Misconceptions related to his relationship with the Sahabah: Misconception 1 – Inciting the murder of ‘Uthman

Misconception 3 – Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warned against the coalition of ‘Amr and Muawiyah and that their coalition would bring no good
December 8, 2021
Misconception 2 – Being partial to the camp of Muawiyah in hopes of materialistic gain
December 8, 2021

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Misconceptions related to his relationship with the Sahabah

 

Misconception 1 – Inciting the murder of ‘Uthman

 

This is based on a narration of Abu ‘Awn, the mawla of Miswar:

 

كان عمرو بن العاصي على مصر عاملا لعثمان فعزله عن الخراج واستعمله على الصلاة استعمل عبد الله بن سعد على الخراج ثم جمعهما لعبد الله بن سعد فلما قدم عمرو بن العاص المدينة جعل يطعن على عثمان.فكان يأتي عليا مرة فيؤلبه على عثمان ويأتي الزبير مرة فيؤلبه على عثمان ويأتي طلحة مرة فيؤلبه على عثمان ويعترض الحاج فيخبرهم بما أحدث عثمان فلما كان حصر عثمان الأول خرج من المدينة حتى انتهى إلى أرض له بفلسطين يقال لها السبع فنزل في قصر له يقال له العجلان .فبينا هو جالس في قصره ذلك ومعه إبناه محمد وعبد الله وسلامة بن روح الجذامي. فلما بلغه مقتل عثمان قال أنا أبو عبد الله قد يضرط العير والمكواة في النار فلم يبرح مجلسه ذلك حتى مر به راكب آخر فناداه عمرو ما فعل الرجل يعني عثمان قال قتل قال أنا أبو عبد الله إذا حككت قرحة نكأتها إن كنت لأحرض عليه حتى إني لأحرض عليه الراعي في غنمه في رأس الجبل فقال له سلامة بن روح يا معشر قريش إنه كان بينكم وبين العرب باب وثيق فكسرتموه فما حملكم على ذلك فقال أردنا أن نخرج الحق من حافرة الباطل وأن يكون الناس في الحق شرعا سواء وكانت عند عمرو أخت عثمان لأمه كلثوم بنت عقبة بن أبي معيط ففارقها حين عزله

‘Amr ibn al ‘As had been ‘Uthman’s governor in Egypt. He had stripped him of authority over the tax revenues (kharaj) and put him in charge of the public prayers. ‘Uthman assigned authority over the tax revenues to ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d and then combined both offices under ‘Abdullah. When ‘Amr ibn al ‘As arrived in Madinah, he launched vitriolic attacks upon ‘Uthman. At one point he came to ‘Ali to incite him against ‘Uthman. Then he approached al Zubair and Talhah in succession to incite them. He confronted the Pilgrimage caravan to inform them of ‘Uthman’s wrongful innovations.

When ‘Uthman was besieged for the first time, he went from Madinah until he reached a property that he owned in Palestine called al Sab’, and took up residence in a castle of his named al ‘Ajlan. While he was seated in that castle of his, with Salamah ibn Ruh al Judhami and his two sons Muhammad and ‘Abdullah… When the news of the murder of ‘Uthman reached him he said, “I am Abu ‘Abdullah. Perhaps the jackass is breaking wind and the flatiron is in the fire.[1]

He had not left his seat before a second rider passed by. ‘Amr called out to him, “What has that man done?” i.e. ‘Uthman.

“He has been killed,” he replied.

‘Amr said, “I am Abu ‘Abdullah. When I rub a scab, I scrape it off. I have been inciting people against him, even the shepherd on the mountaintop with his flock.”

Then Salamah ibn Ruh said to him, “O leaders of Quraysh, verily there was a strong gate between you and the Arabs and you have broken it down. Whatever led you to do that?”

‘Amr said, “We wanted to draw the truth out of the pit of falsehood and to have the people be on an equal footing as regards the truth.”

