Introductory Points

August 22, 2019
Preliminary Discussions
August 23, 2019

BACK Return to Table of contents


Introductory Points

  1. Worthy to note is that in no Shar’i nass (verse or sahih hadith) does the regulation appear that the Muslim ruler or governor is not allowed to appoint any of his family members during his reign to a position of authority nor is it mentioned that he does not have the choice to award a close relative an office.

It is apparent that no such Shar’i law is available which Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu allegedly acted contrary to and intentionally violated.

The critics of the ‘Uthmani era accept that Sayyidina Dhu al Nurayn radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not break any Shar’i regulation in this regard. At the same time, they do not desist from accusing him of nepotism. They keep it fresh with new titles and repeat it over and over so that an aversion is maintained and evil thoughts endure for Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Every person shall obtain what he intended.


  1. Secondly, instating and dismissing governors and officials (known as ‘ummal or wulat in Arabic) is a discretionary issue, subject to the opinion of the Islamic Khalifah. The general populace do not understand the pros and cons of this matter. At the same time, the Amir al Mu’minin understands the requirements of these situations best. When he appoints governors, according to his foresight, he appoints them to serve public interests. This has been stated by senior scholars in their works:

Al Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi al Andalusi writes at one place in al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim:


الولاية اجتهاد

To appoint someone as governor or officer is an ijtihadi matter.[1]


He writes at another place:

الولايات و العزلات لها معان و حقائق لا يعلمها كثير من الناس

Appointment and dismissal of governors/officers have many objectives and realities which majority of people are ignorant of. (Meaning that only the responsible can understand those demands.)[2]


Shah Waliyyullah Muhaddith Dehlawi states in Qurrat al ‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al Sheikhayn:


میگویم کہ نصب و عزل مفوض ست براۓ خلیفہ اگر اجتہاد خلیفہ مؤدی شود بآنکہ از فلاں شخص کار امت سر انجام می یا بد لازم میشود بروۓ نصب او

We say that appointment and dismissal is subject to the view of the Caliphate of the Muslims. If the Khalifah determines that a certain individual is capable of fulfilling the work of the ummah, it is binding that he be appointed to that position.[3]


Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed and dismissed governors according to his discretion in the best possible way. He considered the well-being of the ummah and religion when doing so and never allowed any deficiency in his ijtihadi endeavours.

Despite this, if the governors of this era (who are neither angels nor infallible from mistakes) fell short in fulfilling the demands of their post or committed errors or were responsible for any evil action, then to put the blame of all of this on the management and conduct of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is downright unjust. Whatever wrongs were perpetrated were not done by the suggestion or command of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is exactly what Shah Waliyyullah points out in the following text of his book Qurrat al ‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al Sheikhayn as an answer:


میگوئیم ہر چہ ازیشاں بوقوع آمد نہ بامرذی النورین بود و نہ بوفق صلاح دیدوے و در خلافت علم غیب خود شرط نیست آنچہ شرط خلافت ست اجتہاد ست و ذی النورین در اجتہاد تقصیر نہ کرد

We say that all the actions of his governors and administrators were neither by the instruction of Dhu al Nurayn nor according to his liking. Knowledge of the unseen is not a condition in the matter of Caliphate. What is a condition in Caliphate is ijtihad. And in this field Dhu al Nurayn did not allow any shortcoming.[4]


  1. To answer this objection, Shah Waliyyullah rahimahu Llah in his book Izalat al Khafa’ ‘an Khilafat al Khulafa’, added weighty points to this discussion on Amir al Mu’minin Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu which if studied will totally eliminate the above objection of the critics. We present the original text of the book verbatim for the impartial readers, after which the meaning will be presented for the benefit of all.


