Those that accuse him of innovations use the following issues to carry their case:
The first accusation in this category is that of his burning other copies of the Qur’an and uniting the ummah onto a single manuscript. The well-versed scholars have cited this to be of the many accolades of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as it put an abrupt end to major differences between the Muslims and united them onto a one mushaf.
Ibn al ‘Arabi says:
وأما جمع القرآن فتلك حسنته العظمى ، وخصلته الكبرى … وحسم مادة الخلاف فيها ، وكان نفوذ وعد الله بحفظ القرآن على يديه حسبما بيَّنَّاه في كتب القرآن وغيرها
Gathering the Qur’an was a great deed and an enormous accomplishment of his. It curbed the differences that had begun to appear and was a manifestation of the promise of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to protect the Qur’an. In this instance the protection was through him.
The reason for gathering the ummah onto one manuscript is what has been mentioned of Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman radiya Llahu ‘anhu who was marching in the army to al Bab in the year 30 A.H when he returned he said to Sa’id ibn al ‘As:
لقد رأيت في سفري هذا عجبا ، ولئن ترك الناس ليختلف في القرآن ، ثم لا يقومون عليه أبدا قال : وما ذاك – قال : رأيت ناسا من أهل حمص يقولون : قراءتهم خير من قراءة غيرهم ، لأنهم أخذوها عن المقداد ، وأهل دمشق يقولون مثل ذلك ، وأهل الكوفة يقولون مثل ذلك ؛ لأنهم قرأوا على ابن مسعود ، وأهل البصرة يقولون مثل ذلك وأنهم قرأوا على أبي موسى ، ويسمون مصحفه لباب القلوب
I have seen strange happenings in these travels of mine. If people are left like this, they will differ in the Qur’an and then no consensus regarding the Qur’an will ever be achieved.
Sa’id ibn al ‘As asked, “And why is that?”
He replied, “I have seen the people of Hims saying that their mode of recitation is better than others as they had learnt it from al Miqdad, the people of Dimashq had the same view regarding their mode recitation, the people of Kufah said the same having learnt from Ibn Mas’ud, and the people of Basrah said the same having learnt from Abu Musa naming his manuscript ‘The essence of the heart’.
At this point Hudhayfah went to ‘Uthman and said to him:
ادرك هذه الامة قبل ان يختلفوا في الكتاب اختالف اليهود والنصارى
In the narration of Ibn ‘Asakir, Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu reports:
أن حذيفة بن اليمان قدم على عثمان ابن عفان وكان يغزو مع أهل العراق قبل أرمينية في غزوهم ذلك فيمن اجتمع من أهل العراق وأهل الشام ، فتنازعوا في القرآن حتى سمع حذيفة من اختلافهم فيه ما يكره ، فركب حذيفة حتى قدم على عثمان فقال : يا أمير المؤمنين أدرك هذه الأمة قبل أن يختلفوا في القرآن اختلاف اليهود والنصارى في الكتب ، ففزع لذلك عثمان بن عفان ، فأرسل إلى حفصة بنت عمر أن أرسلي إلي بالصحف التي جمع فيها القرآن ، فأرسلت إليه بها حفصة ، فأمر عثمان زید بن ثابت وسعيد بن العاص وعبد الله بن الزبير وعبد الرحمن بن الحارث بن هشام أن ينسخوها في المصاحف وقال لهم إذا اختلفتم وزيد بن ثابت في عربية من عربية القرآن ، فاكتبوها بلسان قريش . فإن القرآن إنما نزل بلسانهم . ففعلوا حتى كتبت المصاحف . ثم رد عثمان الصحف إلى حفصة ، وأرسل إلى كل جند من أجناد المسلمين بمصحف وأمرهم أن يحرقوا كل مصحف يخالف المصحف الذي أرسل به ، فذلك زمن حرقت المصاحف بالنار
Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the time when the people of Iraq were waging war to in Armenia. In this army were the people of Iraq and Sham. They argued in their different modes of recitation to the extent that Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu disliked what he heard from them.
Hudhayfah thus travelled to ‘Uthman and said to him, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.”
‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was distressed by this affair and he sent a message to Hafsah bint ‘Umar asking her for the manuscripts in which the Qur’an was gathered. Hafsah sent it to him. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu then instructed Zaid ibn Thabit, Sa’id ibn al As, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair, and ‘Abdur Rahman ibn al Harith ibn Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies.
‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to them, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the dialects of Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and they wrote the copies. ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsah. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu then sent to every Muslim army one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic manuscripts that differs with the one sent to be burnt. This was the period wherein the manuscripts were burnt.
Additionally, this act of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not done independently, rather it was a result of the opinion of many of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who saw what Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had seen. Further, this great deed pleased them. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu says regarding this:
وقالوا : – أي الخارجة – كان القرآن كتبا فتركتها إلا واحدا ألا وإن القرآن جاء من عند واحد وإنما أنا في ذلك تابع لهؤلاء – أي الصحابة – أكذلك ؟ قالوا : نعم
They— the Khawarij—say that the Qur’an used to be preserved in a number of different written versions, and you have abandoned all but one., But verily the Qur’an is one, and came through one man. In this matter I have only followed these, i.e. the Sahabah. Is this the case?
They replied “Yes”
Saif ibn ‘Umar narrates with his chain to Suwaid ibn Ghafalah who said:
سمعت علي ابن أبي طالب يقول : أيها الناس ، الله ، الله ، إياكم والغلو في عثمان ، وقولكم : حراق المصاحف ، فوالله ما أحرقها إلا عن ملا من أصحاب محمد ع جمعنا فقال : ما تقولون في هذه القراءة التي قد اختلف فيها الناس ؟ يلقى الرجل الرجل فيقول : قراءتي خير من قراءتك ، وقراءتي أفضل من قراءتك ، وهذا شبيه بالكفر ، فقلنا : ما الرأي يا أمير المؤمنين ؟ فقال : أرى أن أجمع الناس على مصحف واحد ، فإنكم إن اختلفتم اليوم كان من بعد كم أشد اختلافا … ثم قال علي: والله لو وليت مثل الذي ولي – أي عثمان – لصنعت مثل الذي صنع ، فقال – الراوي – فقال القوم لسويد : الله الذي لا إله إلا هو لسمعت هذا من علي ؟ قال : الله الذي لا إله إلا هو لسمعت هذا من علي
I heard ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying, “O people. Fear Allah! Fear Allah! Do not exaggerate with regards to ‘Uthman. You say that he is the one who burnt the Masahif. By Allah! He burnt it only after having consulted the Companions of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
He gathered us and said, “What do you people say regarding the differences of people in their recitation? A man meets and says, ‘My recitation is better than yours and my recitation is superior to yours’. This resembles disbelief.’”
We said, “What do you suggest O Amir al Mu’minin?”
He said, ‘I suggest that we unite the people onto a single mushaf because of you are having differences today, those to come after you will defer to a greater extent…’
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then said, “By Allah, if I had the responsibility of ‘Uthman, I would have done just as he had done.”
The narrator says, “The people said to Suwaid, ‘By that Allah besides whom there is no God, did you truly hear this from ‘Ali’?’”
He replied, “By that Allah besides whom there is no God, I truly heard this from ‘Ali.”
Consider the fact that Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the manuscript had been completed and said:
اصبت ووفقت ، أشهد لسمعت رسول الله ، يقول : « إن أشد أمتي حبا لي قوم يأتون من بعدي يؤمنون بي ولم يروني ، يعملون بما في الورق المعلق ، فقلت : أي ورق ؟ حتى رأيت المصاحف
You have done correctly and you have been inspired. I testify that I heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “Verily those from my ummah who will love me the most will be those who will come after me and believe in me without having seen me. They will act in accordance with the laid out pages.”
I would think, what pages are these. Until I saw the manuscript.
Even Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu with regards to whom some narrations depict his opposition to this act initially, altered his view, dropped his opposition, and delivered a sermon in Kufah saying:
إن الله الا ينزع العلم انتزاعا ، ولكن ينزعه بذهاب العلماء ، وإن الله لا يجمع أمة محمد علی على ضلالة ، فجامعوهم على ما اجتمعوا عليه ، فإن الحق فيما اجتمعوا عليه
Verily, Allah will not snatch divine knowledge at once. Rather, it will be by the passing of the scholars. Further, Allah will never gather the ummah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam onto deviation. Therefore join them in what they have a consensus on as truth lies in their consensus.
