Some history books have distorted the attitude of the Sahabah towards the murder of ‘Uthman. That is due to the Rafidi reports that are quoted by many historians. The one who studies the events of the turmoil mentioned in Tarikh al Tabari and other books of history through the reports of Abu Mikhnaf, al Waqidi, Ibn A’tham and other narrators may get the impression that the Sahabah were the ones who were behind the conspiracy and provoking turmoil.
Abu Mikhnaf had Shia inclinations and did not refrain from accusing ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of being the khalifah who made so many mistakes that he deserved what he got. In his reports, Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu appears as one of those who rebelled against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and incited the people against him. The reports of al Waqidi are no different from those of Abu Mikhnaf, as they suggest that ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to Madinah and started to criticise ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. There are many Rafidi reports which accuse the Sahabah of conspiring against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and say that they are the ones who stirred up turmoil and incited the people. These are all lies and fabrications.
In contrast to the fabricated and weak Rafidi reports, the books of the Muhaddithin have — praise be to Allah — preserved for us the sahih reports which show the Sahabah as supporting and defending ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as having nothing to do with his murder and seeking vengeance for him after he was killed. Thus it is very far-fetched to imagine that they would have anything to do with stirring up turmoil or provoking it.
The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are all innocent of shedding the blood of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If anyone says otherwise, his words are false and no evidence can be presented that reaches the level of being sahih. Hence khalifah narrated in his Tarikh from ‘Abdul A’la ibn al Haytham that his father said:
I said to Hassan: “Was there anyone of the Muhajirin or Ansar among those who killed ‘Uthman?” He said: “No, they were thugs from Egypt.”
Imam al Nawawi said:
None of the Sahabah took part in his killing; rather he was killed by thugs and hooligans from the vile, low-class dregs of the tribes. They ganged up against him and came from Egypt, and the Sahabah who were there were unable to ward them off, so they besieged him until they killed him.
Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu described them as thugs from the regions. Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha described them as the dregs of the tribes. Ibn Sa’d described them as the scum of the people who were united in evil. Ibn Taymiyah described them as evil rebels and transgressors who had gone astray. Al Dhahabi described them as the essence of evil and cruelty. Ibn al ‘Imad al Hanbali described them in al Shadharat as evil people from the trash of the tribes.
These descriptions are borne out by the conduct of these thugs from the time they began the siege until they killed the khalifah radiya Llahu ‘anhu unlawfully. How could they withhold food and water from him when he was the one who had often paid from his own pocket to supply water to the Muslims for free and he was the one who had had spent a great deal of money on the people at times of famine or calamity? ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu mentioned this when he was rebuking the besiegers and told them:
O people, what you are doing is nothing like the deeds of the believers or the disbelievers. Do not withhold water or food from this man, for even the Byzantines and Persians, when they take prisoners, give them food and water.
The sahih reports and the events of history confirm that the Sahabah are innocent of inciting people against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu or taking any part in the turmoil against him. There follow comments of the Sahabah which show that they are innocent of shedding the blood of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
1. It was narrated from Fatimah bint ‘Abdul Rahman al Yashkuriyyah from her mother that she asked Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, at the request of her paternal uncle, saying:
One of your sons sends you greetings of salam and is asking you about ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, as the people are talking a great deal about him. She said: “Whoever curses ‘Uthman, may Allah curse him. By Allah, he was sitting with the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was leaning his back against me, and Jibril ‘alayh al Salam was revealing Qur’an to him, and he was saying: “Write, ‘Uthman.” By Allah he would not have reached such a status unless he was dear to Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
2. It was narrated from Masruq that Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, when ‘Uthman was killed:
You left him like a clean garment, then you decided to slaughter him like a ram.
Masruq said to her:
This is your doing; you wrote to the people telling them to rebel against him.
No, by the One in Whom the believers believe and the disbelievers disbelieve. I have never written anything to them up till now.
We have already seen how the Saba’iyyahs told lies and wrote letters to the people of the regions that they fabricated and falsely attributed to Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.
3. When she heard of the death of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu on her way back from Makkah to Madinah, she went back to Makkah and entered al Masjid al Haram, and she went and stood behind the Hijr, and the people gathered around her. She said:
O people, the thugs from the various regions and the slaves of Madinah got together because some thugs criticised this one who has been slain for being wise and smart and for appointing those who were young, even though people of the same age had been appointed before him. (And they criticised him) for increasing the area of the grazing lands, although that had been done before and there was no alternative. ‘Uthman debated with them and explained to them, but when they could find no excuse they got upset and hastened to attack him, so their actions proved to be different from their words. They shed haram blood and violated the sanctity of the holy land; they took haram wealth and violated the sacred month. By Allah, one finger of ‘Uthman is better than an earth full of people like them. Protect yourselves by going after them so as to make an example of them for others. By Allah, if there was any wrongdoing on ‘Uthman’s part that led them to kill him, that wrongdoing could be taken away from him like dross from gold or like dirt from a garment when it is washed.
