Category Archives: History

Refuting P.N Oak’s Contentions on the Taj Mahal


No, the Taj Mahal Wasn’t a Hindu Temple

[By Krzystof Iwanek]

It may be a “teardrop on the cheek of time”; it may be India’s easily most recognizable monument and the strongest tourist magnet; but the glorious Taj Mahal is no stranger to controversy. A smallish storm was recently kicked up in India when the current government of the state of Uttar Pradesh – within which the Taj Mahal is located – made attempts to sideline the monument’s importance. But such endeavors, condemnable as they are, pale before much more radical and older projects that seek to question the Taj’s origins. There are fringe authors who would tell you that rather than being a mausoleum holding the bodies of a Muslim empress and her husband, the Taj Mahal is actually a Hindu “temple palace.”

There is little need to repeat the official history of the monument here. The fact that it was built in the city of Agra in the 17th century under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum to his deceased favorite wife Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) is well-known and it is easy to stumble upon. Cast a few glances on the Taj Mahal and you are sure to see the touches of Islamic art. To be sure, hardly anybody in India questions this and the monument is vastly popular among not only foreign but Indian tourists as well. Thus, I stress the fact that I will mostly speak of “fringe” elements here whose views should not be generalized.

Prominent among these was Purushottam Nagesh Oak, a prolific author who left a string of books in Hindi as his legacy. The Agra Red Fort was a Hindu PalaceThe Fatehpur Sikri is a Hindu CityThe Lucknow Imambaras Are Hindu Temples  – these are just some of Oak’s work. The direction is clear: name a prominent building commissioned by Muslim rulers of northern India and Oak would tell you it was originally a work of Hindu architecture. But Oak did not stop there; in another text he claimed that even the Kaaba in Mecca was a Hindu temple. Among his works, Oak became perhaps best known for the two books he wrote on the Taj Mahal and – it’s no surprise by now – in both of them the writer claimed that this work of Islamic architecture was a Hindu temple. The latter of these books —Tajmahal mandir bhavan hai (“The Taj Mahal is a temple building”) — has been living on my bookshelf for years. The recent endeavors of Hindu nationalists seem a good (or rather, bad) occasion to dust off Oak’s publication and throw some of his juiciest thoughts and quotes into the ring. But, in order not engender any confusion, I will start with what is accepted by the mainstream historians whom Oak detested so much.

Pieces of wood, iron, and stone may themselves have no religion or culture, but those who shape these materials into art and architecture do. The Taj Mahal is clearly of Timurid architecture, having been built by the Mughals, a dynasty whose origins start with Babur, claimed to be a descendant of both Timur (Tamerlane) and Genghis Khan. Babur was born in what is now Uzbekistan and eventually embarked on conquests that ended in northern India.

At the first glance, the much older tomb of Timur in Samarkand and the Taj Mahal in Agra may not resemble each other so much, but the similarities in layout and thought are there. The great Mughal mausoleums of northern India are much more sophisticated and enhanced edifices building upon earlier concepts visible in Central Asian Timurid architecture. And, as the Taj Mahal had been built by an emperor raised in Islamic tradition in the memory of his wife (who was of the same faith) and its body incorporated the elements of Islamic religion and rules of Islamic arts (such as quotes from the Quran and the lack of graphic representation of people, God, and Prophet Muhammad), there is no doubt that the monument can be called a work of Islamic architecture. Finally, the Taj Mahal complex includes a mosque and regular Friday prayers are held there (remember, dear tourists – that’s why you can’t visit it on Fridays).

Once again, to be absolutely clear: most Indians are perfectly all right with this order of historical facts.

Not all, however.

A shortcut in thinking may easily lead us from perceiving it as a “building of Islamic architecture” to an “Islamic building.” This is where a segment of Hindu nationalists get off the tour bus.

Hindu nationalists tend to believe that India was already in its era of glory before the first invasions of people professing Islam took place. In this view, the illustrious Golden Era of “Hindu rule” was overshadowed by the dark period of “Muslim rule.” Even a clear division of Indian history between a “Hindu era” and a “Muslim era” is so superficial (and colonial) that a whole essay would be needed to counter this image (but such essays have already been written). However, Hindu nationalists not only talk of a “Muslim era” but describe it as a time of razing, looting, religious persecution, or forced conversions. While there is no denying that certain Indian Muslim rulers hurt Hindus in a number of ways, focusing only on this aspect is still a selective use of facts, to say the least.

But here the Taj Mahal emerges as a problem in the narrative. It appears right in the middle of the “Muslim era” but it is no slaughterhouse or madrassa, and it is immensely beautiful and vastly popular. If Hindu nationalists want to claim that the Muslim rulers were generally bad for India, what can they do with the Taj Mahal, India’s biggest trademark worldwide and a huge source of income?

The easiest and safest way is to ignore it. There is no secure way to debate the Taj Mahal and not address its religious overtones on one hand, and to face the question of its value for India on the other (even the sheer material value, if all others would be ignored). Thus, some history textbooks published by Hindu nationalists in Hindi simply choose to omit the Taj Mahal, and, indeed, most of Islamic architecture. The period of “Muslim rule” is a tale of invasions and resistance – the rest is silence. On the political level, Hindu nationalists were careful enough not to attempt a public campaign against the Taj Mahal. Thus, it must be said that Oak’s claims of the building being originally a Hindu temple were largely ignored even by Hindu nationalists. Yet, certain controversies were not avoided.

In 2014, the Hindu nationalists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organization — and that often means the same people in a double role — won the general elections and took over central power in India. To my knowledge, the BJP’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, did not say anything controversial about Mumtaz Mahal’s mausoleum. In 2017, the same party – the BJP – won elections in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Taj Mahal is located. In March 2017, the position of Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister was taken over by Yogi Adityanath. A Hindu nationalist and a priest of a famous temple in Gorakhpur, Adityanath can be categorized as a hawk even by the standards of the Hindu nationalist milieu.

In the months after Adityanath took over, there appeared rumors that the Taj Mahal had started to disappear from some Uttar Pradesh government publications, including the ones on tourism and on cultural heritage policy. As the news spread through the media, BJP politicians could no longer retain their “silence strategy” on the Taj Mahal and reacted in ways which only added fuel to the fire. It is interesting to note that the three statements which made most of the headlines represented three different approaches to the issue, showing how difficult it is for the Hindu nationalists to wrestle with the Taj Mahal’s fame.

Sangeet Som, a politician in Uttar Pradesh, focused on criticizing the emperor Shah Jahan, accusing him of being a cruel ruler and concluding that “if these people still find place in history, then it is very unfortunate… I guarantee that history will be changed.”

Thus, Som chose what could be called a “responsibility narrative” – if the monument’s founder was a bad ruler, then it is as if the monument shares in the blame and should be erased from history along with the founder.

Sensing murky waters around him, Chief Minister Adityanath decided not to wade into the controversy any deeper and issued a more balanced statement (by Hindu nationalist standards). The politician-priest assured the public that taking care of the mausoleum is his government’s duty and claimed in an evasive tone that:

It is not necessary to go into why Taj Mahal was built, who built it, and for what purpose… What is important is that Taj Mahal was built by the blood and sweat of India’s laborers and sons.

Let me leave aside the rather strange opinion that the historical background of a historical building is unimportant. Apart from this, it may be said that Adityanath chose an “anonymous laborer narrative” – let’s not talk about the ruler who gave the order, but about the physical workers who constructed the monument. We do not know much about the laborers, but of course the majority had to be Indians so the monument is Indian by that measure – and the rest is silence.

However, Vinay Katiyar, one of the most radical members of the RSS, would have none of that nationalist political correctness. On October 18, 2017 Katiyar briefly resurrected Oak’s “research” on the Taj Mahal, claiming that the monument was “Tejo Mahal, Lord Shiva’s temple, where Shahjahan buried his wife and turned it into a mausoleum.”

Thus, Katiyar chose the “takeover narrative” – the Taj Mahal belonged to us, the Hindus, and the Muslims snatched it away from us. This is exactly the point once raised by Oak and Katiyar even mentioned Oak as an authority on the subject. It is therefore high time for our hero to take the stage.

Purushottam Nagesh Oak was of the opinion that:

The Taj Mahal had originally been a 12th century temple dedicated to the god Shiva and called “Tejomahalay”  (Tajmahal mandir bhavan hai, p. 10; in the 2008 edition).

The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan did not commission a completely new building, but rather had the temple taken over and converted to a mausoleum for his departed wife. (p. 26).

But what to make of Persian-language sources that directly state that the emperor ordered the monument to be built? Here Oak uses linguistic jugglery, claiming that the phrase: “a foundation was laid” does not mean that the construction of a new building was started, it only meant that an order was given to collect building materials to start converting the temple into a mausoleum (p. 29).

And, at any rate, the source was simply lying to prove that “Muslim emperors had [a] big building built”   (p. 29).

And how to prove the building’s older age? Why can’t a radiocarbon dating technique be used on the Taj Mahal? Oak asked (p. 17.). Well, that’s perhaps because such a method works on objects that contain organic matter and the monument is stone.

What about the Taj Mahal’s striking resemblance to other monuments of Timurid and Islamic architecture? Here Oak had it easy:

they were all “Hindu,” too. All other great Mughal mausoleums of northern India were also converted from Hindu temples   (p. 29).

The dome is not a feature of Islamic architecture – it is actually Hindu  (p. 12).

And even if the monuments of “Western Asia” are similar to the Taj Mahal, this is because “Hindu architecture” had influenced them, as this architecture used to be popular all over the world in ancient times (p. 12).

There is no “Indo-Arabic” architecture – only “ancient Indian” architecture  (p. 12).

Oak was right on this last point: there is no “Indo-Arabic” architecture; it should be properly called Indo-Muslim architecture. Oak was seemingly confused geographically, mentioning “Western Asia” but not “Central Asia” and mentioning “Arabic” architecture although the Mughals were not Arabs. But since the entire world had been under the Hindu influence, why care about geography?

It is useless to list all of Oak’s points. His book floods us with a sea of evidence but it is equally shallow in all places. There is, however, at least one more claim worth mentioning. Shah Jahan could not have had the monument built for Mumtaz Mahal, because, like all Mughal emperors, he kept “thousands” of courtesans in his palace. Why, then, would he favor one woman with a monument symbolizing his love (p. 11)? Here Oak contradicted himself, as elsewhere he does claim that the purpose of converting the temple to the mausoleum was Mumtaz Mahal’s death – if that was not so, then what is the Taj Mahal now? But what is more important to me is Oak’s vision of Shah Jahan’s attitude toward woman. It is common among Hindu nationalists to claim that the Muslim rulers were not only cruel and fanatical but also wanton. In this narrative, Shah Jahan could not have loved one woman so much — he must have been lustful like all the rest.

This leads me to a final conclusion. The Taj Mahal is everything the Hindu nationalists do not want it to be. It is Islamic architecture and it is Indian at the same time. It is India’s most famous building and its international trademark, easily overshadowing any single Hindu temple when it comes to India’s global image. It is not built on the ruins of a Hindu temple or using materials from a Hindu temple (contrary to some other buildings) so you can’t “Hinduize” its past. It is a major tourist attraction but it has religious purposes as well, so you can’t “secularize” it either, by wiping out the religious accents. It was built under the Mughal dynasty, which is one of the most hated by Hindu nationalists, but in this case it has no connection to wars, persecutions, or forceful conversions. Try all you can, but you can’t make a symbol of violence out of it (beyond forced labor, at most). It is a symbol of love between two Muslims, while the Hindu nationalists would like to portray the Mughal rulers as lustful, disloyal, and brutal to women. And, despite maintenance issues, it is rather enduring – it’s no ruin which can be left to its final decay, after which the memory of a building can be forgotten or completely remolded. The endurance of stones, the endurance of sources, and the endurance of the more precise historical narrative should keep the likes of Oak at bay.

Also Read: Refuting P.N Oak’s False Contentions on the Ka’bah


The Shiites and Islamic History

One  of  the  worst  groups  when  it  comes  to  distorting  Islamic history  is  the  Raafdhi  Shia,  of  all  groups  and  types.  They  were  among  the  earliest  of  the  groups  to  emerge,  and  they  have  a  hierarchical  political  system  and  their  own  set  of  deviant  beliefs  and  ideology. This  is  the  group  that  tells  the  most  lies  against  its  opponents,  and  they  are  among  the  most  vehemently  opposed  of  people  towards  the Companions,  as  we  will  see.  Among  the  basic  foundations  of  their  belief  are  impugning  the  Companions  and  denouncing  them  as disbelievers,  especially  the  ‘two  shaykhs’  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them),  whom  they  refer  to  as  ‘sorcery  and  evil.’  The  Shia  have  the  greatest  number  of  narrators  and  storytellers  who  took  on  the  mission  of  spreading  their  lies  and fabrications  and  compiling  them  in  books  and  essays  about  the  events  of  Islamic  history,  especially  internal  events.  Shu’oobiyyah  and  tribalism  also  had  an  effect  on  the  fabrication  of  historical  reports  and  stories  aimed  at  distorting  Islamic  history  and  ‘proving’  the  superiority  of  one  sect  or  people  or  race  over  another,  ignoring  the  Shariah  criterion  of  superiority,  namely  taqwa“Verily,  the  most  honourable  of  you  with  Allah  is  that  [believer]  who  has  At-Taqwa  [i.e.  he  is  one  of  the  Muttaqoon  (the  pious)]”   [Qur’an  49:13].

The  deviant  sects  took  advantage  of  the  prevalence  of storytellers,  the  ignorance  and  lack  of  knowledge  of  the  Sunnah  on  the  part  of  most  of  the  people,  and  the  fact  that  some  of  them  had  drifted  away  from  the  truth  while  seeking  to  earn  a  living.  They spread  their  lies  and  fabricated  stories,  which  these  storytellers welcomed  and  spread  among  the  common  folk,  without  realising  the  situation.  Hundreds  of  fabricated  reports  about  the  Companions,  Tabi’oon  and  Muslim  scholars,  which  undermined  them  and distorted  their  history,  were  disseminated  through  them.  But  by  His  grace  and  blessing,  Allah  Ta’ala  guided  a  number  of  scholarly  critics,  who  strove  hard  to  examine  the  narrators  and  narrations,  distinguishing  between  true  and  false  and  defending  the  beliefs  and history  of  the  Ummah.  The  Sunni  scholars  put  a  great  deal  of  effort  into  pointing  out  the  fabricated  reports  by  quoting  them  and  highlighting  those  narrators  who  were  weak,  suspicions,  or  followers of  whims  and  desires.  They  drew  up  a  methodology  for  examining  the  reports  and  determining  which  to  accept,  and  they  were  successful  in  these  efforts. 

Among  the  most  prominent  of  those  who  took  on  the  mission  of  explaining  historical  errors  and  pointing  out  flaws  in  the  false reports  were: 

al-Qadi  Ibn  al-‘Arabi  in  al- ‘Awasim  min  al-Qawasim; 

Ibn  Taymiyah  in  many  of  his  books  and  essays,  especially  his  valuable  book  Minhaj  as-Sunnah  an-Nabawiyyah  ji  Naqd  Kalam  ash-Shia  wal-Qadariyyah;

the  critic  adh-Dhahabi  in  many  of  his historical  writings  such  as  Siyar A’lam  an-Nubala’,  Tareekh  al-Islam  and  Mizan  al-l’tidal’,  Naqd  ar-Rijal; 

al-Hafidh  Ibn  Katheer,  the  interpreter  of  Qur’an  and  historian,  in  his  book  al-Bidayah  wan-Nihayah; 

al-Hafidh – Ibn  Hajar  al-‘Asqalani  in  his  books  Fath  al-Bari  fi  Sharh  Saheeh  al-Bukhari, Lisan  al-Mizan, Tahdheeb  at-Tahdheeb and  al-Isabah  fi  Ma’rifat  as-Sahabah. 

With  regard  to  the  methods  used  by  the  Shia  to  distort  the historical  events  and  images  of  the  early  generation  of  the Companions  and  Tabi’oon,  there  were  many  ways,  including:

☆ Outright  fabrications  and  Lies

☆ Mentioning  a  true  story  or  incident,  but  adding  or  omitting  details  so  as  to  distort  it  and  give  the  opposite  idea.

☆ Quoting  reports  out  of  context,  so  that  the  meaning  is distorted,  and  a  false  interpretation  of  events  is  given.

☆ Highlighting  shortcomings  and  mistakes  while  concealing well-established  facts.

☆ Fabricating  poetry  and  attributing  it  to  some  poets,  in  order  to  support  some  so-called  historical  events,  because Arabic  poetry  is  regarded  as  a  historical  document  and  proof  that  helps  to  authenticate  reports.

☆ Fabricating  books  and  essays  and  falsely  attributing  them  to  scholars  and  well  known  characters,  as  the  Raafdhis  fabricated  the  hook  al-Imamah  was-Siyasah,  which  they  attributed  to  Abu  Muhammad  Abdullah  ibn  Muslim  ibn  Qutaybah  ad-Daynoori  because  he  was  famous  among  and  trusted  by  the  Sunnis,  as  we  have  seen  above.

In  the  last  century,  these  lies  and  distortions  were  welcomed by  Western  scholars  and  writers,  such  as  Orientalists  and  missionaries,  during  the  period  in  which  they  invaded  and  spread  terror  in  Muslim  lands.  They  found  in  this  material  what  they  were  looking  for,  and  they  started to  highlight  it  and  focus  on  it.  Motivated  by  their  fanaticism  and  hatred  of  the  Muslims,  they  added  lies  by  inventing  events  that  never  happened  or  misinterpreting  historical events,  purposely  distorting  and  misinterpreting  the  facts  to  support  their  beliefs.  This  group  was  then  supported  by  a  large  number  of  the  students  of  the  Orientalists  from  Arab  and  Muslim  countries,  who  adopted  their  research  methodology  and  their  ideas  and  concepts  for  analysing  and  interpreting  history;  they  took  up  the  banner  after  the  European  Missionary  and  Materialistic  Terrorists  departed  from  the  Muslim  lands.  Thus  the  harm  that  they  did  was  worse  and  greater  than  that  of  their  Orientalist  teachers  and their  predecessors  among  the  misguided  and  innovating  groups.  That  is  because  they,  like  their  teachers,  claimed  to  be  following  a  pure  academic  spirit  and  scientific  method  in  research  by  giving  up  any  and  all  pre-conceptions,  but  in  fact  most  of  them  gave  up  nothing  but  their  faith.

They  had  no  sincerity  towards  the  truth  and  no  knowledge  of following  a  sound  academic  methodology  in  proving  historical  events,  such  as  comparing  reports,  knowing  the  value  of  the  sources  to  which  they  were  referring  and  the  extent  to  which  the  narrators  were  authentic  and  accurate,  and  studying  the  context  of  those  narrators  in  terms  of  human  nature  and  development.  They  did  not  learn  anything  of  scientific  or  academic  methodology  except  for  superficial  matters  such  as  how  to  write  footnotes  and  put  together  bibliographies,  and  so  on.  This  is  probably  what  scientific  methodology  meant  to  them.  Muhibb  ad-Deen  al-Khateeb  said: 

“Those  who  received  a  foreign  education  are  controlled  by  the illusion  that  they  are  disconnected  from  that  past,  and  their  attitude  towards  its  figures  is  like  that  of  a  public  attorney  towards  the  accused.  Indeed,  some  of  them  even  went  to  extremes  to  appear  in front  of  others  as if  they  had  no  connection  with  any  part  of  Arab  and  Muslim  history,  following  in  the  footsteps  of  the  Orientalists  with  their  suspicious  views  of  the  past.  They  have  a  sense  of  contentment  and  follow  their  whims  and  desires,  at  the  time  when  fairness  dictates  that  they  should  verify  the  matter,  in  order  to  reach  a  conclusion  and  feel  at  ease  with  it  before  they  have  enough  evidence  to  prove  it.”