‘Uthman’s half-sister on his mother’s side, Umm Kulthum bint ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, was married to ‘Amr; then he separated from her when ‘Uthman deposed him.[2]

 

Answer

This doubt can be answered in four ways:

 

1. Studying the Chains of Transmission

Al Tabari has recorded this incident in his Tarikh[3] with the chain of transmission from al Waqidi that — ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar narrated to him — from Abu ‘Awn the mawla Miswar who said, “‘Amr ibn al ‘As had been…”

This incident cannot be established due to two defects in its chain of transmission:

 

Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al Waqidi

  • Al Waqidi, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar. He is Matruk (suspected of forgery).[4]

 

Abu Awn, the mawla of Miswar

Perhaps he is Ibn Abi Hazim.

  • Abu Zur’ah said, “Madini, we do not know him.”
  • Ibn Abi Hatim has mentioned him in al Jarh wa al Ta’dil.[5] He said, “He narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair and ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar al Makhrami narrated from him.”

 

2.Studying the Content of the Narration

Anyone studying the content of this narration as reported by Ibn ‘Awn, will no doubt conclude its invalidity even without considering the weakness of its chain of transmission. This is due to the following reasons:

Firstly, the narration speaks of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu inciting all and sundry against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. from the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, like ‘Ali and Talhah, to the masses at Hajj, and even the shepherds on the mountains. This demonstrates his opposition and incitement was wide-spread and common knowledge. While on the otherhand, it is well known that ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu joined Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in seeking retribution for the blood of ‘Uthman! If this narration and the issue of his incitement was in any way true, the people of the Levant would have started the retribution for ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu by killing him first; the principal instigator in his murder.

Secondly, the narration determines ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have approached ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in order to incite him against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If this was true, then the Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would have no doubt exposed his incitement and the result thereof.

Thirdly, the narration mentions his son, ‘Abdullah, to have been with him at the time of his utterances. We have already noted ‘Abdullah’s acceptance of Islam was before his fathers. Additionally, he was a noble and erudite scholar who narrated many ahadith. He was also one of the jurists who are referred to as the ‘Abadilah. How is it possible for us to accept his agreement with his father on these utterances? This is notwithstanding his history in correcting his father on issues lighter than this. Consider the following narration which has already been mentioned in chapter one:

 

Some words were exchanged between ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding al Waht[6]. Mughirah cussed at him at which ‘Amr called out, “O Family of Hasis! Will Ibn Shu’bah cuss at me!”

His son ‘Abdullah said, “To Allah do we belong and to him is our return. You have called unto tribalism whereas Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prohibited calling unto tribalism.”

He [i.e. ‘Amr] thus freed thirty slaves.[7]

 

How can one fathom ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have called out his father on an issue of tribalism but remained silent when his father incited the masses to murder the khalifah, on the basis of having simply deposed him from the governorship of Egypt?

Fourthly, the narration ends with a statement that leaves no doubt of its invalidity. The narration states, “‘Uthman’s half-sister on his mother’s side, Umm Kulthum bint ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, was married to ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu; then he separated from her when ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu deposed him.”

The narration is clear in stating ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had separated from Umm Kulthum when ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu had deposed him. When looking at the biographical books, however, we find that ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu had married her after the death of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf and she herself had passed away whilst married to ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, some sources comment on the time-period of their marriage stating, “She was married to him for a few months after which she passed away.”

Dear reader, after applying your mind to the above, it no doubt becomes quite clear that the narration is a falsity, without even considering the weakness of its chain of transmission.

 

3. Contradiction

There is another narration that contradicts this one and is in line with the status of the magnanimous sahabi, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, it demonstrates the invalidity of this narration and how impossibly farfetched it is.

