Concepts, Islamic Culture, Side Feature

The Third Khaleefah Rashid, Uthman bin Affan (ra)

Usman (ra) is one of the ten who was given glad-tidings of Paradise; one of the first five predecessors and one of the six whom the Prophet (saw) died whilst he (saw) was pleased with them. And he (ra) was the third Khaleefah Rashid, Ameer ul-Mu’mineen, Uthman bin Affan (ra).

This Companion of the Prophet (saw) was born six years before the Year of the Elephant, according to sound narration. He became Muslim during the early days of Islam before the Messenger of Allah (saw) entered Darul Arqam. When he was above thirty, Abu Bakr (ra) invited him to Islam by saying: “Oh come on Uthman! By Allah, you are a resolute man and truth is not hidden from you by falsehood. These idols worshipped by your people, aren’t they solid stones that do not hear and see, nor can they harm or benefit?” Uthman (ra) replied: “Indeed, By Allah! They are as you said.” Abu Bakr (ra) said: “This is Muhammed bin Abdullah. Allah (swt) has sent him with a Message to all of His creations. Will you not come and listen to it?” Uthman (ra) said: “Yes.” At that time, the Messenger of Allah (saw) passed by and said:   «يا عثمان، أجِب الله إلى جنته، فإني رسول الله إليك وإلى جميع خلقه»‏‏“O Uthman! Respond to Allah for His Paradise. Indeed, I am the Messenger of Allah sent to you and to all His creations”. Uthman (ra) said, “By Allah! I did not own when I listened to his invitation to accept Islam. And I testified that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammed is a slave and Messenger of Allah.”

Ibn Affan (ra) was soft in nature and easy to deal with. Hearts would be reconciled with him and souls would get comfort with him. He was strongly obedient, consciously sound and fearing Allah (swt) the most and always returning to his Lord. Uthman was combined with leniency, generosity, modesty, and chastity and hearts would melt for him. His generosity reached to the level that it was reported that Talha bin Ubaidullah (ra) indebted 50 thousand dirhams from Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him). Talha told Uthman “What you are owed from me is ready, so take it.” Uthman replied to him, “It is for you O Abu Muhammed! As aid for your chivalry.” His modesty reached to the level such that it is reported from the Messenger of Allah (saw) who said, «أصدق أمتي حياءً عثمان بن عفان»“The mostsincere amongst my Ummah in shyness (modesty) is Uthman bin Affan.” It is reported by Sahih Muslim from Aisha (ra) who said, “Allah’s Messenger (saw) was lying in the bed in my apartment with his thigh uncovered and Abu Bakr (ra) sought permission to enter. It was given to him and he conversed in the same very state (the Prophet’s thigh or shank uncovered). Then `Umar (ra) sought permission for entering and it was given to him and he conversed in that very state. Then `Uthman sought permission to enter; Allah’s Messenger (saw) sat down and he set right his clothes. Muhammad (one of the narrators) said: I do not say that it happened on the same day. He (`Uthman) then entered and conversed and as he went out, `Aisha said, Abu Bakr entered and you did not stir and did not observe much care (in arranging your clothes), then `Umar entered and you did not stir and did not arrange your clothes, then `Uthman entered and you got up and set your clothes right, so he () said, «ألا أستحي من رجل تستحي منه الملائكة؟!»“Should I not show modesty to one whom even the Angels show modesty.” People loved him so much that even a woman from Quraish would lull her child by saying: “By Allah! I love you as the Quraish love Uthman.”