ازاں جملہ آنکہ اصحاب آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم را از حکومت بلاد معزول ساخت و حداث بنی امیہ را کہ در اسلام مسابقت نداشتند حاکم گردانید مثل عزل ابی موسی بعبد اللہ بن ابی عامر از بصرہ و عزل عمرو بن العاص از مصر بہ ابن ابی سرح

و جواب ایں اشکال آنست کہ عزل و نصب را خداۓ عز و جل بر راۓ خلیفہ باز کذاشتہ است می باید کہ خلیفہ تحری کند در صلاح مسلمین و نصرت اسلام و بر حسب ہماں تحری بعمل آرد اگر اصابت کرد فلہ اجرہ مرتین و اگر در تحری خطا واقع شد فلہ اجرہ مرۃ این معنی ازاں حضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم بحد تواتر رسید و در بعض احیان مولی را معزول ساختند و دیگر را بجاۓ او نصب فرمودند براۓ مصلحتے چنانکہ در غزوۂ فتح رأیت انصار از سعد بن عبادہ گرفتند بہ سپ کلمہ کہ از زبان او جستہ بود و بہ پسرا وقیس بن سعد دادند

و گاہے مفضول را منصوب می ساختند بنا بر مصلحتے چنانکہ اسامہ را امیر لشکر فرمود و کبار مہاجرین را تابع وے گردانیدند در آخر حال

و ہمچنیں شیخین نیز در ایام خلافت خود بعمل آدردند و بعد حضرت عثمان حضرت مرتضی و دیگر خلفاء ہمیشہ ہمیں دستور کردہ آمدند پس بر حضرت ذی النورین رضی اللہ عنہ ازیں وجہ باز خواست نیست اگر بحکم تحری خود شخصی از حداث را والی کردہ باشد و شخصی از قدماء اصحاب را معزول ساخت خصوصا در قصص کہ نقل کردہ اند چوں تامل نمودہ می آید اصابت راۓ ذی النورین اوضح من الشمس فی رابعۃ النہار بظہور می رسد

زیر آنکہ ہر عزلے و ہر نصبے یا متضمن اخماد فتنہ اختلاف جند و رعیت بودہ است یا مثمر فتح اقلیمے از اقالیم دار الکفر لیکن ہواۓ نفسانی ابصار مبتدعین را اعمی ساختہ

و عین الرضا من کل عیب کلیلۃ

و لکن عین السخط تبدی المساویا

Among the many objections raised against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that he dismissed the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from governorship over major cities and appointed inexperienced youth of the Banu Umayyah as governors (who were not forerunners in Islam). For example, he dismissed Abu Musa al Ash’ari and instated ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir over Basrah, and he dismissed ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and instated ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh over Egypt.

The answer to this is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala handed over the affair of dismissal and appointment to the discretion of the Caliphate of Islam. The Amir al Mu’minin should ponder deeply and contemplate over what is best for the Muslims and Islam and act according to his discretion. If his decision is correct, he will receive double reward and if he erred, he will obtain a single reward.

This matter is established from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the degree of tawatur in meaning.

Keeping the need and benefit of the area in mind, sometimes he dismissed a governor and appointed another, just like at the Conquest of Makkah, the banner of the Ansar was taken away from Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah (after he made a statement) and given to his son, Qais ibn Sa’d.

And sometimes owing to a temporary demand, he appointed a lower ranking person as leader just as Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed army general while senior Muhajirin were put under his command.

Abu Bakr and ‘Umar acted in the same way during their days of Caliphate and ‘Ali and other Khalifas sustained this practice after ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Therefore, Sayyidina Dhu al Nurayn cannot be taken to task for this.

After applying his discretion, if he appointed a youngster as governor and dismissed some elderly Sahabah, especially the examples cited above; then when contemplating deeply, the correctness and accurateness of ‘Uthman’s decision will become clearer than the sun for the simple reason that his dismissal and appointment was either due to putting an end to the fitnah of ikhtilaf (disunity) between an army or populace, or to award the fruits of Islamic dominance over disbelieving countries. However, (in this matter) the eyes of the Ahl al Bid’ah (innovators) are clouded due to carnal desires.