Ibn ‘Asakir related from Hussain ibn Manhab who said:
زرت الحسن بن أبي الحسن فخلوت به يوما ، فقلت له : يا أبا سعيد ، أما ترى ما الناس فيه من اختلاف ؟ فقال لي : يا أبا يحيى أصلح أمر الناس أربعة ، فذكرهم ثم قال : وعثمان بن عفان حيث جمع الناس على هذه القراءة ، وقد كانوا يقرأونه على سبعة أحرف ، فكان هؤلاء يلقون هؤلاء فيقولون : قراءتنا أفضل من قراءتكم حتى كاد بعضهم أن يكفر بعضا ، فجمعهم عثمان على هذا الحرف ، ولولا ما فعل عثمان من ذلك لألحد الناس في القرآن إلى يوم القيامة
I visited al Hassan ibn Abi al Hassan in privacy one day. I said to him. “O Abu Sa’id, do you not see that there remains no differences amongst the people.”
He said to me, “O Abu Yahya, four individuals brought about harmony amongst the people.”
He mentioned them and then he said, “And ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan when he united the people onto this dialect of recitation whereas they would read according to seven dialects. Some would meet others and they would say, ‘Our recitation is superior to yours’, this almost went to the extent of them regarding others as disbelievers. ‘Uthman then united them upon this dialect. Had ‘Uthman not done so, people would have deviated from the Qur’an till the day of Qiyamah.
‘Abdur Rahman ibn Mahdi says:
خصلتان لعثمان بن عفان ليستا لأبي بكر وعمر : صبره على نفسه حتى قتل مظلوما ، وجمعه الناس على المصحف
There are two merits to the name of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu that aren’t to the names of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. His forbearance in the face of difficulties to the extent of him being unjustly murdered and his unifying the people onto one mushaf.
Imam al Bukhari narrates in Al Tarikh al Saghir on the authority of Mus’ab ibn Sa’d who met the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum during the time ‘Uthman copied out the Masahif. He attests to them being pleased with it.
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr says regarding this:
ولما اختلف الناس في القرآن زمن عثمان اتفق رأيه ورأي الصحابة أن يرد القرآن إلى حرف واحد ، ووقع اختياره على حرف زید ، وهو الذي جمع القرآن في عهد أبي بكر ، والأخبار بذلك متواترة المعنى وإن اختلفت ألفاظها
When the people differed in the recitation of the Qur’an during the era of ‘Uthman, he and the Sahabah decided to keep the Qur’an to one dialect. They selected the dialect of Zaid, who had compiled the Qur’an in the era of Abu Bakr. The narrations that portray this are mutawatir in its implication though the wordings differ.
Imam al Tabari mentions the reason that prompted ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to unify the ummah onto one mushaf, being convinced that what he had done was not only the right thing but most necessary. This was because if he had not done so, it would have been a disservice to Islam and the Muslims. He says:
والآثار الدالة على أن إمام المسلمين وأمير المؤمنين عثمان بن عفان – رحمة الله عليه – جمع المسلمين نظرا منه لهم، وإشفاقا منه عليهم ، ورأفة منه بهم ، حذار الردة من بعضهم بعد الإسلام ، والدخول في الكفر بعد الإيمان ، إذ ظهر من بعضهم بمحضره وفي عصره التكذيب ببعض الأحرف السبعة التي نزل عليها القرآن ، مع سماع أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم منه النهي عن التكذيب بشيء منها ، وإخباره إياهم أن المراء فيها كفر …. فجمعهم على مصحف واحد ، وحرق ما عدا المصحف الذي جمعهم عليه ، وعزم على كل من كان عنده مصحف مخالف المصحف الذي جمعهم عليه أن يحرقه … فإن قال بعض من ضعفت معرفته كيف جاز لهم – الصحابة – ترك قراءة أقرأهموها رسول الله عل وأمرهم بقراءتها ، قيل : إن أمره إياهم لم يكن أمر إيجاب وفرض ، وإنما كان أمر إباحة ورخصة …. فإذا كان كذلك لم يكن القوم بتركهم نقل جميع القراءات السبع تارکین ما كان عليهم نقله ، بل كان الواجب عليهم من الفعل ما فعلوا ، إذ كان الذي فعلوا من ذلك كان هو النظر للإسلام وأهله ، فكان القيام بفعل الواجب عليهم بهم أولی من فعل ما لو فعلوا ، كانوا إلى الجناية على الإسلام وأهله أقرب منهم إلى السلامة من ذلك
The narrations depict that the Amir al Mu’minin, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu united the Muslims out of concern for them and with their good at heart. This act of compassion was done by him fearing apostasy from some of the believers as the belying of some of the seven dialects in which the Qur’an was revealed became known to him and the Sahabah had heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbidding belying any of it citing anyone who would do so a disbeliever. He, thus, united them onto one manuscript and burnt any other copies that they had gathered.
