Discussion Four: Financial Gifts for Relatives

Discussion Three: The Shar’i perspective of nepotism and analysing this issue in the light of historical details.
November 19, 2019
Discussion Five: The Final Stages of the ‘Uthmani Era and related discussions
November 21, 2019

BACK Return to Table of contents

 

Discussion Four

Financial Gifts for Relatives

 

In the previous discussions, the relatives of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu being appointed to offices was explained. In the fourth discussion, the object is to focus on the monetary gifts to his relatives.

The critics of the ‘Uthmani era have leveled a number of accusations in this regard. They write that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave his relatives wealth from the Muslim treasury in non-permissible ways, he distributed the wealth unequally, and gave stipends to his relatives without right, which caused hatred in the hearts of the people for him.

Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli al Shia writes:

و كان يؤثر أهله بالأموال الكثيرة من بيت مال المسلمين إلخ

He would favour his family with abundant wealth from the Bayt al Mal of the Muslims.[1]

The critics have propagated this allegation regarding Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a very sly manner, saying that it was the demand of maintaining family ties, which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala commands. They say: Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu would state that Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma discarded their monetary right from the Bayt al Mal whereas he took it and distributed it among his close relatives. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu would say that Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma prevented themselves and their relatives from this wealth, while he on the other hand interpreted it as maintaining family ties. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu would say that Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma obtained rewards by preventing wealth from their relatives while he on the other hands obtains rewards by giving this wealth to his relatives.

These objections have been deduced from these types of narrations:

محمد بن عمر الواقدي محمد بن عبد الله عن الزهري قال لما ولى عثمان … و أعطى أقرباءه المال و تأول في ذلك الصلة التي أمر الله بها و اتخذ الأموال  استسلف من بيت المال و قال إن أبا بكر و عمر من بيت المال تركا من ذلك ما هو لهما و إني أخذته فقسمته في أقربائي فأنكر الناس عليه ذلك

Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi―from Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah from al Zuhri who relates:

When ‘Uthman assumed the caliphate… he gave wealth to his relatives and interpreted it by attributing it to maintaining family ties which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala commanded. He took the wealth and borrowed from the Bayt al Mal. He said, “Indeed Abu Bakr and ‘Umar left their right of the Bayt al Mal while I took it and distributed it among my relatives.” People objected to him for this practice.[2]

 

  1. A statement of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reported which has the same meaning and subject matter as the above. It is reported from Miswar ibn Makhramah and the narrator is al Waqidi.[3]

 

و قال أبو مخنف و الواقدي في روايتهما أنكر الناس على عثمان … فقال إن له قرابة و رحما قالوا أفما كان لأبي بكر و عمر قرابة و ذو رحم فقال إن أبا بكر و عمر كانا يحتسبان في منع قرابتهما و أنا أحتسب في إعطاء قرابتي

Abu Mikhnaf and al Waqidi say in their narration:

People objected to ‘Uthman. He said, “He has relatives and family.”

They said, “Did Abu Bakr and ‘Umar not have relatives and family?”

He replied, “Indeed, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar would anticipate reward in preventing (wealth) form their relatives while I anticipate reward in giving my relatives (wealth).”[4]

 

In light of narrations like the above, the critics have levelled the above accusations against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. These reports are just samples, which we have reported with its chain of narration. The scholars by looking at them, would have understood properly their level of reliability. We clarify for the benefit of the general readers that these types of narrations, which are the foundation of the allegation, are the work of oppressive narrators like al Waqidi and Abu Mikhnaf, who are infamous liars and deceivers in the science of hadith. Spreading these types of reports against the noble Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum exposes their innate nature. They are matruk (suspected of hadith forgery) according to the scholars.[5] The accusations against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu are therefore based on fabricated reports, and are thus baseless.

Note: The above reports are presented by the critics as a rule of thumb for this accusation. We have briefly examined them and we will soon scrutinise them rationally.

The narrations which speak of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gifting wealth to his family members together with their names will now be presented in sequence. Thereafter, their chains of narrators and their texts will be examined so that the reality of this accusation is clarified before the readers, who will soon realise that it is a corrupt accusation based on a corrupt report and that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not commit any wrong and did not act contrary to the Shari’ah. The objectionable reports will be presented followed by their examination, Allah willing.

