disagreed or objected to that.[90]

 

Ruling on preferring `Ali over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma

The view of Ahl al-Sunnah is that the one who prefers `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu over Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma is a misguided innovator, and the one who prefers `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu is mistaken, but they did not regard him as misguided or an innovator[91], although one of the scholars spoke harshly about the one who prefers `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, as he said:

The one who prefers `Ali over `Uthman is claiming that the Sahabah of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam betrayed the trust when they chose `Uthman over `Ali.[92]

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

 

Ahl al-Sunnah are agreed that `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu is of a higher status, although this issue — the issue of `Uthman and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhuma — is not a fundamental issue such that the one who differs concerning it is regarded as misguided, according to the majority of Ahl al-Sunnah. The issue concerning which the one who differs is regarded as is misguided is the issue of khilafah. That is because they believe that the khalifah after the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was Abu Bakr, then `Umar, then `Uthman, then `Ali radiya Llahu `anhum, and whoever criticised the khilafah of any of these leaders is more misguided than his people’s donkey.[93]

 

He mentioned the comments of the scholars about the issue of preferring `Ali over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma, concerning which there are two reports:

The first is that this is not acceptable. The one who prefers `Ali over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma has transgressed beyond the Sunnah and introduced an innovation, because he disagreed with the consensus of the Sahabah. Hence it was said that the one who prefers `Ali over `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhuma has thought badly of the Muhajirin and Ansar. This was narrated from more than one scholar, including Ayub al-Sakhtiyani, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and al-Daraqutni.

The second view is that the one who prefers `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu is not to be regarded as an innovator, because `Uthman and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhuma are so close in status.[94]

 

[1]Al-Khalifah al-Faruq `Umar ibn al-Khattab by al-`Ani, p. 161

[2]Awwaliyyah al-Faruq, p. 124; Fath al-Bari, 13/208

[3]Awwaliyyah al-Faruq, p. 124

[4]Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 7/142

[5]Al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidin by al-Khalidi, p. 98

[6]Al-Khilafah wa al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun by al-Bahnasawi, p. 213

[7]Ashhar Mashahir al-Islam fi aI-Harb wa al Siyasah, p. 648

[8]Al-Tabaqat by Ibn Sa`d, 3/364

[9]Al-Tabaqat, 3/342

[10]Muslim, no.1852, 3/1480

[11]Tarikh al-Tabari, 5/226

[12]Tarikh al-Tabari, 5/226

[13]Marwiyat Abu Mikhnaf fi Tarikh al-Tabari, by Dr. Yahya al-Yahya, p. 175

[14]Al-Tabaqat, 3/342

[15]Marwiyat Abu Mikhnaf fi Tarikh al-Tabari, p. 176

[16]Tarikh al-Tabari, 5/225

[17]  op. cit., 2/225

[18]  op. cit., 5/225

[19]Al-Madinah al-Nabawiyyah – Fajr al-Islam wa al-`Asr al-Rashidi (2/97)

[20]  ibid.

[21]  ibid

[22]  Nizam al Hukm fi al-Shari`ah al-Islami, by Zafir al Qasimi, 1/227,228

[23]  op. cit., 1/229

[24] Awwaliyyah al-Faruq by Dr. Ghaib `Abd al-Kafi al-Qurashi, p. 127

[25]Al-Tabaqat by ibn Sa`d, 3/339; al-Bayan wa al-Tabyin by al-Jahiz, 2/46, Jamhurat Khutab al-`Arab, 1/263-265; al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, 2/210; al-Khalifah al-Faruq `Umar ibn al-Khattab by al-`Ani, p. 171, 172

[26]  Al-ldarah al-Islamiyyah fi `Asr `Umar ibn al-Khattab, p. 381

[27]  `Uthman ibn `Affan by Sadiq `Arjun, p. 62,63

[28]  Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, no. 3700

[29]  ibid

[30]Al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun by al-khalidi, p. 106,107

[31]Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Ahkam, no. 7207

[32]Shahid al-Dar `Uthman ibn `Affan, by Ahmad al-Khuruf, p. 37

[33]Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Ahkam, no. 7207

[34]Al-Tamhid wa al-Bayan, p. 26

[35]  `Uthman ibn `Affan by Sadiq `Arjun, p. 70,71

[36]Majallah al-Buhuth al-Islamiyyah, issue no. 10, p. 225

[37]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, by Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi, 1/86