If one were to object—due to lack of knowledge—that how was it permissible for the Sahabah to discard such recitation that was not only taught to them by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam but in which manner Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also instructed them to recite. The answer is that the instruction given to them was not of compulsion, rather it was one of permission; a concession. Thus by not relating all seven modes of recitation they did not discard their required responsibility, rather their obligation was met by what they had done. This was because what they had done was in the best interests of Islam and the Muslims. Fulfilling this responsibility was of greater concern then the other option which would have resulted in a disservice to Islam.
The second accusation is of him restricting use of the grazing reserve, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu explains it himself in the following words:
وإني ما حمیت حمی قبلي … ثم لم يمنعوا – مستخدميه – من رعية أحدا ، واقتصروا لصدقات المسلمين يحمونها لئلا يكون بين من يليها وبين أحد تنازع … وما لي من بعير غير راحلتين ، وما لي ثاغية ولا راغية ، وإني قد وليت ، وإني أكثر العرب بعيرا وشاء فما لي اليوم شاة ولا بعير غير بعيرين لحجي ، أكذلك ؟ قالوا : نعم
I did not restrict the use of the pasture lands…. They—his servants—did not forbid grazing rights to anyone. It was only used for the alms of the Muslims, guarding them lest there be a dispute between anyone and the official in charge of the alms tax… I possess no camels save two riding animals; I have no other livestock at all. When I became the khalifah, I had more camels and sheep than any of the Arabs, and today I have neither sheep nor camels, except for two camels to use for the Pilgrimage. Is this the case? The people said, “Yes”.
Abu Sa’id, freed slave of Abu Usayd al Ansari—a Sahabi—says:
سمع عثمان بن عفان أن وفد أهل مصر قد أقبلوا فاستقبلهم ، فلما سمعوا به أقبلوا نحوه ، قال : وكره أن يقدموا عليه المدينة ، فأتوه فقالوا له : ادع بالمصحف وافتح السابعة – وكانوا يسمون سورة يونس السابعة – فقرأها حتى أتى على هذه الآية قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُم مِّنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلَالًا قُلْ آللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ ۖ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ قالوا له : قف ، أرأيت ما حميت من الحمى ، الله أذن لك أم على الله تفتري – فقال : وأمضه نزلت في كذا ، فأما الحمى فإن عمر حمي الحمى قبلي لإبل الصدقة ، فلما وليت زادت إبل الصدقة ، فزدت في الحمى لما زاد في الصدقة
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan heard that a delegation of Egyptians had arrived. He thus went to receive them. When they heard of his arrival they presented themselves to him—disliking to meet him in Madinah—and said, “Call for a mushaf and begin the recitation of Surah Yunus.”
He began reciting until he reached the verse
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ مِّنْ رِّزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُمْ مِّنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلَالًا قُلْ آللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ ۖ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَفْتَرُوْنَ
Say, “Have you seen what Allah has sent down to you of provision of which you have made [some] lawful and [some] unlawful?” Say, “Has Allah permitted you [to do so], or do you invent [something] about Allah ?”
They said to him, “Stop. Do you not see that you restricted use of the grazing pasture? Has Allah permitted you to do so or are you attributing falsities to Allah?”
He said, “This verse was revealed at a particular instance. As for the pastures, ‘Umar restricted its use before me for the camels of sadaqah. When I became the khalifah the camels of sadaqah increased and so I increased the grazing land with its rise.”
Another narration states:
ولما نزل أهل مصر الجحفة يعاتبون عثمان ، فمن جملة ما نقموا عليه أنه حمي الحمى ، فأجابهم : وأما الحمى فوالله ما حميت لإبلي ولا غنمي ، وإنما حميته لإبل الصدقة لتسمن وتصلح وتكون أكثر ثمنا للمساكين
When the people of Egypt, encamped at Juhfah they protested against ‘Uthman. Amongst the issues they brought against him was that he had restricted the pastures. He replied to this objection saying, “As for the pastures, By Allah, I did not restrict its use for my camels or sheep. I restricted it for the camels of sadaqah so that they may gain weight and be of better value for the poor.”
In reality no objection can be raised against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu as he followed the established sunnah. During the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam there was a restricted grazing pasture.
Al Bukhari has narrated on the authority of Al Sa’b ibn Jatthamah radiya Llahu ‘anhu— from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said:
ولا حمى إلا لله ورسوله
There is no restricted grazing pasture except for Allah and His Messenger.
