Some Areas in the Sight of the Critics

Some Significant Locations and their Governors
August 23, 2019
The Scribe Office
August 26, 2019

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Some Areas in the Sight of the Critics

From among the popular areas, the list of the governors of only 4 cities remain, viz. Kufah, Basrah, Sham, and Egypt; they will be mentioned coupled with the scribe post. These areas are specifically the target of criticism by the critics. We have attached some notes to these areas. Contemplate deeply with fairness over them and assess the policy adopted by Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and find out the following:

Was all of this due to tribalism and self-worship or due to the benefit for Muslims and the demand of the time and situation? Since all Muslims have conviction and reliance on the trustworthiness, sincerity, and honesty of Amir al Mu’minin Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, his methodology and policy cannot be assessed with the eyes of doubt and mistrust. Have a look at aspects related to these areas.

 

1. Kufah

The readers should be apprised of the fact that in the former and latter part of the ‘Uthmani Caliphate, non-Umayyad persons were governors over Kufah. In the intervening period, two relatives of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, viz. Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah and Sayyidina Sa’id ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were given this post.

A clarification will be written regarding the appointment and dismissal of governors over Kufah which will prove beneficial in understanding the real state of affairs.

Sayyidina Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu (Sahabi) acted as governor over Kufah during the final days of the Faruqi Caliphate. He remained governor during the ‘Uthmani Caliphate for approximately a year. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu relieved him and instated Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his place, with the clarification that his dismissal was not due to any breach of trust or evil on his part.[1]

Then in 26 A.H, he relieved Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu and appointed Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as governor.[2] Thereafter in 29 A.H, Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was removed and Sa’id ibn al ‘As was appointed the governor.[3] After some time, the residents of Kufah complained about Sayyidina Sa’id ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu (as was the nature of the Iraqis) and demanded his dismissal. Considering their complaint, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu dismissed Sa’id in the year 34 A.H and appointed Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu the governor over Kufah. He remained governor until the martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[4]

Shia historians have testified to the fact that Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the governor over Kufah during the last days of ‘Uthman’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Caliphate.

 

و على الكوفة أبا موسى الأشعري

Abu Musa al Ash’ari served as governor over Kufah.[5]

 

In light of the above, it is distinctly clear that during the Caliphate of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu governorship over Kufah was not restricted to members of the Banu Umayyah only, rather, non-Umayyads were appointed as governors in the early and final years of the Caliphate as well. In the intervening period, only two Umayyads were given this post, one after the other.

In this period, when the time demanded a change, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu dismissed the acting governor. He did not allow any stringency to arise at this occasion. The reasons the people listed for the dismissal [of the governor], Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not observe any sternness in considering them.

The opposition of Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu accused him of consuming liquor and they presented evidence in the court of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to this effect. Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu implemented the hadd (prescribed punishment) on Sayyidina Walid ibn ‘Uqbah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and dismissed him. (The detailed texts of this incident will be reproduced in the second chapter, Allah willing, where the background to this incident will be examined.)

In a similar way, the conspirators against Sayyidina Sa’id ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu conspired against him (as was the general habit of the people of Iraq, that evil and anarchy ran in their blood). To nip the evil in the bud, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu relieved Sa’id.

All these incidents testify to the just nature and impartiality Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu possessed and the safe methodology he observed, and indicate to the fact that he desired good for the populace, to the best of his ability, and considered the public’s interest.

Those who criticise Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu have attributed all these things to the self-worship and prejudice of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu out of their own taste for criticism and have used it as a means to concoct a history of tribal worship.

 

2. Basrah

In the ‘Uthmani Caliphate, the first governor over Basrah was Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu (whose name is ‘Abdullah ibn Qais). Thereafter in the year 29 A.H., approximately after 5 years of service, he was relieved (due to the need of the time). Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu then instated Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his place.