[38]Dirasah fi `Ahd al-Nubuwwah wa al-Khilafah al-Rashidah, p. 278

[39]Al-Dhari`ah ila Tasanif al-Shi`ah, 14/246

[40]Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra by Ibn Sa`d, 3/63 and 3/67

[41]  op. cit., 3/340

[42]Ansab al-Ashraf by al-Baladhuri, 5/18,19

[43]  op. cit., 9/15

[44]Athr al-Tashayyu’ `ala al-Riwayah al-Tarikhiyyah, p. 322

[45]  ibid

[46]  ibid.

[47]  op. cit., 6/5

[48]Athr al-Tashayyu’ `ala al-Riwaya al-Tarikhiyyah by Dr. `Abd al-`Aziz Nur, p. 321. This is the main source for this section.

[49]Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, 9/49,50-58

[50]  Sahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3/220, no. 3752

[51]Al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, no. 3780

[52]Minhaj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Taymiyah, 6/271,272

[53]Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, 3/127

[54]Al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidin by Amin al-Qadah, p. 78, 79

[55]  Surah al Fath: 10

[56]Marwiyat Abi Mikhnaf p. 179

[57]`Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah fi al-Sahabah, 2/656

[58]  Surah al-Nur: 55

[59]  ibid

[60]  Surah al-Fath: 16

[61]Al-Fasl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal, 4/109,110

[62]Al-Bukhari, no. 3695

[63] `Aqidah Ahl al Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah fi al-Sahabah, 2/657

[64]Sunan Abi Dawud, (4636) 2/513

[65]Al-Mustadrak, 3/99; he said: this hadith has a sahih isnad although they (al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not narrate it; and al-Dhahabi agreed with him.

[66]`Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah fi al-Sahabah ,2/660

[67]Fada’il al-Sahabah, 1/613; its isnad is Sahih, Al-Tirmidhi (3705)

[68]Al-Din al-khalis by Muhammad Siddiq Hasan al-Qanuhi, al-Bukhari, 3/446

[69]Al-Din al-Khalis, 3/446

[70]Fada’il al Sahabah, 1/605 – its isnad is Sahih; al-Tirmidhi, 5/295

[71]Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi, by Muhammad `Abd al-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, 10/209 al-Tirmidhi, (3705)

[72]Fada’il al-Sahabah, 1/605 -its isnad is Sahih; al-Mustadrak, 3/99-the hadith has a Sahih isnad although they (al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not narrate it, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him.

[73]Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, no. 3698

[74]`Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah, 2/664

[75]Manhaj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Taymiyah, 3/165

[76]  `Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama`ah fi al Sahabah al-Kiram by Dr. Nasir ibn `Ali `Ayid Hasan al-Shaykh, 2/664

[77]  op. cit., 2/665

[78] Al-Musannaf, 14/665

[79]Kitab al-Imamah wa al-Radd `ala al-Rafidah, p. 306

[80] Mizan al-l`tidal fi Naqd al-Rijal, by Muhammad ibn `Uthman al-Dhahabi, 2/273

[81]`Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah fi al-Sahabah al- Kiram, by Dr. Nasir ibn `Ali `Ayid, 2/666

[82]Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra’, 3/63

[83]Manaqib al-Shafi`i by al-Bayhaqi, 1/434,435

[84]Al-Radd `ala al-Rafidah, p. 319, 320

[85]Manhaj al-Sunnah, 3/166; al-Sunnah by al-Khallal, p. 320

[86]Al-Inabah `an Usul al-Diyanah, p. 68

[87]`Aqidah al-Salaf wa Ashab al-Hadith dimna al-Risalah al-Minbariyyah, 1/139

[88]Minhaj al Sunnah ,1/134

[89]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/159-161

[90]  `Aqidah Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah fi al-Sahabah al-Karam, by Dr. Nasir ibn `Ali `Ayid, 2/671

[91]Majmu` al-Fatawa, 3/101, 102

[92]Huqbah min al-Tarikh by `Uthman al-Khamis, p. 66

[93]Majmu` al-Fatawa, 3/101,102

[94]  op. cit., 4/367