The critics of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu have often asserted that he oppressed the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in various ways, and he dealt with them harshly; which can never be condoned in the shari’ah. The names of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari and Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhum are especially mentioned.
Hereunder, we will clear the name of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu from all these baseless allegations. A number of points will be mentioned in his defence, through which the reality of these incidents will become known and it will be made apparent that these objections are baseless and contrary to reality.
The scholars of history have reported that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu differed with Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in certain rulings, on account of which he was allegedly beaten upon the instruction of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and dismissed from his position as governor in Kufah. Furthermore, his stipend from the Bayt al Mal was stopped.
In Minhaj al Kiramah, Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli al Shia has written that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu ordered ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud to be beaten; until he finally succumbed and passed away on account of the beating.
The explanation of the senior scholars will be presented in reply to this objection, after which the reality will be cleared and the baselessness of this allegation will be made apparent.
a. Subsequently, Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi rahimahu Llah in his work al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim writes:
واما ضربه لابن مسعود ومنعه عطاء فزور
As for his (‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu) beating of Ibn Mas’ud and stopping his stipend; it is a fabrication.
b. Al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah has written in his work Al Muntaqa:
واما قولك ضرب ابن مسعود حتى مات فهذا من اسمج الكذب المعلوم
As for the statement that Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu was beaten up by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu until he died, this is one of the most well-known lies.
c. The historian Daryabakri has stated in Tarikh al Khamis:
واما ما رووه مما جرى على عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه من عثمان رضي الله عنه وامره غلامه بضربه الى اخر ما قرره فكلمه بهتان واختلاق لا يصح منه شيئ هؤلاء الجهلة لا يتحامون الكذب فيما يروونه موافقا لاغراضهم اذ لا ديانة تردهم لذالك
What the historians have mentioned that ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu commanded his slave to beat Ibn Mas’ud, this is an accusation and a fabrication. There is no authenticity to it. The ignorant historians, who reported this narration, did not attempt to sieve the false narrations (from their works) in accordance to their objectives, as they were not bound by any ethics to prevent them from this.
The scholars have written that even if we were to assume that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu admonished Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud or Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, then he was fully entitled to do so as he was the khalifah of the Muslims and the leader of the time; and based on his ijtihad, he had the choice to implement punishments.
Similarly, assuming that he dismissed someone from his position and gave the post to someone else, then too, he was correct and he holds the position in shari’ah to do this. Based on his foresight, he has the right to appoint and dismiss. Subsequently, the senior scholars have written of this ruling as a principle:
ان من طعن على عثمان رضي الله عنه انما كان لعزله اياه وتوليه غيره وقطع عطاياه وذالك سائغ للامام اذا ادى اجتهاده اليه
As for those who criticise ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, his dismissal from posts and appointing someone else in their place and cutting off stipends, that is part of the duties of the leader, wherein he exercises his ijtihad.
Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi rahimahu Llah has mentioned this ruling in the following way:
The khalifah of the time has the choice to dismiss and appoint people to positions. Similarly, the khalifah has the right to give and stop stipends. If the ijtihad of the khalifah guides him in this direction, that the ummah will be best served by a certain person, then it is necessary upon him to appoint the person to that position.
Therefore, if Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu dismissed or appointed someone, or he admonished someone, then it was in accordance to his ijtihad and he had shar’i permission to do so. It is not permissible for anyone to object in this matter.
The historians have mentioned the above texts when discussing the issues that happened between them, and they resorted to laxities and extremities when discussing these issues. The scholars have replied to these objections, clarifying its relevance, the summary of which we have mentioned above.
Now we shall discuss the true relationship that existed between them (Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) which will make apparent the good will and well-wishing they bore for each other.
Assuming that previously, if there was some dispute, then too, it was temporary and after the conditions passed, it had come to an end. It was not a permanent argument that continued throughout their lives.
1. When Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred and the issue of the selection of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu came up, then Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed those who were present and said:
انا اجتمعنا اصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم فلم نال عن خير ناذى فوق فبايعنا امير المؤمنين عثمان فبايعونه
We, the Sahabah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have gathered, we have not fallen short in choosing the best and most suited from our group. We have all pledged allegiance to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, so you also pledge allegiance to him.
