Objection of the Khilafah of `Uthman Being an Intermission

Demise of Sayyiduna `Uthman ibn `Affan
November 23, 2015
Objection Regarding Implementation of the Hudud
November 23, 2015

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Objection of the Caliphate of Uthman Being an Intermission

 

The critics of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu levelled yet another objection against Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, claiming that the Islamic system of government was not properly established during his caliphate and the laws and principles of Islam not practised upon. Instead during his era, Marwan ibn al Hakam ruled the Islamic empire — on account of the khalifah’s ill health — who interfered with the Islamic system of governance.

Those who level this objection against Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu do so in the following words:

 

وان عهد عثمان الذي تحكم فيه مروان كان فجوة بينهما

And the era of ‘Uthman, in which Marwan ruled, there was an intermission between them.

 

They imply by this statement that the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu served as an intermission between the caliphate of Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and that of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, thus it was void of any implementation of the laws of Islam and shari’ah. On the contrary, in the years before it — the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar — and those after it —in the caliphate of ‘Ali — the correct rule of Islam was established in accordance to the principles of the Shari’ah. During this ‘intermission’, Marwan ibn al Hakam ruled. The objectors refer to this ‘intermission’ with the term “fajwah”, which refers to the space between two hills.

The one who raised this objection has in a few words slandered the entire caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It classifies the entire twelve years of his caliphate as useless, in terms of religious and shar’i system, whereas this was the golden age of the Muslims, accepted as the al Khilafat al Rashidah. In the same manner that this objection is directed towards Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, it similarly maligns all of his governors, helpers and agents who assisted in the caliphate — a large number of them being Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and senior Tabi’in. Thus, with this one objection they have maligned an entire era.

 

Answer

In reply to terming the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu as an intermission, the readers are urged to ponder over the following points and thereafter arrive at a conclusion.

  1. This statement contradicts the verses of the Qur’an.
  2. It contradicts the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
  3. It contradicts historical fact.
  4. The senior scholars of the ummah have discussed the proper and correct nature of the Sayyidina ‘Uthman’s caliphate, which proves the opposite of this, and there is no way that it can be harmonised.

We will now discuss each of these points in sequence, which will prove beneficial in answering this allegation.

 

Note:-

It needs to be clarified for those who are unaware that the leader of the Ikhwan al Muslimin in Egypt was Sayed Qutb, and was is he who mentioned this sentence when analysing caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Since this analysis is contrary to reality, these few points will be discussed in defence of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, clearing them of these allegations.

 
 

Verses of the Qur’an

1. Many verses of the Qur’an can be quoted in this regard. However, at the present moment, we should keep the following verses before us:

 

وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا

And (Allah) stuck the word of taqwa onto them as they are most deserving of it and worthy of it.[1]

 

The participation of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the treaty of Hudaybiyyah is an absolute fact, and it was during this incident that Allah caused His peace and tranquillity to descend upon His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah; establishing the word of taqwa firmly in their hearts. Thus, it is also proven that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu possessed the quality of taqwa, which was a permanent quality (since Allah says that He established it in their hearts) and not temporary.

Now, if someone were to have the thought that the Sahabah abandoned the laws and principles of shari’ah at some moment in their lives, and adopted an irreligious path, then this thought runs in the face of the above quoted verses of the Qur’an. The reason for this is that these saintly luminaries were not deprived of the quality of taqwa at any point, and their lives were only spent in serving the shari’ah. In fact, they always remained firm on the laws of Islam, and the bounty of Allah — the word of taqwa — demands this.

Therefore, for them to now turn away from the laws of din and the shar’i system of government is tantamount to the quality of taqwa being removed from them, whereas in the light of the divine statement, it can never be removed from them since this quality was permanently present in them.

2. Moreover, the verses which Allah revealed during the incident of Hudaybiyyah, explain the qualities of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in the following way:

 

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰهِؕ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوَانًا ؗ

Muhammad is the Rasul of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating (in salah), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) pleasure.[2]

 

In the light of this verse, it is proven that the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and especially those who were participated in the incident of Hudaybiyyah, were always seeking the bounty and pleasure of Allah. Allah negated ostentation and show, and gave testimony of their sincerity; Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu being also included amongst these Sahabah. Therefore, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu always had these qualities — at all stages of his life — and he would strive in seeking the pleasure of Allah. This continued in his caliphate, and he still possessed these praiseworthy qualities.