And in the narration of Al Musnad from Al Sa’b ibn Jatthamah al Laythi is that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam restricted al Naqi’ and said:
لا حمى إلا الله ولرسوله
There is no restricted pasture except for Allah and His Messenger.
Since Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had restricted grazing pastures and the state was growing it is a no brainer that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had restricted pastures as well. Since the conquest of the cities of Persia and Rome had begun there was a fervent need for horses and camels to be used for fighting in the path of Allah. This is of particular importance as we know Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not innovate anything not present in the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Even in his first address he said:
ألا اني متّبع ولست بمبتدع
Know well that I am a follower, not an innovator.
It has also been established that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu restricted the pastures of al Naqi’ for the horses of the Muslims whilst restricting Rabadhah and Saraf for the camels of sadaqah.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:
أما الحمى فإنما حماه – عثمان – الإبل الصدقة لتسمن ، ولم يحمه الإبله ولا لغنمه ، وقد حماه عمر من قبله
As for the pastures, ‘Uthman restricted them for the camels to gain mass. He did not restrict it for his camels or sheep. And ‘Umar had restricted it before him.
Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha remarked in defence of ‘Uthman:
ومواضع من مواضع الحمی حماها لهم ، وهي أمور قد سبق بها لا يصلح غيرها
The places of pasture that he restricted for them was an issue that had precedent. These places served this purpose only.
Ibn al ‘Arabi says:
وأما الحمى فكان قديما ، فيقال : إن عثمان زاد فيه لما زادت الرعية . وإذا جاز أصله للحاجة إليه جازت الزيادة لزيادة الحاجة
The pastures were of old. ‘Uthman augmented them as the constituents of the state increased. Since the precedent of having these for a need is permissible, augmenting it for an increased need is also permissible.
The third accusation raised against ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that he read the complete units of prayer in Mina. This is true and established. Imam al Bukhari has narrated from Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma who said:
صليت مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بمنی رکعتين وأبي بكر وعمر ، ومع عثمان صدرا من إمارته ثم أتمها
I performed the prayed in Mina with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of two units and with Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman in the beginning of his rein. Thereafter he performed it complete.
‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu would reply saying:
ألا وإني قدمت بلدا فيه أهلي فأتممت لهذين الأمرين الإقامة واتخاذ الأهل
Know well that I have come to a city in which reside my family. I have performed a complete prayer due to these two reasons: intention of residing and taking a wife.
In the narration of Ibn ‘Asakir he explains his action thus:
أيها الناس إني تأهلت بمكة منذ قدمت ، وإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : من تأهل في بلد فليصل صلاة المقيم
O People, I have taken a wife in Makkah since I have arrived. And I have heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “Whoever takes a wife in a city should pray the prayer of a resident.”
In another narration he says:
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : إذا تزوج الرجل ببلد فهو من أهله ، وإنما أتممت لأني تزوجت منذ قدمتها
I heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “When a man marries in a city, he is of its people. I only performed the complete prayer because I married when came.”
Ibn ‘Abbas and Ahmed have clearly stated that if a traveller marries in a place he will be required to complete his prayer. This is also the view of Abu Hanifah, Malik, and their students.
‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to ‘Uthman seeking an explanation. He explained:
إني أخبرت أن بعض حاج اليمن وجفاة الناس قالوا : الصلاة للمقيم ركعتان واحتجوا بصلاتي
I have been told that some of the pilgrims of Yemen and the ignorant say, “Prayer for a resident is two units, basing their view on my prayer.”
Al Hafiz ibn Hajar has recorded the statement of al Zuhri which gives strength to this statement. He says:
إنما صلی عثمان منی أربعا لأن الأعراب كانوا كثروا في ذلك العام : فأحب عثمان أن يعلمهم أن الصلاة أربع
‘Uthman performed four units of prayer in Mina due to the large number of Bedouins that had come that year. ‘Uthman wished to teach them that the prayer consisted of four units.
Similarly, the narration of al Bayhaqi points to the same reasoning. In it there is mention that after ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu completed the full prayer in Mina he delivered a sermon and then said:
إن القصر سنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وصاحبيه ، ولكن حدوث طغام فخفت ألا يستوا
Shortening the prayer is the sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his two Companions. However, due to the arrival of the common people I feared they would not understand its significance.