One  of  the  most  important  means  by  which  the  Orientalists  and  their  students  sought  to  distort  the  facts  of  Islamic  history  is:

Misinterpreting  historical  events  on  the  basis  of  modern concepts  and  ideas  and  in  accordance  with  whatever  crossed  their  minds,  without  even  verifying  the  historical  events  in  the  first  place  and  without  paying  any  attention  to  the  historical  context  in  which  the  event  took  place,  the  people’s  circumstances  at  that  time,  or  the  beliefs  that  were  guiding  them  and  that  they  were  following.  Before discussing  any  event,  it  is  essential  to  first  verify  that  it  took  place;  the  fact  that  it  is  mentioned  in  some  book  is  not  sufficient  to  prove  it.  The  stage  of  verifying  precedes  the  stage  of  discussing  and interpreting  historical  events.

The  interpretation  should  also  be  in  accordance  with  the wording  of  the  historical  report,  as  well  as  the  context  of  the  research  and  the  general  nature  of  the  society,  era  and  environment  in  which the  event  took  place.  This  interpretation  of  the  historical  event  should  not  contradict another  incident  or  series  of  incidents  that  are  proven  to  have  happened.  Examination  of  an  event  should  not  be  limited  to  one  aspect  only,  as  is  the  habit  of  many  contemporary  schools  of  thought  when  studying  history;  instead,  all  the  factors  that  have  an impact  on  the  event  should  be  scrutinised,  especially  ideological  and  intellectual  factors.  Even  after  paying  attention  to  all  of  the  above, the  interpretation  of  historical  events  is  no  more  than  a  human  effort,  which  may  be  right  or  wrong.  Some  have  given  prominence  to  the history  of  misguided  groups  and  tried  to  exaggerate  their  role,  depicting  them  as  reformers  who  were  wronged  or  oppressed.  They  have  tried  to  suggest  that  Muslim  historians  were  unfair  to  groups  like  the  Qaramitah,  Isma’ilis,  Imami  Rafidhis,  Fatimids,  Zanj,  Ikhwan  as-Safa and  the  Kharijites.  In  the  view  of  these  historians,  all  of  these groups  were  advocates  of  reform,  justice,  freedom  and  equality,  and  their  uprisings  were  aimed  at  putting  an  end  to  injustice  and  oppression.  This  propaganda  against  Islamic  history,  and  trying  to  crowd  out  the  biographies  of  heroes  and  callers  to  Islam  with  the  biographies  of  the  leaders  of  misguided  groups,  is  something  that  comes  as  no  surprise  from  people  who  are  not  Muslims,  because  they  are motivated  by  their  own  beliefs  and  aims  to  plot  against  Islam  with  all  possible  efforts  by  night  and  day,  in  secret  and  openly.  One  cannot  expect  people  who  have  no  faith  and  who  belong  to  the  disbelieving groups  to  do  anything  other  than  to  support  their  brothers  in  misguidance. 

What  some  may  find  strange  however  is  that  after  the  collapse  of  Orientalism,  the  banner  of  distortion  was  taken  up  by  writers  who  have  Muslim  names  and  are  Muslims,  who  tried  to  spread  this  poison among  their  fellow  Muslims  so  as  to  divert  the  ignorant  away  from  the  straight  path.  These  writers  rely  on  dubious,  weak,  worthless  reports  which  they  pick  up  from  literature,  fairy  stories,  folktales  and  weak  or  falsely  attributed  books.  These  books  are  what  they  use  as proof,  along  with  what  they  find  of  fabricated  reports  in  at-Tabari  and  al-Mas’oodi,  even  though  they  know  that  they  are  not  regarded  as  reliable  academic  references.  This  transgression  against  and distortion  of  Islamic  history  –  especially  the  history  of  the  early  generations  – has  been  done  by  a  number  of  means,  namely:

(a)  Choosing  and  focusing  on  particular  events,  such  as  battles  and  wars,  and  depicting  them  incorrectly  so  as  to  take  away  the  idea  of  struggle  for  the  sake  of  Allah  Ta’ala,  or  focusing  on  events  and  internal  turmoil  with  the  aim  of  presenting  the  dispute  among  the  Companions (radhiyallahu  anhum)  as  if  it  were  a  typical  example  of  conflict  and  political  scheming like  those  of  modern  times.

(b)  Concealing  and  ignoring  everything  that  could  set  a  good  example  and  motivate  people.

(c)  Shedding  doubt  by  targeting  history  and  its  celebrated  figures,  as  well  as  the  Muslim  historians  themselves,  and  casting  aspersions  on  their  knowledge  and  authenticity.

(d)  Fragmenting  Islamic  history  into  small,  disparate  parts  as  if  there  is  no  connection  between  them,  such  as  dividing  Islamic  history  on  the  basis  of  regions,  race  and  so  on. 

All  of  these  means  are  attempts  to  destroy  our  Islamic  history  and  its  beautiful  features,  and  to  prevent  it  from  becoming  a  good  example  to  follow  and  a  means  of  sound  education.

Hence  the  Muslim  historians  have  to  know  about  these  things  and  be  wary  of  them.  They  should  also  be  aware  of  those  who  followed  the  Orientalists  in  their  views  and  methodology,  and  they  should  not  accept  anything  from  them  except  with  great  caution.  If  our  scholars  (may  Allah  have  mercy  on  them)  criticise  many narrators  of  history  and  regard  their  reports  as  weak  because  they  quote  from  the  People  of  the  Book  and  their  Jewish  and  Christian  sources,  then  we  should  be  equally  cautious  in  accepting  the  views  and  interpretations  of  those  who  learned  from  the  Orientalists.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we  should  reject  and  disregard  them  unless  there  is  clear  proof  to  support  them.

The Tragedy of Karbala in a Nutshell

For those who are in search for a detailed treatise which answers most of the questions of the tragedy of Karbala may read it by clicking the following links:

Karbala – A ‘Bloody’ Conspiracy and the Secrets Behind it [Part 1]

[Part 2] Karbala – The ‘Bloody’ Conspiracy and the Secrets Behind it

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The substance of the article is an endeavor to reveal the real background of the tragedy of Karbala and to lay bare the events leading to a series of tragedies in the Islamic history. The tragedy taken in a distorted perspective has led to tremendous confusion about the conflicts of the Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. It gave rise to a separate sect in Islam, the Shi´ah. It is necessary for every Muslim to be aware of the real background of the events in order to avoid distorted concepts about the Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, as it is a part of our faith to show due respect to them all and consider everyone of them free from perversion of intention in their actions.

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Merciful & The Beneficent

On the 10th of Muharram Al-Haraam, 61 A.H., a most abominable and tragic event occurred in the desert of Karbala that resulted in the martyrdom (shahadah) of Hussain Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), the grandson of our Prophet ﷺ and the son of his daughter, along with most of the members of his family and their supporters. It should be borne in mind that this tragedy did not take place all of a sudden like a bolt from the blue. It was in fact the manifestation of the plot of Saba’iyyah which had claimed the life of Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu), the third Caliph and the son-in-law of the Prophet ﷺ twenty-five years earlier. Caliph Uthman´s (Rashiyallahu anhu) martyrdom took place on 18th of Dhu Al-Hajj, 36 A.H. [Read more: Martyrdom of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Radhiyallahu Anhu) & the Role Of the Saba’iyyah]

We must not overlook the fact that the struggle between the forces of good and evil is a continuous process which never ends. In the history of mankind, evil has reigned supreme most of the time whereas the triumph of good has been sporadic and short-lived. Another well-established fact is that the evil forces, even if subdued and subjugated, never acknowledge total defeat. On the contrary, they become submissive for a while and lay low, waiting for an opportunity to strike back. Often the evil forces, when subdued, go underground but never abandon their struggle to cause rift and strife among their opponents. The Prophet of Islam ﷺ brought about an incomparable and unprecedented revolution in the history of mankind, a unique miracle for all times, and established a state and government to dispense justice to the people over a vast tract of the globe. In the words of the Qur´an:

…the Truth came and the falsehood vanished… [Al-Isra 17:81]

But toward the end of the Prophet´s revolution, the evil forces put on a disguise and lay low, waiting for the right moment for a counter-attack. Thus, immediately after the demise of the Prophet ﷺ, insurgencies raised their ugly heads against the Islamic state. False prophets and defiants of Zakat challenged the central authority and waged wars against the state of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. These were the counter-revolutionary forces, determined to disintegrate the newly established Islamic state; but through resolute and prompt action, Abu Bakr Siddique (Radhiyallahu Anhu), the first Caliph, defeated them and consolidated the achievements of the Prophet´s ﷺ Islamic Revolution. It was a great service to Islam rendered by the first Caliph who had a short but glorious reign.

In the next twenty years which include the reigns of ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu), the second and third Caliph of Islam, many more countries were conquered under the banner of Islam and the Muslim empire extended over a vast expanse of the globe, comprising Iraq, Syria, Iran on one side and a large part of North Africa including Egypt and Morocco on the other. But the historical process has its immutable laws. As the Revolution of the Prophet ﷺ was challenged by the reactionary movements on the Arab land, the same happened with the conquests of those two Caliphs. The first target of these reactionaries was the person of ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) who was assassinated by Abu Lulu Feroze, a Parsi slave from Iran. [Read More: The Last Days of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiyallahu Anhu)’s Life and His Assassination]

It was purely an Iranian plot hatched by Hurmuzan, an Iranian general, who thought that if Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) was removed from the scene, the empire of Islam would fall like a house of cards. But by the grace of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), it survived the calamity. Abdullah Ibn Saba, a Jew from Yemen, under the garb of a Muslim, took his sojourn at Madinah. He had all the trappings of an expert plotter and the Jewish cunningness at intrigues, an attribute of his clan. He planted subversive ideas among the people. He pleaded for the usurped rights of the house of the Prophet ﷺ, carried out a propaganda campaign against Caliph Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) and incited the people to revolt. He declared Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) to be the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and dubbed Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) as a usurper. He told people that every Prophet has a wasee and Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) is the wasee of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ and, therefore, entitled to be the caliph after the Prophet ﷺ . He also preached the divinity of Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), thus striking at Tauheed, the very root of Islam. The Iranians, who had embraced Islam only a few years before, were taken in by this propaganda because they had a long history of kingship and hero-worship. They were familiar with the divine rights of kings, and hero-worship was diffused in their blood. They readily accepted these ideas and became their champions. Similarly Abdullah Ibn Saba floated another viewpoint related to the second appearance of Prophet Isa (Alayhis salaam). He argued that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who is the best amongst the prophets of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, would also appear with Christ, for the contrary would imply that he is inferior to Prophet Isa (Alayhis salaam). This was the same argument used by the Qadianis in later years, who invented the notion of the death and burial of Prophet Isa (Alayhis salaam) in Kashmir. They argued that it was illogical for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to have died and for Prophet Isa (Alayhis salaam) to be alive in the heaven. Unsophisticated and illiterate Muslims saw a point of adoration in it for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and fell an easy prey to that sort of propaganda.

Abdullah Ibn Saba travelled all over the Muslim lands and set up his propaganda centers at Basra and Kufa, but his attempts failed in Damascus. Then he went to Egypt where he formed a party of his supporters. Consequently, the last two years of Caliph Uthman´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) reign were filled with machinations, intrigue, and turmoil all over Muslim territories. It culminated in the most unjustified murder (martyrdom) of Caliph Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) who was the ruler of a vast empire and had tens of thousands of soldiers under his command but refused to shed the blood of Muslims in self-protection. Governors of provinces from all over the empire besought the Caliph to allow them to send troops to quell the uprising and to protect his person from the rebels who had surrounded his residence, but he remained strict and steadfast in his decision. It is perhaps a unique and unprecedented episode in the entire history of mankind that a very powerful man, like the Caliph Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu), refused to use authority for his personal safety and let himself be assassinated. May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala shower His blessings on him.

The murder of Habeel (son of Adam) by his brother Qabeel is perhaps an incident comparable to Caliph Uthman´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) assassination. When Qabeel declared his intention to kill Habeel, the latter announced his resolve, in the words of the Qur´an:

Even if thou stretch out thy hand against me, I shall not stretch out my hand against thee to kill thee; lo! I fear Allah the Lord of the worlds. [Al-Ma´ida 5:28]

So, Habeel was assassinated by his brother and that was the first act of homicide in the history of mankind. It was a totally unjustified murder in which the victim refused to offer resistance as in the assassination of Caliph Uthman (Radhiyallahu Anhu). For such an act, Allah Ta’ala has declared His reward and punishment in the Qur´an:

For that cause We decreed for the children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter of corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and saveth the life of one person, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind… [Al-Ma´ida 5:32].

Before Caliph Uthman´s (radhiyallahu anhu) assassination, Abdullah Ibn Salam (Radhiyallahu anhu), a Jewish scholar who had converted to Islam, addressed the rebels surrounding the residence of the Caliph in these words: “O people! beware of murdering a caliph of a Rasool (Messenger of Allah) for, I am a scholar of Torah and I tell you that Allah avenges the murder of His prophets and the murder of the deputies of his prophets (caliphs). There has hardly been any murder of a prophet which Allah has not avenged by inflicting death on seventy thousand people and the murder of a caliph by inflicting death on thirty five thousand people.” Now it is on record that, after the martyrdom of Hadrat Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu), the conflict and strife among the Muslim continued for almost five years. Civil war broke out and three major battles — Jamal, Siffeen and Nahrawan — were fought, causing eighty-four thousand deaths of Muslims at the hands of other Muslims. Many a pious and good Muslims were slain by the sword of fellow Muslims. Amongst them were eminent Companions like Talha, Zubair, Ammar Ibn Yasir and many more (radhiyallahu anhum). Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), the fourth Caliph, also sacrificed his life in this strife. Ameer Mu´awiya (Radhiyallahu anhu) was also attacked but survived. Amr Ibn Al-Aas (Radhiyallahu anhu) survived a murder attempt due to an alibi; his proxy was killed instead. The schism and strife among the Muslims caused by Abdullah Ibn Saba and his followers claimed countless valuable lives.

An instance from the authenticated record of the battle of Jamal is narrated here to illustrate how Muslims fell victims to the traps laid by the Sabaiyyah. After the occupation of Basra, Umm Al-Mumineen Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) received a message from Caliph Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) for talks and negotiation. It should be remembered that she was never a claimant for the caliphate. Her only demand was that the murderers of Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) must be punished immediately. Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) offered to accept her demand if his hands were first strengthened by a declaration of allegiance to him by her group. Both the armies of Aisha and Ali (Radhiyallahu anhum) were facing each other and camping on the battle field when these negotiations started. The news of this negotiation reached Abdullah Ibn Saba and Malik Ibn Ashter Nakhey (May Allah’s Curse be on them). They immediately pursued their nefarious plot to undermine the peace talks. Accordingly, under the cover of darkness, they, along with some of their followers, mounted an attack on Umm Al-Mu’mineen Aisha´s (Radhiyallahu anha) camp and the rumour was spread that the attack was made by the forces loyal to Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu). At the same time, they sent the word to Ali´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) camp that Umm Al-Mu’mineen Aisha´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) forces had initiated the attack. Consequently the opposing armies clashed with each other with all their might, leaving thousands dead on the battle field. It is a very painful part of Muslim history that no investigation to discover the truth in time was ever successful. The same thing happened at the battle of Siffeen. When a stage for peaceful negotiations was set, the Sabaiyyahs undermined it and a new scion of dissidents, the Khawarij, appeared on the scene, opening another front for the warring factions.

During the reign of Caliph Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), the Muslim empire did not exit as a single state under one central authority but broke up into various power centers. Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu Anhu), the governor of Syria, demanded avenge of Uthman´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) murder. “The assassins of Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) are in your camp and they are your advisers. I will not declare allegiance to you unless they are punished,” he insisted. It should be borne in mind that Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) did not put forward his claim to the Caliphate and was contented with the governorship of Syria. Whether his demand and pressure on Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) was justified or not is an open issue, and everyone is entitled to have an opinion.

Caliph Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) was killed by a Khariji, and his son Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu) accepted the allegiance of the people at Kufa, a big army base. It appeared that another conflict was in the making. Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), leading a forty thousand strong contingent, marched to Medinah where he had to confront Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu), the governor of Syria, who faced him with a huge army. A small squad was leading the army of Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu). It was rumoured that the squad had a clash with the enemy and suffered a defeat. The persons responsible for spreading this rumour were never identified. Upon hearing the rumor, the Kufi forces revolted against Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu) and not only looted his camp but also manhandled him. He had to take refuge in Chosroes´ palace. But this incident shook the confidence of Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) in his Kufi supporters; he therefore sent a word to Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) for peace talks. Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) not only accepted the offer but also sent a blank cheque, so to say, for a settlement in accordance with the terms of Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu), who laid down the following conditions:

The tax collections from the province of Ahwaz shall be paid to Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu).

A grant of two million dirham shall be paid annually to Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), his younger brother.

Banu Hashim shall be preferred in the distribution of allowances and grants.

A general amnesty shall be declared for all who took part in the battle.

Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) accepted all these terms and peace was restored in the sprawling empire. Strife and civil war came to an end and the state was unified under one central authority as he forced allegiance from all the dissidents. Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), commenting on the transfer of authority, said, “If Mu´awiyah  was the rightful successor to the Caliphate, he has received it and if I had that right, I, too, have passed it on to him; so the matter ends there.”

This was in accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Prophet ﷺ about Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu) when he had said, “Through my son Hassan, Allah will bring about peace between tow warring factions of Muslims.”

It was an honour bestowed on Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) by Allah Ta’ala, but the Saba’iyyah were highly indignant at his peace move. They called him names and taunted him with the words “Ya Aar Al-Mu’meneen” (O, Shame for the believers!) and “Ya Mozill Al-Mu’mineen” (You, the debaser of the Believers!). Ostensibly they were his supporters, but in fact expressed their utter resentment at his action for peace making which ushered in an era of twenty years of unity and tranquility in the Muslim empire.

Muslims belonging to Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jama´ah (the Sunni sect of Islam) do not include Ameer Mu´awiyah´s (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reign in Al-Khilafah Al-Rashidah (the period of Rightly Guided Caliphate). But Ameer Mu´awiyah´s (Radhiyallahu Anhu) twenty years reign is still considered to be the best period in the entire Muslim history after Al-Khilafah Al-Rashidah, because during his reign all the functions of a Muslim state — maintenance of peace, dispensation of justice, struggle for the supremacy of Islam, dissemination of the Word of Allah Ta’ala — were performed admirably well. The reign of Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimahullah) is also considered a glorious era of Islamic history, but it should be borne in mind that Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) — who was not only a Companion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ but also a scribe of Divine Revelation — stands much higher in rank and status than Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimahullah) because the latter was a Taba´yee (a companion of the Companions of the Prophet) and not a Sahabi. It is the common belief of the Sunnis that however pious a person may be, he cannot be rated equal to the lowest among the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ.

Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) lived for ten years during the reign of Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu), and after the peace agreement between the two, they had a very close and friendly relationship. However, Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu) was poisoned to death, most probably by the same group who were enraged at his armistice with Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu). By no stretch of imagination this heinous deed can be ascribed to Ameer Mu´awiya (Radhiyallahu Anhu) who had no grudge against Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu). [Read More: Who Poisoned Hadhrat Hasan (Radhiyallahu Anhu)?? ]

Before we discuss the nomination of Yazeed as a successor to his father, it would be appropriate to understand some basic and relevant issues. Firstly, the differences in belief (aqeedah) and juristic interpretation (fiqh) among the various sects of the Muslim Ummah have been grossly exaggerated. The Sunnis have no disagreement regarding belief, and have only some minor differences over the interpretation of the Shari´ah. In fact, there are only two sects in Islam (within the context of this topic), i.e,. Sunni and Shi´ah, because they differ over beliefs as well as over the interpretation of Shari´ah. There are certain differences which do not cause the parting of ways. For instance, opinions about historical events and personalities can be overlooked. Similarly, the Sunnis believe Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) the best among the entire mankind after the prophets of Allah, yet this does not constitute any basic article of faith of a Muslim. However, the concept of the Infallible Imamate maintained by the Shi´ahs is unacceptable because it strikes at the very root of the concept of Prophethood. Only the prophets were continuously guarded against and protected by Allah from any sin, and with the termination of Prophethood the privilege of infallibility has been taken away by Allah Ta’ala from all the progeny of Adam. The door of personal judgment (Ijtihad) is open while the door of Divine Revelation (Nabuwwah) has been closed forever.

Ijtihad, the exercise of personal judgment within the framework of the guidance provided by the Qur´an and the Sunnah (the sayings and doings of the Prophet) is a privilege vouchsafed to every Muslim who is well-versed in the teachings of Islam. The possibility of an error of judgment can never be ruled out because to err is human. But any judgement or decision made in good faith and with a clear conscience has a reward for the judge, regardless of the correctness of the judgment. That is the belief of the Muslim Ummah. In the light of this principle, we can judge the actions of all the caliphs of Islam to be without malice and can hold any opinion we like provided it is not derogatory to their status as the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ.

Now let us look at the issue of Yazeed´s nomination by his father, Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu), as an heir-apparent to the caliphate. According to authentic historical records, it was done on the advice of Mughira Ibn Shu´ba (Radhiyallahu anhu), who was a very intelligent and far-sighted Companion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. He argued that on the death of Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu), the issue of his succession, if remained uncertain, might plunge the Ummah once again into a war as had happened in the pre-Mu´awiya period; hence it was advisable to nominate a person to wield authority in the event of Ameer Mu´awiyah´s (radhiyallahu anhu) death. He also suggested the name of Ameer Mu´awiyah´s son Yazeed for the job. Now it is open to question whether this decision was justified or not, but no aspersions should be cast on Ameer Mu´awiya (Radhiyallahu anhu) or Mughira (Radhiyallahu anhu) who arrived at the conclusion with a clear conscience and in good faith. Both occupy venerable positions in the order of merit of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ . Mughira (Radhiyallahu anhu) was one of those who swore allegiance to the Prophet ﷺ under the tree (on the occasion of Baiy´ah Al-Ridwan) and Allah Ta’ala has commended all of them who took part in that (Al-Qur´an: Al-Fath 48:18). He remained a faithful friend and supporter of Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) throughout his life. But much water had flown under the bridge since Ali´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) times and he could apprehend danger in the absence of most of the influential Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who had left this world by then (60 A.H.). The new generation did not have that sense of responsibility or moral embellishment as the old had. In view of such arguments, they took a decision counter to the democratic spirit inculcated by the Prophet ﷺ among his followers. Nevertheless, they cannot be condemned as having ulterior motives of their own, apart from the good of the Ummah, because the Sunnis believe in the diction which asserts:

All Companions of the Prophet were just.

We can differ with the Companions, but we cannot malign them as mala fide.

Now look at the other side of the picture. Many prominent dignitaries among the Muslims including the three Ibad Allah — i.e., Abdullah Ibn Zubair (Radhiyallahu anhu), Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhu) as also Hussain Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Abdur Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) — not only disapproved of Yazeed´s nomination but also declared it against the spirit of Islam. The historic comment of Abdur Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu), when he was asked for allegiance to Yazeed´s heirship, is well worth taking note of. He said, “Now instead of acting upon the Prophet´s ﷺ and the rightly guided Caliphs´ tradition, do you want to adopt the tradition of Caesar and Chosroes?” Also, the fact cannot be overlooked that, except these five prominent Muslims, many others, including a large number of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ, swore allegiance to Yazeed´s nomination. All these people cannot be maligned and declared mala fide. Some may even allege that Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) bought their loyalties. If we accept this premise, by the same token it can also be alleged that Hassan Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) too was bought over, and the Shi´ahs consider Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu) to be an Imam Masoom (an infallible guide or leader). Obviously this is not the right course of thought and argument because, if pursued to the logical conclusion, it would tarnish many illustrious names among the Muslims. The only right conduct for us could be to absolve all those who supported Yazeed as well as those who opposed him of all blame because they all acted according to their convictions and for the good of the Muslim Ummah.

Now let us examine the stand which Hussain Ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) took in the situation. As said earlier, he sincerely believed that the nomination of Yazeed to the heirship of the Caliphate would destroy the spirit of democracy and republicanism nurtured and developed so assiduously during the Prophet´s era and afterward, and that it would lead to hereditary kingship which was repugnant to the original political teaching of Islam. He therefore resolved to oppose this with all the resources at his command. The bag load of communications, sent to him by the people of Kufa, not only approved of his stand but also promised support and loyalty to his cause. Kufa was a military base and a very strategic city situated at the crossroads to Iran and Syria. He thought that if the people of Kufa supported him, as their letters written to him indicated, it would be possible to effectively neutralize the change being brought about in the body politic of the Muslim Ummah. So he argued and resolved to act for that cause. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhu) also shared his thoughts but he opposed Hussain´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) going to Kufa because he knew the Kufis better and warned him not to repose his confidence in their loyalty. The Kufis had earlier betrayed Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) and his son Hassan (Radhiyallahu anhu). Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Abdullah Ibn Zubair (Radhiyallahu anhu) also had similar opinions about the Kufi character and vehemently besought Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) not to depend on their words would be against him; “Under the slightest pressure or pecuniary coercion the Kufis would change their loyalties,” the three Ibad Allah warned Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu). But he appeared to have taken a firm decision. So he brushed aside all their pleadings and warnings, and decided to proceed to Kufa, placing his confidence in Allah Ta’ala. For he acted in the true spirit of Allah´s and the Prophet´s ﷺ command:

So when you have decided (on a course of action) repose your confidence in Allah [Aal-e-Imran 3:159].

It may be argued that Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) committed a mistake in the assessment of the situation, but no insinuations about his intentions can be entertained. He had no lust for power or avarice for wealth. This is the common belief of the Ahl Al-Sunnah Wal-Jama´ah (the Sunnis). They do not consider him, like all non-Prophets, to be infallible; at the same time they do not doubt his integrity either.

When the nomination issue was deliberated upon in Madinah, Abdullah Ibn Zubair (Radhiyallahu anhu) went over to Makkah and so did Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), because some prominent Muslim were of the opinion that Makkah would be the best place as a stronghold or base for launching a campaign for building up public opinion against Yazeed´s heirship. However, before any significant work could be done in this regard, Ameer Mu´awiyah (Radhiyallahu anhu) died and Yazeed took over the reigns of government. Now Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) received heaps of letters from the Kufis pledging their loyalty and support to him if he mounted an attack against Yazeed´s forces. He sent his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel (Radhiyallahu anhu) to Kufa to find out facts. Soon he received an affirmation of the loyalty of Kufis from his cousin and he started preparations for a journey to Kufa. Abdullah Ibn Umar and Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhum) pleaded vigorously against his plan and entreated him to at least leave women and children in Makkah if he was determined to proceed to Kufa. But Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) ignored their suggestions. On the way he received the report of Muslim Ibn Aqeel´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) death at the hands of Yazeed´s men and the apathy and indifference displayed by the people of Kufa at this incident, and also the news that the Kufis had shifted their loyalties to Yazeed, pledging support to him against Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) and his followers.

Now Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) was in a dilemma: should he continue his journey towards Kufa or return to Makkah? The Arab tradition of avenging the murder of their man, at all costs, was too strong for him to resist. Besides, the close relatives of Muslim Ibn Aqeel (Radhiyallahu anhu), who were accompanying Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), declared their resolve to punish the assassins and continue their march. For Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), it was below his dignity to abandon them and return to Makkah. So, he decided to continue his march to Kufa. Meanwhile, the two young sons of Abdullah Ibn Jaffer Tayyar, a cousin of Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), arrived with their father´s message: “For God´s sake, don´t go to Kufa.” However, Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) continued his journey with these two boys joining his camp and arrived at the desert of Karbala. Ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, arrived there with one thousand soldiers under his command and offered one option to Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) in accordance with the instruction from Yazeed: “You can neither go to Kufa nor return to Makkah, but you can go any where else you want.” Obviously, the only course open for Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) was to Damascus, the capital. It is very unfortunate that he turned down the offer and continued his sojourn at Karbala trying to win over the support of Ibn Ziyad´s men because in his addresses to the Kufis under Ibn Ziyad´s command, he mentioned the persons by name who had written letters to him pledging loyalty and support and pleaded with them to honor their pledges. The Kufis disowned their letters and denied their authorship.

Meanwhile, a reinforcement of four thousand soldiers, under the command of Amr Ibn Sa´d, arrived at Kufa from Damascus. Amr was the son of Sa´d Ibn Abi Waqas (Radhiyallahu anhu), the conqueror of Iran, and was also related to Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) for whom he had all the sympathies. Talks of reconciliation continued but the Kufis, fearing reprisals in case of a reconciliation, forced their leader Ibn Ziyad to toughen his attitude. Realizing this, Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) placed three options before them: “Allow me to return to Makkah safely, or allow me to proceed to the frontiers of the Muslim empire so that I may continue my campaign against non-Muslims, or allow me a safe passage to the capital, Damascus, where I may settle the issue with Yazeed in person.”

The conspirators, however, succeeded in undermining the reconciliation talks and forced Amr Ibn Sa´d to corner Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu). “Either surrender unconditionally or get ready for war,” they demanded. Obviously an unconditional surrender by Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) was a tall order and a challenge to his honor and dignity. He was constrained to fight the enemy though heavily outnumbered and under-equipped. Thus, the Saba’iyyah conspiracy that sabotaged the peace talks just before the battles of Jamal and Siffeen was successful once again, and Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu) and all his camp followers were slain mercilessly on the sands of Karbala. However, all of them displayed unflinching courage and valour on the battle-field.

In apportioning blame for this tragedy, fictitious stories have been fabricated about the disagreements between Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu). In fact, there were no disagreements between the two, who respected and loved each other like brothers. It is again the Sabaiyyah elements who concocted bogus stories and phony events to cover up their own heinous acts of perfidy in this drama of strife and partisan-politics forced on the Muslims. No attempt has ever been made to unmask their ugly faces and instead their version of these episodes has been accepted as authentic, resulting in deep malignity against the highly venerable and illustrious personalities of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

From the assassination of Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) right up to the tragic event at Karbala, one can easily discern the hidden hand of Sabaiyyah agents who successfully plotted against the solidarity of the Muslim Empire and plunged in into senseless bloodshed. The entire blame must be placed on them, where it rightfully belongs, and the fair names of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ , who are all adool (scrupulously just), must be exonerated from the calumny and ignominy to which they have been exposed through the malicious propaganda of the Sabaiyyah.

It would be worthwhile to mention here two instances of fair play and God-fearing conduct of Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Yazeed. When Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) defeated Umm Al-Mu’mineen Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) at the battle of Jamal, he treated her with the same reverence and decorum to which she was entitled as one of the “Mothers of the Believers.” He conducted her and her retinue of ladies and gentlemen with all the respect and security to Madinah. This amply demonstrates that there was no personal enmity or malice between the two. Again, when the battle survivors, ladies, and children from Hussain´s camp of Karbala arrived at Damascus, Yazeed treated them with due regard and respect and expressed his sympathies with them. He also expressed his sincere condolences at the needless bloodshed and said, “Had Ibn Ziyad not gone to such an extent, I would have been pleased with him even then.”

The two martyrdoms, that of Uthman (Radhiyallahu anhu) and of Hussain (Radhiyallahu anhu), have caused agony in the hearts of the Muslim Ummah and have cast their gloomy shadows over its fourteen hundred year history. The have caused dissension and fighting among the Muslims who have fallen into the trap of those who sowed the seeds of discord and shifted the blame to the most respected persons of the Ummah. It is, in fact, the triumph of those intriguing elements who were jubilant over their accomplishment. Now, we are at each other´s throat and hurl bad names and odium on the very honorable personalities of Islam. Some people consider names of Yazeed and Shimer a symbols of profanity and an anathema while some others use Amr Ibn Sa´d´s and Ameer Mu´awiyah´s (Radhiyallahu anhu) names as expletives. May Allah guide such people to the right course and protect us from sharing their company or views and give us the wisdom and strength to heed Prophet´s warning:

Beware of expressing opinions about my Companions and, after I am gone, do not use them for your own ends; for whosoever will love them would do so because of their love for me and whosoever would have rancor against them, would do so because of their rancor against me. 


The Last Days of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiyallahu Anhu)’s Life and His Assassination

Compiled from Various Sources

The  Caliph  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  a  fine  example  of  a  just,  believing  caliph,  a  pious,  pure,  strong  and  honest  mujahid,  a  strong  fortress  for the  ummah  and  its  ‘aqeedah. He  spent  his  entire  caliphate serving  his  religion  and  his  ‘aqeedah  and  his  ummah,  which  he  had  been  appointed  to  lead.  He  was  the  supreme  commander  of  the  army,  and the  faqeeh  and  mujtahid  to  whom  everyone  referred.  He  was  a  just  judge  and  a  compassionate  father  who  was  merciful  to  his  flock, young  and  old,  weak  and  strong,  poor  and  rich.  He  was  a  sincere  believer  in  Allah  and  His  Messenger,  a  brilliant  politician  and  a  wise  and  decisive  administrator.  Under  his  leadership  the  structure  of  the  ummah  was  strengthened,  and  during  his  reign  the  pillars  of  the  Islamic  conquests  were  established  and  the  greatest  victories  were  achieved  over  the  Persians  at  al-Qadisiyah,  al-Mada’in,  Jaloola’  and  Nahawand.  Syria  and  Egypt  were  conquered  and  freed  from  the  domination  of  Byzantium.  Islam  entered  most  of  the  lands  surrounding  the  Arabian  Peninsula.  His  caliphate  was  a  strong  barrier  against   tribulation  and  civil  war.  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) himself  was  like  a  closed door,  and  those  who  sought  to  stir  up  tribulation  could  find  no  way  to  reach  the  Muslims  during  his  lifetime. [Al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashideen by al-Khalidi, p.77]

Discussion  between  ‘Umar  and Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhum) concerning  Tribulations
Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yaman  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  said:  “We  were  with  Ibn  al- Khattab  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  he  said,  ‘Who  among  you  remembers  what  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said  about  fitnah  (tribulation)?  I  said,  ‘I  remember  it  as  he  said  it.’  He  said,  ‘Tell  us,  what  a  great  man  your  father  was!’  I  said,  ‘I  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say,  “The  tribulation  of  a  man  is  with  regard  to  his  family,  his  wealth,  his  own  self,  his  son  and  his  neighbour,  and  it  may  be  expiated  by  means  of  fasting,  praying  and  giving  charity,  and  by  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil.’),  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said,  ‘That  is  not  what  I  mean.  What  I  mean  is  the  tribulations  which  will  come like  the  waves  of  the  sea.’  I  said,  ‘What  does  that  have  to  do  with  you,  O  Ameer  al- Mu’mineen?  Between  you  and  them  is  a  closed  door.’  He  (‘Umar)  asked,  ‘Will  that  door  be  broken  or  opened?’  I  said,  ‘It  will  be  broken.’  He  said,  ‘Then  it  will  never  be  closed  until  the  Hour  begins.'”  Abu Wa’il,  the  one  who  narrated  it  from  Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) ,  said:  “Did  ‘Umar  know  who  was  meant  by  the  door?”  Hudhayfah  said,  “Yes.  He  knew  it  for  certain.”  Then  Abu  Wa’il  said,  “Let  us  ask  Hudhayfah  who  is  meant  by  the  door.”  We  said  to  Masrooq,  “Go  and  ask  Hudhayfah  who  is  the  door.”  Masrooq  asked  Hudhayfah,  “Who  is  the  door?” Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu) said,  “It  is  ‘Umar.”

Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu) informed  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  that  he  was  the  strong  door  which  was  preventing  tribulation  or  civil  war  from  engulfing  the  Muslims,  but  this  door  would  be  broken,  which  meant  that  after  that  it  would  never  be  closed  again  until  the  Hour  began.  This  is  what  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) understood,  namely  that  tribulations  would  continue  to  be  widespread  and  common  among  the  Muslims  and  they  would  never  be  able  to  eliminate  them  or  put  a  stop  to  them.  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  not  stating  that  of  his  own  accord  or  expecting  it  to  happen,  for  he  had  no  knowledge  of  the  unseen,  rather  he  heard  it  from the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  and  understood  it  and  memorized  it  as  he  had  heard  it.  Hence  he  commented  on  what  he  told  ‘Umar  by  saying:  “I  have  told  you  a  hadith  and  I  am  not  mistaken  i.e.,  it  is  a  saheeh  and  true  hadith,  not  a  mistake  or  a  fabrication – because  I  heard  it  from  the Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).” 

Moreover,  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  aware  of  the  facts that  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhi) told  him,  for  he  knew  that  his  caliphate  was  a  strong  door  that  was  preventing  tribulation  from  engulfing  the  Muslims,  and  that  tribulation  would  never  overwhelm  the  Muslims  during  his  caliphate  and  his  lifetime. 

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  learned  from  the  Messenger of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  that  he  would  be  killed,  and  that  he  would  meet  Allah  as  a  martyr.  Anas ibn  Malik (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  ‘The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  climbed  Mount  Uhud,  accompanied  by  Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  ‘Uthman,  and  the  mountain  shook  with  them.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) –  stuck  it  with  his  foot  and  said,  ‘Stand  firm,  O  Uhud,  for there  is  no  one  on  you  but  a  Prophet,  a  Siddeeq  and  two  martyrs.” [Bukhari,  Kitab  Fada’il  Ashab  an-Nabi,  hadith  no. 3675]

The  Du’a  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  During  his  last  Hajj,  23  A.H.
It  was  narrated  from  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyib  that  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) departed  from  Mina,  he  stopped  in  al-Abtah,  made  a  pile  of  sand,  threw  his  cloak  over  it  and  lay  down  on  it,  then  he  raised  his  hands towards  heaven  and  said:  “O Allah,  I  have  grown  old  and  weak,  and  the  people  under  my  care  have  been  scattered.  Take  me  (in  death)  before  I  commit  any  act  of  neglect  or  heedlessness.”  Then  he  went  to Madinah.  [Tareekh  al-Madeenah,  3/872.  Its  isnad  is  Saheeh  up  to  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyib]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) ‘s  Prayer  for  Martyrdom
It  was  narrated  from  Zayd  ibn  Aslam  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “O  Allah,  bless  me  with  martyrdom  for  Your  sake,  and  cause  me  to  die  in  the  land  of  Your  Prophet.”  According  to  another  report:  “O  Allah,  let  me  be  killed  for  Your  sake  and  die in  the  land  of  Your  Prophet.”  It was  asked:  “How  could  that  happen?”  He  said,  “Allah  may  cause  it  to  happen.” [At-Tabaqat  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/331;  its  isnad  is  Hasan]. 