In contrast to the good picture that may be drawn from these sound reports of the relationship between the Mother of the Believers Aisha and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, there are still other reports narrated by al Tabari and others which depict the relationship between Aisha and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as contrary to what we have seen, and they distort the image of the positive role that she played in defending the sacred limits of Allah and defending ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and her understanding of the games played by the Saba’iyyah.
The reports that were narrated in al ‘Iqd al Farid, al Aghani, Tarikh al Ya’qubi,Tarikh al Mas’udi and Ansab al Ashraf and the conclusions they reached concerning the political role played by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha during the era of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, may lead one to criticise the political stance taken by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha but they are not to be relied on because they contradict the sahih reports and because they are based on weak reports. Most of the reports have no isnad and those that do have isnad have faulty isnad so they cannot be taken as evidence. This is in addition to the fact that their texts are corrupt when compared to other reports that are more sound and closer to the truth.
Asma’ Muhammad Ahmed Ziyadah has undertaken a study of the isnad and texts of the reports which speak of the political role played by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha in the events of the turmoil, and she criticised the reports which speak of a difference of political opinion between Aisha and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, as narrated by al Tabari and others, and she demonstrated that they are false. Then she said:
It would be more appropriate for us to ignore all of these reports – as mentioned above – because they have not reached us through proper channels; rather the way in which they have reached us is via narrators who are accused of being Shia, liars and Rawafid.
But we examined them because they are widely known in most modern studies, and in order to prove that they are worthless reports. These reports -as is clear to us – try to create a history that never happened at all, of conflict and enmity between ‘Uthman and Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and between ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuand all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. If it is proven that ‘Aʼishah radiya Llahu ‘anha agreed with the rebels to incite the people against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, one would expect her to give some justification to the rebels, but there are no sound reports at all to that effect. If any of these reports which speak of ‘Aʼishah’s radiya Llahu ‘anha attitude towards the killing of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu were sound, they would take away the credibility of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and the Sahabah who took the same stance as her.
This is something that we cannot accept because of the true texts from Allah and His Rasul which confirms their credibility, which on its own would be sufficient to refute these reports. But we have examined these reports just to confirm that they are worthless and that all conclusions based on them are worthless, so that all evidence based on religious texts and scientific and historical evidence comes together and supports one another.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Ahlul Bayt respected ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and acknowledged his rights.
a. The first one to swear allegiance to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu after ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu was ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It was narrated that Qais ibn ‘Abbad said:
I heard ‘Ali say, when ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was mentioned: He is a man of whom the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
ألا أستحيى ممن تستحيى منه الملائكة
Should I not feel shy before the one before whom the angels feel shy?
b. He testified that he had been given glad tidings of Paradise. It was narrated that al Nazzal ibn Sabrah said:
I asked ‘Ali about ‘Uthman and he said: “He is a man who is called Dhu al Nurayn by the exalted assembly (angels). He was the son-in-law of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and was married to two of his daughters, and he was guaranteed a house in paradise.
c. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was obedient to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and acknowledged his position as leader and khalifah, and he did not disobey any command. Ibn Abi Shaibah narrated with his isnad from Ibn al Hanafiyyah (the son of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
If ‘Uthman told me to march to Sirar, I would hear and obey.
This is indicative of the extent of his willingness to follow and obey ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them both).
d. When ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu united the people in reading one recitation of the Qur’an, after consulting the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and reaching consensus on that, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
If I were in his position I would have done the same as he has done.
e. Hence ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu denounced the killing of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and declared his innocence of shedding his blood. He swore oaths in his khutbahs and at other times stating that he did not kill him and that he did not order his killing or support it or approve of it. That has been proven from him in definitive reports, contrary to what the Rawafid claim, that he approved of the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
After mentioning some of the reports that speak of his murder, al Hakim said:
As for that which is claimed by some of the innovators, that the Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu helped (in the killing of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu), that is a lie and a fabrication. The mutawatir reports say otherwise.
Ibn Taymiyah said:
This is all a lie against ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and a fabrication against him. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not take part in the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, nor did he order it or approve of it. That was narrated from him and he was truthful and honest.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
O Allah, I declare my innocence before You of shedding the blood of ‘Uthman.