 

Reports of Gifting Wealth to the Relatives of ‘Uthman

The critics present a list of Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu relatives (who were given gifts). We will now list a few of their names and the wealth given to them with some detail, which will reveal the reality of the allegation.

 

Marwan ibn al Hakam and the Family of al Hakam

  1. Al Baladhuri has mentioned the following incident from Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in his famous book, Ansab al Ashraf:

 

عن الواقدي عن أسامة بن زيد بن أسلم عن نافع مولى الزبير عن عبد الله بن الزبير … فأعطى عثمان مروان بن الحكم خمس الغنائم إلخ

Al Waqidi―from Usamah ibn Zaid ibn Aslam―from Nafi’, the freed slave of Zubair―from ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair:

(Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu despatched us under the leadership of ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh to conquer Africa. ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d obtained a handsome booty.)

‘Uthman gave a fifth of the booty to Marwan.[6]

 

  1. Al Baladhuri has reported the second narration via Umm Bakr bint al Miswar ibn Makhramah:

 

عن الواقدي عن عبد الله بن جعفر عن أم بكر بنت المسور عن المسور … فأعطاك ابن عفان خمس أفرقية إلخ

Al Waqidi―from ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar―from Umm Bakr bint al Miswar―from Miswar:

Ibn ‘Affan gave a fifth of Africa to you.[7]

 

  1. The third narration of al Baladhuri reads:

 

عن لوط بن يحيى أبي مخنف عمن … حدثه قال كان عبد الله بن سعد بن أبي سرح أخا عثمان من الرضاعة و عامله على المغرب فغزا أفريقية سنة سبع و عشرين فافتتحها و كان معه مروان بن الحكم فابتاع خمس الغنيمة بمائة ألف أو مائتي ألف دينار فكلم عثمان فوهبها له فأنكر الناس ذلك على عثمان

Lut ibn Yahya Abu Mikhnaf―from the one who reported to him who said:

‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh was ‘Uthman’s foster brother. He appointed him governor over Morocco. ‘Abdullah attacked Africa in the 27th year and conquered it. Marwan ibn al Hakam was with him. He sold a fifth of the booty for 100 000 or 200 000 gold coins. He then spoke to ‘Uthman who gifted him this amount. People objected to ‘Uthman for this.[8]

 

  1. The narration of Tarikh al Tabari:

قال الواقدي … و كان الذي صالحهم عليه عبد الله بن سعد ثلثمائة قنطار ذهب فأمر بها عثمان لآل الحكم قلت أو لمروان قال لا أدري

Al Waqidi says:

‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d was responsible for reaching a compromise with them over 300 000 gold coins. ‘Uthman instructed that it be handed over to the family of Hakam.

I asked, “Or Marwan particularly.”

“I do not know,” he replied.[9]

 

Ibn Kathir has reported the same incident from al Waqidi with slight changes in the wording in al Bidayah:

 

قال الواقدي و صالحه بطريقها على ألفي ألف دينار و عشرين ألف دينار فأطلقها كلها عثمان في يوم واحد لآل الحكم و يقال لآل مروان

Al Waqidi says: He came to a compromise with them over 220 000 gold coins. ‘Uthman gave it all in one day to the family of Hakam, or it is said: the family of Marwan.[10]

 

Both these narrations clearly state that all the wealth acquired from the people of Africa (although there is disagreement in the actual amount) was given by Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the family of Hakam or the family of Marwan. Both of the books attribute the report to al Waqidi. Keep a mental note of this as more details will soon appear.

 

  1. The critics quote a narration from Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d as well which speaks of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu giving wealth to Marwan ibn al Hakam. It is mentioned therein:

أخبرنا محمد بن عمر (الواقدي) حدثني محمد بن عبد الله عن الزهري قال … و استعمل أقرباءه و أهل بيته … و كتب لمروان بخمس مصر و أعطى أقرباءه المال إلخ

Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi informed us―Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah narrated to me―from al Zuhri:

He appointed his relatives and family members as office bearers. He decreed the fifth of Egypt for Marwan and he gave wealth to his relatives.[11]

 

This is also the narration of al Waqidi.