During his caliphate he did not go act against the decrees of Allah nor did he act contrary to the orders of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never abandoning any aspect of shari’ah. In fact, maintained the system of caliphate as per the commands of Allah and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

  1. Therefore, it is despicable to dub the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as an intermission because it contradicts the testimony which Allah announced in his favour; that his deeds are sincere and such deeds which only a believer will perform. The critics have ignored this testimony of the Qur’an and have shown no regard for it.

3. In accordance to the general view of the Mufassirin, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed with regards to the companions who participated in Hudaybiyyah:

 

كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهفَاٰزَرَهفَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلٰى سُوْقِهٖ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيْظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ ؕ

as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers.[3]

 

In this verse of the Qur’an, the progress of the religion of Islam has been likened to a farm and has been explained, i.e. it is like a crop, its shoots have come out and then have become strong and thick and it stands on its own stem.

From this verse we learn:

  • The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum will definitely progress spiritually and it will happen slowly just as a crop grows slowly.
  • This progress will not stop until it reaches perfection.
  • Moreover, this progress will be continuous; there will be no break in between. If we take the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be empty of an Islamic system and that the laws of Shari’ah were discarded, then it calls for thought that how can the similarity between the two be correct?

The critics say that during the era of Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum there was a proper Islamic system in place, but in between the shar’i system was halted; whereas the similitude in the Qur’an demands that the progress continue slowly and perpetually with no break in between.

Therefore, to have this view of ‘intermission’ with regards to the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu is absolutely incorrect. This is because the example will not hold true and the Mufassirin have explained:

 

وهذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى لبدا الاسلام وترقيه في الزيادة الى ان قوى واستحكم

This is an analogy, which Allah has given, for the initial years of Islam, its strengthening, until it became firm and resolute.[4]

 

If we were to accept that there was no progress of Islam in the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then the quality of it being strong and resolute will be absent, which will contradict the analogy given by Allah. This too informs us that the claim of their being an intermission is incorrect in light of the verse of the Qur’an. If we were to accept it as correct, then it necessitates belying the verses of Allah, from which we seek the protection of Allah.

 
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Ahadith

Although there are countless ahadith in this regard, we will only present a few narrations; in light of which it will become clear that this objection is incorrect, and that the critics have presented their own obscure personal opinion which is in total contradiction of the authentic narrations:

 

1. Sayyidina Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

عن انس قال لما امر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ببيعة الرضوان كان عثمان رسول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الى مكة فبايع الناس فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ان عثمان رضي الله عنه في حاجة الله وحاجة رسوله فضرب باحدى يديه على الاخرى فكانت يد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعثمان رضي الله عنه خيرا من ايديهم لانفسهم

 

When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam issued the command of the pledge of Ridwan, then Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was sent as an envoy by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to Makkah. When the people pledged allegiance, then Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu has gone for the work of Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then placed one hand into his other hand and said, “This pledge is from ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.” So, the hand of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that was given as pledge on behalf of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was better than the hands of the others, with which they pledged for themselves.[5]

 

This narration has been recorded by a number of Muhaddithin. The incident mentioned in it is correct. It is clearly proven from this narration that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam classified his own hand as the hand of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This shows the great virtue of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the good fortune he was granted. Now ponder, how is possible that one endowed with such virtue could have ever acted in contravention of the shari’ah.

Moreover, Allah mentions glad tidings of His pleasure for those who participated in the pledge, which includes Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu by the testimony of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

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

Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.[6]

 

This also refers to Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he was worthy of it. How then can such criticism be levelled against such a person for whom these virtues and glad tidings have been announced? No intelligent person will accept such views. Whoever has such views about Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu has definitely fallen prey to jealousy, stubbornness and malice.