 

و ولى ابن عامر البصرة سنة تسع و عشرين

He appointed Ibn ‘Amir over Basrah in the year 29 A.H.[6]

 

و استعمله عثمان رضي الله عنه على البصرة سنة تسع و عشرين بعد أبي موسى

‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed him over Basrah in 29 A.H. after Abu Musa.[7]

 

Only Allah knows with which colours the critics painted this dismissal or change whereas no type of detachment or dejection was formed between these great personalities on this occasion. The following is presented as a form of testimony to this fact. Read them carefully:

  • When Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu was dismissed and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached Basrah after being instated as governor, the former addressed the people and spoke positively of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which is worth listening to and a great lesson for the critics and conspirators:

Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

قد أتاكم فتى من قريش كريم الأمهات و العمات و الخالات يقوم بالمال فيكم هكذا و هكذا

An honourable youngster from Quraysh has come to you whose mothers, paternal aunts, and maternal aunts are noble and generous. He will distribute wealth among you liberally.[8]

 

  • In a like manner, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu spoke to Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu keeping his honour and respect in mind, which indicates to his sincerity and clarity of social matters coupled with being strong evidence of the nonexistence of malice between them.

فأتاه ابن عامر فقال يا أبا موسى ما أحد من بني أخيك أعرف بفضلك مني أنت أمير البلد أن أقمت و الموصول إن رحلت قال جزاك الله يا ابن أخي خيرا ثم ارتحل إلى الكوفة

Ibn ‘Amir approached him and said, “O Abu Musa, there is none from your brother’s children more acquainted with your excellence than myself. You are the leader of the city if you choose to stay, and good relations will be maintained with you if you choose to leave.”

Abu Musa responded, “May Allah reward you abundantly, O nephew,” and then departed to Kufah.[9]

 

  • A significant point worthy of consideration is that this change from Basrah came with his consent and happiness. There was no coercion, force, or any type of displeasure in the matter, otherwise, Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu would not have accepted the post of governor in Kufah a second time.

These evidences have clarified that the change of this post took place in a dignified manner. There was no presence of any detachment or inconvenience.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala guide those who are hell-bent on concocting a history filled with discrimination and tribal rule―those who concocted the facts of the original story and distorted the entire face of history. This is their expertise in this science. Whereas, the reality was that there was no sort of tribalism in the sight of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 

3. Sham

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The Prophetic Era:

As regards to Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, this much clarification is necessary that Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu being the scribe of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is an accepted fact. Besides this, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sometimes appointed him to honourable posts and offices in his noble life. When Wa’il ibn Hujr embraced Islam, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to give him a piece of land. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam despatched Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu with the instructions to go with him, apportion a land for him and hand it over to him. The original text will be quoted for the benefit of the scholars. Sayyidina Wa’il radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself says:

فبعث رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم معي معاوية بن أبي سفيان قال و أمره أن يعطيني أرضا فيدفعها إلي

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan with me and instructed him to cut a piece of land and hand it over to me.[10]

 

This subject matter is documented in Usd al Ghabah and al Isabah as well:

 

و أقطعه أرضا و أرسل معه معاوية بن أبي سفيان و قال أعطها إياه

He allocated a land for him (Wa’il) and sent Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan with him commanding the latter to hand it over to the former.[11]

 

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The Siddiqi Era:

During the reign of Sayyidina Siddiq Akbar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was given an honourable office.

Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu elder brother Sayyidina Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was engaged in jihad to conquer land in Sham. A need arose to send reinforcements to assist them so Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu mobilised an army and despatched them to Sham as reinforcements, appointing Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the army general. This is contained in the following text:

 

و اجتمع إلى أبي بكر أناس فأمر عليهم معاوية و أمره باللحاق بيزيد فخرج معاوية حتى لحق بيزيد

A multitude of people gathered by Abu Bakr who appointed Muawiyah their leader with the orders to join with Yazid. In compliance, Muawiyah left and joined Yazid.[12]

 

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The Faruqi Era:

During the Faruqi era, Sayyidina Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma passed away in Sham. (This occurred in 17/18 A.H. during the plague of ‘Amwas.) Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu thus instated Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the governor of that area in his place.