This very narration of Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d appears in al Baladhuri’s Ansab al Ashraf with the wording:

 

 و كتب لمروان بن الحكم بخمس أفريقية و أعطى أقاربه المال

He stipulated the fifth of Africa for Marwan ibn al Hakam and gave wealth to his relatives.[12]

 

This narration of al Baladhuri is also from al Waqidi. Basically, both the narrations of Tabaqat ibn Sa’d and Ansab al Ashraf are from al Waqidi. At one place he mentions the fifth of Egypt while in the other book the fifth of Africa is recorded. (This is clear contradiction.) This is since the Conquest of Egypt took place many years prior to that; in the year 20 or 21 A.H. in the Faruqi era. To take out a fifth from the wealth of Egypt now in the ‘Uthmani era is not possible at all.

 

  1. Al Baladhuri mentions yet another narration:

 

عن الواقدي عن عبد الله بن جعفر عن أم بكر عن أبيها قالت قدمت إبل الصدقة على عثمان فوهبها للحارث بن الحكم بن أبي العاص

Al Waqidi―from ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar―from Umm Bakr―from her father. She explains:

The zakat camels arrived by ‘Uthman who gifted them to Harith ibn al Hakam ibn Abi al ‘As.[13]

Harith ibn al Hakam is Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu cousin.

 

Sa’id ibn al ‘As

و قال أبو مخنف و الواقدي في روايتهما أنكر الناس على عثمان أعطى سعيد بن العاص مائة ألف درهم فكلمه علي و الزبير و طلحة إلخ

Abu Mikhnaf and al Waqidi have said in their reports:

People objected to ‘Uthman for giving Sa’id ibn al ‘As 100 000 dirhams. ‘Ali, Zubair, and Talhah spoke to him in this regard.[14]

This is yet another spectacle of al Waqidi and Lut ibn Yahya Abu Mikhnaf.

 

Narrations of this type may be located in other historical compilations, but we have sufficed on seven as samples, coupled with clear mention of their narrators. Hereafter, they will be briefly scrutinised which will reveal the baselessness of this objection.

 

Examination of the Chain of Narrators

We have presented a few reports before the readers from which the objection of favouritism of relatives with wealth is levelled against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

The first three reports are listed as the basis. Their chains are examined. All three of them are reported from al Waqidi and Abu Mikhnaf Lut ibn Yahya. Both these narrators are severely criticised. Citations will be quoted shortly. Thereafter, those reports were listed which clearly mention the names of the relatives who received wealth from Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. There are 7 reports all in all. Some are narrated by al Waqidi alone while others are narrated by him and Lut ibn Yahya Abu Mikhnaf and one narration is only from the latter.

The masters of hadith have presented a detailed criticism of these two narrators. Previously, their examination and scrutiny has been mentioned while mentioning aspects pertaining to ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh and the answer to the second misconception on Marwan.

Nonetheless, we present the criticism of both these narrators before the readers so that the baselessness of these reports may be evident.

 

Al Waqidi

His name is Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn Waqid al Aslami al Waqidi.

  • Ahmed ibn Hambal said, “He is a kadhab (liar). He changes ahadith.”
  • Ibn Ma’in said, “His ahadith should not be recorded.”
  • Al Bukhari labelled him matruk (suspected of hadith forgery).
  • Abu Hatim and al Nasa’i said, “He fabricates hadith.”[15]
  • Al Dhahabi said in al Mughni, “There is unanimity on discarding him.”
  • Al Nasa’i said, “He would concoct ahadith.”[16]
  • Ibn Hibban says, “He would narrate twisted narrations from reliable narrators and concoctions on the strength of trustworthy men.”
  • Ahmed ibn Hambal rahimahu Llah would declare him a liar.
  • Al Madini says, “Al Waqidi fabricates hadith.”[17]
  • Ibn Hajar declares in al Lisan, “He is matruk, despite his vast knowledge.”[18]

 

In short, those reports which al Waqidi is the only reporter of are not fit for proof.