Ibn Jurayj says:
أن أعرابيا نادى عثمان بمني يا أمير المؤمنين : ما زلت أصليها منذ رأيتك عام أول ركعتين
A Bedouin called out to ‘Uthman in Mina saying, “O Amir al Mu’minin, I have continued reading this prayer in two units since I saw you reading it in this manner the first year.”
Ibn Hajar commenting on this says:
وهذه الطرق يقوي بعضها بعضا ولا مانع أن يكون هذا أصل سبب الإتمام
These narrations give strength to each other and there is the distinct possibility that this was the real reason of completing the prayer.
Ibn al ‘Arabi defending ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:
فأما ترك القصر فاجتهاد ، إذ سمع عثمان أن الناس افتتنوا بالقصر وفعلوا ذلك في منازلهم ، فرأى أن السيئة ربما أدت إلى إسقاط الفريضة ، فتركها خوف الذريعة . مع أن جماعة من العلماء قالوا : إن المسافر مخير بين القصر والإمام ، واختلف في ذلك الصحابة ، ففي الصحيح أن الزهري سأل عروة : اما بال عائشة تتم ؟ قال : تأولت ما تأول عثمان
Leaving out shortening the prayer was based on ijtihad after ‘Uthman heard that people had become confused regarding the shortening of the prayer and continued to do so in their places of residence. Seeing that fulfilling the sunnah may lead to the disregard of the fard, he left it out. Together with this consider the fact that a group of scholars hold the opinion that a traveller has the option of shortening or completing their prayer. The Sahabah too differed on this.
It has been authentically narrated that al Zuhri asked ‘Urwah, “Why is it that Aisha completes her prayer?”
He replied, “Her opinion is like that of ‘Uthman.”
In any case this is a matter in which there remains difference of opinion. A great number of jurists throughout the Islamic lands have opined that shortening the prayer during travel is permissible not obligatory. One shortening the prayer is acting upon the concession whilst one completing is acting upon the original law. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala loves that a slave acts upon the concession just as he loves fulfilling the original instruction to its fullest. Thus, if ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not act upon the concession of shortening the salah, he acted upon the original law.
The fourth accusation made against him is that he added the second adhan to the Friday prayer which is an innovation. The answer to this is that the sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas is in fact an extension of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as previously mentioned. Imam al Bukhari narrates on the authority of al Sa’ib ibn Yazid that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu added the second adhan during his caliphate when the people increased in Madinah. The narration of Ibn Majah and Al Nasa’i state that he gave the adhan at al Zawra’—a house in the marketplace—before leaving so that the people would be informed that it was time for Jumu’ah.
From this it comes to the fore that there was a need to add a second adhan to amplify the range of notification since the boundaries of the city of Madinah and its residents had increased. If this act of his was contrary to the sunnah the senior Sahabah, who were present in Madinah, would have opposed him. Also, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not give the instruction for this adhan to be removed when he became the khalifah. Furthermore, this act of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of adding a second adhan has been adopted by all four schools of jurisprudic thought and agreed upon by all other scholars. This is just as the scholars have reached a consensus regarding the sunnah of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu in gathering the people behind one Imam for tarawih prayer in Ramadan.
The fifth accusation in this category is from the Khawarij who say that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu began his caliphate by disregarding the implementation of the law of Qisas (death penalty) upon ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Umar for killing Hurmuzan. Thus, they opine that he disregarded a law set by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
One considering this incident will conclude that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not disregard any law set by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Yes, what he had done was present this case before the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum for consultation. He said:
أشيروا علي في هذا الذي فتق في الإسلام ما فتق – مشيرا إلى عبيد الله ، وكان محبوسا في دار سعد بن أبي وقاص – فأخرجه عثمان ليستطلع رأي المهاجرين والأنصار في شأنه ، فقال علي : أرى أن تقتله ، وقال بعض الصحابة : قتل عمر بالأمس ، ويقتل ابنه اليوم!
Give me your opinions regarding this man—referring to ‘Ubaidullah—who brought division into Islam. And this was when he was confined in the house of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas. ‘Uthman brought him out so that he may hear the views of the Muhajirin and the Ansar with regards to him.
‘Ali said, “I think you should kill him.”
One of the other Sahabah retorted, “‘Umar is killed yesterday and his son will be executed today?”
It should be noted that al Hurmuzan was amongst those who were implicated in the assistance of the murder of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It seems as though some of the Sahabah were unsure of his innocence and whether he was an innocent bystander who deserved a defence or was implicit in the murder of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and deserved a death sentence.