 

2. The famous Sahabi, Sayyidina Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that in one sermon, besides other advices, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave the following prophecy:

 

ان هذا الامر لا ينقضي حتى يمضي اثنى عشر خليفة

This matter will not conclude until twelve khulafa’ pass.

 

In other narrations, it is mentioned:

 

لا يزال هذا الدين عزيزا منيعا الى اثنا عشر خليفة… كلهم من قريش…الخ

This din will continue to be triumphant until twelve khulafa’ pass, all of them will be from the Quraysh.[7]

 

In light of this hadith, it is clear that there will definitely be a number of khulafa’ from the Quraysh and in their eras, the religion of Islam will be triumphant. Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the third of these rightly guided khulafa’. In accordance to the glad tidings given by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in his era of caliphate, the religion of Islam will definitely be triumphant and Islamic system will be implemented.

This makes it clear that those who raised this objection against Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu are in delusion. This is because the demand of this hadith is that Islam will be triumphant and the Islamic method of rule will be in place.

 

3. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said in an authentic hadith:

 

عن عرباض بن سارية (مرفوعا) وسترون من بعدي اختلافا شديدا فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ

And you will see after me great differences, so hold onto my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided khulafa, and hold firmly onto it with your molars.[8]

 

This ahadith makes it clear that it is necessary upon the Muslims to follow Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his khulafa’, and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has advised us to hold on firmly to their way. It proves that the rule of the khulafa’ of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was in accordance to the rules of Islam and shari’ah. It is thus necessary to follow them and to adopt their way is in accordance with the dictates of shari’ah. If we were to assume that in the era of one of these khulafa’ (for example, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu), the Islamic system was not implemented, then it would have been necessary to exclude this era from being bound to follow so that people do not fall into deviation. However, this was not done, which makes it clear to us that everything was correct and worthy of being followed.

 

4. There are numerous narrations reported which show the veracity of the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. One of these narrations is narrated by Sayyidah ‘A’ishah radiya Llahu ‘anha:

 

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها ان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لعثمان يا عثمان ان الله مقمصك قميصا فان ارادك المنافقون على خلعه فلا تخلعه حتى تلفاني وهذا من الاحاديث الظاهرة في خلافته الدالة دلالة واضحة على حقيتها لنسبه القميص في الحديث المكنى به عن الخلافة الى الله تعالى

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Uthman: “O ‘Uthman, Allah will make you wear a shirt, if the hypocrites intend to remove it from you, then do not ever remove it until you meet me (in the hereafter).”

 

This hadith is from those narrations that clearly show that true nature of the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This is because in the above quoted hadith, it is stated that he will be made to wear the shirt from Allah. This is a subtle indication to caliphate. Together with this, he was commanded not to remove the shirt.[9]

This highlights the truthful nature of the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If someone assumes that it was void of Islamic principles and the shari’ah not implemented, then this assumption is incorrect and it contradicts the demand of these clear narrations.

 

A Few Incidents From the Era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan

At this point, we wish to present a few historical incidents from the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, through which the nature of his caliphate will be clarified and reveal to us his method of dealing with the masses. It will then become clear as to what type of administration existed at that time, what consideration was given to religious rulings, what was the attitude of the majority at that time, and what link did they have with the khalifah of Islam?

 
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A letter to the governors

On one occasion, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to all his governors:

 

اما بعد فان الله خلق الخلق بالحق فلا يقبل الا الحق خذوا الحق واعطوا الحق به والامانة الامانة قوموا عليها ولا تكونوا اول من يسلبها فتكونوا شركاء من بعدكم الى ما اكتسبتم والوفاء الوفاء لا تظلموا اليتيم ولا المعاهد فان الله خصم لمن ظلمهم

Allah created His creation with proper planning, thus Allah does not accept anything but the truth; acquire only the lawful and give only what is lawful. A Trust is a trust, so maintain it. And do not be the first to usurp it lest you share with (the vice of) those who come after you on account of what you have earned (unlawfully). And a pledge is a pledge (so remain true to it). Do not oppress the orphan nor the one with whom you have made an agreement; for Allah Himself will argue the case against the oppressor.[10]

 
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Address to the Public

On another occasion, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed the public and said:

 

اما بعد فانكم انما بلغتم ما بلغتم بالاقتداء والاتباع فلا تلفتنكم الدنيا عن امركم

O people, the progress that you desired, you acquired through conformity and obedience, so do not let desire for the world turn you away from this.[11]

 

It is apparent from this letter and public address that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu would exhort his governors to be considerate and fulfil the rights of others honestly, and not exploit the trust give to them, which is an explicit instruction to follow the shari’ah.