 

Abu Mikhnaf Lut ibn Yahya

His name is Lut ibn Yahya and his agnomen is Abu Mikhnaf. He is an Akhbari (story-teller). The scholars write:

  • Lut ibn Yahya Abu Mikhnaf is an akhbari who is unreliable.
  • Abu Hatim and others have regarded him as matruk (suspected of hadith forgery).
  • Al Daraqutni says, “Weak.”
  • Yahya ibn Ma’in states, “He is not reliable.”
  • He said once, “He is worthless.”
  • Ibn ‘Adi says, “An antagonistic Shia. The reporter of their tales.”
  • Abu Mikhnaf Lut ibn Yahya is destroyed.
  • He is unreliable.
  • Weak.
  • Worthless.
  • An antagonistic Shia.
  • The reporter of their tales.[19]

 

In short, narrators of this kind who have been so clearly criticised, relying on their reports is totally wrong. Their reports can never be regarded to be correct.

 

Other reports on the Monetary Gifts of the Fifth of Africa and others

It appears in history books that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the fifth of Africa to his foster brother, ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh (which was the right of the Bayt al Mal). It also appears in historical reports that ‘Abdullah ibn Khalid ibn Usayd and Marwan were given plenty wealth at once from the Bayt al Mal. The critics accuse Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of distributing the wealth of the Bayt al Mal unfairly and giving his relatives large sums of money in an impermissible manner.

 

Answer

a. Firstly, these are historical reports, which may be authentic or inauthentic. Reports which are probable can never be given the status of sahih ahadith.

b. Secondly, the scholars have examined such type of reports and declared them inauthentic and questionable. Therefore, relying on their authenticity is incorrect.

For example, Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi states:

و أما إعطاءه خمس أفريقية لواحد فلم يصح

With regards him gifting the fifth of Africa to one individual, this is incorrect.[20]

Shah Waliyyullah writes in Izalat al Khafa’:

 

أما قصص رکیکہ کہ اہل تاریخ بغیر تحقیق ذکر می کںد از اسراف در بیت المال و حمى ساختن شجر و غیر آں چوں بعض محض منقریات است و بعض ازاں قبیل کہ در سرد قصہ افترا داخل شدہ اوقات خود را بتسوید اوراق بآں قصہا مشغول نمی سازیم

The historians have, without research, recorded narratives of incorrect expenditure of the funds of the Bayt al Mal. Some of these are fabrications and lies while others have been mixed with untruths. Therefore, we will not waste our time citing those reports.[21]

 

Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz has written in Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers):

 

و قصہ بخشیدن خمس افریقہ کہ بمروان ست نیز غلط محض ست

The story of the fifth of Africa been given to Marwan is totally erroneous.[22]

 

c. Even if the reports of the fifth of Africa are considered correct, its solution is found in the report of al Tabari. It states that after the objection, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu instructed ‘Abdullah to return the wealth to the Bayt al Mal. Some details of this will be presented below which will clear up the issue.

Al Tabari mentions regarding the Conquest of Africa:

The wealth Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala favoured the Muslims with in the Conquest of Africa was distributed by ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d among the warriors and soldiers. He took a fifth of the wealth and divided this fifth into five portions according to the rule. He took one of these portions and sent four portions with Ibn Wasimah al Nadri to Madinah al Munawwarah for Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

At the same time, a delegation reached Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and complained that ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d radiya Llahu ‘anhu took a fifth of the fifth. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu explained, “I have gifted him this amount above his allotted share. With regards to it, I promised him that he will be given a fifth of the fifth upon the conquest of Africa.”

 

و قد أمرت له بذلك و ذاك إليكم الآن فإن رضيتم فقد جاز و إن سخطتم فهو رد قالوا فإنا نسخطه قال فهو رد و كتب إلى عبد الله برد ذلك و استصلاحهم قالوا فاعزله عنا فإنا لا نريد أن يتأمر عليها و قد وقع ما وقع فكتب إليه أن استخلف على أفريقية رجلا ممن ترضى و يرضون و اقسم الخمس الذي كنت نفلتك في سبيل الله فإنهم قد سخطوا النفل ففعل و رجع عبد الله بن سعد إلى مصر و قد فتح أفريقية إلخ

“I had instructed him such. I now hand over the affair to you; if you are pleased then it is passed and if you are displeased, then it is cancelled.”