The view of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was that those assisting in a murder would be sentenced to death as well. He is recorded to have said regarding a person killed at San’a:
لو تمالأ عليه أهل صنعاء لأقدتهم به
Had all the people of Sana joined forces against him, I would have killed them all
Based on this, if ‘Ubaidullah explained his act as a result of being convinced that al Hurmuzan had assisted in the murder of his father, this would have created a large enough doubt to forego pursuing the death penalty. This was similar to the instance of Usamah ibn Zaid killing a man after he recited la ilaha illa Allah, who he deemed to have said it merely to save himself. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam rebuked him but did not pass the decision of the death penalty due to his interpretation of the incident.
‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed his judgment based on the majority view of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He also considered it vital to quell the fitnah and de-escalate the rising sentiment amongst the people and thus he made an undertaking of appeasing the family of al Hurmuzan. He said:
أنا وليهم وقد جعلتها ديّة في مالي ، فاحتملها من ماله
I am now their master. I have decided that blood money should be paid in this case, and I shall bear the cost from my own money.
Ibn Kathir commenting on this says:
والإمام يرى الأصلح في ذلك
The Imam noted the prudency in such a decision.
Imam al Tabari has recorded the account of al Qumadhban, the son of al Hurmuzan which illustrates that the matter was left to his discretion, to either take avenge his father by way of the death penalty or to forgive ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Umar. He says:
فلما ولي عثمان دعاني فأمكنني منه ثم قال : يا بني هذا قاتل أبيك ، وأنت أولی به منا فاذهب فاقتله – أي بإقامة الحد عليه – فخرجت وما في الأرض أحد إلا معي … فقلت لهم : إلي قتله ؟ قالوا : نعم ، وسبوا عبيد الله ، فقلت أفلكم أن تمنعوه ؟ قالوا : لا ، وسبوه فتركته لله ولهم ، فاحتملوني ، فوالله ما بلغت المنزل إلا على رؤوس الرجال وأكفهم
When ‘Uthman took office, he summoned me and put him in my hands. Then he said, “My son, this man is the murderer of your father; it is your duty rather than ours to take vengeance upon him, so go and kill him.” I went out with him, and there was no one in the land who did not support me and demand that I take action against him.
I said to them, “Is it up to me to kill him?”
They answered, “Yes.” And they reviled ‘Ubaidullah.
Then I said, “Is it your place to protect him?”
They answered, “No,” and they reviled him.
Then I left him to Allah and to them, and they bore me away. By Allah, I only reached my home carried upon the heads and hands of these men.
In any case, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu is beyond reproach in this matter whether it played out with him using his discretion to decide the matter by consultative agreement with the Sahabah or by leaving the matter up to the son of al Hurmuzan to avenge his father or forgive.
Ibn Taymiyyah says:
ومن العجب أن دم الهرمزان المتهم بالنفاق والمحاربة لله ورسوله والسعي في الأرض بالفساد تقام فيه القيامة ، ودم عثمان يجعل لا حرمة له ، وهو إمام المسلمين المشهود له بالجنة ، الذي هو وإخوانه – الصحابة – أفضل الخلق بعد النبيين
It is peculiar that some elements seek to celebrate the sanctity of the blood of al Hurmuzan who was suspected of hypocrisy, opposing Allah and His Messenger, and spreading mischief through the lands. Whilst they pay no attention to the sanctity of the blood of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu the leader of the Muslims who was guaranteed paradise. He and his brothers—the Sahabah—were the best of creation after the Prophets.
 Ibn al ‘Arabi: Al ‘Awasim, pg. 66.
 Al Maliqi: Al Tamhid wa al Bayan, pg. 50.
 Ibn al ‘Arabi: Al ‘Awasim, pg. 68.
 He is ‘Abdur Rahman ibn al Harith ibn Hisham ibn al Mughirah al Makhzumi, Abu Muhammad al Madani. From the Tabi’in. He narrates from a group of the Sahabah, amongst them ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Abu Hurairah, and others.
He passed away the year 43 A.H/663 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 6 pg. 102; Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Kabir, 3/1/272; Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 290; Ibn Abi Hatim: Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 7 pg. 156; and Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 6 pg. 156.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 134; Al Tabari: Jami’ al Bayan, 1/1/22; Ibn al Athir: Al Kamil, vol. 3 pg. 111; Faruq Hamadah: Madkhal ila ‘ulum al Qur’an wa al Tafsir, pg. 80-89.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 238; Al Maliqi: Al Tamhid wa al Bayan, pg. 51.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 237; Ibn al Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 236.