This Companion of the Prophet had great attributes to indicate his virtue and support for this Deen. When Uthman became a believer, he was harmed and tortured in the path of Allah (swt) by his uncle Al-Hakm bin Abul A’as bin Umayyah who seized and tied him up and said: “Do you wish to change the religion of your forefathers into a new Deen? By Allah, I will never permit you until you leave this religion.” Uthman (ra) replied, “By Allah, I will never leave it, nor will I depart from it.” Al-Hakm saw his steadfast refusal to leave his Deen. Uthman then migrated two times: First to Abyssinia and the second to Madinah. When the Army of Hardship was prepared (for the expedition of Tabuk), as reported from Abdur Rahman bin Khabbab Silmi who said, “the Prophet (saw) was exhorting support for the Army of hardship. ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I will take the responsibility of one-hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins, in the path of Allah.’ Then he (saw) urged support for the army. So Uthman [bin ‘Affan] said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I will take the responsibility of another hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins, in the path of Allah.’ Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) descended from the Minbar and again urged support for the army. So ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan said: ‘[O Messenger of Allah] I will take the responsibility of another hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins, in the path of Allah.’”

In another narration reported by Tirmidhi from Abdur-Rahman bin Samurah who said: Uthman went to the Prophet (saw) with one-thousand Dinar in his garment and poured them into his lap.'” – Abdur-Rahman said: “So I saw the Prophet (saw) turning them over in his lap, saying, «ما ضرَّ عثمانَ ما عمل بعد اليوم، ما ضرَّ عثمانَ ما عمل بعد اليوم»“Whatever Uthman does after today will not harm him, whatever Uthman does after today will not harm him.” In the narration of Bukhari in his Sahih, the Prophet (saw) said, «مَنْ جَهَّزَ جَيْشَ الْعُسْرَةِ فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ»“Whoever equip the army of ‘Usra will be granted Paradise.” So Uthman equipped the army. When the Prophet (saw) was preparing the Army of Hardship, he (saw) said, «اللّهُمّ ارْضَ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ ، فَإِنّي عَنْهُ رَاضٍ» “O Allah! Be pleased with Uthman, for I am pleased with him.” Similarly, Uthman (ra) purchased the well of Rumah and gave it as charity to Muslims. In a Sahih narration of Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, «من يشتري بئر رومة وله الجنة؟»“Whoever purchases the well of Rumah will be granted paradise.” So Uthman bought it for thirty-five thousand Dirhams and gave it as charity to Muslims. Similarly, when al-Masjid an-Nabawi was congested with the crowd of Muslims, Uthman bought the surrounding areas and expanded the Masjid through that. During his reign, he compiled the Noble Quran and expanded the victories of Muslims that reached from the easts to the wests of the earth.

His Worship:

Uthman (ra) used to hear Quran softly and tenderly from the mouth of the Prophet (ra) and he was one of the few Companions who memorized Quran completely during the life of the Prophet (ra). He was the one who narrated the Hadith, «خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ»“The best of you is the one who learnt Quran and taught it.” Muhammed bin Sireen (ra) narrated: “Uthman bin Affan used to be awake the whole night reciting the whole Quran in a single Raka.” Abdullah bin Umar narrated about the saying of Allah (swt),

[أَمَّنۡ هُوَ قَٰنِتٌ ءَانَآءَ ٱلَّيۡلِ سَاجِدٗا وَقَآئِمٗا يَحۡذَرُ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةَ وَيَرۡجُواْ رَحۡمَةَ رَبِّهِۦ]

“Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]?” [TMQ 39:9]. He said: “(What is mentioned in the verse) is Uthman Bin Affan (ra).” It was narrated that when they stormed into Uthman’s house to kill him, his wife said, “No matter whether you kill him or not, By Allah, indeed he is the one who is awake the whole night with a single Raka.” Trade and his Khilafah would not distract Ibn Affan from reciting the words of his Lord. Amongst his famous sayings is, “Even if your hearts get purified, they will never be overfilled by the Words of Allah Azza Wa Jall.” Uthman (ra) also said: “I hate for the day to come to me when I could not recite Mushaf (manuscript of Quran).” Also he (ra) said, “Love has been poured on me over three things of this world: Feeding the hungry, covering the naked, and reciting the Qur’an.” Ibn Majah reported that: “when Uthman (ra) stood over a grave, he would weep so much that the tears moistened his beard. And when he was asked: ‘When you remember Paradise and Hell, you are not weeping. Yet you are weeping over this?’ Uthman (ra) said, “The grave is the first stage of the Hereafter. If one escapes from it what follows is easier than it, but if one does not escape from it, what follows is more severe than it.” It is also reported by Ahmed. Uthman (ra) used to fast frequently; he was upright and more fearful of Allah (swt) and he was fond of reciting Quran. Some of his sayings indicate his piety and Taqwa as he used to say, “I never committed Zina, I never stole, neither in the days of ignorance nor in Islam”