They said, “We are displeased.”

“Then it is cancelled,” he confirmed.

He wrote to ‘Abdullah to return this amount and make peace with them.

They said, “Dismiss him for we do not wish him to lead us when this has occurred.”

‘Uthman thus wrote to him, “Appoint over Africa a man whom you are pleased with and they are pleased with and distribute the fifth which I had originally given you as extra in the path of Allah for they are displeased with the extra.”

‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d acted accordingly and returned to Egypt after he conquered Africa.[23]

 

d. What appears in some reports of al Tabari of huge amounts of wealth been given to ‘Abdullah ibn Khalid ibn Usayd and Marwan ibn al Hakam, the answer to this is found in the following narration of al Tabari.

The report says that once some Sahabah (Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Muawiyah, Sayyidina Zubair, and others) were in the company of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Besides other matters, there was a dialogue on Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu giving wealth to his relatives. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu submitted, “The wealth that I have given to my relatives, according to my understanding, this action is correct.”

 

و رأيت ذلك لي فإن رأيتم ذلك خطأ فردوه فأمري لأمركم تبع قالوا أصبت و أحسنت قالوا أعطيت عبد الله بن خالد بن أسيد و مروان و كانوا يزعمون أنه أعطى مروان خمسة عشر ألفا و ابن أسيد خمسين ألفا فردوا منهما ذلك فرضوا و قبلوا و خرجوا راضين

“I feel this is my right. If you regard it as a mistake, then return the wealth. I will follow your orders.”

They said, “You have acted correctly and have done well.”

They said, “You gave ‘Abdullah ibn Khalid ibn Usayd and Marwan.” They felt that he gave Marwan 15 000 and Ibn Usayd 50 000. They thus took this wealth back. They were pleased, and accepted, and left happily.[24]

 

The above two narrations of al Tabari clarify that had Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu given an abundance of wealth to ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d, ‘Abdullah ibn Khalid, and Marwan, then after the objection, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu took the wealth back and the objectors were pleased with his action. Thus, this objection no more remains.

Note: The above reports of al Tabari have clarified the objection; hence, those historians who quote from al Tabari, for example Ibn Athir in al Kamil, Ibn Kathir in al Bidayah, and Ibn Khaldun is his Tarikh, etc., their objections at this instance have also been answered and there remains no need to present a separate answer for them. The reason is simple; these historians have reported from al Tabari and mentioned the same objections concerning the fifth of Africa.

 

e. If it is hypothetically accepted that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave his relatives or others gifts from the Bayt al Mal, then what is the level of the permissibility of this action? Is the caliphate sanctioned to give wealth to someone using his own discretion? Is the ijtihad of the khalifah correct or not?

We list a few points below to clarify this. By studying them carefully, these questions will be answered.

 

أنه قد ذهب مالك و جماعة إلى أن الإمام يرى رأيه في الخمس و ينفذ فيه ما أداه إليه اجتهاده و إن إعطاءه لواحد جائز

Malik and a group of jurists have viewed that the Imam may apply his discretion in the fifth and decree what his ijtihad determines. Moreover, his gifting one person is permissible.[25]

 

Burhan al Din al Tarabilisi al Hanafi has written in al Is’af fi Ahkam al Awqaf:

 

عن عبد العزيز بن محمد عن أبيه عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه أن عمر بن الخطاب قطع لعلي  ينبع ثم اشترى علي إلى قطيعته التي قطع له عمر أشياء فحفر فيها عينا فبيناهم يعملون إذ تفجر عليهم مثل العنق الجزور من الماء فأتى عليا فبشره هذا لك … و بلغ حدادها في زمن علي ألف وسق

From ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Muhammad―from his father―from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

‘Umar ibn al Khattab allocated Yanbu’ for ‘Ali. Subsequent to this, ‘Ali bought the pieces of land adjacent to the one ‘Umar had allotted for him. A spring was dug therein. While they were working, suddenly water resembling a gigantic camel sprung out. He came to ‘Ali and gave him glad tidings of this. Its produce had reached 100 wasaq during the lifetime of ‘Ali.[26]

 

Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted this gift wholeheartedly and no Sahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu objected to the same. Previously, this incident was mentioned in the Faruqi section of Ruhama’ Baynahum.