 Al Maliqi: Al Tamhid wa al Bayan, pg. 52.
 I did not find his profile in the sources available to me.
 He is al Hassan ibn Abi al Hassan al Basri, Abu Sa’id.
He passed away the year 110 A.H/728 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 7 pg. 156; Ibn Ma’in: Al Tarikh, vol. 2 pg. 108; Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Kabir, 1/2/289; Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 163; and Al Dhahabi: Al Mizan, vol. 2 pg. 107.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 238.
 Ibid, pg. 244.
 He is Mus’ab ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas al Zuhri, Abu Zurarah al Madani. He narrates from his father, ‘Ali, Talhah, ‘Adi ibn Hatim, and others.
He passed away the year 103 A.H/721 A.D. His life has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 5 pg. 169; Khalifah: Al Tabaqat, pg. 243; Al ‘Ijli: Tarikh al Thiqat, pg. 429; Al Dhahabi: Tarikh al Islam, vol. 4 pg. 204; and Ibn Hajar: Al Tahdhib, vol. 10 pg. 160.
 Al Bukhari: Al Tarikh al Saghir, vol. 1 pg. 69.
 The word Tawatur (recurrence) is a mode of transmitting ahadith. Recurrence obtains when a hadith is narrated through so many channels and by so many people that collusion upon forgery is deemed inconceivable (because of the assumption that such a large number of transmitters cannot find ways to conspire amongst themselves); knowledge engendered by this type is considered certain.
 Al Tabari: Jami’ al Bayan, 1/1/22-23.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 347
 He is Abu Sa’id, the freed slave of Abu Usayd al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Surah Yunus: 59.
 Ahmed: Fada’il al Sahabah, vol. 1 pg. 470. The annotations conclude its chain to be authentic.
 This was a village six miles from the shore and about seventy-six miles from Makkah.it is the Miqat of the people of Sham, Egypt, and the east. See, Al Humairi: Al Rawd al Mi’tar fi Khayr al Aqtar, pg. 156. At present it is uninhabited though there are remains that are visited. Al Baladhuri: Mu’jam Ma’alim al Hijaz, vol. 9 pg. 122.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 243.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 3 pg. 78.
 A place twenty Farsakh from Madinah. See, Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 5 pg. 301. Presently known as Wadi al Naqi.
 Ahmed: Al Musnad, vol. 4 pg. 71
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 422.
 A village close to Madinah on the way to Hijaz. See, Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 3 pg. 24.
 A well, six miles from Madinah. Ibid, vol. 3 pg. 212.
 Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 305.
 Ibn al Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 187.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 448.
 Ibn al ‘Arabi: Al ‘Awasim, pgs. 72-73.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 2 pg. 35.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 347
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, pg. 250; Ahmed: Musnad, vol. 1 pg. 62. The question of the strength of the chain rests on ‘Ikrimah ibn Ibrahim al Bahili or, ‘Ikrimah ibn Ibrahim al Azdi whose narrations are discarded. The third opinion is that it is someone else who in unknown. See, Al Musnad with the annotations of Ahmed Shakir, vol. 1 pg. 351. In any case the hadith with this chain is weak.
 Ibid, pg. 250.
 Ibn al Qayyim: Zad al Ma’ad fi Hadyi Khayr al ‘Ibad, vol. 1 pg. 470.
 Al Maliqi: Al Tamhid wa al Bayan, pg. 34.
 Ibn Hajar: Al Fath, vol. 2 pg. 571.
 Ibid, vol. 2 pg. 571.
 Ibid, vol. 2 pg. 571.
 Ibid, vol. 2 pg. 571.
 Ibn al ‘Arabi: Al ‘Awasim, pg. 80.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 2 pg. 36.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 219.
 Ibn Majah, vol. 1 pg. 359; Al Nasa’i, vol. 3 pg. 101.
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Al Minhaj, vol. 3 pg. 204.
 Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 356; Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 239.
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Al Minhaj, vol. 3 pg. 200.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 8 pg. 42; Dr Ruway’i al Rahili: Fiqh ‘Umar ibn Khattab, vol. 2 pg. 210.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 22.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 2 pg. 22.
 Ibn al Kathir: Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 162.
 Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, 4 pgs. 243-244. This narration ought to be researched and its chain of narration investigated. If it is established as authentic then it would be given preference as it has a massive bearing on the issue. And if not, there is no need to mention it. [Publisher’s note].
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Al Minhaj, vol. 3 pg. 188Back to top