Thereafter, Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his Caliphate maintained Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu post as governor over the Sham region. Hereunder is the text in support of this. Have a look at it:

 

ثم جمع عمر الشام كلها لمعاوية و أقره عثمان

Then ‘Umar gathered the entire Sham under Muawiyah and ‘Uthman upheld this.[13]

 

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The ‘Uthmani Era:

The above explains that Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not appoint Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu the new governor over Sham but rather sustained the governor appointed by the previous Khalifah.

Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu fulfilled his duty par excellence owing to his intrinsic proficiencies. He mastered the science of administration and government. He never left any stone unturned in giving solutions to the problems faced by the masses. Moreover, there was no worthy compliant lodged against him from the side of the populace.

In view of this state of affairs, had other conquered areas been assigned to him, there would be absolutely no question of fitnah and chaos rearing its ugly head. But when there is hatred for an individual, then objections can be raised at every step he takes.

If fanaticism is discarded and justice is implemented, then one declaration of Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself will prove sufficient and satisfying, which we will present before the audience.

 

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Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah’s Declaration

In an address to a group of people from Kufah, Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu declared:

 

إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم كان معصوما فولاني فأدخل في أمره ثم استخلف أبو بكر رضي الله تعالى عنه فولاني ثم استخلف عمر فولاني ثم استخلف عثمان فولاني فلم أل لأحد منهم و لم يولني إلا وهو راض عني

Certainly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was infallible and he appointed me and included me in his affair. Then Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed Khalifah and he appointed me, followed by ‘Umar who appointed me, followed by ‘Uthman who appointed me. I was not a governor for any of them, nor did any of them appoint me to a post, except that he was pleased with me (with no complaints).[14]

 

The summary of the above is that:

  • Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu acted in accordance to the prophetic Sunnah as regards to Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • In a similar way, the behaviour towards Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu during the Siddiqi and Faruqi reigns was maintained by Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He did not start a new practice.
  • No demand was made from his populace to have him changed.

Keeping these points in mind, to accuse Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu of tribalism and nepotism and spread this propaganda for him allowing Sayyidina Amir Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to continue acting as governor over Sham is extreme injustice and in direct conflict to reality.

 

4. Egypt

In the ‘Uthmani Caliphate, Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu served as governor over Egypt. Due to the need of the time, in the fourth year of his reign, i.e. 27 A.H, he was relieved and ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh radiya Llahu ‘anhu was given the post. He is the foster brother of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, both of them fostered by the mother of ‘Abdullah.[15]

‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d is not from the Banu Umayyah, but rather from the Banu ‘Amir. He being the foster brother of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been declared his crime.

The change of this office was not because of any tribalism or nepotism. These aspects never featured in the mind of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Instead, the demands and advantages of the time required these changes.

We present the following incident to the readers as evidence to this. Pondering over it will reveal the true nature of this matter.

Firstly, Khalifah Ibn Khayyat writes in his history book:

 

و فيها سنة 27 ه عزل عثمان بن عفان عمرو بن العاص عن مصر و ولاها عبد الله بن سعد بن أبي سرح فغزا ابن أبي سرح أفريقية و معه العبادلة عبد الله بن عمر عبد الله بن عمرو عبد الله بن الزبير إلخ

In this year, the 27th year after hijrah, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan removed ‘Amr ibn al ‘As from the office of Egypt and handed it over to ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh. [In this very year] Ibn Abi Sarh waged war in Africa with the ‘Abdullahs, viz. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, and ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair.[16]

 

Secondly, another event took place in the year 30 A.H. which should be studied. In the ‘Uthmani Caliphate, a massive army was mobilised to conquer Khorasan, Tabaristan, and neighbouring areas. The leader of the army was Sayyidina Sa’id ibn al ‘As al Umayyad radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Seniors of the ummah and the honourable Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum participated in this significant expedition. Among those who participated was Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He joined this noble expedition voluntarily.

For the satisfaction of the scholar fraternity, the text of al Tabari will be quoted verbatim followed by references to other historical works.