 

I. Similarly, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu during his caliphate gifted 20 000 dirhams at once to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu via his governor ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir after his return from Khorasan. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted it and no Sahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu objected to it.

فقال (عثمان) لابن عامر قبح الله رأيك أترسل إلى علي بثلاثة آلاف درهم قال كرهت أن أغرق و لم أدر ما رأيك قال فأغرق قال فبعث إليه بعشرين ألف درهم و ما يتبعها قال فراح علي إلى المسجد فانتهى إلى حلقته و هم يتذاكرون صلات ابن عامر هذا الحي من قريش فقال علي هو سيد فتيان قريش غير مدافع

‘Uthman told Ibn ‘Amir, “Your view was dishonourable! You sent only 3000 dirhams to ‘Ali?”

He submitted, “I disliked favouring one above another and I was unaware of your opinion.”

‘Uthman commanded, “Give more to him.”

Accordingly, he sent 20 000 dirhams to ‘Ali coupled with other presents.

Thereafter ‘Ali came to the Masjid and approached a circle who were speaking about the gifts of Ibn ‘Amir to the Quraysh tribe. ‘Ali announced, “He is the leader of the youth of the Quraysh. His declaration is undisputable.”[27]

This incident was cited in Ruhama Baynahum, section 3 (‘Uthmani), under the heading: the monetary rights of the family members of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

These two incidents clarify the issue that the khalifah of the time with his discretion may favour some individuals of the ummah with wealth and this action of his is correct in the Shari’ah. Otherwise, Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu acquisition of wealth in the above incidents will be incorrect and wrong, just as the gifts of both the khalifahs, whereas no one opts for this view.

II. Let it be made clear that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu giving wealth from the Bayt al Mal was not exclusive for his relatives or the Hashimites. Rather, all the adherents of Islam at the time received wealth from the Bayt al Mal. Shah Waliyyullah rahimahu Llah reports the following in his book Qurrat al ‘Aynayn. Ibn Kathir has also recorded the report as well as Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz in Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers):

عن الحسن البصري قال سمعت عثمان يخطب يقول يا أيها الناس ما تنقمون علي و ما من يوم إلا و أنتم تقسمون فيه خيرا قال الحسن و شهدت مناديه ينادي يا أيها الناس اغدوا على عطياتكم فيغدون فيأخذونها وافرة يا أيها الناس اغدوا على أرزاقكم فيغدون و يأخذونها وافرة حتى والله لقد سمعته أذناي يقول على كسوتكم فيأخذون الحلل و اغدوا على السمن و العسل إلخ

Hassan al Basri says: I heard ‘Uthman addressing the people saying, “O people, what do you hold against me? There is not a day except that you are dividing goodness therein.”

Hassan says, “I witnessed his announcer announcing, ‘O people, come get your stipends,’ and they would come and take fully. ‘O people, come take your sustenance,’ and they would come and take properly. To the extent that, by Allah, my own two ears heard him saying, ‘come take your clothes,’ and they would take sets of clothes. ‘And come take butter and honey.’”[28]

 

f. Even if the above is overlooked, then too worthy of note is that during the last days of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu caliphate, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave a lengthy address to the critics who objected to his giving of wealth (which is recorded by al Tabari).