Shaykh  Yusuf  ibn  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Abdul-Hadi  (rahimahullah) commented  on  ‘Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu)  prayer  for  martyrdom  by  saying:  “Wishing  for  martyrdom  is  mustahabb,  and  it  is  different  from  wishing  for death.  If  it  is  asked,  what  is  the  difference  between  them?  The  answer  is  that  wishing  for  death  is  seeking  to  hasten  death  before  its  time  has come,  but  the  longer  a  man  lives  the  more  good  he  does.  Wishing  for  martyrdom  is  asking  for  death  at  its  proper  time,  as  a  martyr;  it  is  not asking  for  death  to  be  brought  forward  from  its  appointed  time,  rather  it  is  seeking  a  virtuous  death.” [Mahd  as-Sawab  fee  Fada’il Ameer  al-Mu’mineen  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab,  3/791].

The  Dream  of  ‘Awf  ibn  Malik  al-Ashja’i 
‘Awf  ibn  Malik  al-Ashja’i  said: 
“During  the  caliphate  of  Abu Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu),  I  saw  a  rope  hanging  down  from  heaven,  and  the  people  were  stretching  up  to  reach  it.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  three  cubits  taller  than  the  others,  and  I  asked,  ‘Why  is  that?’  He  said,  ‘Because  he  is  one  of  the  vicegerents  of  Allah  on  earth,  and  he  does  not  fear  the  blame  of  any  blamer,  and  he  will  be  killed  as  a  martyr.’  The  next  morning,  I  went  to  Abu  Bakr  and  told  him  about  that,  and  he  said,  ‘O  slave,  go  to  Abu  Hafs  and  call  him  to  me.’  When  he  came,  he  said,  ‘O  ‘Awf,  tell  him  what  you  saw.’  When  I  told  him  that  he  was  one  of  the  vicegerents  of  Allah,  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Does  a  sleeper  see  all  of  this?’  He  said,  ‘Tell  him about  it.’  When  ‘Umar  was  appointed  caliph,  he  came  to  al-Jibiyah  and  whilst  he  was  delivering  a  speech,  he  called  me  and  told  me  to  sit  down.  When  he  had  finished  his  speech,  he  said,  ‘Tell  me about  your  dream.’  I  asked,  ‘Didn’t  you  forbid  me  to  speak  of  it?’  He said,  ‘I  didn’t  mean  it,  O  man.’  According  to  another  report,  he  said,  ‘Were  you  not  telling  lies?’  He  said,  ‘No,  but  I  felt  shy  before  Abu  Bakr.

When  I told  him  he  said,  ‘As  for  becoming  caliph,  that  has  happened,  as  you  can  see.  With  regard  to  not  fearing  the blame  of  any  blamer,  I  do  not  fear  anyone  but  Allah,  and  I  hope  that  that  is  true.  But  as  for  being  killed  as  a  martyr,  how  can  that  happen  when  I am  in  the  Arabian  Peninsula?'” [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/869]

The  dream  of  Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari concerning  the  death  of  ‘Umar
Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “I  saw  myself  as  if  I  had  taken  many  horses,  then  they  started  to  disappear,  one  after  another,  until  only  one  was  left.  I  took  it  and  went  to  Jabal   Zalaq,  where  I  saw  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  with  Abu  Bakr  beside  him,  and  he  was gesturing  to  ‘Umar  to  come.”  I  (the  narrator)  said,  “Why  don’t  you  write  news  of  that  to  ‘Umar?”  He  said,  “I  do  not  want  to  tell  him  the  news  of  his  own  death.”  [At-Tabaqat  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/332,  its  isnad  is  Saheeh]

The  Last  Jumu’ah  Khutbah  given  by  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) in  Madinah
‘Abdur-Rahman  ibn  ‘Awf  (radhiyallahu anhu)  narrated  some  of  what  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said  in  his  khutbah  on  Friday  21  Dhu  al-Hijjah  23  A.H.,  which  was  his  last  khutbah.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  himself  told  the  Muslims  of  a  dream  that  he  had  seen  and  interpreted  it  for  them.  He  said  in  that  last  khutbah:  “I  have  seen  a  dream,  and  I  think  it  signals  my  death.  I  saw  myself  being  pecked  by  a  rooster  twice,  and  the  people  were  telling  me  to  appoint  a  caliph  after  me.  Allah  will  not  cause  His  religion  or  His  caliphate  to  be  lost,  nor  that  with  which  He  sent  His  Prophet.  If  I  die,  then  the  caliphate  is  to  be  decided  by  a  council  of  these  six  men  with  whom  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  pleased  when  he  died.”  [Al-Mawsooah  al-Hadeethiyah  Musnad  al-Imam  Ahmad,  no.  89,  its  isnad  is saheeh].

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  meeting  with Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) before  he  was  stabbed
Four  days  before  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  martyred  – i.e.  on  Sunday  23rd Dhu  al-Hijjah –  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  met  with  the  two  Sahabis,  Hudhayfah  ibn al- Yaman  and  Sahl  ibn  Hunayf (May  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both).  He  had  appointed  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  estimate  the  kharij  on  the  land  which  was  irrigated  by  the  water  of  the  Tigris,  and  he  had  appointed  Sahl  ibn  Hunayf  (radhiyallahu anhu) to  estimate  the  kharij  of  the  land  which  was  irrigated  by  the  water  of  the  Euphrates.  He  said  to  them:  “What  did  you  do?  I  am  afraid  that  you  may  have  imposed  more  that  the  land can  bear.”  They  said,  “We  imposed  a  reasonable  amount.”  ‘Umar  said,  “If  Allah  keeps  me  safe,  I  will  leave  the  widows  of  the  people  of  Iraq  needing  no  man  after  me.”  But  he  was  stabbed  four  days  after  this  discussion  with  these  two  Sahabis.’  [Bukhari,  hadith  no.  3700]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) preventing  the  prisoners  from  settling  in  Madinah
‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) did  not  give  the  prisoners  from  the  conquered  regions  permission  to  enter  Madinah,  the  capital  of  the  caliphate.  He  forbade  the  Magians  of  Iraq  and  Persia,  and  the  Christians  of  Syria  and  Egypt,  to  settle  in  Madinah,  unless  they  became  Muslim  and  entered  the  faith.  This  attitude  is  indicative  of  his  wisdom  and foresight,  because  these  defeated  people  who  hated  Islam  and  had  plenty  of  motives  to  conspire  and  plot  against  Islam  and  the  Muslims.  Hence  he  forbade  them  to  settle  in  Madinah,  so  as  to  ward  off  evil  from  the  Muslims.  But  some  of  the  Sahabah  (May  Allah  be  pleased  with  them)  had  slaves  from  among  these  Christian  and  Magian  prisoners,  and  some  of  them  urged  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  give  permission  to  some  of  these  slaves  to  settle  in  Madeenah,  so  that  they  could  make  use  of  them  in  their  work.  So  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  reluctantly gave  permission  to  some  of them  to  settle  in  Madinah,  and  what  he  expected  and  had  warned  against  came  to  pass.  [AI-Khulafa’  ar-Rashidoon  by  al-Khalidi, p.  83]

The  Murder  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)   
The  murder  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) 
‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  said:  “I  was  standing  with  no  one  between me  and  him  but  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) on  the  day  when  he  was  struck.  When  he  passed  between  the  rows,  he  would  say,  “Make  (your  rows)  straight,”  and  when  they  were  straight,  he  would  go  forward  and  say  takbeer,  and  he  would  recite  Surah  Yusuf  or  an-Nahl,  or  a  similar  Sirah  in  the  first  rak’ah,  until  all  the  people  had  gathered.  No  sooner  had  he  said  the  takbeer,  but  I  heard  him  say,  “The  dog  has  killed  – or  devoured  me!”  when  he  was  stabbed.  The  foreigner  (non-Arab  infidel)  tried  to  flee,  wielding  a  two-edged  knife,  and  he  did  not  pass  by  anyone,  right  or  left,  but  he  stabbed  him.  He  stabbed thirteen  people,  of  whom  seven  died.  When  one  of  the  Muslim  men  saw  that,  he  threw  a  cloak  over  him  and  when  the  foreigner  realized that  he  had  been  caught,  he  killed  himself.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  took  the  hand  of  ‘Abdur-Rahman  ibn  ‘Awf  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  made  him  go  forward  to  lead  the  people  in  prayer.  Those  who  were  immediately  behind  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  saw  what  had  happened;  those  who  were  in  other  parts  of  the  mosque  did  not  realize,  but  they  missed  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  voice,  and  they  were  saying,  “Subhan-Allah.”  ‘Abdur-Rahman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  led  them  in  a  brief  prayer,  and  when  they  finished,   ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  said, “O  Ibn  ‘Abbas,  see who  killed  me.”  He  went  around  for  a  while,  then  he  came  and  said,  “It  was  the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah.”  He  asked,  “The  craftsman (referring to Abu  Lu’lu’ah  Fayruz)?”  He  said,  ‘Yes.”  He  said,  “May  Allah  curse  him,  I  told  his  master  to  treat  him  well.  Praise  be  to  Allah  Who  has  not  caused  my  death  to  be  at  the  hands  of  a  man  who  claimed  to  be  a  Muslim.  You  and  your  father – meaning  al-‘Abbas  and  his  son,  ‘Abdullah  wanted  to  bring  more  infidel  foreigners  to  Madeenah!”  Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  the  one  who  had  the  most  slaves,  and  ‘Abdullah  said,  “If  you  wish  (we  will  kill  them).”  ‘Umar said,  ‘No,  that  is  wrong,  after  they  have  learned  your  language  and  started  to  pray  facing  your  qiblah,  and  performed  Hajj  as  you  do.”

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  carried  to  his  house,  and  we  set  off  with  him,  and  it  was  as  if  no  calamity  had  ever  struck  the  people  before.  Some  nabeedh  was  brought  to  him  and  he  drank  it,  but  it  came  out  from  his  stomach.  Then  some  milk  was  brought  to  him  and  he  drank  it,  but  it  came  out  through  his  wound.  They  realized  that  he  was  dying,  so we  entered  his  house  and  the  people  came  and  started  praising  him.  He  said:  “O  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar,  see  what  debts  I  owe.”  They  worked  it  out,  and  the  total  came  to  eighty-six  thousand  or  thereabouts,  He  said,  “If  the  family  of  ‘Umar  can  afford  it,  pay  it  off  from  what  you collect  from  them.  Otherwise  ask  Banu  ‘Adiyy  ibn  Ka’b,  and  if  their  wealth  is  not  enough  then  ask  Quraysh,  but  do  not  go  to  anyone  else  after  them.  Pay  off  this  money  on  my  behalf.  And  go  to  ‘Aishah,  the Mother  of  the  Believers,  and  say,  “‘Umar  sends  you  greetings  of  peace.  Do  not  say Ameer  al-Mu ‘mineen,  for  today  I  am  no  longer  the  leader  of  the  believers.  Say,  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  asking  for  permission  to  stay  with  his  two  companions.”  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  said  salaam  and  asked  permission,  then  he  went  to  her  and  found  her  sitting weeping.  He  said,  “Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  sends  you  salaams  and is  asking  for  permission  to  be  buried  with  his  two  companions.”  She  said,  “I  had  wanted  it  for  myself,  but  today  I  will  give  it  up  for  him.”  When  he  came  back,  it  was  said,  “Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  has  come.”  ‘Umar  said,  “Lift  me  up.”  So  a  man  helped  him  to  sit  up  and  he  asked,  “What  news  do  you  have?”  He  said,  “That  which  you  want  to  hear,  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen.  She  has  given  permission.”  He  said, “Praise  be  to  Allah,  nothing  was  worrying  me  more  than  that.  When  I  pass  away,  carry  me  there  and  say:  “‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  asking  permission to  enter.  When  permission  is  given  to  me,  carry  me  in,  but  if  she  says  no,  then  take  me  to  the  graveyard  of  the  Muslims.”  When  he  died,  we  took  him  out  and  set  off  walking.  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  said  salaam  and  said,  “Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  seeking  permission  to  enter.”  ‘Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  said,  “Bring  him  in.”  So  he  was  brought  in  and  placed  there  with  his  two  companions.  [Bukhari, Kitab  Fada’il  as-Sahabah, hadith  no.  3700]

There  are  other  reports  which  describe  in  detail  the  events  that  are  not  mentioned  in  the  report  of  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon.  Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  stabbed  before  dawn,  by  Abu  Lu’lu’ah,  the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah (radhiyallahu anhu),  who  was  a  Magian.”‘  [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq, p.  369]

Abu  Rafi’  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “Abu  Lu’lu’ah  was  a  slave  of  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah,  and  he  used  to  make  grindstones.  Al-Mugheerah  used  to  deduct  four  dirhams  from  him  every  day.  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  met  ‘Umar  and  said,  ‘O  Ameer  al-Mu ‘mineen,  al-Mugheerah  is  taking  too  much  from  me;  ask  him  to  reduce  it.’  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Fear  Allah  and  be  good  to  your  master.’  ‘Umar  intended  to  speak  to  al-Mugheerah  and  ask  him  to  reduce  it,  but  the  slave  got  angry  and  said,  ‘His  justice  extends  to  all  of  them  except  me.’  So  he  planned  to  kill  him.  He  made  a  two-headed  dagger, sharpened  it  and  put  poison  on  it,  then  he  showed  it  to al-Hormuzan,  and  asked,  ‘What  do  you  think  of  this?’  He  said,  ‘I  do  not  think  you  will  strike  anyone  with  it  but  you  will  kill  him.’  Then  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  waited  for  an  opportunity  to  strike  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  anhu).  He  came  to  him  at  the  time  of  Fajr  prayer  and  stood  behind  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  anhu).  As  was  his  habit,  when  the  iqamah  for  prayer  was  given  ‘Umar  spoke  to  the  people  and  told  them  to  straighten  their  rows,  then  when  he  said  the  takbeer,  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  stabbed  him  in  the  shoulder  and  then  in  his  side,  and  ‘Umar  fell  down.”  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  (may  Allah  have  mercy  on  him)  said:  “When  he  was  stabbed,  I  heard  him  say,

And  the  Command  of  Allah  is  a  decree  determined.  [Qur’an  33:38]

The Final Moments of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu) described  the  final  moments  in  the  life  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  when  he  said:  “I  entered  to  see  ‘Umar  when  he  had  been  stabbed,  and  said,  ‘Receive  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise,  O  Ameer  al- Mu  ‘mineen,  for  you  became  Muslim  when  the  people  disbelieved,  and  you  strove  in  jihad  with  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  when  the  people  let  him  down.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  when  he  was  pleased  with  you,  no  one  disputed  your  appointment  as  caliph,  and  you  have  been  killed  as  a  martyr.’  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Say  it  again.’  So  I  repeated  it  to  him,  and  he  said,  ‘By  Allah,  besides  Whom  there  is  no  other  god,  if  I  had  all  the  gold  and  silver  in  the  world,  I  would  pay  it  to  avoid  the  terror  of  what  comes  after  death.'” [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq,  p.  383]

According  to  a  report  narrated  by  Bukhari,  “As  for  what  you  have  said  about  having  been  a  Companion  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  his  having  been  pleased  with  me,  that  is  a  blessing  that  Allah  has  bestowed  upon  me.  As  for  what  you  see  of  my  worry,  that  is  because  I  am  worried about  you  and  your  companions.  By  Allah,  if  I  had  an  earthful  of  gold,  I  would  use  it  to  ransom  myself  from  the  punishment  of  Allah  before  I  saw  it”. [Bukhari,  Kitab  Fada’il  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no. 3692]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  profoundly  afraid  of  the  punishment of  Allah  even though  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  testified  that  he  was  bound  for  Paradise;  despite  that  be  made  great  efforts  to  establish  the  rule  of  Allah  and  justice,  was  a  great  ascetic,  engaged  in  jihad  and  did  other  righteous  deeds.  This  offers  an  important  lesson  to  the  Muslims  in  general,  that they  should  remember  the  stern  punishment  of  Allah  and  the  terrors of  the  Day  of  Judgement. [At-Tareekh  al-Islami,  19/33]

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  tells  of  the  last  moments  in  the  life  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  as  he  says:  “I  was  the  last  of  you  to  see  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).  I  entered  to  see  him  and  his  head  was   resting  in  the  lap  of  his  son  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar.  He  said  to him:  “Lay  my  cheek  upon  the  ground.”  He  said,  “Is  there  any difference  between  my  thigh  and  the  ground?”  He  said,  “Lay  my  cheek  on  the  ground,  may  you  be  bereft  of  your  mother,”  the  second  or  third  time.  Then  he  crossed  his  legs  and  I  heard  him  say,  “Woe  to  me  and  woe  to  my  mother  if  Allah  does  not  forgive  me,”  then  his soul  departed?  [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq,  p.  383]

This  is  an  example  of  ‘Umar’s  characteristic  fear  of  Allah,  for his  last  words  were  words  of  woe  against  himself  if  Allah  did  not  forgive  him,  even  though  he  was  one  of  the  ten  who  had  been  given  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise.  But  the  one  who  knows  more  of  Allah fears  Allah  more.  His  insistence  that  his  son  lay  his  cheek  on  the  ground  was  a  kind  of  humbling  himself  in  order  to  glorify  Allah,  because  that  would  be  more  likely  to  bring  a  response  to  his  dua’.  This  shows  us  how  much  his  heart  was  focused  on  Allah. [At-Tareekh  al-Islami, 19/44, 45]

The  Date  of  his  death  and  his  age  at  death
Adh-Dhahabi  said:  “He  was  martyred  on  a  Wednesday,  the twenty-sixth  or  twenty-seventh  of  Dhu  al-Hijjah  23  A.H.,  and  he  was  sixty-three  years  old  according  to  the  correct  view.” [At-Tahdheeb,  no. 177]

His  caliphate  lasted  a  little  more  than  ten  and  a  half  years.  [Siyar  as-Salaf  by  Abu  al-Qasim  al-Isfahani, 1/160]

In  Tarikh  Abi  Zar’ah  it  is  narrated  that  Jareer al-Bajali  said:  “I  was  with  Mu’awiyah  and he  said,  ‘The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  when  he  was  sixty-three  years  old,  and  Abu  Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu)  died  when  he  was  sixty-three  years old,  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  killed  when  he  was  sixty-three  years  old” [Muslim,  Fada’il  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  2352]

Ghusl,  funeral  prayer  and  burial
It  was  narrated  from  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was  washed  and  shrouded  and  the  funeral  prayer  was  offered  for  him,  although  he  was  a  martyr. [At-Tabaqat,  3/366,  its  isnad  is  saheeh]

The  scholars  differed  concerning  one  who  is  killed  unjustly – is  he  like  a  martyr  so  he  should  not  be  washed,  or  not?  There  are  two  views:

1.  That  he  should  be  washed.  This  report  is  evidence  for  those  who  are  of  this  opinion. [Al-Insaf by al-Mardawi, 2/503]

2.  That  he  should  not  be  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer  should  not  be  offered  for  him.  Their  answer  concerning  the  story  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  is  that  ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him)  lived  for  a  while  longer  after  he  was  struck.  If  a  martyr  lives  after  he  has  been  struck,  even  a  martyr  who  is  struck  in  battle,  and  eats  or  drinks  or  lives  for  a  long  time  or  some time  afterwards,  then  he  is  to  be  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer  offered  for  him.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  lived  for  a  while  afterwards,  drinking  water  and  whatever  the  doctor  gave  him.  Hence  he  was  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer was  offered  for  him.  [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/845]

Who  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  him?
Adh-Dhahabi  said  that  Suhayb  ibn  Sinan ar-Rumi (radhiyallahu anhu)  offered  the  prayer  for him. [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/845]

Ibn  Sa’d  said: “‘Ali  ibn  al-Husayn  asked  Sa’eed  ibn  al- Musayyib,  ‘Who  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  ‘Umar?’  He  said,  ‘Suhayb.’  He  said  ‘How  many  takbeers  did  he  say?’  He  said,  ‘Four.’  He  asked,  ‘Where  was  the  prayer  offered?’  He  said,  ‘Between  the grave  and  the  minbar.”‘ [At-Tabaqat,  3/366,  its  isnad  includes  Khalid  ibn  Ilyas,  who  is  matrook]

Ibn  al-Musayyib  said:  “The  Muslims  looked  and  saw  that  Suhayb  was  leading  them  in  the  obligatory  prayers,  on  the  instruction  of  ‘Umar,  so  they  made  him  lead  the  funeral  prayer  for  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . [At-Tabaqat,  3/367]

‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  did  not  appoint  any  of  the  six candidates  for  the  caliphate  to  lead  the  prayer,  lest  that  be  seen  as  an  endorsement  of  that  man  by  ‘Umar.  Suhayb  was  also  held  in  high  esteem  by  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  Sahabah,  and  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  said  concerning  him:  “What  a  good  man  Suhayb  is;  even  if  he  did  not  fear  Allah,  he  still  would  not  disobey  Him.” [AI-Fatawa, 15/140]

The  burial  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Adh-Dhahabi  said:  “He  was  buried  in  the  room  where  the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  buried.”  [Mahd  as Sawab, 3/846]

Ibn  al-Jawzi  narrated  that  Jabir  said:  “Sa’eed  ibn  Zayd,  Suhayb  and  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhum)  went  down  into  the  grave  of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). 