Al Tabari states:

 

وفي هذه السنة أعني سنة ست وثلاثين بايع عمرو بن العاص معاوية ووافقه على محاربة علي وكان السبب في ذلك ما كتب به إلي السري، عن شعيب عن سيف عن محمد وطلحة وأبي حارثة وأبي عثمان قالوالما أحيط بعثمان رضي الله عنه خرج عمرو بن العاص من المدينة متوجها نحو الشام وقال والله يا أهل المدينة ما يقيم بها أحد فيدركه قتل هذا الرجل إلا ضربه الله عز وجل بذل من لم يستطع نصره فليهرب فسار وسار معه ابناه عبد الله ومحمد وخرج بعده حسان بن ثابت وتتابع على ذلك ما شاء الله

 قال سيف عن أبي حارثة وأبي عثمان قالا بينا عمرو بن العاص جالس بعجلان ومعه ابناه إذ مر بهم راكب فقالوا من أين قال من المدينة فقال عمرو ما اسمك قال حصيرة قال عمرو حصر الرجل قال فما الخبر قال تركت الرجل محصورا قال عمرو يقتل ثم مكثوا أياما فمر بهم راكب فقالوا من أين قال من المدينة قال عمرو ما اسمك قال قتال قال عمرو قتل الرجل، فما الخبر قال قتل الرجل قال ثم لم يكن إلا ذلك إلى أن خرجت ثم مكثوا أياما فمر بهم راكب فقالو من أين قال من المدينة قال عمرو ما اسمك قال حرب قال عمرو يكون حرب فما الخبر قال قتل عثمان بن عفان رضي الله عنه وبويع لعلي بن أبي طالب قال عمروانا أبو عبد الله تكون حرب من حك فيها قرحة نكأها رحم الله عثمان ورضي الله عنه وغفر له فقال سلامة بن زنباع الجذامي يا معشر قريش إنه والله قد كان بينكم وبين العرب باب فاتخذوا بابا إذ كسر الباب فقال عمرو وذاك الذي نريد ولا يصلح الباب إلا أشاف تخرج الحق من حافرة البأس ويكون الناس في العدل سواء ثم تمثل عمرو في بعض ذلك

يا لهف نفسي على مالك … وهل يصرف اللهف حفظ القدر

أنزع من الحر أودى بهم … فأعذرهم أم بقومي سكر

ثم ارتحل راجلا يبكي كما تبكي المرأة ويقول وا عثماناه أنعى الحياء والدين حتى قدم دمشق وقد كان سقط إليه من الذي يكون علم فعمل عليه

In this year, i.e. the year 36, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As pledged allegiance to Muawiyah and made an agreement with him to fight ‘Ali. The reason for this according to the writing of al Sari — from Shu’ayb — from Saif — from Muhammad, Talhah, Abu Harithah, and Abu ‘Uthman who said:

When ‘Uthman was surrounded ‘Amr ibn al ‘As left Madinah and headed for the Levant.

“By Allah! People of Madinah!” he said. “Anyone who stays here until this man is killed will be smitten by Allah the Almighty and Glorious with ignominy. Anyone who cannot help him had better flee!”

Off he then set, accompanied by his two sons, ‘Abdullah and Muhammad. Hassan ibn Thabit also left a little later, and many others followed suit.

Saif narrated — from Abu Harithah and Abu ‘Uthman who said:

While ‘Amr ibn al ‘As was camped at ‘Ajlan with his two sons a rider passed.

“Where have you come from?” they asked.

“Madinah,” he replied.

“What’s your name?” asked ‘Amr.

“Hasirah.”

“The man has been besieged,” retorted ‘Amr. “What’s the news?”

“I left the man surrounded,” replied the rider.

“He’ll be murdered,” said ‘Amr.

They waited a few days; then another rider passed. “Where have you come from?” they asked.

“Madinah,” was the reply.

“What’s your name?” asked ‘Amr.

“Qattal.”

“The man has been killed,” retorted ‘Amr. “What’s the news?”

“The man has been killed,” replied the rider, “but nothing else occurred before I left.”