He says therein:

و قالوا أني أحب أهل بيتي و أعطيهم فأما حبي فإنه لم يمل معهم على جور بل أحمل الحقوق عليهم و أما إعطاؤهم فإني أعطيهم من مالي و لا أستحل أموال المسلمين لنفسي و لا لأحد من الناس إلخ

They say that I love my family members and give them. With regards to my love for them, it did not divert me to oppression. Rather, I fulfil their rights. And as regards my giving them wealth, I give them from my personal wealth. I do not regard the wealth of the Muslims as permissible for myself nor for anyone else.[29]

 

I. Ibn Kathir has also quoted the following statement of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Bidayah:

ثم اعتذر عثمان عما كان يعطي أقرباءه بأنه من فضل ماله

‘Uthman then presented his excuse of his giving his relatives by asserting that it is from his surplus wealth.[30]

II. The historians (like al Tabari) have recorded this aspect in the biography of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he did not take any remuneration or salary from the Bayt al Mal of the Muslims. Instead he asserts:

والله ما آكله من مال المسلمين و لكني آكله من مالي أنت تعلم أني كنت أكثر قريش مالا و أجدهم في التجارة إلخ

By Allah, I do not eat from the wealth of the Muslims. Rather, I eat from my own wealth. You know that I was one of the most affluent men of Quraysh and the most successful in business.[31]

 

Rational Discussion

Now, a few logical points will be noted which will unearth the basis of this issue and expose the feebleness of the objection.

a) The first aspect is, was Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu unaware of the Shar’i angle of this issue (distribution of the wealth of the Muslims)? Was he ignorant of the rulings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in this regard? Was Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu oblivious of the difference of whether the demands of family ties ought to be met with wealth from the Bayt al Mal or one’s personal wealth? Did his knowledge not encompass the choices of distribution of wealth and the Shar’i limits of the same? Or despite his knowledge, did he act contrary?

A sincere Muslim ought to ponder over these aspects. Those who wish to soar above prejudice and reflect may do so and establish their honest opinion about the Rightly Guided Khalifah.

 

b) Secondly, relying on Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu trustworthiness, integrity, and truthfulness, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam declared his hand the hand of ‘Uthman and established the greatness of the hand of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Furthermore, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed the stamp of His happiness upon those who attended this pledge. The demand of the greatness of the hand of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that it will not distribute wealth contrary to the will of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the rulings of the Shari’ah.

The senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of the ummah (Sayyidina ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Zubair, Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhum) placed their hands upon this hand and pledged their allegiance to him as caliphate and accepted it with unanimity, with reliance on his integrity. Therefore, to attribute incorrect distribution of wealth to him is in itself erroneous. This hand would only distribute wealth with honesty.

In short, his selection in both these cases is a clear evidence of his firmness in din and full assurance of his honesty and trustworthiness. He is therefore correct and reliable in every religious action of his and he passed away upon this. Thus, the critics’ claim that he was mistaken in the issue of distribution of wealth is a direct attack on his honesty and integrity which is totally wrong.

 

c) Thirdly, the objection of the incorrect distribution of the fifth of Africa was raised in the year 27 or 28 A.H. (when Africa was conquered). Thereafter, in the year 30 A.H., the conquests of Khorasan, Tabaristan, and Jurjan took place. Senior Sahabah and senior Hashimites participated in these conquests, Sayyidina Hassan, Sayyidina Hussain, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair and others.

Had the distribution of the booty of the conquest of Africa been incorrect, then why did these luminaries not raise this objection to his distribution? And why did they participate silently in the conquests thereafter? If in the previous conquests, the laws of Shari’ah were violated when wealth was distributed, then it was binding upon them to first rectify it and then participate in the subsequent conquests. However, this did not happen.

Their actions have made it clear that no objection was raised in the distribution of the wealth of Africa, nor did any error take place. This is only the propaganda of some critics of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu which the historians have spread.

References to participation in battles appeared in Ruhama’ Baynahum, section 3, chapter 4 under the heading: the caliphate of ‘Uthman and Hashimites’ participation in Jihad. Have a look at the following references for details:

  • Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 57, the year 30 A.H.
  • Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 154, the year 30 A.H.