It  was  narrated  that  Hisham  ibn  ‘Urwah  said:  ”When  the  graves  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam),  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu  anhum)  collapsed  during  the  time  of  al-Waleed  ibn  ‘Abdul-Malik,  they  started  to  rebuild  it,  then  a  foot  appeared  and  they  got  scared,  thinking  that  it  was  the  foot  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  They  could  not  find  anyone  to  confirm  that,  until  ‘Urwah  said  to  them,  ‘No,  by  Allah,  it  is  not  the  foot  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  rather  it  is  the  foot  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu).’  [Bukhari,  Kita’b  al-I’tisam, hadith  nos.  2671 and 6897]

We  have  mentioned  above  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sent  word  to  ‘Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  saying:  “Give  me  permission  to  be  buried  with  my  two  companions.”  She  said, “Yes  by  Allah.”  Hisham  ibn  ‘Urwah  ibn  az-Zubayr  said:  “If  any  man  from  among  the  Sahabah  sent  word  to  her  concerning  that,  she  would  say,  “I  will  not  give  it  up  for  anybody”. [Mahd  as-Sawab,  3/848] 

There  is  no  dispute  among  the  scholars;  all  are  agreed  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  Abu Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhum)  are  buried  in  this  place  in  the  Prophet’s  Mosque.  [Ibid]

What  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib said  concerning ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them)
Ibn  ‘Abbas  said:  “‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  placed  on  his  bed  and  the  people  surrounded  him,  praying  for  him  before  he  was  lifted  up,  and  I  was  among  them.  Suddenly  I  felt  a  man  taking  hold  of  my  shoulder  and  it was  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib.  He  prayed  for mercy  for  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  then  he  said,  ‘There  is  no  one  that  I  would  love  to  meet  Allah  with  deeds  like  his  more  than  you.  By  Allah,  I  always  thought  that  you  would  join  your  two  companions,  for  I  remember  that  I  often  heard  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say,  “Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  went;  Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  entered; Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  came  out.'” [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib, hadith  no. 368]

The  Effect  of  his  Killing  on  the  Muslims
This  event  had  a  great  impact on  the  Muslims,  for  his  death  did  not  come  after  a  lengthy  illness.  The  impact  was  made  greater by  the  fact  that  it  happened  in  the  mosque  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  leading  the  people  in  Fajr  prayer.  If  we  understand  the  state  that  the  Muslims  were  in  after  this  happened,  we  will  realize  what  an  effect  it  had  on  them.  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  said:  “It  was  as  if  no  calamity  had  ever  befallen  the   people  before  that  day.  Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  went  to  find  out  what had  happened  after  the  killing  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) ,  and  he  did  not  pass  by  any  group  of  people  but  they  were  weeping  as  if  they  had  lost  the  dearest of  their  children.”

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  a  beacon  of  guidance,  a  criterion  between  truth  and  falsehood,  so  it  was  natural  that  the  people  should  be  affected  by  his  loss.  The  people  were  clearly  affected  deeply.  It  was  narrated  that  al-Ahnaf  ibn  Qays  said:  “When  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  stabbed,  he  ordered  Suhayb  to  lead  the  people  in  prayer,  and  to  feed  them  for  three  days  until  they  agreed  upon  a  man  (to  succeed  him  as  caliph).  When  the  food  was  served,  the  people  refrained  from  eating.  Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said, O  people,  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  and  we  ate  and  drank  after  he  was  gone,  and  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) died,  and  we  ate.  The  people  cannot do  without  eating  and  drinking.’  Then  he  stretched  forth  his  hand  (to  take  food)  and  the  people  ate.”  [Mahd  as-Sawab,  3/855]

When  mention  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  made  to  ‘Abdullah  ibn  Mas’ood  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both),  he  wept  until  the  pebbles  grew  wet  with  his  tears,  then  he  said:  “‘Umar  was  a  fortress  of  Islam,  the  people  would  enter  Islam  and  not  leave.  When  he  died,  the fortress  was  breached,  and  now  people  are  going  out  of   Islam.”  [At-Tabaqat  al-Kubra,  3/284]

Before  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  killed,  Abu  ‘Ubaydah  ibn  al-Jarrah (radhiyallahu anhu) used  to say:  “If  ‘Umar  dies,  Islam  will  be  weakened.  I  would  not  like  to  have  all  that  the  sun  rises  and  sets  over  in  return  for  surviving  after  ‘Umar  is  gone.”  It  was  asked  to  him,  “Why?”  He  said,  “You  will  see  what  I  am  speaking  about  if  you  survive.  If  anyone  comes  after  ‘Umar  and  tries  to  rule  in  the  same  style  as  ‘Umar,  the  people  will  not  obey  him  or  support  him,  and  if  he  is  weak,  they  will  kill  him.”  [At-Tabaqat  al-Kubra, 3/284]

Lessons  learned  from  the  killing  of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
Highlighting  the  hatred  that  is  hidden in  the  kafirs’  hearts  against  the  believers
This  is  indicated  by  the  fact  that  the  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah killed  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu).  That  is  the  nature  of  the  kuffar  in  all  times  and  in  all  places.  Their  hearts  bear  nothing  but  hatred,  envy  and  resentment  towards  the  Muslims,  and  they  wish  nothing  but  evil  and  doom  for  the  believers.  They  would  like nothing  more  than  for  the  Muslims  to  apostatize  from  their  religion  and  disbelieve  after  having  become  Muslims.  Anyone  who  looks  closely  at  the  story  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  slaying  and  what  this  hate-filled  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  did,  will  learn  two  important  things  from  it  which  reveal  the  hatred  that  this  kafir  held  in  his  heart  towards  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  Muslims.  These  are:

1.  It  is  proven  in  at-Tabaqat  al-Kubra  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  with  a  saheeh  isnad  going  back  to  az-Zuhri,  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said  to  the  Magian  one day,  “Have  I  not  been  told  that  you  said,  ‘If  I  wanted  to  I  could  make  a  grindstone  that  is  driven  by  the  wind’?”  The  Magian  turned  to  him  frowning  and  said,  “I  shall  make  for  you  a  grindstone  that  the  people will  talk  about.”  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  turned  to  those  who  were  with  him  and  said, “This  slave  is  threatening  me.” [At-Tabaqat,  3/345,  its  isnad  is  saheeh]

2.  The  second  thing  which  points  to  the  hatred  that  filled  the  heart  of  this  Magian  is  that  when  he  stabbed  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu),  he  also  stabbed  thirteen  Sahabah,  seven  of  whom  died  as  martyrs.  According  to  the  report  of  Imam  al-Bukhari:  “The  infidel  foreigner  flew  with  a  two-edged  knife  and  he  did  not  pass  by  anyone  on  his  right  or  his  left  but  he  stabbed  him,  until  he  stabbed  thirteen  men,  of  whom  seven died.” [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  3700].

Even  if  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  wronged  him  what   had  the  other  Sahabah  done  who  were  attacked  by  him?  Allah  forbid  that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  should  have  wronged  him.  It  is  narrated  in  the  report  of  Bukhari  that  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  stabbed,  he  said:  “O  Ibn  ‘Abbas,  see  who  has  killed  me.”  He  went  to  find  out,  then  he  came  back  and  said.  “(It  was) the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah.”  He  asked,  “The  craftsman?”  He  said, “Yes.”  He  said,  “May  Allah  curse  him;  I  told  his  master  to  treat  him  well.  Praise  be  to  Allah  Who  has  not  caused  my  death  to  be  at  the  hands  of  a  man  who  claims  to  be  a  Muslim.”  [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  3700]

Those  enemies  of  Islam  who  love  this  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah have  built  a  memorial  shrine  to  him  in  Iran  which  is  similar  to  the  idea  of  the  “Unknown  Soldier”.  As-Sayyid  Husayn  al-Musawi,  one  of  the  scholars  of  an-Najaf,  says:  “In  the  Iranian  city  of  Kashan,  in  an  area  called  Baghi Feen,  there  is  a  shrine  like  that  of  the  ‘Unknown  Soldier’  in  which  there  is  a  fabricated  grave  for  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  Fayrooz  al-Farisi  al-Majoosi,  the  murderer  of  the  second  caliph  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khaeb.  They  call  it  the  ‘resting  place  of  Baba  Shuja’ ad-Deen’.  Baba  Shuja’  ad-Deen  is  the  name  that  they  bestowed  upon Abu  Lu’lu’ah  for  his  having  killed  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab.  On  the  walls  of  this  shrine  it  is  written  in  Farsi,  ‘Marg  bar  Abu  Bakr,  marg  bar  ‘Umar,  marg  bar  ‘Uthman,’ which  means  ‘Death  to  Abu  Bakr, death  to  ‘Umar,  death  to  ‘Uthman’.  The  shrine  is  visited  by  the  Iranian  Shi’ah,  and  money  and  donations  are  given  to  it.  I  have  seen  this  shrine  myself.  The  Iranian  Ministry  of  Guidance  has  started  to  expand  and  renovate  it,  and  they  have  printed  pictures  of  the  shrine  on  cards  to  be  used  for  sending  greetings  and  messages.” [Lillahi  thumma  li’l-Tareekh,  Kashf  al-Asrar  wa  Tabri’at  al-A’immah  al- Athar,  p. 94]

Was ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) assassinated merely for a verdict passed on Abu Lu’lu’s Complaint??
Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) himself, as well as a few of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) believed that the assassination of Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not merely a result of a verdict that has been passed by Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) regarding the slave, Abu Lulu’ah Al-Majusi, but was rather the result of a well planned Persian plot to assassinate their most hated conqueror (i.e. Hadhrat Umar radhiyallahu anhu) with Harmuzan, a Persian leader, who had only “accepted” Islam after being caught, being at the center of the plot.

Under the guidance of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), the Muslim armies defeated Rome and blitzed across Persia, dealing both empires a crushing blow. The Persians, with their haughty attitude of superiority, were sourly humiliated. The Muslims took the Persians as POWs (Prisoners of War).

The defeated Persian governor and former military commander, Harmuzan, was brought before Caliph ‘Umar. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said to the defeated Persian:

“Harmuzan, we Arabs are the desert-dwellers you considered too lowly for even fighting with. We used to get licked by small columns of your troops. Now you see your King’s throne and crown lying at our feet while he is running about places to save his life. How did that happen?”

Harmuzan replied:

“Sir, then it used to be a war between the Persians and the Arabs. Now you have your God with you.”

In another narration, Harmuzan declared that before it was merely the Arab forces against the Persian forces, and the Persian forces were stronger. But now, it was the Arab forces and Allah, and it was impossible to defeat both at the same time. It was thus that Harmuzan and his Persian confederates realized that the power of the Republic of Madeenah lay in its religious beliefs. To destroy the religious beliefs of the Muslims would be to destroy the Muslims.

Harmuzan was to be executed for war crimes by Caliph ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), but he saved his life through an ingenious trick. He asked for water to drink, and requested Caliph Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for a reprieve for his life until he could finish his drink of water. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) granted him this request, and upon this, Harmuzan spilled the water on the ground. Because he was unable to drink the water, therefore technically his royal reprieve would never lapse. Caliph ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) upheld his word, and thereby pardoned Harmuzan.

Assassination Plot
Harmuzan “converted” to Islam and moved to Madinah, whereupon he planned the Persian revenge on the Arab Muslims. Harmuzan blamed the Commander of the Faithful ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for the downfall of the Persian Empire, and it was thus that Harmuzan hatched the plan to assassinate the Caliph.

In Madinah, Harmuzan became close companions with a staunch Christian named Jafeena Al-Khalil. Jafeena was a political pawn of the Roman ruler and had served as an official in Damascus, Palestine and Heerah; the defeat of Rome by the Muslims left its mark on Jafeena who, like Harmuzan, swore revenge.

The third partner was a Jew by the name of Saba’ bin Shamoon (whose son would be Abdullah Ibn Saba, the notorious founder of the Shia movement). Saba despised the Muslims who had expelled the Jews on charges of conspiracy. All three of these individuals– Harmuzan (the Zoroastrian), Jafeena (the Christian), and Saba (the Jew) – belonged to peoples who had grievances against the rise of Muslim dominance.

They hired Fayruz Abu Lulu’ah, a Persian, who had recently been captured by the Muslims as a POW; he was a slave under Hadhrat Mugheera bin Shu’ba (radhiyallahu anhu). Abu Lulu’ah stabbed Caliph ‘Umar bin Khattab to death.

A day before ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had been assassinated, Abdur Rahman-–Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu)’s son-–had seen Abu Lulu standing with Harmuzan and Jafeena. The three men were whispering to one another. As Abdur Rehman passed by, the three got startled and a double edged dagger fell to the ground. Abdur Rahman would later confirm that this was the same dagger that killed ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . The murder of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was thus instigated by a coalition of a Roman Christian, a Jew, and a Persian Zoroastrian. It should be noted that the Prophet had prophesied that the Christians, Jews, and pagans would always be united against the Muslims.

Today, the modern day Shia venerate Abu Lulu’ah, and they call him “Baba Shuja-e-din” which can be translated as “Honored Defender of Religion.” These Shia have a shrine erected for this murderer, located in the Iranian city of Kashan called the Abu Lulu Mausoleum wherein he is buried. The Shia travel from far distances to pray inside this shrine, and many of the Shia fast on the day that Umar was killed, and even pass out sweets. Feroz Abu Lulu is one of the venerated founding figures of Shia ideology; the same people who conspired to kill ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) were the ones who planted the seeds of the Shia movement.


Refuting the Allegation of the Islamic ‘Destruction’ of Library in Iran

This article, entitled “Kitabsuzi-ye Iran wa Misr” was added as the last chapter to Part One of the 8th edition of the book Khadamat-e mutaqahil-e Iran Islam wa Iran (‘The Mutual contributions of Islam and Iran’). It was also published separately as a booklet. It was written in the atmosphere of the nationalistic and anti-Islamic propaganda of the Pahlavi era in Iran, and although the old rumours that it discusses have ceased to be of much relevance today, it is still of interest due to the light it throws on their origin and the motives that lay behind them. The late Dr. Wahid Akhtar had translated it years ago while translating Part One of the book which was published in several parts in al-Tawhid [vol. 6, No. 2 and vol. 8, No. 2]. 

Among topics relating to the reciprocal relations of Iran and Islam one issue that needs to be discussed is that of the alleged burning of libraries by Muslim conquerors of Iran. During past half a century this issue has been so vehemently propagated that it is now taken as a recognized fact. The textbooks of secondary and higher secondary schools and universities-which must contain only such material as is definite and avoid mentioning anything dubious and misleading to the immature minds of school and university students regularly mention this story in their contents. 

If this incident were historically true and Muslims did set fire to a library or libraries in Iran and Egypt, there could be some excuse for saying that Islam had a destructive character and not a constructive one. At least it could be said that although Islam did create a civilization and culture it was also responsible for destroying other cultures and civilizations: Hence as against the services it rendered to Iran it also inflicted losses on the Iranian culture, that if it were a blessing from one angle, from another it was also a catastrophe. 

So much has been said and written on the topic that there were libraries and educational institutions in Iran-such as primary and higher secondary schools and universities-and that all of them were destroyed by Muslims, that some Iranians who are not experts in this field have gradually come to believe it as an established fact. Some years ago I happened to receive one copy of the journal Tandarust, which is purely a medical journal. It contained the summary of a speech by an eminent Iranian physician which was delivered in a certain university in the West. In that speech, after referring to Sa’di’s famous verse: 

Mankind are like members of one body and stating that for the first time in history this Iranian poet had developed the idea of an international society, he goes on to make the following remarks:

Ancient Greece was the cradle of civilization and had great philosophers like Socrates . . . , but what may be compared to a modern university was the one that was founded by Khusro, the Sassanian king. A large academy named “Gundi-shapur” was established at Shush, then the capital of Iran…

This university flourished for a long time until the invasion of the Arabs who destroyed it like all our other institutions. Although the sacred religion of Islam lays great emphasis on knowledge and requires one to seek knowledge even if it were to be found in China, the Arab conquerors set fire to the great national library of Iran in gross violation of the dear commandment of the Prophet (s), and destroyed all our academic institutions. From that day Iran remained under Arab yoke for two centuries.  [Majalleh ye Tandrust, No.2] 

This is just an example out of many utterances and writings that make similar allegations without mentioning any historical document or evidence. Before embarking on a historical study of this issue and examining the so-called arguments advanced in its support, I would like to make some remarks in answer to this respected physician who has so categorically expressed these views before an international medical audience, which, as a rule, could not have been better informed on historical issues than the speaker himself. Firstly, following the Greek era and before the establishment of Jundi-shapur in Iran, there existed the great academy of Alexandria which was incomparably superior to Jundi-shapur. 

From the 2nd/8th century onwards, or, to be more precise, since the last decades of the 1st/7th century, Muslims began translating foreign sciences into Arabic, and they benefited to a large extent from Alexandrian works, details of which are to be found in relevant books. Secondly, the academy of Jundi-shapur, which was largely a medical centre, did not suffer the slightest harm at the hands of the Arab conquerors. 