They waited a few more days; then another rider passed. “Where have you come from?” they asked.

“Madinah,” he said.

“What’s your name?” asked ‘Amr.

“Harb.”

“It’s war,” retorted ‘Amr. “What’s the news?”

“‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan has been killed,” replied the rider, “and allegiance has been given to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.”

“I am Abu ‘Abdullah!” said ‘Amr. “There will be a war, in which whoever scrapes a wound in it will open it right up! May Allah have mercy on ‘Uthman and may He forgive him!”

“Men of Quraysh!” spoke up Salamah ibn Zunba’ al Judhami. “By Allah! There was a door between you and the other Arab tribes. You must take on another door because the first one is now broken.”

“That’s what we want to do,” replied ‘Amr, “but the door will be mended only by augers that can drill out the truth from the root of the problem, so that men will be equal before the law.” Referring to the situation ‘Amr then recited:

I am heartbroken over Malik,

But can grief deflect what has been stored up by divine decree?

Is it heatstroke that has felled them?

If so, I excuse them, or is it that my people are drunk?

Then he set off on foot, weeping like a woman and saying: “I mourn for ‘Uthman! I lament for modesty and religion!” He went to Damascus, for he had received some information about what was going to happen and acted on it.[8]

 

However, this narration does not hold up to scrutiny either. It cannot be deemed established as the chain of transmission has Saif ibn ‘Umar al Tamimi, who is suspected of forgery.

The one narrating from him is Shu’ayb. He is ibn Ibrahim al Kufi.

Ibn ‘Adi has reproduced this narration when discussing him and has said:

Shu’ayb ibn Ibrahim has narrated ahadith and historical traditions. He is not well known and the number of ahadith and traditions he has narrated don’t amount to much. There remains some erroneousness therein as the traditions and ahadith he relates contain prejudice against the predecessors.[9]

Al Dhahabi said, “The narrations of the books of Saif are from him. He is unfamiliar.”[10]

Dear reader, the narration that supposes the incitement of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is definitively unreliable; by way of its weak chain of transmission and by way of the inconsistencies within its content. It is a narration that defiles the honorable character of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who received accolades of magnanimity from beyond the seven heavens.

Over and above this, take into consideration the other contradictory narration, though weak in itself, paints a conflicting picture, is in conformity to the principal character of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and poses no inconsistencies. Which narration is worthier of consideration then, I ask?

 

4. Popular Doesn’t Mean True

This narration was popular on the tongues of people with no attention being paid to its authenticity. This is why Abu ‘Awn mawla Miswar narrated it without knowing its inauthenticity. A phenomenon not far-fetched in an era where fitnah bred: obscurity, murkiness, and dubiousness reigned supreme.[11] This is further emphasized when considering he had no idea who he had narrated from.

Dear reader, taking into cognizance these four expositions, know well that ascribing such to this eminent Sahabi cannot be fathomed. In fact, ascribing anything to anyone without authentic and true evidence is incorrect. Then what do you think of ascribing an unverifiable, inconsistent, and inauthentic matter to a Sahabi who was lauded by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

 

NEXT⇒ Misconception 2 – Being partial to the camp of Muawiyah in hopes of materialistic gain


[1] A rather crude way of saying that the crisis is imminent and that ‘‘Uthman’s too weak and frightened to oppose it effectively.

[2] Ibn Muzahim: Waq’ah Siffin, pg. 38; Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 136.

[3] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 357.

[4] We have already discussed him.

[5] Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 9 pg. 414.

[6] Al Waht: A garden of ‘Amr at Ta’if.

[7] Al Bayhaqi: Shu’ab al Iman, vol. 4 pg. 292; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 182.

[8] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 558; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 55 pg. 28.

[9] Al Kamil, vol. 5 pg. 7.

[10] Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 377.

[11] Muhammad Kamal, Durʾ al Intiqas ‘an ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, pg. 84.

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