 
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Another Letter to the Governors

On another occasion, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to his governors regarding consideration for the public, fulfilment of rights and remaining cognisant of their condition. He wrote:

 

Allah instructs the rulers that they must consider the rights of people and be a shepherd over them not that they should be the one to attack them. The initial people of the ummah were made protectors and guardians, and they were not those who maim or injure. Soon a time will come when the rulers and governors will become those who maim and injure and they will not remain protectors and guardians. When they become like this, then shame, honesty and commitment will come to an end. The most just way is that you keep an eye on the matters of the Muslims and their rights and duties. Whatever must be given to them, give it to them and whatever must be collected from them, take it from them. Bear in mind the rights of the Ahl al Dhimmah, whatever must be given to them, give them, and take whatever must be taken from them. Then, whichever enemy comes in front of you, deal with him in an honest way as well.[12]

 
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A letter to the Officers of the Army

Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote a letter to the officers of his army regarding their responsibilities and duties:

 

اما بعد فانكم حماة المسلمين وزادتهم وقد وضع لكم عمر ما لم يغب عنا بل كان عن ملاء منا ولا يبلغني عن احد منكم تغيير ولا تبديل فيغير الله ما بكم ويستبدل بكم غيركم فانظروا كيف تكونون فاني انظر فيما الزمني الله النظر فيه والقيام عليه

You are the protectors and defenders of the Muslims. Whatever rights ‘Umar placed for the sake of the people, they are not hidden from us. In fact, it was decided with mutual consultation. You should not get any notification of change from me, otherwise Allah will change you and replace you. Keep an eye on your condition. Whatever Allah has made me responsible to consider, I shall consider.[13]

 

‘Allamah Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah has written under the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu that on one occasion, he sent a letter to the governors of the cities, leaders of the army, imams of salah and supervisors of the Bayt al Mal advising them to be wary of calling towards good and forbidding evil, encouraging them to follow and obey the commands of Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and to adhere to the sunnah and abandon innovation.[14]

 

Point to Consider

We have mentioned a few historical facts above, which the historians have recorded in their works under the section relating to the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Our objective here is not to gather all the incidents, but after studying them perceptively, the following is evident:

  • Due consideration was given to the fulfilment of rights; and more specifically towards, trusts, rights of orphans, promises and agreements made with other tribes or nations.
  • Encouragement to adhere to the shari’ah was given at all times.
  • Admonishment of government employees and officials with regards to their responsibilities, to support the din of Islam, remain ever prepared to protect it, and they never to fall short in one’s duties.
  • In the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, all the laws of Islam were considered, and encouragement was given to follow the shari’ah.
  • This era was never void of the Islamic system of rule.
 

Explanations of the Senior Scholars

In the previous pages, we presented a few historical incidents in which this objection as replied to.

Now we shall quote a number of the senior scholars in reply to this objection, so that the readers can ponder over this allegation justly. First study the explanation of a senior Sahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

قال عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما جائني رجل في خلافة عثمان فكلمني بكلام طويل يريد ان اعيب على عثمان رضي الله عنه وهو امرا في لسانه ثقل لا يكاد يقضي كلامه في سريع فلما قضى كلامه قلت قد كنا نقول ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حى افضل امة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ابو بكر رضي الله عنه ثم عمر رضي الله عنه ثم عثمان رضي الله عنه وانا والله! ما نعلم عثمان قتل نفسا بغير نفس ولا جاء من الكبائر شيئا