 

عن حنش بن مالك قال غزا سعيد بن العاص من الكوفة سنة 30 ه يريد خراسان و معه حذيفة بن اليمان و ناس من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و معه الحسن و الحسين و عبد الله بن عباس و عبد الله بن عمر و عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص و عبد الله بن الزبير إلخ

Hanash ibn Malik reports:

Sa’id ibn al ‘As set out from Kufah in the year 30 A.H. to wage war in Khorasan. With him were Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman and other Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Hassan, Hussain, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, and ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair accompanied him.[17]

 

Had the dismissal of Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu been due to nepotism and been objectionable, then it devolved upon the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of the time to physically protest against it. If the Khalifah of Islam does not desist from acting on the dictates of his discrimination, then they should abandon participating in significant expeditions of his. Here the attitude is the complete opposite. Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu own son, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, participates in the noteworthy conquest of Africa with other seniors in that very year (27 A.H.) and obtains booty just like everyone else. No senior ever raised this objection.

Then, in the year 30 A.H., this son again plays a role in the war in Tabaristan and other areas along with other senior personalities, and they participate to their fullest in these important conquests.

What we learn from the above incidents is that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘As’s father, Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, was not relieved of his post due to tribalism or family-worship. However, this issue presented itself due to the benefit of the time and some religious need. The attitude of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum clarifies this matter, leaving no speck of dust.

There is no cure for the crooked discussions of those hell-bent on criticism. May the Benevolent Master grant divine ability to all Muslims to entertain good thoughts about all the illustrious Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and may He guide the critics.

 

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[1] Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, vol. 8 pg. 998, 999, the martyrdom of ‘Umar, the council, and ‘Uthman’s bay’ah, Beirut print, Lebanon.

[2] Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 151, the year 26 A.H., first edition, Egypt.

[3] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 138, year 29 A.H., Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 143, 144, biography of Walid ibn ‘Uqbah.

[4] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 145, year 34 A.H., Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 157, the names of ‘Uthman’s governors; al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 352, biography of Abu Musa (‘Abdullah ibn Qais); Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 5 pg. 22, biography of Sa’id ibn al ‘As, first edition, Leiden.

[5] Tarikh al Yaqubi (Shia), vol. 2 pg. 176, discussion on the governors of ‘Uthman, Beirut print, Lebanon.

[6] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 158, the names of ‘Uthman’s governors.

[7] Usd al Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al Sahabah, vol. 3 pg. 191, biography of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir ibn Kurayz.

[8] Nasab Quraysh, pg. 147, 148, the biography of ‘Amir ibn Kurayz; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 13, the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir, Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 136, year 29 A.H.

[9] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 5 pg. 32, biography of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir ibn Kurayz, first edition, Leiden.

[10] Al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 4 pg. 175, 176, section 2, biography of Wa’il ibn Hujr.

[11] Usd al Ghabah, vol. 5 pg. 81, biography of Wa’il ibn Hujr, Tehran print; al Isabah with al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 592, biography of Wa’il ibn Hujr.

[12] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 30, the year 13 A.H.; al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 4, the year 13 A.H.

[13] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 88, biography of Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan; al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 412, biography of Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan; Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 157, the names of ‘Uthman’s governors; Tahdhib al Asma’ wa l-Lughat, vol. 2 pg. 103, biography of Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan.

[14] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 87, the year 33 A.H., mention of the travel of those residents of Kufah who travelled to it.

[15] Usd al Ghabah, vol. 3 pg. 173, biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh.

[16] Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 134, year 27 A.H.; Tarikh Khalifah Ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 157, the names of ‘Uthman’s governors; Futuh al Buldan, pg. 234, under the heading: conquest of Africa; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, vol. 2 pg. 1003, the governorship of ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh over Egypt and the conquest of Africa, Beirut print.

[17] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 5 pg. 57, mention of the report from him regarding the jihad of Sa’id ibn al ‘As in Tabaristan; al Kamil, vol. 3 pg. 54, discussion on the war against Tabaristan; al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 154, the year 30 A.H.; Tarikh Ibn Khaldun, vol. 2 pg. 1018, the war of Tabaristan, Beirut print.

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