قال لما استخلف عثمان رضي الله عنه قال عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه امرنا خير من بقي ولم نالوا
When ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed as the khalifah, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “We have appointed the best of those who remained behind, and we did not find anyone better.”
The views of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu are clear, that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the most worthy from all the of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum at that time for the position of khilafah.
2. On the occasion of hajj, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed four raka’at in Mina instead of two, whereas the khulafa’ before him had performed two raka’at. Some people said that he went against them in this particular ruling, so Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
فقال ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه اني اكره الخلاف وفي رواية الخلاف شر
I dislike opposing the Khalifah of the time.
From this incident it is clear that Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not opposed to Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but would sometimes leave his own view and gave preference to following the khalifah.
3. It is worthy of clarifying at this point that during the era of the third khalifah, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the matter of gathering the Noble Qur’an arose. The view of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu was different in this particular matter. Despite this, he finally agreed with the action of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the rest of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and he abandoned his own opinion.
Therefore, in the matter of the Mushaf, the difference of opinion between Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to an end.
We have clarified this issue previously under the criticism dealing with burning the Masahif.
4. At this point, the historians have also mentioned that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu had stopped the stipend of Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu for some temporary need.
We could not learn the correct finer details of this ruling. The historians have resorted to great exaggeration in this regard, as to what was the reason for his stipend being stopped. What were the circumstances at the time? All this requires research and investigation. Despite this, the historians have written that the remainder of the stipend of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu was given to his heirs upon his demise and by means of Sayyidina Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, these stipends were given to the worthy recipients.
5. During the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu resided in Kufah and for a while he was engaged in spreading Islam and religious activity. According to certain narrations, he was the supervisor of the Bayt al Mal. However, later on, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu removed him from the Bayt al Mal of Kufah and appointed Sayyidina ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his place. After this, he was not put in charge of anything, nor was he made a governor. However, he lived there without holding any position and he would impart religious knowledge to the people.
After staying in these conditions for some time, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu realised the evil and transgression in the nature of the people and conditions of trials and corruption had come about, so he became disheartened with the people of Kufah and sought permission from Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu to return to Madinah. At first, Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not permit him, but later on, he permitted him to return, due to temporary needs and demands. According to some historians, a few months before his demise, he returned to Madinah and he passed away in 32 A.H and was buried in Jannat al Baqi’.
The historians state that during his final days, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned from Kufah and came to reside in Madinah. In this time, he fell ill. When Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to know that his health was failing, he came to visit Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Ibn Sa’d rahimahu Llah writes in his Tabaqat:
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu sought forgiveness from each other and they forgave each other (just before the demise of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu). ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu then passed away and ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the Salat al Janazah over him.
Ibn Sa’d says that some people said that Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the Salat al Janazah over Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but this is not reliable, and the authentic view is that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the Salat al Janazah over Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The reason for this view being correct and the reason for preference is that it is an accepted law in Islam that the khalifah of the Muslims has the greatest right of the salah. When he is present, then he is worthy of performing the salah, except if he gives another person permission to perform the salah.
In the light of the above texts, it has been clarified that during the last moments of their lives, there was no disagreement between them (as is mentioned in the above narration). Both of them held careful consideration for the rank of the other. Now, it is apparent that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the khalifah of the time, performed the Salat al Janazah of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he was buried in Jannah al Baqi’ and the story about Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu having Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu beaten until he died is nothing but a fabrication and false propaganda. There is no truth to it at all. We have mentioned the correct circumstance at the time of his demise, which shows their mutual reconciliation and that; there was no ill feeling at all between them.
His name is Jundub ibn Junadah. He is linked to the Ghaffar tribe and he is counted amongst the forerunners of Islam. He possessed abundant knowledge and great virtues, however, it is the quality of zuhd (abstinence) and his asceticism which are his most salient features. Asceticism was second nature to him and he was an embodiment of the trait:
They do not fear the criticism of others.
When it came to shar’i rulings, he was unflinching and would not accommodate any opinion contrary to his own research. An example of this is the matter of accumulating wealth (in excess of one’s needs), regarding which the scholars have written:
وكان مذهبه بذل ما فضل عن الحاجة وان امساكه كنز يكوى به صاحبه ويتلوا آية والذين يكنزون الذهب والفضة ولا ينفقونها في سبيل الله فبشرهم بعذاب اليم …الخ
His view was that whatever wealth was left after one’s basic necessities were taken care of has to be spent (and cannot be retained). (According to him) Keeping this (excess) wealth falls under hoarding of wealth, for which there is a punishment. He would quote the following verses (as support of his view): “As for those who store gold and silver as a treasure and they do not spend it in the path of Allah, give them glad tidings of a painful punishment.”