It continued to flourish till the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th century. After the establishment of the great academy at Baghdad, the importance of Jundi-shapur was overshadowed and it gradually disappeared. Before the establishment of the academy at Baghdad, the Abbasid caliphs employed the services of physicians and astronomers from Jundi-shapur at their courts. The likes of Ibn Masawayh and Bakhtayshu` in the 2nd/8th and 3rd/9th centuries were products of this academy. Hence the claim that Jundi-shapur was destroyed by the Arab invaders is based on a total ignorance of facts. 

Thirdly, the Jundi-shapur, academy was run and managed by Christian scholars who had close ties, from the viewpoint of creed and race, with the Byzantium (Antioch), and the spirit of this institution was affiliated to Christian-Byzantine, not Zoroastrian-Iranian. Of course, it was geographically situated in Iran and was a part of Iran in the political and civil sense. But the intellect that had created this university was a different one which derived from the association of its authorities with a non-Zoroastrian milieu abroad. 

Similarly, other centres of education situated in Transoxiana had come into existence under Buddhist influence. Of course, the spirit of the Iranian people was one that was characterized by fondness for knowledge, but the regime of the mu’bads that ruled over Iran in the Sassanian period was anti-academic, and wherever it ruled this spirit strangulated all possibilities of growth of sciences . For this reason, the schools and sciences could flourish in the south-west and north-east of Iran which were distant from the influence of the religious spirit of the mu’bads, while in other places where this spirit was dominant scholarship had no chance of growth. 

Among the compilers of literary, historical and geographical texts for higher secondary schools, who generally repeat the above-mentioned view in the manner of an official circular, the late Dr. Rida-zadeh Shafaq, who was a scholar and one not devoid of academic justice, has done some justice in this regard. In the textbook on the history of [Persian] literature, written for the fourth year, he writes: “During the Sassanian period, books on literature, theology, sciences and history, both original works and translations, were in abundance. 

It may also be inferred from reports concerning court poets and singers that versified literature (poetry) also existed during that era. Despite this it may be concluded from historical evidence that the literature of that time was not very extensive and was mainly confined to the courtiers and priests. As in the last phase of the Sassanian rule, the life and morality of these two classes, the courtiers and the priests, had degenerated due to rampant corruption and intrigues at the court and the emergence of various sects, it may be said that the literary situation in Iran at the time of emergence of Islam was not bright and literature, too, was in a state of decay due to the corruption of these two classes.”

Fourthly, it would have been better if this honourable physician, who, like the others, repeats in a parrot-like manner that “the Arab conquerors burnt our national library and destroyed our academic institutions,” had pointed out where that national library was situated. Was it in Hamadan or Isfahan, in Shiraz or Azerbaijan? Was it at Nishabur or at Tisfun, in the sky or under the ground? Where was it? How is it that he and others like him who go on repeating this statement, know about the burning of a national library but have no information about its location? 

Such an incident is not recorded in any historical document, and although the details of Muslim conquests of Iran and Rome are on record, there is no mention anywhere in historical documents of any such library having existed in Iran, regardless of whether it was burnt or not. On the other hand, the records reveal what is contrary to this statement. The records show that there was no interest in academic pursuits in regions under Zoroastrian influence.

Al-Jahiz, although an Arab, is free from Arab prejudice, for he has written a lot against Arabs, and we shall soon quote from him. In his book al-Mahasin wa al-addad, P.4, he writes: “The Persians were not much interested in writing books; they were more interested in buildings.” The Legacy of Persia, by a group of orientalists, [Tamauddeen-e-Irani by Dr Behnam, p. 187] mentions in unambiguous terms the absence of interest in writing in Zoroastrian religion during the Sassanian period. 

Researchers are unanimous in stating that even the copying of the Avesta was subject to restrictions and prohibitions. Apparently no more than two manuscripts of the Avesta were in existence when Alexander invaded Iran, one of which was at Istakhr and it was burnt by Alexander. 

Considering that in the creed of the mu’bads teaching, education and instruction were exclusively confined to the courtiers and the priests and all other social classes and occupational groups were prohibited from education, learning and writing had naturally no chance to grow. Scholars and writers usually arise from the deprived classes, not from the affluent class. It is the children of shoemakers and potters who become such figures as Ibn Sina, Biruni, Farabi and Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi, not the offspring of nobles and courtiers. 

Besides, as the late Dr. Rida-zadeh Shafaq has written, these two classes had become corrupt during the Sassanian era and scholarly works and cultural accomplishments are not to be expected from a degenerate class. Undoubtedly, there did exist some literary and academic works in the Sassanian era, and many of them were translated into Arabic during the Islamic period and survived.

Also there is no doubt that many of those works vanished, but not due to any book burning or some other accident of this kind. That happened rather in the natural and normal course, for whenever there, is a change in a people’s ideas and beliefs and a culture overwhelms another and engages the minds of the people, due to an immoderate attitude which is harmful, the old culture is neglected and the literary and scientific heritage of the old culture gradually perishes due to the people’s neglect and their lack of interest. An example of this process is observable in our own time, in the invasion of Islamic culture by Western culture. 

The Western culture became a fashion in Iran, and the Islamic culture went out of fashion. For the same reason no effort is being made to preserve and protect the Islamic heritage. Rare and precious manuscripts in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, literature, philosophy and theology, which were in personal libraries until a few years ago have disappeared and nobody knows what has happened to them and where they have gone. Probably they made their way to groceries or were allowed to perish. 

Similarly, at the time of the Arab conquest of Iran there existed books in personal libraries some of which must have been precious manuscripts. Perhaps they continued to be preserved for two or three centuries even after the conquest of Iran. 

But following the Iranians’ conversion to Islam and the prevalence of Arabic script and the falling of the Pahlavi script into disuse, the old books became unusable for the majority of people and gradually disappeared. But that there existed a national library or libraries and academic institutions that were destroyed deliberately by Arab conquerors is no more than a fiction. 

Ibrahim Pur Dawud, whose bias is evident and who, in the words of  Qazwini, is hostile to Arabs and everything that is associated with them, made efforts to collect ‘circumstantial evidence’ from the nooks and comers of history, citing them, often with interpolations, as ‘proof’ of the alleged book burning in Iran by Arab conquerors and destruction of its academic institutions. After him a number of individuals – some of whom, at least, were not expected to be misled by such an unfounded story-followed in his footsteps. The late Dr. Mu’in was one of them.

In Mazdayasna and Persian Literature, while dealing with the consequences of the Arab invasion of Iran, he refers to this matter repeating for the most part the views of Pur Dawud. Following is what he cites as evidence in this regard: 

1) Sir John Malcolm has referred to this incident in his history.

2) During the Jahiliyyah the Arabs were illiterate. According to al-Waqidi only seventeen persons among the Quraysh were literate at the time of the Prophet’s ministry. The last Bedouin poet, Dhu al- Rummah, used to conceal his literacy, and he would say, Amongst us literacy is considered a sign of being uncultured. [Tajalliyat-e-Irani, pp 36-37] 

3) Al-Jahiz, in al-Bayan wa al-tabyin, writes that one day one of the chieftains of Quraysh saw a boy reading a book of Sibawayh. He shouted at him, saying: “Shame on you! What you are doing is the occupation of teachers and beggars.” In those days, teaching-that is instruction of children-was regarded as a mean job, for a teacher’s pay was not more than sixty dirhams and that was a petty income in their opinion. [Tarikh-e-adabiyat, p.10] 

4) Ibn Khaldun, in the chapter “On the Rational Sciences and their Kinds” (al-‘ulum al-‘aqliyyah wa asnafuha) of his Muqaddimah, says: “At the time of the conquest of Iran many books of that country fell into the hands of the Arabs. Sa’d ibn Abi al-Waqqas wrote to `Umar ibn al-Khattab asking his permission to have them translated for Muslims. ‘Umar wrote to him in reply that he should cast them into water, “for if what is written in those books is guidance, God has given us a better guide; and if that which is in those books is misleading, God has saved us from their evil.” Accordingly those books were cast into water or fire, and the sciences of the Iranians that were contained in them were destroyed and did not reach us.   [Yashta, vol.2, p. 20] 

Abu al-Faraj ibn al-`Ibri in Mukhtasar al-duwal, Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in Kitab al-ifadah wa al- i`tibar, Qifti in Ta’rikh al-hukama’, in the account of Yahya al-Nahwi, Hajji Khalifah in Kashf al-zunun, and Dr. Dhabih Allah Safa in Ta’rikh-e `ulum-e `aqli dar Islam, have mentioned the burning of the library of Alexanderia by the Arabs. (This means that if it is proved that Arabs burnt the library of Alexanderia, it would indicate that they could also have burnt down libraries anywhere that they found them. Hence it is probable that the library in Iran suffered a similar fate at their hands.) However, Shibli Nu’mani, in his treatise Kitabkhaneh-ye Iskandarivyah, which has been translated into Persian by Fakhr Da’i, and also Mujtaba Minawi in an article published in the journal Sukhan (No. 74, p. 584), has refuted this allegation (concerning the burning of the library of Alexandria by Muslims).

5) Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, in al-Athar al-baqiyyah, writing about Khwarizm, says: “When Qutaybah ibn Muslim reconquered Khwarizm after the apostasy of its inhabitants, he appointed Iskajmuk as its governor. Qutaybah destroyed and eliminated everyone who knew the Khwarazmi script or had some knowledge of its people and their sciences. He dispersed them in different parts of the world, and so-their traditions and conditions have remained unknown, to the extent that after the advent of Islam there remains no means to learn about the facts concerning them.”  [ibid, vol. 2, p. 21-23] 

Also Abu Rayhan writes in the same book: “When Qutaybah ibn Muslim destroyed their scribes (i.e. of the Khwarizmis), and killed their priests (hirbads) and burnt their books and writings, the people of Khwarizm were reduced to illiteracy. They were compelled to rely upon their memory in things that were needed by them. In the course of time they forgot all details pertaining to their differences and preserved in their memory only the general matters on which there was agreement among them. [al-Athar al-Baqiyah, p. 30] 

6) The story of book burning at the hands of ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir, which has been mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Shu`ara’  by Dawlat-Shah Samarqandi.

These make up the bulk of the so-called evidence that Dr. Mu’in has advanced to prove the alleged book burning in Iran by the Arabs. Among these, only the fourth one cited from Ibn Khaldun, along with the story of book burning in Alexandria mentioned by Ibn al-‘Ibri, al-Baghdadi and al-Qifti, along with what Hajji Khalifah has written, need to be examined critically. 

Presently, first we shall examine the arguments forwarded by Dr. Mu’in – excepting the fourth one-and then examine the seventh one. Later on we shall take up in detail the fourth argument of Dr. Mu’in. 

The first argument, that is, the statements of Sir John Malcolm, were already cited by us in the context of our review of Mazdayasna wa adab-e Parsi and their baselessness has been made clear. Apparently, Sir John Malcolm lived in the 13th/19th century, and his statements concerning an incident that purportedly took place thirteen centuries earlier cannot be accepted as reliable historical evidence. Besides, he shows such an open hostility to Islam that no credence can be attached to any of his statements. 

He claims that `the followers of the Arabian Prophet razed Iranian towns to the ground’ (a big time lie as the saying goes – that is not to be found in any apothecary’s store)

It is amazing that Dr. Mu’in should have quoted Sir John Malcolm’s consistently incoherent nonsense in support of his assertions. But as for the issue of the Arabs’ illiteracy, the Qur’an itself has mentioned it. Yet what an argument is it? If the Arabs of the Jahiliyyah were illiterate, is it a proof that the Arab Muslims habitually burnt books? Besides, in the period of a quarter century that elapsed between the Jahiliyyah and the conquest of Iran a wonderful literacy campaign had been launched by the Noble Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arab of the Jahiliyyah embraced a faith whose prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told some of his prisoners of war to buy their liberty by teaching a certain number of Muslim children to read and write. The prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged some of his companions to learn foreign languages such as Syriac, Hebrew and Persian. He himself had twenty secretaries, each of whom, or several of them, were responsible for some secretarial job.

The Arab of the Jahiliyyah embraced a faith whose scripture swore by the pen and writing [(this is a reference to the opening verse of Surah al-Qalam which reads: Noor. By the Pen, and what they write… (68:1)] and whose revelations began with the mention of reading and teaching. [A reference to the opening verses of Surah al-‘Alaq which reads: Read in the name of Thy Lord who created, created Man from a clinging mass. Read and Thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the Pen, taught Man what he knew not.” (96:1-5)] 

Didn’t the attitude of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the Qur’an in glorifying reading, writing and acquisition of knowledge inspire a sense of respect for books, writing, scholarship and education in the Arab of the Jahiliyyah, who came to be passionately attached to the Qur’an and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)? As for the story concerning the contempt that the Quraysh and other Arabs had for a teacher’s occupation, it is interpreted to imply not only that the Quraysh and Arabs in general considered the teacher’s job as mean, but that they rather looked down upon literacy as such. 

First of all, it is mentioned in this account itself (given by Jahiz) that the teacher’s job was regarded as mean due to its low income. It is the same as in our own country today where teachers, clerks and clergymen belong to low-income groups of society, and for the same reason some of them occasionally change their profession. 

If a young teacher, clerk, or clergyman asks for the hand of a girl in marriage and she also receives proposals from some merchant, contractor, or real-estate dealer, the girl’s family prefers to give their daughter in marriage to the merchant or contractor, though he should be illiterate, rather than to a teacher, clerk or clergymen. Why? Is that because they have a contempt for learning and intellectual abilities? Of course not. It has nothing to do with contempt for learning. 

To marry one’s daughter to someone from such a class requires a spirit of sacrifice, and there are few who are ready to make it. It is also strange that from a derisive remark made by an Arab belonging to the Quraysh about a child reading a book, it is construed that all Arabs were absolutely opposed to learning and writing and that they burnt books wherever they found them! It is precisely like saying that all the people of Iran are generally enemies of learning and literary, that they favour buffoonery and minstrelsy and that they burn books wherever they come across them because `Ubayd Zakani (d. 722/1322), the Iranian poet and man of literature, has said: 

Don’t seek knowledge so far as you can, As, in this deserted path, you will beg your daily bread.

Make buffoonery your calling and learn the minstrels art, And receive applause from the high and low 

Or it is like saying that as Abu Hayyan Tawhidi, disgusted with poverty and hardship, burnt all his books, so therefore, his countrymen are enemies of knowledge and learning.

As for Al-Biruni’s account concerning Khwarizm, though it is not documented and Al-Biruni has not cited any source, it is not improbable. Aside from his other merits, Al-Biruni is a historian of integrity and he does not make any baseless statements.

Also, he was close to the date of the incident, for he lived in the second half of the 4th/10th and the first half of the 5th/11th and Khwarizm was conquered by Muslims about the year 93/711-2 during the reign of Walid bin ‘Abd al-Malik. Moreover, he himself came from Khwarizm. However, firstly, Al-Biruni’s report pertains to Khwarizm and the Khwarizmian language, not to the Pahlavi or Avestan languages. Secondly, Al-Biruni himself, in the introduction to his, Saydalah, or Saydanah, which is still unpublished, discusses the ability of various languages as a medium for discussing scientific subjects and prefers Arabic to Persian and Khwarizmian. 

Especially concerning the Khwarizmian language he remarks that ‘this language is in no degree capable of expressing scientific conceptions, and someone desiring to express a scientific theory in this language is like one who wants to see a camel emerge from a drainpipe.’ [Barrasihayi dar barehyi Abu Rayhan al-Biruni]

On this ground it may be said that if some books of an academic value existed in the Khwarzmian language, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni would not have described it as being so inadequate for academic purposes. 

The books referred to by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni could not have been anything beyond a few historical works. Qutaybah ibn Muslim’s treatment of the people of Khwarizm, which pertains to the reign of Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik not the period of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs if the story is true and free from exaggeration was certainly inhuman and unIslamic. It was radically different from the behaviour of other Muslim conquerors that conquered Iran and Byzantine, who were mostly Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and under the influence of Islamic teachings. Hence, this conduct of Qutaybah, which pertains to the  cannot be taken as a criterion of the general behaviour of Muslims who conquered Iran in the early period of Islam. 

In any case, the probable sites of academic institutions of Iran were Tisfun, Hamadan, Nahawand, Isfahan, Istakhr, Rey, Nishabur or Azarbaijan, and not Khwarizm. The probable language in which the academic works might have existed was Pahlavi and not Khwarzmian. Iranian books that were rendered into Arabic-such as the Kalilah wa dimnah, by Ibn al-Muqaffa`, and a part of Aristotle’s Logic, by him or his son were in Pahlavi, not in Khwarizmian or some other regional dialect. Chirstensen writes that Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered a certain book to be translated from Pahlavi into Arabic. [L’Iran sous les Sassanides, Persian Trans. Iran dar zaman Sassaniyan, p. 86]

That an invasion should result in the destruction of all works of academic worth of a language and in reducing a people to a state of complete illiteracy with total ignorance of their past history that could be a consequence relating specifically only to a local language. Obviously a local language cannot develop into an academic language with varied kinds of books in medicine, mathematics, natural sciences, astronomy, literature, and religion. If a language attains such a degree of development that it possesses a library of various sciences, the people speaking it cannot be reduced to complete illiteracy as a result of a single invasion. No invasion has ever been more terrible than that of the Mongols. 

Mass-scale massacres, in its literal sense, took place in the wake of the Mongol invasion; books and libraries were burnt; but this attack could not wipe out all the academic legacy in Persian and Arabic or sever the links of the post-Mongol generations with the pre-Mongol culture. For the academic heritage in Arabic and Persian was too wide-spread to be annihilated even as a result of several mass massacres by the Mongols. Hence it is clear that what was destroyed in Khwarizm was no more than a number of religious and literary Zoroastrian texts whose contents are known to us. Abu Rayhan al-Biruni also does not say anything more than this.

A careful examination of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni’s statements indicates that he is referring to books on history and religion.

As for the story of book burning by ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir, it is an interesting episode and it is amazing that Dr. Muin should have cited it as an evidence of book burning in Iran by Arab conquerors. Abd Allah. was the son of Tahir Dhu al-Yaminayn, the famous Iranian general of al-Ma’mun’s era who, supporting al-Ma’mun, commanded the Khurasan army in the battle between al-Ma’mun and al-Amin, sons of Harun al-Rashid (Ali ibn `Isa commanded the Arab army supporting al-Amin). He defeated al-Amin’s forces, conquered Baghdad, killed al-Amin, and secured the caliphate for al-Ma’mun. 

Tahir himself was personally hostile to Arabs. He awarded thirty thousand dinars or thirty thousand dirhams to Allan al-Shu`ubi, who worked in Harun’s Bayt al-Hikmah, for compiling the Mathalib al-‘Arab, a book describing the vices of the Arabs. [Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 64]

His son, ‘Abd Allah, who is held guilty of the book burning, was the founder of the Tahirid dynasty; that is, it was through him that Khurasan attained political independence for the first time and an independent Iranian state came into existence. 

‘Abd Allah, like his father, had a strong bias against Arabs. Nevertheless, it is one of the wonders of history and Islam that the same anti-Arab Iranian who had attained so much power as to declare himself independent from the caliph of Baghdad burnt all pre-Islamic Iranian books on the ground that all that literature was useless in the presence of the Qur’an. It is said that one day a man came to the court of ‘Abd Allah bin Tahir (died 844 C.E.) in Nishabur and presented an old book containing `The Romance of Wamiq and Adhra.’ When asked as to what book it was he said that it was an absorbing tale compiled by wise men and dedicated to King Anushirwan (531-579 C.E.). 