The eyes of happiness are incapable of detecting faults

But the eyes of anger manifest the errors.[5]


  1. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Dehlawi made the very same comments in answer to this objection in Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah:


جواب ازیں طعن آنکہ امام رامی باید کہ ہر کرا لائق کارے داند آں کار را باوسپارد و علم غیب اصلا نزد اہل سنت بلکہ جمیع طوائف مسلمین غیر از شیعہ شرط امامت نیست و عثمان با ہر کہ حسن ظن داشت و کار آمدنی دانست و امین و عادل شناخت ومطیع و منقاد خود گمان برد ریاست و امارت باوداد

The answer to this objection is that it is binding upon the Imam and Khalifah to hand over the affair to the person he deems fit for the job. Knowledge of the unseen is not a condition for Caliphate and Imamah according to the Ahlus Sunnah. In fact, it is not a condition according to all the Muslims besides the Shia. In respect of whichever person ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu had good thoughts, and understood him to be an efficient worker, trustworthy, fair, and obedient; he gave him the post of leadership and governorship.[6]


The gist of the above is that the senior scholars of the ummah have clarified that:

  • The matter of dismissal and appointment is ijtihadi. It is the prerogative of the Caliphate of the Muslims. The Khalifah may apply his discretion according to the need of the time.
  • If the appointment of governors is correct, the Khalifah will receive double reward. If any error was committed, he will receive a single reward and his mistake will be forgiven.
  • If hypothetically the governors appointed by the discretion of the Khalifah did not fulfil the task, the Khalifah is not accountable.


  1. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed and dismissed governors of the state during his Caliphate according to his discretion and changed governors at the time of need.

This is a necessary component of Caliphate and there is no escape from it. A few instances of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu dismissing few eminent Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and appointing others in their position will be presented to the readers.

a) It appears in al Isabah:

و استعمله (أبا موسى) عمر على أمرة البصرة بعد أن عزل المغيرة

‘Umar appointed Abu Musa [al Ash’ari] governor over Basrah after dismissing Mughirah [ibn Shu’bah].[7]


b) Once, Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the order to dismiss the famous warrior Sayyidina Khalid ibn al Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to a gift he made. He wrote to Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


اعزله على كل حال و اضمم إليك عمله

Dismiss him from his post and administer his work yourself.[8]


c) The noted warrior, the great conqueror for the religion, Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was dismissed by Sayyidina ‘Umar:

و فيها (21سنة ه) شكا أهل الكوفة سعد بن مالك (أبي وقاص) إلى عمر فعزله و ولى عمار بن ياسر بالصلوة

In the year 21 A.H., the residents of Kufah complained about Sa’d ibn Malik (Abi Waqqas) to ‘Umar so he dismissed him and appointed ‘Ammar ibn Yasir to lead the salah.[9]


d) The above took place in 21 A.H. In 22 A.H., ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu dismissed Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu from Kufah.


و فيها ( سنة 22 ه) عزل عمر عمارا عن الكوفة

In that year, ‘Umar removed ‘Ammar from Kufah.[10]


These are incidents of the Faruqi era presented as examples. It is realised from here, that all of these changes happen due to the need of the time and the advantage of the area. No objection is levelled against Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu for these changes. So justice demands that no objection be raised against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the matter of appointment and dismissal.

However, one aspect remains. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu made the changes but did not appoint people from his tribe in those positions whereas Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu instated men from his tribe. This will be addressed shortly.


NEXT⇒ Preliminary Discussions

[1] Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 87.

[2] Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 24, under nuktah, Lahore print.

[3] Qurrat al ‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al Sheikhayn, pg. 272, discussion on the criticism against the two sons-in-law, Mujtaba’i print, Delhi.

[4] Qurrat al ‘Aynayn fi Tafdil al Sheikhayn, pg. 272, discussion on the criticism against the two sons-in-laws, Mujtaba’i print, Delhi.

[5] Izalat al Khafa’ ‘an Khilafat al Khulafa’, second objective, pg. 247, under the feats of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, old print, Bareli.

[6] Tuhfat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah Persian, pg. 305, accusations against ‘Uthman, under the answer to the first objection, new print, Lahore.

[7] Al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 352, biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Qais (Abu Musa); al Isti’ab with Al Isabah, vol. 2 pg. 363, biography of Abu Musa (‘Abdullah ibn Qais); Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 207, under the year 17 A.H., old Egypt print.

[8] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 205, the year 17 A.H., old Egypt print; Kitab al Kharaj, pg. 148, section on churches, synagogues, and crosses, second edition, Egypt.

[9] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat (d. 240 A.H.), vol. 1 pg. 122, first edition, Iraq; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 79, biography of Sa’d ibn Malik.

[10] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 125, Iraq print.