There are a number of incidents pertaining to this ruling of his, but only two will be discussed. The critics have especially used the incident of Rabadhah to level severe criticism against Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
When he was residing in Sham, the governor of which was Sayyidina Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in the thirtieth year after hijrah, a juristic difference of opinion arose between Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the other Sahabah who resided there. Sayyidina Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that it is not permissible to gather and store silver and gold or any other form of wealth in excess of one’s basic necessities. He exhorted that it was obligatory to donate all excess wealth in charity, and it should not be stored. He was extremely vociferous in this ruling.
Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the other Sahabah on the other hand were of the opinion that it is permissible to keep the wealth in excess of one’s necessities, after zakat has been paid.
This created confusion and uncertainty, which resulted in Sayyidina Mu’awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu writing to Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in Madinah Munawwarah, explaining to him the situation. Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu felt it most expedient to bring Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Madinah Munawwarah, so as to prevent division and preserve the honour of Sayyidina Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu then returned to Madinah and after remaining there for a short while, with the council of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he felt it more suitable to adopt residence in Rabadhah.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah has written:
وامره (عثمان لابي ذر رضي الله تعالى عنه) ان يتعاهد المدينة في بعض الاحيان حتى لا يرتد اعرابيا بعد هجرته ففعل
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu instructed Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he should come to Madinah from time to time, so that the effects of Bedouin life do not return to him after migrating. He accepted the proposal.
Hafiz al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah has written:
ولما توفي عبد الرحمن بن عوف وخلف مالا عد ذالك ابو ذر رضي الله عنه من الكنز الذي يعاقب عليه وعثمان يناظره في ذالك حتى دخل كعب (احبار) فواق عثمان فضربه ابو ذر رضي الله عنه
When ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away in 32 A.H, he left behind a significant amount of wealth, which Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarded as hoarded wealth (according to his interpretation) for which they would be punishment (in the hereafter). ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan debated with him on this issue until Ka’b (al Ahbar) radiya Llahu ‘anhu interjected and sided with ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu; Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu (became angry and as a result) struck Ka’b.
At this point, the historians write:
ونزل الربذة وبنى بها مسجدا واقطعه عثمان رضي الله تعالى عنه صرمه من الابل واعطاه مملوكين واجرى عليه رزقا وكان يتعاهد المدينة وبين المدينة والربذة ثلاثة اميال
Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu then moved to Rabadhah and built a Masjid there. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave him a few camels (and according to the narration of Tabari, a flock of goats as well). He also gave him two servants (one male and one female), and stipulated a stipend for him from the Bayt al Mal. He would visit Madinah now and then, and the distance between Rabadhah and Madinah was about three miles.
The narrators of the historical reports have made considerable changes to the narration detailing Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu staying in Rabadhah, and in order to tarnish the reputation of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, a number of putrid additions were made. In addition, a number of fabrications have been attributed to Sayyidina Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. As a result of this:
a. The famous historian al Tabari, writes under this story:
واما الاخرون فانهم رووا في سبب ذالك اشياء كثيرة وامورا شنيعة كرهت ذكرها
People have mentioned many evil things (with regards to the incident of Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu moving to Rabadhah), which I dislike mentioning.
b. The author of Kitab al Tamhid wa l-Bayan has written:
واما ما ذكر في سبب اخراجه من الامور الشنيعة وسب معاوية اياه وتهديده بالقتل وحمله من الشام الى المدينة بغير وطا ونفيه فلا يصح النقل به هوا من اكاذيب الرافضة قبحهم الله تعالى
Whatever putrid things has been mentioned with regards to the reason for his removal (from Sham); Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu cursing him, threatening to kill him and sending him from Sham to Madinah without a conveyance, etc.; there is no authentic narration in this regard. In fact, all this is from the lies of the Rawafid, May Allah disgrace them.
Senior scholars like Imam al Bukhari rahimahu Llah and others have written in defence of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
On one occasion, Ghalib al Qattan asked Hassan al Basri: “Did ‘Uthman banish Abu Dhar from Madinah?” He said: “No, Allah forbid.”