The emir ordered its destruction, saying that the Qur’an and Traditions of the Prophet ought to suffice for good Muslims, and added, “This book was written by Magians and is accursed in our eyes” The book was cast into water and he issued a decree ordering that throughout his domain any book found in Persian and written by Magians was to be destroyed. [A Litrary History of Persia, Vol. 2, p. 12]

Why did he do that? I don’t know. Most probably it was a reaction inspired by the Iranians’ hatred of Zoroastrians. In any case this act was committed by Abd Allah ibn Tahir, an Iranian, not by an Arab. 

May we blame all Iranians for the action of ‘Abd Allah, and claim that basically such was their thinking that they burnt any book other than the Qur’an that they found? Again the answer will be No.’ This act of ‘Abd Allah was blameworthy. But it proves what we have said earlier, that whenever a culture is invaded by another, the champions and advocates of the new culture adopt an extreme and harmful attitude of indifference toward the old culture. The Iranians who were greatly impressed and inspired by Islamic culture, did not show any sign of attachment towards their old culture. Rather, they deliberately pushed it into oblivion.
There are numerous examples of a conduct similar to that of ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir on the part of Iranians, who while detesting the chauvinism of the Arabs, who as a race wished to impose themselves upon other peoples, had a pro-Islamic bias which they employed against the Zoroastrian heritage. If the reference to the book burning by ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir is meant to show that such acts have precedents in history, there is no need of it. History has witnessed such scenes and continues to witness scenes of book burning.  

Christians cast eighty thousand books into flames at the time of the fall of Spain when Muslims were massacred on a mass scale. [Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 64] 

Jurji Zaydan, a Christian writer, concedes that the crusaders burnt three millions books during their invasion of Syria and Palestine. The Mongols burnt the library of Marv. The Zoroastrians burnt the books of Mazdakians in the Sassanian period. Alexander burnt Iranian books and Romans cast the works of Archimedes, the renowned mathematician, into fire.
Later on we shall come to the burning of the library at Alexandria by Christians.

George Sarton, in his History of Science, says: “Pythagoras, the Greek Sophist, in one of his books, while dealing with the problem of reality and truth, said: As for gods, we can neither say that they exist, nor that they don’t. There are many things that prevent us from understanding this issue. First of them is the darkness surrounding the subject itself, and, second, the brevity of human life.’ “ [Tarikh-e-Ilm, p. 271] 

Sarton says: “These views led his books to be burnt at the city square in the year 411 B.C., and it is the first instance of book burning recorded in history.” [ibid]
Jurji Zaydan, in his history of Islamic civilization, and Dr. Dhabihullah Safa, in Ta’rikh-e `ulum-e `aqli dar Islam, have expressed certain views that require critical examination. Dr. Safa says: Like all other Muslims, the Arabs believed in the dictum: 

(Islam demolishes what has been before it). For this reason the belief became rooted in their minds that they should not pay attention to anything except the Qur’an, for the Qur’an had abrogated all other scriptures and Islam abrogated all previous religions. The religious leaders had banned the study of all other books other than the Qur’an including even religious texts. It is said that one day the Prophet (‘s) saw a leaf of the Torah in the hands of `Umar. He was so upset that signs of anger were manifest in his face. He said to `Umar: 

Didn’t I bring you a bright and pure shari’ah? By God, had Moses himself been alive, he would not have had any choice but to follow me. For the same reason the Prophet (s) said: 
Neither affirm nor negate what the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) say in the name of religion, and say: `We have faith in what is revealed to us and what was revealed to you, and our and your God is one. One of the well-known traditions in that period was: 

The Book of God contains the reports of those who have gone before you and prophesies of your future and the judgement governing you. The words of the Qur’an, which states that: 
There is naught in land or sea but it is recorded in a clear Book naturally strengthened this belief, and the result was to make the Muslims confine themselves to the Qur’an and hadith to the exclusion of all other books…   [Tarikh-e-ulum-e-‘aqli dar Islam pp. 54-54]

I am really amazed at the words of these learned men. Didn’t they know that the phrase 
(Islam demolishes what has been before it) only meant that the advent of Islam annulled all older norms, customs and laws? All Muslims, from the very inception of Islam to the present, have not understood anything from this statement but that Islam invalidated all the past religious customs and practices of the Jahiliyyah, including the jahiliyyah of the idolators and the jahiliyyah of the Ahl al-Kitab, and that it did not refer to anything other than the religious precepts and traditions. It is similar to the saying: 

which means that Islam conceals all that was before it and that it does not hold anyone guilty for his pre-Islamic conduct, such as a crime which requiring retribution or compensation if committed by a Muslim; but if the same was committed by a man before embracing Islam during his pagan days, Islam did not hold him liable for his past guilt. 

All Muslims have understood these sentences to signify this sense of amnesty. See, how great is the distance between this meaning and that which is imputed to the statement by these writers. Similarly, the hadith relating to `Umar clearly indicates that what the Prophet (s) meant was that the revelation of the Qur’an and the ultimate Shari`ah abrogates the Torah and the Law of Moses. Hence he did not prohibit the study of other books even religious books.

He forbade the study of the revealed scriptures of the past which have been abrogated so that Muslims should not mix the abrogated laws with the Shari’ah of Islam and therefore he forbade them from studying the Torah. The Prophet’s statement “Neither affirm nor negate that which is said by the Ahl al-Kitab also referred to the religious legends and commandments. With this statement the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made them understand that truth was adulterated with falsehoods in the creed of the Ahl al-Kitab, and as they did not posses the ability to distinguish between them, it was advisable for them not to affirm them, for thereby they might endorse a ‘falsehood, and not to negate them, for thereby they might negate a truth unknowingly. 

Similarly, the tradition stating that the Qur’an contained “the reports of the past, news of the future and the judgement governing your differences,” which is also found in the Nahj al-balaghah, also refers to religious accounts, eschatology and religious laws, and it means that Muslims have no need of any other revealed book with the revelation of the Qur’an. The most ridiculous of all is the reference to the Qur anic verse: 

There is naught in land or sea but it is recorded in a clear Book. So far as I know no commentator of the Qur’an has considered this verse as referring to the Qur’an. All exegetes have interpreted it as referring to the preserved Tablet (law mahfuz) Muslims have never understood this verse and those traditions, quoted above, to signify what these gentlemen have presumed, that the verse and the traditions fashioned a mentality amongst Muslims to destroy every book except the Quran.

Now it is the turn to examine the fourth argument advanced by the late Dr. Muin.

He quotes Ibn Khaldun as if he has mentioned the incident of book burning in Iran with certainty, and as if the accounts given by Abu al-Faraj Ibn al-`Ibri, Abd al-Latif Baghdad, al-Qifti and Hajji Khalifah were unproblematic. Although he was certainly aware that recent European scholars have established clearly and conclusively the baselessness and falsity of the story of book burning by Muslims in Alexandria, yet he contented himself with citing only the denials of Shibli Nu`mani and Mujtaba Minawi, ignoring the conclusive arguments forwarded by the European scholars. 

Here we shall give a brief summary of the views of various scholars concerning the book burning in Alexandria, with the addition of certain points that occur to my mind. Hereafter I shall embark upon a critique of what Ibn Khaldun and Hajji Khalifah have said concerning book burning in Iran. Most of the claimants of book burning by Muslims in Iran base their argument on the book burning in Alexandria. Obviously, if the illiteracy of Arabs during the Jahiliyyah, the expression of contempt for the teacher’s profession by an individual belonging to the tribe of Quraysh, the book burning by Abd Allah ibn Tahir, an Iranian, and the book burning by Qutaybah ibn Muslim in Khwarizm one hundred years after the first Muslim conquests, can provide evidence for burning of libraries by Arab conquerors of Iran, the book burning in Alexandria by an `intelligent and wise man’ like Amr ibn al-`Aas (who, according to the report, associated with a philosopher of those days in Alexandria) and that, too, not on his own accord, as done by Qutaybah ibn Muslim in Khwarizm, -but at the direct order from the person of the Caliph himself at the capital in Madinah, can with greater reason serve as a proof of the burning of the library in Iran! Hence this group of scholars always mention the book burning in Alexandria with great fanfare.
As a prelude to this discussion, it ought to be mentioned that the history of the Muslim conquests, both in general and in particular that is, accounts of the conquests in a particular region – have been recorded since the last decades of the 2nd/8th century, and these works are accessible to us. In the specific case of the conquest of Alexandria, beside Muslim historians, some Christians have also given detailed accounts of the fall of this city to the Arab conquerors. No source compiled before the Crusades; Islamic or Christian, Jewish or some other; mentions the book burning in Alexandria or Iran. 

It was for the first time at the end of the 6th/12th and the beginning of the 7th/13th centuries that Abd al-Latif al- Baghdad, a Christian, refers to it in his book entitled al-Ifadah wa al-Nibar fi al-umur al-mushahadah wa al-hawadih al-mu`ayanah fi `ard Misr (the subject of the book is the events and conditions observed personally by the author, and is in fact, a travel account). In it while describing a `tower’ (‘amud) known as `Amad al-Sawari, the previous site of the library of Alexandria, he writes: “It is said that this tower is one of the several on which was erected a theatre, where Aristotle used to lecture and which was an academy, and here stood the library of Alexandria which was burnt by Amr ibn al-`Aas at the Caliph’s order.”  

All that Abd al-Latif intended to say, without himself endorsing it, is that there was such a rumour among the people (perhaps among his fellow Christians), for he begins his statement with the expression “yudhkaru,” which means “it is said” or “it is rumoured.” We know that if a reporter has some authoritative source in reporting some historical event or tradition, he cites his source or sources, as is done by Tabari, for instance, among historians and most of the traditionists (muhaddithin). The best reporting is of this kind, which gives the reader the opportunity to investigate the truth or falsity of the report, which he accepts if the source is credible. In case the narrator does not refer to a source, there are two alternatives.

Sometimes he reports an incident as something which is generally known to have happened for certain, for instance, he may say that such and such an incident occurred in such and such a year. Sometimes he says, “It is said” or “It has been said.” In case the report is in the first form, it means that the narrator believes in what he reports; however, others do not rely upon such reports which are not accompanied by a source or authority. The scholars of hadith do not consider such narrations as reliable. 

European historians also do not consider historical reports unsupported by documents and sources as credible and consider them unreliable. At the most it is said that so and so has cited such and such a report in his book without citing any authority or source; that is, it has no credibility as a historical report. But in case an event is reported in the second form, that is, the reporter himself records it with the words “It is said” or “It has been said” and the like (in a passive voice), it indicates that the reporter himself is not sure of the credibility of what he narrates. 

Some experts are of the view that the word qila (it is said) indicates that the narrator himself does not believe the report to be credible. Abd al-Latif has reported this incident in the third form mentioned above, which is at least an indication that he himself did not regard the report as credible. Besides, it is improbable that Abd al-Latif was so ill-informed that he did not know that Aristotle never put his foot on the soil of Egypt and Alexandria, to say nothing of his lecturing in that place. Alexandria was actually founded after Aristotle’s death and after Alexander’s invasion of Egypt. The city was planned in Alexander’s time and probably its building was started at that time but it took the form of a city gradually in the course of time. Aristotle was a contemporary of Alexander. 

Hence, whether Abd al-Latif believed in the truth of the report or not, the report itself is incredible in respect of its content; that is, it contains a statement that is definitely false historically, which is the story of Aristotle’s lecturing in the library’s theatre. If a report consists of certain statements some of which are definitely false, it is indicative of the falsehood of its other statements also. 

The burning of the library of Alexandria by Muslims has the same degree of credibility as the report of Aristotle’s lecturing there. Hence, the report of Abd al-Latif is weak in respect of source as well as content, as it lack a source and authority in addition to containing an obvious falsehood. It is also weak in respect of the style of reporting, for it is reported in a way that suggests that he did not regard the story as credible. Apart from all this, had Abd al-Latif lived in the age of Arab conquest of Alexandria (first/seventh century) or at least during the period of the historians (2nd/8th to 4th/10th century) who compiled, on the basis of the narrations of others, the chronicles of the Islamic conquests, including the conquest of Alexandria, there was a probability of his having met persons who were direct or indirect witnesses of the events and who might have narrated them for Abd al-Latif, whereas, it could be said, others had not chanced to meet such persons. But Abd al-Latif compiled his book at the end of the 6th/12th century and the beginning of the 7th/13th. [Fath-e-Iskandariyyah, p. 28]

That means he lived six hundred years after the event which took place in the years 17/638 or 18/639. In the course of these six centuries no historical work and no historian, Muslim, Christian or Jew, has mentioned this incident.

It appears suddenly after such a long time for the first time in the book of Abd al-Latif: These considerations bring Abd al-Latif’s report even lower than one lacking source and authority, and reduce it to a report whose falsity is confirmed by external evidence. What is more significant is that histories bear testimony that the library of Alexandria had been devastated and burned several times before Alexandria was conquered by Muslims. Basically, at the time of the Muslim conquest the library did not exist in its earlier form. 

There were only some books in the possession of individuals from which Muslims benefited during the period from 2nd/8th to 4th/10th century. Here the famous proverb fits the present situation. Someone said: “Jacob, an Imam’s descendant, was torn to pieces by a wolf at the top of a minaret.” He was told: “That was a prophet’s son, not that of an Imam. Moreover, his name was Joseph, not Jacob, and he was not at the top of a minaret, but at the bottom of a well. Moreover such an episode never happened, for Joseph was not attacked by any wolf!”

We may listen at this juncture to Will Durant, the author of The Story of Civilization. He rejects Abd al-Latif’s report for the following reasons:

1) A large part of the library had been destroyed by Christian ardor under the Patriarch Theophilus in 392 [about 250 years before the Muslim conquest of Alexandria]; 

2) The remainder had suffered such hostility and neglect that “most of the collection had disappeared by 642;”

3) In the 500 years (or rather about 6 centuries) between the supposed event and its first reporter no Christian historian mentions it, though one of them, Eutychius, Archbishop of Alexandria in 933, described the Arab conquest of Alexandria in great detail. 

The story is now generally rejected as a fable. In any case, the gradual dissolution of the Alexandrian Library was a tragedy of some moment, (for it was believed to contain the complete published works of ‘Eschylus, Sophodes, Polybius, Livy, Tacitus, and a hundred others, who have come down to us in mangled form; full texts of the pre-Socratic philosophers, who survive only in snatches; and thousands of volumes of Greek, Egyptian, and Roman history, science, literature, and philosophy). [The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11, p. 219] 

Will Durant has described the gradual stages of the destruction of this library at the hands of Christians in The Story of Civilization. Those who are interested may refer to its sixth, ninth and eleventh volumes (the Persian translation). Gustav Lebon, in The Arab and Islamic Civilization, says:

“The burning of the library of Alexandria is attributed to the Muslim conquerors. It is very amazing that such an imaginary tale should have survived for such a long time and that it should be generally believed. But today the falsity of this story has been established.

Now it is proved that before the Islamic era Christians themselves burnt and destroyed the said library in the same manner that they took great care to demolish all the temples and deities of Alexandria, so that by the time of the Muslim conquest, nothing of its collection of books remained to be cast into flames. From the time of its foundation, which took place in 332 B.C., until its invasion by Muslims, for one thousand years the city of Alexandria was counted among the great and important cities of the world. In the age of the Ptolemies, all scholars and philosophers of the world had gathered in this city and they founded schools and large libraries. 

But these advancements in knowledge did not last long, for in 48 B.C. the Roman invasion under Caesar inflicted a severe blow to its academic life. Though it made considerable progress again under Roman domination and gained in importance, but this progress was transitory. For the madness of sectarian conflict arose among its citizens and continued to get more fierce day by day despite cruel suppression by Roman emperors, until Christianity was declared the state religion. 

Then Theodore ordered all the temples, statues of gods, and the libraries of idolators (the library of Alexandria was established by those who are considered to be polytheists) to be razed to the ground.” [Tarikh-e-Tamadun-e-Islam wa Arab, pp. 263-265]

The city of Alexandria, which is still one of the important cities of Egypt, was founded by Alexander in the 4th century B.C. and for the same reason was named Alexandria. Alexander’s successors in Egypt, who were called the Ptolemies, built a museum and library and in fact an academy that grew to become a great centre of learning. 

Many scholars of Alexandria may be ranked with the great figures of Greece and are among the world’s most famous scholars.

The school of Alexandria was started in the second and third centuries B.C. and flourished until the fourth century C.E.. Under the rule of Alexander and his successors Egypt was completely under the political domination of Greece. Afterwards, with the decline of Greek civilization and war with Romans, whose capital was the city of Rome in Italy, as a result of which Greece was defeated, Egypt and Alexandria also came under the political domination of Rome. 

Around the fourth century C.E. the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern Empire with Constantinople (present Istanbul) as its capital, and the Western Roman Empire with its capital at Rome. The Eastern Roman Empire embraced Christianity, which had a negative impact both on the Greek and the Roman civilizations. The Western medieval ages, which marks a period of decline in the West, begin nearly about this time (the division of the Roman empire into the Eastern and the Western). 

After the conversion of the Eastern Roman Empire to Christianity, which considered the teaching of sciences and philosophy to be against the tenets of the Christian faith and regarded scholars and philosophers as heathen and heretics who also misled others, the school of Alexandria fell under the shadow of Christianity.

Once again, after the earlier attack of Caesar (48 B .C.), this library began to be subject to repeated plunder, attacks and conflagrations. Constantine I is the first emperor of Eastern Rome who converted to Christianity. Justinian, his descendent in the sixth century C.E. officially closed down the academy of Athens. 

The school of Alexandria had been closed down or had undergone dissolution earlier in the fourth century C.E. The closure of the Athenian school took place in 529 C.E., that is forty-one years before the birth of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of Islam, eighty-one years before his mission started, ninety-four years before his migration to Madinah, and one hundred and five years before his death, and one hundred twenty and odd years before the conquest of Alexandria by Muslims. From what has been said it is clear that this library was established by polytheists and was destroyed by Christians. 
However, after the crusades, which continued for two hundred years (5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries), the Christians, on the one hand, became acquainted with the Islamic culture and civilization, which enlightened them, and, on the other, as a result of their final defeat by Muslims they nursed a strong enmity against Muslims in their hearts and launched a war of nerves against them. They concocted and spread so many rumours against Islam, the Qur’an, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Muslims that it comes as an embarrassment to modern civilized Christians, and we see that some of them have written books in “apology to Muhammad and the Quran” to compensate for the lapses of the past. [op. cit. p. 22] 

The book burnings attributed to Muslims are among these rumours which have occasionally been repeated by unsuspecting Muslim writers since the 7th/13th century with such words as “It is said” or “It is related that,” without knowing that the story was one fabricated by Christian crusaders with the motive to malign Muslims. During the last century when Western colonialism came to give top priority in its programme to instigating the national sentiments of Muslims against Islam and Muslims of the early era, the likes of Pur Dawud gave it the shape of a historical incident by giving prominence to such reports as that of Abd al-Latif, and it was taught as genuine history to the students-of Iranian schools and universities. 