Al Hakim narrated with his isnad from Qais ibn ‘Abbad that he said:
I heard ‘Ali on the day of the Camel saying: “O Allah, I declare my innocence before You of shedding the blood of ‘Uthman; I was beside myself with grief on the day when ‘Uthman was killed, and I felt very distressed when they came to swear allegiance to me. I said: By Allah, I feel ashamed before Allah to accept the allegiance of people who killed a man of whom the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
ألا أستحيى ممن تستحيى منه الملائكة
Should I not feel shy before the one before whom the angels feel shy?
I feel ashamed before Allah to accept allegiance when ‘Uthman is lying slain on the ground and has not yet been buried. So they went away, but when ‘Uthman had been buried, the people came back and asked me to accept their allegiance, and I said: “By Allah, I am worried about what to do.” Then I decided to go ahead and accept their oaths of allegiance. When they said: “O Amir al Mu’minin,” it was as if it gave me a shock, and I said: “O Allah, take (hassanat) from me and give them to ‘Uthman until You are pleased.”
Imam Ahmed narrated with his isnad from Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah that he said:
‘Ali heard that Aisha was cursing the killers of ‘Uthman in al Mirbad. He raised his hands until they reached his face, then he said: “And I also curse the killers of ‘Uthman may Allah curse them in the plains and in the mountains.” He said it two or three times.
Ibn Sa’d narrated with his isnad from Ibn ‘Abbas that ‘Ali said:
By Allah, I did not kill ‘Uthman and I did not order that he be killed, rather I tried to stop it. By Allah, I did not kill ‘Uthman and I did not order that he be killed, but I was overpowered. He said it three times.
It was also narrated that he said:
Whoever disavows the religion of ‘Uthman has disavowed faith. By Allah, I did not help with his murder and I did not order it or approve of it.
f. And ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
He was the one among us who upheld ties of kinship the most, and he was the one who feared Allah the most.
g. It was narrated that Abu ‘Awn said:
I heard Muhammad ibn Hatib say: “I asked ‘Ali about ‘Uthman and he said: ‘He was one of those who believed and feared Allah, then believed and feared Allah. But he did not complete the verse.’ (Al Ma’idah: 93).’”
h. It was narrated that ‘Umairah ibn Sa’d said:
We were with ‘Ali on the banks of the Euphrates, when a ship passed by with its sails raised. ‘Ali said: “Allah says:
وَ لَهُ الْجَوَارِ الْمُنْشَئٰتُ فِی الْبَحْرِ کَالْاَعْلَامِ
And His are the ships going and coming in the seas, like mountains.
By the One Who caused them to sail in one of His seas, I did not kill ‘Uthman and I did not support anyone in killing him.
i. Imam Ahmed narrated in his Musnad that Muhammad ibn Hatib said:
I heard ‘Ali say:
اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُمْ مِّنَّا الْحُسْنٰٓی ۙ اُولٰٓئِكَ عَنْهَا مُبْعَدُوْنَ
Verily, those for whom the good has preceded from Us, they will be removed far therefrom [Hell].
– ‘Uthman is one of them.
And ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
I became ill on the day ‘Uthman was killed.
Al Hafiz ibn ‘Asakir compiled all the reports from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in which he declared his innocence of the murder of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He would swear oaths to that effect in his khutbahs and on other occasions, swearing that he did not kill him or approve of that. This is proven from him in reports that are regarded as definitive by many of the A’immah of hadith.
Imam Ahmed narrated with his isnad from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he said:
If all the people had gathered to kill ‘Uthman, they would have been stoned the way the people of Lut were stoned.
And he said, praising ‘Uthman and condemning those who criticised him:
May Allah have mercy on Abu ‘Amr! He was, by Allah, the noblest and most righteous of men, who prayed a great deal at the time before dawn, shed many tears when he remembered the Fire, the first to do righteous deeds and to offer help at the time of calamity, beloved, confident and loyal, the one who equipped the army of Tabuk, the son-in-law of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. May Allah punish those who curse him with the curse of those who curse until the Day of judgement.
Ibn ‘Asakir narrated with his isnad from al Suddi that he said:
I came to him – i.e., Zaid rahimahu Llah – when he was in Bariq, one of the quarters of Kufah, and I said to him: “You are our leader and are in charge of our affairs. What do you say about Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?” He said: “You should love them.” And he used to say that disavowing Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman was disavowing ‘Ali, and that disavowing ‘Ali was disavowing Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman.