In the light of the above explanation of the historians, it has been clarified that in this incident, some narrators — especially the Rawafid — made appalling ‘additions’ to the narrations and spread lies about Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whereas the true sequence of events contradicts it.
We have discussed this incident at length in our book, Sirah Hadrat Amir Muawiyah, (vol. 1 pg. 179 – 183).
As explained above Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu resided in Rabadhah upon the advice of Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in turn provided for his necessities and granted him a stipend. A short while later Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu left this earthly abode. The historians have recorded that he passed away in Rabadhah in 32 A.H, and aside from his wife and children, no one else present. Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu happened to pass by with his companions from Iraq and they performed the ghusl, shrouding and burial of Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu got news of the demise of Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he took responsibility for his family and took charge of them.
In short, we have presented the biography of Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu in accordance to what is mentioned in the history works, which makes it clear that there was no dispute between Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, nor were they opposed to each other. Whatever has been narrated of the alleged animosity between Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu with Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu are baseless fabrications.
The claim has been made that Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu assaulted Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu so savagely, even stepping on his private parts, such that he was no longer able to control his bladder.
Evidence is cited from for this allegation from a narration reported by Ibn Shabbah:
Qasim ibn Fudayl — ‘Amr ibn Murrah — Salim ibn Abi al Ja’d says: “‘Uthman called a group of the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, amongst whom was ‘Ammar ibn Yasir. ‘Uthman said: ‘I am going to ask some questions to you, I implore you by Allah! Don’t you know that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to prefer the Quraysh over the rest of the people, and would prefer the Banu Hashim over the balance of the Quraysh?’ The people remained silent. He then said: ‘If I had the keys of Jannah in my hands I would definitely give them to the Banu Umayyah to enter until the last of them, By Allah, I will definitely give and use them in defiance of those who have a problem.’ ‘Ammar said: ‘Even if I have a problem?’ ‘Uthman said: ‘(Yes,) Even if you have a problem.’ ‘Ammar asked: “And even if Abu Bakr and ‘Umar have a problem?’ This angered ‘Uthman and he pounced upon ‘Ammar, beating him severely. Thus the people became frightened of him because of it. He then sent for the Banu Umayyah, and said, “O wicked creation of Allah, have you caused me to become angry with this man such that I was about to destroy him and myself.’ He sent for Talhah and Zubair. He said: ‘What is wrong with my conduct, when I just said to him what he said to me, and it was not befitting of me to compel him like how I did. So both of you go to this man and give him a choice between three things; that he should seek retribution, accept monetary compensation or forgive.’ He (‘Ammar) said: ‘By Allah, I will not accept any of those conditions until I meet the Rasul of Allah and complain to him.’ They came back to ‘Uthman (and related what he had said), to which he replied: ‘I will relate to you something with regards to him, on one occasion I was with the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who was holding my hand in — a place called — Batha’. He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to him, his father and mother — while they were being persecuted — and his father said: ‘O Rasul of Allah, is it going to be like this forever?’ The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: ‘Have patience O Yasir! O Allah, forgive the family of Yasir.’ And I have definitely done so (that is forgiven him).’”
The reply to this accusation is:
Firstly: The hadith is not sahih, there is inqita’ (disjointedness) in its chain of narration. Muslims do not accept in their din except that which is sahih. It is imperative that a hadith conform with these five conditions:
a. Imam Abu ‘Amr ibn Salah said:
أما الحديث الصحيح: فهو الحديث المسند الذي يتصل إسناده بنقل العدل الضابط عن العدل الضابط إلى منتهاه؛ و لا يكون شاذا و لا معلّلا.
As for this narration it fails to meet the first condition; which is Ittisal al Sanad. The defect being there is a break in it chain between ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and Salim ibn al Ja’d
b. Imam Abu Zur’ah al ‘Iraqi said:
سالم بن ابي الجعد: حديثه عن عمر و عثمان و علي مرسل
c. Imam al Mizzi said:
و لا يصح لسالم سماع من علي و انما يروي عن محمد بن الحنفية
It is not correct that Salim heard from ‘Ali but he only narrates from Muhammad al Hanafiyyah (‘Ali’s son).
d. Imam Ibn Hajar al Asqalani said:
سالم بن ابي الجعد: ثقة و كان يرسل كثيرا
Salim ibn al Ja’d: Reliable but narrate copious Mursal narrations.