A person came to me in the era of ‘Uthman and he spoke to me for a long time, intending to criticise ‘Uthman. There was a stutter on his tongue, and he could not speak quickly. Once he concluded what he wanted to say, I said: “We used to say, when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was still alive, the best of the ummah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the Abu Bakr, then ‘Umar, and then ‘Uthman, I do not know, and I take an oath by Allah, of ‘Uthman ever taking the life of someone without right or having committed a major sin.”[15]

 

This reply of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu informs us that:

  1. The rank and status of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in terms of caliphate is third, i.e. after Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
  2. During his caliphate, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu never took the life of anyone without right and he did not ever commit any major sin, i.e. he did not commit any sin or oppression and his deeds were correct; never in contravention of Islam.
  3. A famous Sahabi gave this testimony, whose truthfulness is well-acknowledged.

We hope that the readers will ponder over this explanation and decide for themselves to what extent this objection upon the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu is relevant.

Historians such as Ibn Jarir al Tabari rahimahu Llah and Ibn Khaldun rahimahu Llah and others have recorded an incident from the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which is further proof for the falsity of this allegation.

The summary of this incident is that in his era, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum to different cities in the form of a delegation to investigate the complaints against his governors. He sent Sayyidina Muhammad ibn Maslamah al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Kufah, Sayyidina Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Basrah, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Sham and Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Egypt. They said to the residents of these areas:

 

ايها الناس! ما انكرنا شيئا ولا انكره اعلام المسلمين ولا عوامهم وقالوا جميعا الامر امر المسلمين الا ان امرائهم يقسطون بينهم ويقومون عليهم

O people, we did not see anything reprehensible, and the common masses and the elite also have not expressed their dissatisfaction with anything. All of them said that the affairs of the Muslims are in order, the governors execute justice and they implement the laws.[16]

 

The report given by these Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum indicate that there was no evil or wrong doing being perpetrated during the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, nor any dissatisfaction among the masses and the elite of that era. The entire administration was being run under the guidance of Islamic law. The governors were not oppressive, but dealt with the public amicably. Therefore, the objection of the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu being an ‘intermission’ is unfounded.

 
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Explanation of Salim Ibn Abdullah

Lastly, the explanation of the son of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Salim ibn ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is presented. This has been recorded by the famous historian, Ibn Jarir al Tabari rahimahu Llah:

 

عن سالم بن عبد الله قال لما ولى عثمان حج سنواته كلها الا آخر حجة…وامن الناس وكتب في الامصار ان يوافيه العمال في كل موسم ومن يشكوهم وكتب الى الناس الى الامصار ان اتمروا بالمعروف وتناهوا عن المنكر ولا يذل المؤمن نفسه فاني مع الضعيف على القوي ما دام مظلوما (إنشاء الله)

When ‘Uthman was appointed as the khalifah, then he performed every hajj, except for the last one. During his time, people were in safety and security and his way was, Every hajj season there would be an instruction sent by Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the governors that they should come (for hajj) and whoever had a complaint regarding them were told to also come; so that the correct decision could be passed after hearing the complaint from both sides. He would send written instructions to the people in all the cities that they should command the good and stay away from evil. No Muslim should think low of himself, or that he is helpless. (he would say) “I am the helper of the weak against the strong, as long as his oppression is not removed. (In sha Allah)”[17]

 

The same subject matter is discussed by Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah in the following text:

 

يلزم عماله بحضور الموسم كل عام ويكتب الى الرعايا من كانت له عند احد منهم مظلومة فليواف الى الموسم فاني اخذ له حقه من عامله

He would make it compulsory for his governors to attend every hajj and he would write to the subjects that if anyone had been oppressed, he should come for hajj, “for indeed I shall take his right from the governor.”[18]

 

The explanation of Salim ibn ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu clarifies that during the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, there was a proper system of dealing with the complaints of the oppressed, and commanding the good and forbidding the evil common practice. Furthermore, the governors were commanded to remove the difficulty experienced by the weak. In short, the caliphate was established according to the shari’ah.