It is proven that ‘Ali ibn al Hussain rahimahu Llah disavowed the Rafidi view about Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Abu Nuaim narrated with his isnad from Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (Baqir) that his father ‘Ali ibn al Hussain (Zayn al ‘Abidin) said:
Some people of Iraq sat together and spoke of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and they criticised them, then they started criticising ‘Uthman. He said to them: Tell me, are you among the first Muhajirin
لِلْفُقَرَآءِ الْمُهٰجِرِیْنَ الَّذِیْنَ اُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِیَارِهِمْ وَ اَمْوَالِهِمْ یَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَ رِضْوَانًا وَّ یَنْصُرُوْنَ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَه
Who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him, and helping Allah (i.e. helping His religion) and His Rasul [Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]).
They said: “No.” He said:
Are you among those who:
تَبَوَّؤُا الدَّارَ وَ الْاِیْمَانَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ یُحِبُّوْنَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ اِلَیْهِمْ
Before them, had homes (in Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them?
They said:” No.” He said to them:
You have confirmed and testified against yourselves that you are neither from this group nor that, and I bear witness against you that you are not of the third group of whom Allah says:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ جَآءُوْ مِنْۢ بَعْدِهِمْ یَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْلَنَا وَ لِاِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِیْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْاِیْمَانِ وَ لَا تَجْعَلْ فِیْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا رَبَّنَآ اِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِیْمٌ
And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed.
Go away and leave me; may Allah not bless you and may He keep you away from us. You are mocking Islam and you are not of its followers.
 op. cit., 2/18
 Shahid al Dar ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan by Ahmed al Khuruf, p. 148
 Sharh al Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 5/148, Kitab Fada’il al Sahabah
 Minhaj al Sunnah, 3/189-206
 Duwal al Islam by al Dhahabi, 1/12
 Al Tamhid wa al Bayan, p. 242
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/400
 Fitnat Maqtal ‘Uthman, 1/391, Tarikh Khalifah, p. 176. Its isnad to Aisha is Sahih.
 Tarikh al Tabari, 5/473,474
 Dowr al Mar’ah al Siyasi fi ‘Ahd al Nabi wa al Khulafa’ al Rashidin, p. 352
 See also concerning these false conclusions: al Siddiqah bint al Siddiq by al ‘Aqqad, p. 116-124
 Dowr al Mar’ah al Siyasi, p. 370
 op. cit., p. 370
 Dowr al Mar’ah al Siyasi, p. 371
 Al Bukhari, Kitanb Fada’il al Sahabah, no. 3700
 Muslim, Kitab Fada’il al Sahabah, no. 2401 (Al Hakim 3/95)
 Al ‘Aqidah fi Ahl; al Bayt bayna al lfrat wa al Tafrit, p. 227; al Mukhtasar min Kitab al Muwafaqah bayna Ahlul Bayt wa al Sahabah by al Zamakhshari – MS in the library of the Islamic Universality. This book has been printed by Dar al Hadith.
 Al Sunan by al Khallal, 1/325, no. 416. Its isnad is sahih.
 Al ‘Aqidah fi Ahl; al Bayt bayna al lfrat wa al Tafrit, p. 227
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/202
 Al ‘Aqidah fi Ahlul Bayt bayna al lfrat wa al Tafrit, p. 229; Haqq al Yaqin by ‘Abd-Allah Shibr, p. 189
 Al Mustadrak, 3/103
 Minhaj al Sunnah, 4/406
 Al Aqidah fi Ahlul Bayt, p. 230. Its isnad is hassan.
 Al Hakim 3/95
 AI-Mustadrak, 3/95; a sahih hadith according to the conditions of Al Bukhari and Muslim, although they did not narrate it; and al Dhahabi agreed with him.
 A place near Basrah, approximately three miles away.
 Fada’il al Sahabah, 1/555, no. 733, its isnad is sahih
 Al Tabaqat, 3/82; Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 77202
 Al Riyad al Nadrah, p. 543
 Sifat al Safwah, 1/306
 Fada’il al Sahabah, 1/580. Its isnad is sahih.
 Surah al Rahman: 24
 Op. cit., 1/559,560. Its isnad has corroborating evidence.
 Surah al Anbiya’: 101
 op. cit., 1/580, no. 771. Its isnad is sahih
 Al Muntazam fi Tarikh al Muluk wa al Umam, 5/61
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 7/193
 Fada’il al Sahabah, 1/563, no. 746.
 Al ‘Aqidah fi Ahlul Bayt, p. 234; Muruj al Dhahab by al Mas’udi, 3/64
 Al Aqidah fi Ahlul Bayt, p. 335; Tahdhib Tarikh Dimashq, 6/21
 Surah al Hashr: 8
 Surah al Hashr: 9
 Surah al Hashr: 10
 Al ‘Aqidah fi Ahlul Bayt, p. 236; Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 9/112; al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qur’an, 18/31,32