If the reality is that Salim ibn al Ja’d did not hear from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu who lived a few years after ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then how is it possible that he narrates or heard from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself.
This hadith is Mursal, and the known fact is that Mursal is considered to be amongst the weak narrations.
e. Imam Muslim writes:
والمرسل من الروايات في اصل قولنا و قول اهل العلم بالاخبار ليس بحجة
A Mursal narration according to us and according to the people of knowledge in hadith is that it cannot be used as evidence.
f. Imam Salih al Din al ‘Ala’i says:
قال الإمام ابن أبي حاتم: سمعت أبي وأبا زرعة يقولان: لا يحتج بالمراسيل، ولا تقوم الحجة إلا بالأسانيد الصحاح المتصلة
Imam Ibn Abi Hatim said: “I heard my father and Abu Zur’ah saying, ‘Mursal cannot be used as evidence or proof, but evidence can only be established by a sound unbroken chain.’”
It is not permissible to cite as evidence the likes of these narrations to defame the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Secondly: other books which report this narration:
In addition to this narration of the ‘Uthman assaulting ‘Ammar — which is a blatant lie — the narration of Ansab al Ashraf of al Baladhuri is quoted, wherein it is claimed that ‘Uthman instructed his slaves to hold his (‘Ammar’s) hands — who was very old and frail — and then proceeded to strike him in his private parts, while wearing his leather socks, and violently assaulted him. As a result of this he was unable to control his urine, suffered with a hernia and lost consciousness. We ask: what would be the reason for such a ruthless beating (if it were true)? I found this statement in Ansab al Ashraf of al Baladhuri:
a. Al Baladhuri says:
ويقال إن المقداد بن عمرو وعمار بن ياسر وطلحة والزبي في عدة من أصحاب ر سول الله صَلى ا لله عليه وسلم كتبوا كتابا عددوا فيه أحداث عثمان وخوفوه ربه وأعلموه أنهم مواثبوه إن لم يقلع، فأخذ عمار الكتاب وأتاه به، فقرأ صدرا منه فقاَ له عثمان أعلي تقدم من بينهم؟ فقال عمار: لأن أنصحهم لَك، فَقَالَ : كذبت يا ابن سمية، فقال: أنا والله ابن سمية وابن ياسر، فأمر غلمانا له فمدوا بيديه ورجليه ثم ضربه عثمان برجليه وهي في الخفين على مذاكيره فأصابه الفتق،
It is mentioned that Miqdad ibn ‘Amar, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Talhah, Zubair and several others from the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wrote a letter wherein they enumerated the innovations of ‘Uthman. They warned him of his Rabb, and informed him that they will take him to task if he does not refrain. ‘Ammar took the letter and brought it to ‘Uthman. He read some portion from it and ‘Uthman said to him: “Do you come to me from amongst them?” ‘Ammar said, “So that I may counsel you on their behalf.” He said: “Do not lie, O son of Sumayyah.” He said, “I am, by Allah, the son of Sumayyah and the son of Yasir.” ‘Uthman then instructed some of his slaves to hold his arms and legs, and he struck him between his legs — while wearing leather socks, which caused him t suffer from a hernia. He was an old and frail, and thus fell unconscious.
And this by Allah is something extremely strange. Al Baladhuri reports it with the words “it has been said,” yet the critics insist on basing their argument upon it, as if it is an accepted fact. Where is erudite research and sound narrations they claim to possess indicting ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu?
Is it with the likes of this incomplete narration — in terms of chain and meaning —that he maligns the Sahabah of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Is it just because these narrations are found reported in some books that it became acceptable to substantiate from them, without investigation and thorough research? If a statement is mentioned in the beginning of some book that so and so person narrates such and such, will we deem it credible as if it is flawless? Which method is this? And which din is this?