His Compilation of Quran into Single Mus’haf (manuscript):

Islam spread over many regions under his reign and the Companions of the Prophet (saw) became scattered. This led to the appearance of multiple recitations and the spread of various dialects. There was a fear over the difference in the writings of the Quran and its changing dialects. So Uthman ordered to copy the Quran and its writings. He compiled the Mushafs into a single dialect with the tongue of the Quraish.  During the period of the Messenger of Allah (saw), the Quran was scattered in scrapes and stones of different origins. Abu Bakr (ra) collected them and Uthman compiled them into a single Mus’haf. The Mus’haf was named as the ‘Uthmani Mus’haf’, then multiple Mus’hafs were copied from this single Mus’haf. Then he sent each Mus’haf to each of the Muslim lands. It is reported in Sahih Bukhari, narrated by Anas bin Malik (ral): “Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to `Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to `Uthman, “O Ameer of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So `Uthman sent a message to Hafsa (ra) saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent them to `Uthman. `Uthman (ra) then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin AzZubair, Sa`id bin Al-As and `AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. `Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish; the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, `Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. `Uthman sent to every Muslim Wilayah one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies to be burnt.” That is why it is called as “Mus’haf Al Imam (Manuscript of the Imam).”

Conquests During His Reign:

When Uthman (ra), the Ameer ul Mu’mineen, assumed the Khilafah (Caliphate), Jihad in the Path of Allah was continuous just as it was before under the two previous Rightly Guided Khaleefahs. The biographers mentioned that the lands of Persia that were conquered during his reign were: Tabaristan, Turkey, Khorasan, and Nishapur. Those lands were opened during the period of Umar (ra) himself. However, the people of those regions revolted, desiring to recover what was taken from them and to liberate their properties. So Uthman ordered the army of Basra and Kufa to penetrate into the lands of Persia and wage war against those who revolted. Thus, Jihad continued in the lands of Persia. Amoriah, Tartus, Antioch and North Africa were opened. Uthman (ra) ordered Amr bin Al-Aas (ra) to direct his army into Tripoli and Tangiers until they reached Algeria. Uthman had established the first Islamic naval fleet to protect Islamic coastal regions from the attacks of the Byzantines. Cyprus was opened which followed the penetration into the lands of Rome.

Status of Uthman before the Messenger of Allah (saw) and the Muslims after him:

Uthman (ra) witnessed all the expeditions except the Battle of Badr. As his wife Ruqaiyah (ra) was sick, the Messenger of Allah compensated his reward and share of Badr. The Prophet (ra) married his daughter Ruqaiyah to him. She passed away a while after the great Battle of Badr. Then Uthman married his (saw) daughter Ummu Kulthum who passed away after a while. Thus Uthman was titled ‘Dhun Nurain’ (the one with two lights). The ‘Ulema say that no one is known to have married two daughters of a Prophet except him. It is reported from the Prophet (saw) who said, «لو كانت لي ثالثة لزوجته إياها»“Even if I had a third daughter, I would have married her to him.” Uthman was the first to migrate to Abyssinia along with his wife Ruqaiyah. He lagged behind from taking the Oath of Loyalty (Bayath Ridwan) because the Prophet (saw) sent him to Mecca and the rumour spread that the Quraish had martyred him. This was the reason for the Oath of Loyalty. The Prophet (saw) placed one of his hands over another and said: This (hand) is for Uthman. That oath was called oath of Loyalty (Bayathul Ridwan). In details, it was during the Hudaibiya Agreement, when the Prophet (saw) sent Uthman bin Affan to Abu Sufyan and to other nobles of Quraish to inform them that Muslims did not come for war and that they only came as visitors to the house (Mecca) venerating its sanctity. Thus, Uthman went to Mecca and met Aban bin Saeed bin Al-Aas. He welcomed Uthman and gave him the necessary protection to convey the message of the Messenger of Allah (saw). Then Uthman went to Abu Sufyan and nobles of Quraish, and conveyed the message sent by the Messenger of Allah (saw). After Uthman finished the message of the Prophet, they told Uthman: ‘If you wish, you can make Tawaf around the Ka’ba’. Uthman (ra) said: “I would not do so until the Messenger of Allah makes tawaf.” And the Quraish detained him there. The message reached the Messenger of Allah and Muslims that Uthman was martyred. Since the martyrdom of Uthman was not verified, rather it was a hearsay, the Messenger of Allah (saw) took an oath upon the fate of Uthman’s life. This was the indication that Uthman was not killed and so the Messenger of Allah (saw) placed his right hand over the left hand and said, ‏«اللَّهم هذه عن عثمان في حاجتك وحاجة رسولك»“O Allah, this is on the authority of Uthman who is in your need and the need of your Messenger.”