 
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Explanation of Imam al Bukhari

The famous Muhaddith, Imam Muhammad ibn Isma’il al Bukhari rahimahu Llah, in his work Tarikh al Saghir, records with his chain of narration from Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

قال سمعت الحسن يقول عمل امير المؤمنين عثمان بن عفان ثنتى عشرة سنة لا ينكرون من امارته شيء حتى جاء فسقة فداهن والله في امره اهل المدينة

Amir al Mu’minin ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan ruled for twelve years; during which the people did not object to anything; until the sinful (irreligious) people came and the people of Madinah showed them leniency (instead of punishing them for their contempt).[19]

 
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Statement of Ibn al Arabi al Maliki

The famous scholar, Ibn al ‘Arabi al Maliki rahimahu Llah, discussed the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

فلم يات عثمان منكرا لا في اول الامر ولا في آخره ولا جاء الصحابة بمنكر وكل ما سمعت من خبر باطل اياك ان تلتفت اليه

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan perpetrated nothing reprehensible, neither in the beginning nor in the end, nor did any of the Sahabah perpetrate anything reprehensible in this time. Whatever narrations you hear of wrong (having been perpetrated) pay no attention to it.[20]

 
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Explanation of Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani

Sheikh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani rahimahu Llah has written in his work Ghunyat al Talibin with regards to Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his caliphate:

 

فكان (عثمان رضي الله عنه) اماما حقا الى ان مات ولم يوجد فيه امر يوجب الطعن فيه ولا فسقه ولا قتله خلاف ما قالت الروافض تبا لهم

‘Uthman was the leader upon truth until he was martyred, and nothing was found in him permitting criticism of him, nor attribution of sinfulness (fisq) to him or the reason for his assassination; except for what the Rawafid have said, may they be destroyed.[21]

 

You have studied the comments of these three pious scholars with regards to the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which represents a true reflection of the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They have clarified that during his era, the system of government was in accordance to Islam and there was no evil found in it.

Final Word on This Discussion

We have mentioned a number of points in reply to this objection, the scholars will understand well the seriousness of this criticism, but even the ordinary man would have understood the evil and harm of this criticism.

A number of points were mentioned in clarifying the truthful nature of the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu; verses of the Qur’an, ahadith, historical realities and the explanations of the senior scholars of the ummah were cited as references.

The originator of this objection discarded all these historical facts and gave in to the prejudices of his tainted beliefs. We ask the readers to be fair in their assessment and request them to ponder over the issues explained; is there any validity to this objection? Is there any angle of truthfulness to this criticism that can be seen?

Distance yourself from the people of stubbornness and prejudice, use the understanding and foresight given to you by Allah and decide for yourself.

And Allah guides whoever He wants to the straight path.

 

NEXT⇒ Demise of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan


[1]  Surah al Fath: 26

[2]  Surah al Fath: 29

[3]  Surah al Fath: 29

[4]Tafsir Madarik al Tanzil pg. 62

[5]Tirmidhi, Mishkat pg. 562

[6]  Surah al Fath: 18

[7]Muslim vol. 2 pg. 119

[8]Sunan al Darami pg. 25, Al Mustadrak li al Hakim vol. 1 pg. 96, al Sunan al Kubra vol. 10 pg. 114

[9]Ahmed, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Hakim, al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 109, al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 207, 208

[10]Tarikh Ibn Jarir al Tabari vol. 5 pg. 44

[11]  Op. cit. vol. 5 pg. 45

[12]  Op. cit. vol. 5 pg. 44

[13]  Op. cit. vol. 5 pg. 44

[14]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 149

[15]Kitab al Tamhid wa l-Bayan pg. 184, 185

[16]Al Fitnah wa Waqa’at al Jamal pg. 49, 50, Tarikh Ibn Jarir al Tabari vol. 5 pg. 99, Tarikh Ibn Khaldun vol. 2 pg. 1027

[17]Tarikh Ibn Jarir al Tabari vol. 5 pg. 134

[18]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 218

[19]Tarikh al Saghir pg. 32, Tarikh al Islam of al Dhahabi vol. 2 pg. 145

[20]Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim pg. 60

[21]Ghunyat al Talibin pg. 137

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