b. Imam Ibn Khaldun says:
وكثيرا ما وقع للمؤرخين والمفسرين وأئمة النقل من المغالط في الحكايات والوقائع لاعتمادهم فيها على مجرد النقل غثا أو سمينا ولم يعرضوها على أصولها ولا قاسوها بأشباهها ولا سبروها بمعيار الحكمة والوقوف على طبائع الكائنات وتحكيم النظر والبصيرة في الأخبار فضلوا عن الحق وتاهوا في بيداء الوهم والغلط، ولا سيما في إحصاء الأعداد من الأموال والعساكر إذا عرضت في الحكايات إذ هي مظنة الكذب ومطية الهذر ولا بد من رد ها إلى الأصول وعرضها على القواعد
A great amount of fallacy occurred amongst the historians, mufassirin and traditionalists when narrating with the intention to merely transmit, whether it is correct or incorrect. They did not evaluate it in light of the principles, or compare it with other narrations, or examine it extensively, weigh its credibility in accordance to natural temperament and thoroughly scrutinise the narration. They contradicted the facts and ventured down a path of speculation and error. Especially concerning calculation of wealth and numbers of the army when relating incidents; they are false speculations and nonsense. It is imperative to scrutinise it in light of the principles and subject it to the necessary laws.
Where is this narration in comparison to what the earlier and latter scholars of this ummah have established in the form of principles and laws for correct transmitting?
Thirdly: Observing the matn (text) of the narration:
What was it that ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu did — in this fabricated and baseless narration — that would warrant such anger from ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu such that he would assault him in this manner?
Is it for the mere fact that he (‘Ammar) said, “I am advising you,” or was it when ‘Uthman said, “O son of Sumayyah,” and ‘Ammar responded by saying that he is the son of Yasir and Sumayyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma? Was this what prompted ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to assault him? What is this prattle and obscure talk that no intelligent educated person will accept? Who ever said that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was one whose anger would cause him to lose his senses and behave so brutish and irresponsibly? Critics claim that one cannot read this narration except that tears come to the eyes, we reply that indeed it does bring tears to the eye but sometimes those tears are caused by excessive laughter upon this unfounded and baseless narration!
They claim after this incident, ‘Ammar could not control his urine; where is this statement in the book Ansab al Ashraf or in Tarikh al Madinah?
Furthermore, such anger from ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is unfathomable. Let us see what the Nabi of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said about ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Imam Ahmed ibn Hambal narrates:
عن أنس بن مالك، عن النبي صلى ا لله عليه وسلم قال : ” أرحم أمتي بأ متي أبو بكر، وأشد هم في دين الله عمر وأصدق هم حياء عثمان ، وأفرض هم زيد بن ثابت، وأقرؤهم لكتاب الله أبي بن كعب، وأعلمهم بالحلال والحرام معاذ بن جبل، ألا وإن لكل أمة أمينا، وإن أمين هذه الأمة أبو عبيدة بن الجراح
Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates from the Nabi of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said: “The most merciful of my ummah upon my ummah is Abu Bakr, the most firm on the din of Allah is ‘Umar, the most modest of them is ‘Uthman, the most knowledgeable with regards to the laws of inheritance is Zaid ibn Thabit, the best with regards to the recitation of the Qur’an is Ubay ibn Ka’b, the most knowledgeable with regards to halal and haram is Muaz ibn Jabal, verily for every ummah there is a trustee, and the trustee of this ummah is Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah.
Fourthly: From where can we take authentic history?
a. Dr. Ibrahim ‘Ali says:
It is necessary to produce a chain of narration in all matters of din. And we will rely on it in the ahadith of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and other matters of din with regards to manaqib (merits of the Sahabah), Fada’il (virtues of various a’mal), maghazi (records of the battles), siyar (history) and other such things from matters of our firm religion and clear law of Islam.
Some of these matters are such that it is possible to rely on a narration as long as they can be confirmed by a chain of narration, especially after the generation that was known to be the best. Our pious predecessors were very strict in stressing the importance of chains of narration; that it is necessary for din, and it is among the specialities of our ummah.
Dr. Ibrahim ‘Ali provides as evidence the statement of the renowned scholars on the importance and value of chains of narration.
b. Imam Muslim narrates in his Sahih:
عن عبد الله بن المبارك يقول الاسناد من الدين و لو لا الاسناد لقال من شاء ما شاء
‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak said: “Chains of narration are part of din, and if it were not chains of narration then anyone would say whatever they wished (to say).