In a Sahih narration of Bukhari, Qatada reported from Anas who said: The Prophet (saw) ascended the mountain of Uhud and Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were accompanying him. The mountain gave a shake (i.e. trembled underneath them). The Prophet (saw) said, «اسكن أُحد، أظنه ضرَبَه برِجْله، فليس عليك إلا نبيٌّ، وصِدِّيق، وشهيدان»“O Uhud! Be still.” I think that the Prophet (saw) hit it with his foot, adding, “For upon you there are none but a Prophet, a Siddiq and two martyrs.” Tirmidhi reported from Hars bin Abdur Rahman from Talha: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, «لكل نبي رفيق، ورفيقي في الجنة عثمان بن عفان»“Every Prophet will have a friend in Paradise, and my friend there will be ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan.” The Prophet (saw) was in one of the gardens of Madinah, reclining against a pillow and fixing a stick in mud, when a person came asking for the gate to be opened, whereupon he (saw) said, «افتَحْ له وبشِّرْه بالجنَّةِ»“Open it for him and give him glad tidings of Paradise” and, lo, it was Abu Bakr. I opened (the gate) for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise. Then another person asked for the door to be opened, whereupon he said, «افتَحْ له وبشِّرْه بالجنَّةِ»“Open it and give him the glad tidings of Paradise.” He said: I went away and, lo, it was ‘Umar. I opened it for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise. Then still another man asked for the door to be opened, and thereupon Allah’s Prophet (saw) said, «افتَحْ وبشِّرْه بالجنَّةِ على بلوَى»“Open it and give him the glad tidings of Paradise after a trial would afflict him. I went and, lo, it was ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan. I opened the door and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise and informed him (what the Prophet had said). Thereupon he (saw) said: «اللهُ الـمُستعانُ وعليه التُّكلانُ» “O Allah, grant me steadfastness. Allah is one Whose help is to be sought.”

Ibn Umar narrated that, “During the time of the Prophet (saw), we did not treat anyone like Abu Bakr, and then Umar, and then Uthman. And then we did not differentiate between any of the Companions of the Prophet”

Ali (ra) said, “Uthman is our closest kindred.” Similarly, Aisha (ra) said when the news of his martyrdom reached her, “They killed him, indeed, he is our closest relative and the most pious before the Lord.” Abu Khuzaima reported from Dhuhak, from Nizal bin Sabra who said: “We told Ali bin Abu Talib: tell us about Uthman! Ali (ra) said, “He is the man who is called amongst the highest chiefs, possessing the two lights. When Uthman prepared the Army of Hardship, the Prophet (saw) said: «ما ضرَّ عثمانَ ما عمل بعد اليوم»“Whatever Uthman does after today will not harm him.”

Al-Waie Magazine Issue 421, Safar 1433, September 2021

(Translated from Arabic)