 

Conclusion of Discussion Four

The discussion on financial gifts has been addressed briefly. By observing with an eye of justice the following image appears:

  1. The reports from which the case of financial preferences were made, are generally the products of story tellers, deceits, and fabricators, from whom the historians have quoted. To rely on them and blemish the integrity of a Rightly Guided Khalifah is in no way correct.
  2. The incidents of gifting wealth which are correct, were not out of the limits of the Shari’ah and were done with the discretion of the khalifah. The clarifications of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu support this, and have been quoted.
  3. Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu academic level is extremely lofty. He is reckoned among the Fuqaha’ (jurists) of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He was a strong pillar of the consultations of the Siddiqi and Faruqi era. He was stationed on the pedestal of the Ahl al Hall wa al ‘Aqd (decision makers) in religious matters. Therefore, it can never be imagined regarding Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he was ignorant or unaware of the rulings of distribution of wealth. To envisage that he was aware of the rulings but did not practice upon them is even more ludicrous. Only his rivals can imagine such a ridiculous thing, no one else.
  4. In the matter of the distribution of the fifth of Africa, after looking at the conquests after that, this issue is resolved. The esteemed Sahabah (including the Hashimites) participating in the campaigns after Africa clarifies that no error was committed in the distribution of the fifth of Africa. Otherwise, how were they pleased with this open transgression and how did they assist upon sin and aggression?

 

The summary of the above is that the objections levelled against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of wrong distribution of wealth are all baseless. The wealth he gave to his relatives was permissible and correct according to the Shari’ah. The propaganda of him transgressing the limits of the Shari’ah is not real. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not commit any mistake in this regard for him to be accused and criticised.

 

NEXT⇒


[1] Minhaj al Karamah fi Ma’rifat al Imamah, pg. 67, the allegations against ‘Uthman, printed at the end of Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 4, new edition, Lahore.

[2] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 44, mention of the bay’ah to ‘Uthman, Leiden print; Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 25, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[3] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 44, mention of the bay’ah to ‘Uthman, Leiden print; Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 25, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[4] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 28, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[5] Mizan al I’tidal; Tahdhib al Tahdhib.

[6] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 27, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[7] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 28, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 50, the year 37 A.H., mention of the report of its conquer, the reason of ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d’s rulership over Egypt and ‘Uthman dismissing ‘Amr ibn al ‘As

[10] Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 152, then the year 27 A.H. entered, the Battle of Africa.

[11] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 44, mention of the bay’ah of ‘Uthman, Leiden print.

[12] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 25, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[13] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 28, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[14] Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 28, mention of what they objected to from the practice of ‘Uthman.

[15] Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 110, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 9 pg. 364 – 366, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi.

[16] Al Mughni, vol. 2 pg. 619, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi.

[17] Kitab al Majruhin, vol. 2 pg. 284, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn Waqid.

[18] Lisan al Mizan, vol. 6 pg. 852, al Waqidi Muhammad ibn ‘Umar.

[19] Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 2 pg. 360, under Lut ibn Yahya; Lisan al Mizan, vol. 4 pg. 492, under Lut ibn Yahya.

[20] Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 100 – 101, answers to objection 13.

[21] Izalat al Khafa’, maqsad 2, pg. 248, answers to ‘Uthmani allegations, first edition, Bareli.

[22] Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), pg. 311, third allegation against ‘Uthman, new edition, Lahore.

[23] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 49, the year 27 A.H., mention of the report of its conquer, the reason of ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d’s rulership over Egypt and ‘Uthman dismissing ‘Amr ibn al ‘As.

[24] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 101, the year 35 A.H.

[25] Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 100 – 101, answers to objection 13.

[26] Al Is’af fi Ahkam al Awqaf, pg. 7 – 8; year of author 905 A.H.; Wafa’ al Wafa’, vol. 4 pg. 1334, section 8, under the word Yanbu’, Beirut print.

[27] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 5 pg. 33, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir, Leiden print.

[28] Qurrat al ‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al Sheikhayn, pg. 271 – 272, answer to the objections against the sons-in-law; al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 213, section on a brief biography of his; Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), pg. 310 – 311, discussion on the allegations against ‘Uthman, criticism 3, new edition, Lahore.

[29] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 103, the year 35 A.H. Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s speech in answer to the critics; Tarikh al Islam, vol. 2 pg. 126, the year 35 A.H.

[30] Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 169, the year 34 A.H.

[31] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 136, the year 35 A.H., some aspects of the biography of ‘Uthman.

Back to top