How much more is the scrutiny required when allegations are cast upon the best of people to have lived, after ambiya’? Do you not submit to the counsel of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?
c. Imam Tabarani narrates:
عن ثوبان، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلَم قال إذا ذكر أصحابي فأمسكوا، وإذا ذكرت النجوم فأمسكوا، وإذا ذكر القدر فأمسكوا
Thowban radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “When my Sahabah are mentioned then refrain (from discussing their faults), when the stars are mentioned then refrain (from pursuing the discussion further), and when Taqdir is mentioned then refrain (from pursuing the discussion further).”
I counsel you with the word of Allah:
تِلْکَ اُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْۚ لَهَا مَا کَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَّا کَسَبْتُمْۚ وَلَا تُسْـَٔلُوْنَ عَمَّا کَانُوْا یَعْمَلُوْنَ
That was a nation which has passed on. It will have (the consequence of) what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do.
 Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim pg. 63
 Al Muntaqa pg. 394, Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah pg. 114
 Tarikh al Khamis vol. 2 pg. 270
 Ibid vol. 2 pg. 271
 Qurrat al ‘Aynayn pg. 272
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 3 pg. 43
 Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 88
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 217
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d pg. 113, 114, Tarikh al Islam vol. 2 pg. 104
 Al Tamhid wa al Bayan fi Maqtal al Shahid ‘Uthman pg. 65
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 163
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 3 pg. 113
 Al Muntaqa pg. 396
 Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 11 pg. 110, 111, Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 4 pg. 166
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 155
 Al Muntaqa pg. 396, 397, Musnad Abu Ya’la al Musili vol. 1 pg. 157, 158
 Tarikh Ibn Khaldun vol. 2 pg. 1029, Al Tamhid wa al Bayan pg. 74 to pg. 76
 Tarikh al Tabari vol. 5 pg. 67
 Kitab al Tamhid wa l-Bayan pg. 74
 Tarikh al Kabir of Bukhari vol. 4 pg. 100
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 7 pg. 165, al Tamhid wa l-Bayan pg. 79
 Tarikh al Madinah by Imam ‘Umar ibn Shabbah vol. 3 p. 1098. Publisher: Al Sayed Habib Mahmud Ahmed (Jiddah), ed. Fahim Muhammad Shaltut.
 ‘Ulum al Hadith, by Imam Abu ‘Amr ibn al Salih, p. 11, Publisher: Dar al Fikr al Mu’asir (Lebanon), Dar al Fikr (Syria), ed. Nur al Din ‘Antar.
 A Mursal Hadith is a narration in which a Tabi’i omits the person he heard the narration from.
 Tuhfat al Tahsil fi Ahkam al Marasil, by Imam al Hafiz al ‘Iraqi, p. 120 Publisher: Maktabat al Rashad-al Riyad, ed. ‘Abdullah Nawarah.
 Tuhfat al Ashraf, by Imam Abi al Hajjaj al Mizzi, vol. 8 p. 376, Publisher: al Maktabat al Islami (Beirut), ed. ‘Abdul Samad Sharaf al Din, Zuhayr al Shawish.
 Taqrib al Tahdhib, by Imam Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani p. 166, #2170, Publisher: Mu’assasatut al Risalah (Beirut), ed. ‘Adil Murshid.
 Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim, by Imam Muslim ibn Al Hajjaj, vol. 1 p. 18, Publisher: Dar al Tayyibah (Riyad), ed. Nazr Muhammad al Gharbabi.
 Jami’ al Tahsil fi Ahkam al Marasil, by Imam Salih al din al ‘Ala’i p. 36, Publisher: ‘Alam al Kutub (Beirut), ed. Hamdi ‘Abdul Majid al Sulghi.
 Musnad Imam Ahmed ibn Hambal, vol. 21 p. 406, publisher: Mu’assasat al Risalah (Beirut), ed. Sheikh Shu’ayb al Arna’ut and others.
 Al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, by Imam Abu Bakr ibn al ‘Arabi p. 280, publisher: Dar al Turath (Cairo), ed ‘Ammar Talibi.
 Sahih al Sirat al Nabawiyyah, Dr. Ibrahim ‘Ali p. 12, publisher: Dar al Nagha’is (Jordan).
 Muqaddimat Sahih Muslim, by Imam Muslim ibn Hajjaj p. 8, publisher: Dar al Tayyibah (Riyad), ed. Nazr Muhammad al Gharbabi.
 Surah al Baqarah: 134