So far we have examined the report of Abd al-Latif. Let us now turn our attention to the statements of Abu Al-Faraj ibn al-`Ibri. Abu al-Faraj was a Jewish physician, born at Malatya (Asia Minor) in 623/1226. His father had renounced the Jewish faith and embraced Christianity. Abu al-Faraj’s education started with learning the tenets of Christianity. He was well-acquainted with Syriac and Arabic, and compiled a detailed history in Syriac based upon Syriac, Arabic and Greek sources. In that history there is no mention of any book burning by Muslims in Alexandria. 

He also prepared a condensed version of it in Arabic under the title Mukhtasar al-duwal. It is said that all its manuscripts are incomplete and defective. The strange part of it is that though it is a condensation of his detailed history in Syriac, it contains certain things that do not exist in the original Syriac history, and among these is the story of the book burning of Alexandria by Muslims. Mukhtasar al-duwal was edited and published by Pocock, a professor at Oxford and one of those who have played an active role in spreading lies against Muslims. 

He also translated this book into Latin. Since then through this book and this man the false story of the Muslims’ book burning of the library of Alexandria was circulated in Europe until it was refuted in recent centuries by European scholars like Gibbon, Krale, Gustav Lebon and others (this info has been cited from Shibli Nu’mani’s book Kitabkhaneh yi Iskandariyah).  

The story of the book burning is narrated in Mukhtasar al-duwal in the following form:

In those days Yahya al-Nahwi, who was known as Grammaticus in our language, enjoyed fame among Arabs. He was a resident of Alexandria and a Jacobite Christian who ascribed to the Savari creed. In his last days he renounced the Christian faith, and all Christian scholars of Egypt gathered around him and advised him to recant, but he did not.

When the scholars were disappointed they stripped him of all the offices that he held. He lived in that condition until Amr ibn al Aas (the Muslim commander of the army conquering Egypt) entered Egypt. 
One day Yahya went to see him. ‘Amr came to know about his learning and scholarship and he paid him great respect. He began a discourse on philosophical issues which were unknown to Arabs: His speech made a deep impression on ‘Amr and he became fond of him. As ‘Amr was an intelligent, wise and thoughtful man, he made Yahyaa his companion, never parting his company. One day Yahya said to Amr, “Whatever there is in Alexandria is in your control
As to things that are useful for you we have nothing to do with them, but as to those which you may not need, my request is that you favour us by putting them at our disposal, for we deserve them more than anyone else.” ‘Amr asked him what they were. He said: “They are the books on wisdom and philosophy that are stored in the state library” ‘Amr replied that he could not decide the matter himself but had to seek the Caliph’s instructions in this regard. Accordingly, he informed the Caliph of the matter and asked for instructions. The Caliph wrote: “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of than; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.” 

After receiving the reply ‘Amr began dismantling the library. At his orders, the books were distributed among the public baths of Alexandria. Thus in a period of complete six months all the books were burnt and destroyed. Believe it, and do not be amazed. [Ibid pp.16-18]

I am sorry that with or without amazement one cannot accept this counsel and suggestion of Abu al-Faraj (if it was really he who has given this account) or that of Prof. Pocock. 

Aside from what we have already said in refutation of Abd al-Latif’s statements that a historical narration devoid of a source and authority is not acceptable on any account, especially if the narration lacking source or document surfaces for the first time six hundred years after the alleged event, without anyone else having reported it earlier; even without a source or authority in the view of researchers it has been established that basically there had remained nothing of the library of Alexandria at the time of the Muslim conquest of the city and therefore the story is totally baseless. In addition there are some points that may be mentioned as evidence of its falsehood.

Firstly, the main character of the story is Yahya al-Nahwi, the famous philosopher; who, according to recently uncovered evidence, had died about a hundred years, before the conquest of Alexandria, and his meeting with ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) is a fiction.

Amazing is what Dr Dhabi Allah Safa writes in Tarikh-e-Ulum-‘aqli dar Islam, p.6. He says:

Yahya al-Nahwi was one of the eminent figures of the  Alexandrian school during the last decades of the 5th and the first half of the 6th centuries C.E. (that is one hudred years before the Prophet’s hijrah).

And again on page 18 of the same book he says:

It is said that he was alive until the conquest of Egypt by ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas (i.e. 641 A.D.). But according to historical evidence he was one of the figures pf the last decades of the 5th century and the first half of the sixth century C.E, and his being alive till this time is contrary to reason and the normal course of nature.

It is strange that although Shibli Nu`mani writes that he was one of the seven scholars who migrated to Iran from the Roman empire due to Justinian’s persecution and they were well received by Khusro Anushirvan, yet he has affirmed the very story of Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr. He has failed to notice that there was a gap of more than one hundred and twenty years between the migration of the philosophers from Alexandria and the city’s fall to Muslims. 

Normally, it is not possible that Yahya who was a renowned thinker about 120 years before the conquest of Alexandria should have lived on until those times to become an intimate companion of ‘Amr. On this ground the reports that mention Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr are baseless, even though they may not make any reference to the library. Abu al-Faraj’s report concerning Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr falls in the category of ‘Abd al-Latif’s story of Aristotle’s lecturing at Alexandria. 

The fabricators of these stories did not pay attention to their consistency with historical facts. Secondly, it is stated in the story that after the order came from the Caliph to destroy the books, ‘Amr had them distributed among the baths of Alexandria, and that these made the fuel for the baths for six months. At that time Alexandria was one of the largest cities of Egypt and one of world’ biggest cities. ‘Amr himself, in a report sent to the Caliph concerning the city, writes with much wonder: In this city there are four thousand baths, four thousand edifices, forty thousand Jews who pay the jizyah, four hundred public places of amusement, twelve thousand grocers who sell fresh vegetables. 

From this we are to suppose that these books formed heating fuel for four thousand baths for six months, which means that there were so many of them that they could serve as heating fuel for one bath for seven hundred thousand days, or two thousand years. What is more astonishing is that according to Abu al-Faraj’s account all of them were on philosophy and not on any other subject. Now it is good to think over this matter for a while. Have there ever existed so many books on philosophy since the dawn of civilization till this day when the printing industry has been active for centuries and is producing books at a stupendous rate to make fuel of four thousand hot baths for six months?
Moreover, what might have the dimensions of a library that could accommodate so many books?

The books were not kept in piles like grain or straw, but were arranged in an orderly manner on shelves, for they were used by people. Hence a report by a Christian priest of the fourth century C.E., who was sent to the city by the emperor with the task of destroying the library, states: “At that time I found bookshelves entirely empty of books.”  
[op. cit., p. 50] 

Not a hall that was seen by ‘Abd al-Latif, not even the area of a city could accommodate such a library. Nowadays there exist in the world, and especially in the United States and the Soviet Union, very large libraries and this is due to the advancements made in printing technology and other facilities unprecedented in human history.

At the same time, there exist today large cities that had no parallel in human history. I do not believe there exists in any modern city even today any library big enough to serve as heating fuel for all its baths for six months. All these points indicate the fictitious character of the story whose likes may be found only in the world of fiction. It is said that someone once made exaggerated claims about the largeness of the city of Herat in former days. He said, `There was a time when Herat was an extraordinarily large city.’ 

`How large?’ he was asked. He said, `At one time there were in Herat twenty-one thousand one-eyed cooks named Ahmad selling head and totters stew’ Now imagine, how many men there must have been in that city, as all of them were not named Ahmad and all those who were named Ahmad were not one-eyed and all the one-eyed Ahmads were not cooks that made head and totters stew, Hence if only the number of one-eyed Ahmads who cooked heads and totters stew was twenty-one thousand, just imagine how many other people there must have been? 

The entire earth would hardly suffice to accommodate the population of Herat!. The story narrated by Abu al-Faraj is like the story of one-eyed cooks named Ahmad who sold heads and totters stew. Hence, the contributors of an English encyclopedia, as mentioned by Shibli Nu`mani, have considered the story of Abu al-Faraj as belonging to humorous literature. Thirdly, As Shibli Nu`mani and some Western scholars have written, in those days books were made of parchment which was unsuitable for the purpose of fuel and hence it was absurd to use them for that purpose. 

Shibli Nu`mani cites a writer Monsieur Der Pierre  as having stated: “We are certain that those who ran the baths of Alexandria would not have used books written on parchment as long as other kinds of fuel were available, and what is significant is that most of the books were made of parchment.” [ibid, pp. 53-56]

Fourthly, if there had been such a library in Alexandria, ‘Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) would have definitely mentioned it in his report to the Caliph concerning the city, which is recorded in histories. In that report he mentions theatres and public places of amusement and groceries, but does not mention anything about any library. 

Fifthly, Alexandria concluded a peace treaty with Muslims after its conquest by Amr ibn al-`Aas (radhiyallahu anhu), and its people were considered dhimmis treated in accordance with the rules of a dhimmah pact. Accordingly, their lives and properties, honour, and even their places of worship and freedom of religion had the protection of law and the Islamic government was obliged to safeguard them. In his treaty with the people of Egypt Amr ibn al-As wrote: “This is a pact of amnesty vowed by Amr, promising the people of Egypt the security of their lives, properties, houses and all their other matters.” As cited in the Mujam al-buldan it is explicit that `The lands of Egyptian people, their properties and capital all belong to them and nobody has any right to interfere with them.’ [ibid]
In general, we know that the behaviour of Muslims vis-a-vis the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) followed a set pattern: they were brought under the dhimmah pact after the conquest of their territory, charged jizyah, and, in turn for the levy of jizyah, the Muslims were responsible for protection of their lives, property, honour and places of worship. The same modus operandi was followed in Alexandria also. 

Had Abu al-Faraj written in his history that during the conquest of Alexandria the Muslims had done such a thing before concluding the peace treaty, it might have been acceptable to some extent. But his report states that this incident took place long after the fall of Alexandria as a consequence of Yahya al-Nahwi’s conversation with ‘Amr. It is contrary to the general conduct and character of the Muslims to have committed such an act after the conclusion of the peace treaty.

Sixthly, what we know about the characters of ‘Amr and `Umar (radhiyallahu anhum) does not conform to this description. So far as ‘Amr is concerned, he was a wise man of an independent temperament. If he had any plans in any matter; somehow or another he was capable of convincing `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) to accept it. 

The histories write that `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not much keen to conquer Egypt, but ‘Amr al-As (radhiyallahu anhu) made him yield to his views, to the extent that, as recorded, ‘Umar’s permission had arrived. Had the case been as stated in the narration, that ‘Amr was so much impressed by the wisdom and learning of Yahya al-Nahwi that had made the latter his permanent companion and intimate friend, in his letter to `Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) he would have taken care to report the matter in such a way as to preserve the library sought after by his philosopher friend. 

It was not his type to simply seek the Caliph’s permission and to carry out his instructions as soon as he received them without writing to him a second time and to set fire to books that were dearer to his scholarly friend than his own life. Apart from this, Amr (radhiyallahu anhu)’s conduct after conquering Egypt was that of a man who was interested in reform, development, and the welfare of the people, and not that of a tyrant and oppressor such as Qutaybah ibn Muslim. Will Durant writes: Amr administered Egypt competently. 

Part of the taxation financed the repair of canals and dikes, and the reopening of an eighty mile canal between the Nile and the Red Sea; (most likely to be Suez canal) ships could now sail from the Mediterranean into the Indian Ocean (This canal was again choked with sand in 732, and was abandoned.) [Will Durant, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 220]

A person whose social awareness was so high could not believably have set fire to a library. As for `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), though he may have had a strict character, but no one can doubt his  farsightedness. In order to avoid taking full responsibility on his person and also to make use of others’ ideas he always consulted others concerning important issues, and particularly in the matter of his foreign policy he would hold consultations with others as is recorded in books of history.

One does not find in any history that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) ever held a consultative session or sought counsel from anyone concerning the library of Alexandria. It is improbable that he might have taken this decision without holding any council. Besides, had he been of the view that there was no need of any book except the Qur’an, he should have also believed that there was no need of any place of worship other than mosques. If so, why did he tolerate the existence of churches and synagogues and even fire-temples in his treaties and pacts, even considering their protection and security as the duty of the Islamic government in return for the provisions of dhimmah? 

Seventhly, if supposedly ‘Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) did issue such an order, how one can one believe that the Christians and Jews of Alexandria received the books, which were the products of their culture and history, as fuel and burnt them without showing any reaction and without even making any attempt to save some of them by hiding them away secretly?

As for al-Qifti’s report, it is the same as the story narrated by Abu al-Faraj and all objections to which Abu al-Faraj’s report is open apply also to his report. 

As Abu al- Faraj did not mention this story in his detailed history written in Syriac but in the Mukhtasar al-duwal, its summary in Arabic, it is similarly amazing that al-Qifti too does not make any mention of this strange incident in his history of Egypt, but in his book Ikhbar al- `ulama’ bi akhbar al-hukama’, which gives biographical accounts of philosophers. He has narrated this story under the account of Yahya al-Nahwi without referring to any source. 

In al-Qifti’s story also, Yahya al-Nahwi is one of the two main characters of the incident, and all the books burnt were in philosophy and hikmah and made fuel for four thousand baths for six months. Al-Qifti claims that Yahya al-Nahwi was a sailor in the early period of his life. At the age of forty-five he was captivated by the love of knowledge and became a philosopher as well as physician and writer.

He also attained to the bishopric of Alexandria. There is, however, some ambiguity about Yahya al-Nahwi in history. What is certain is that there was a philosopher and bishop by this name in the pre-Islamic period who wrote a refutation of Proclus and Aristotle and a book in defence of the tenets of Christianity. Ibn Sina, in his well known letter to Abu Rahyan al-Biruni, has accused him of being insincere in his writings, alleging that his purpose thereby was to deceive Christians. On the other hand, Ibn al-Nadim, in al-Fihrist, mentions him and his meeting with Amr ibn al-`As without mentioning the library of Alexandria. 

In his book, Sawan al-hikmah, Abu Sulayman al-Mantiqi writes that he was seen in the period of `Uthman and Mu`awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum). Hence either the reports of Ibn al-Nadim and Abu Sulayman are baseless or the man known as Yahya in the age of Amr ibn al-`As and Mu awiyah was someone other than the one who wrote many commentaries on the works of Aristotle and other thinkers and was the bishop of Alexandria. It is not improbable that in inventing this story its fabricators made use of the mention of Yahya al-Nahwi in the works of Ibn al-Nadim and Abu Sulayman. However, it is definite that Yahya al-Nahwi the philosopher, physician and commentator of the works of Aristotle and the famous bishop of Alexandria was not alive during the times of Amr ibn al-`As and Mu`awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum). 

As to Hajji Khalifah, he belongs to a much later period and lived in the 11th/18th century. He was a bibliographer and not a historian. His famous work Kashf al-zunun is a bibliography and a valuable work in the field. The statement cited from him consists of two parts:

Firstly, he remarks that in the early period of Islam the Arabs were interested in three disciplines, language, laws of the Shari`ah, and medicine, of which they had some knowledge from earlier days and which was needed by them. But they did not study other subjects, for they did not want alien sciences to spread among the people before the foundations of Islam were strengthened.

This far the statement of Hajji Khalifah is correct. We shall deal with the beginning and development of sciences in Islam in the next part of our book relating to contribution of Iran to Islam. The Islamic sciences began to develop with qira’ah, fiqh and grammar (of Arabic), and in the first phase no attention was paid to mathematics and philosophical or natural sciences, which drew the attention of Muslims only gradually.

The second part of Hajji Khalifah’s statement is as follows: “”It is even said that at the time of conquering cities, the Arabs burnt all books that fell in their hands.”

We see that though Hajji Khalifah is not a historian, yet he observes the care taken by the narrators of traditions in his remark. He does not say that Arabs burnt books on conquering cities, which might have been taken as his opinion and assertion in this regard. He says, “It is said that . . .” which indicates that such a thing was commonly said in the time of Hajji Khalifah during the 11th/17th century. For four centuries this story had been on lips, naturally gaining greater currency with every century that passed. It is like our own saying today that it is said, and very often, that the Muslims of the early era burnt books wherever they found them. 

If today we say these words we do not tell a lie, for we have seen that it started since the time of Abd al- Latif, Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti. Hence, not only Hajji Khalifah does not refer to any source and authority but also does not add anything new to the rumour current in his days, and he reports the matter in a manner that suggests his uncertainty regarding it. Following Abd al-Latif, others repeated his words in their books. As we know that they reproduce Abd al-Latif’s statements, they need not be discussed and examined. 

For instance, al-Maqrizi in al-Khitat, his history of Egypt, while giving as a historian the account of the conquest of Alexandria, does not mention the incident of book burning, but when he describes the Amud al-Sawari (Abd al-Latif’s famous statements also occur under its description) he merely repeats Abd al-Latif’s statements word by word. 

This is in itself an indication that al-Maqrizi did not give the slightest credence to this story, otherwise he would have referred to it in his account of the fall of Alexandria introducing it at least with the words “it is said that . . . .” Now it is the turn of Ibn Khaldun’s statements concerning the book burning in Iran to be critically examined. If we do not refer to the original passage in Ibn Khaldun’s history and believe the words of Pur Dawud cited by Dr. Muin, we might say that Ibn Khaldun’s statement cannot be compared to that of Abd al-Latif, who was a physician and wanted to write an account of his travels, or that of Abu al-Faraj, who was also a physician, or that of Hajji Khalifah, a bibliographer, or even with that of al-Qifti, the compiler of a history of philosophers.
For Ibn Khaldun was a historian and author of a general history. Hence, if he expresses his view in a definite and conclusive manner on some matter even without referring to any source, one might believe that he had some authority or source. However, Ibn Khaldun also does not express any opinion. He mentions the matter in passive voice with the words “wa laqad yuqalu” (And it has been said. . .). Moreover, he has prefaced his statement with another assertion that weakens the matter further. 

After stating his general principle of sociology (which is not accepted by others), which states that with the expansion of a state and its population and prosperity rational sciences also spread and develop automatically, he infers that in Iran where the state and prosperity had expanded greatly it is impossible that rational sciences should not have been highly developed. Thereafter, he states, “It is said that these sciences reached Greece from the Persians, when Alexander killed Darius and conquered Persia, getting access to innumerable books and sciences developed by them. And when Iran was conquered (by Muslims) and books were found there in abundance, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas wrote to `Umar . . . .”  

As we know no history has recorded that Alexander carried away books from Iran after his conquest of the country and that it was thus that the Greek were introduced to new sciences. This claim is baseless. Pur Dawud has committed an act of deception here by not mentioning that Ibn Khaldun’s statements begin with the phrase “It is said that” and also deleting the fictitious story of the transfer of books and sciences from Iran to Greece. And after these significant omissions he goes on to draw conclusions from them. The rumour referred to Ibn Khaldun [concerning book burning in Iran] has apparently a different source from that of the rumour relating to the book burning in Alexandria. 

The former was fabricated by Christians with the purpose of shifting the blame of burning books to Muslims. But the source of the rumour referred to by Ibn Khaldun were apparently the Shu`ubiyyah. The slogan of the Shu`ubiyyah was, `All genius belongs exclusively to Iranians,” and perhaps it may be inferred from Ibn Khaldun’s remarks that they wanted to claim that all Greek sciences were borrowed from Iran. We know that Alexander attacked Iran in the age of Aristotle, when the Greek civilization and culture was at its peak. Another point to be noted is that the statements of Ibn Khaldun referred to so far are made in his Muqaddimah, which is a philosophical and sociological work. We have not come across anyone who might have cited these remarks from his history itself, al-‘Ibar wa diwdn al-mubtada’ wa al-khabar. Had Ibn Khaldun believed in its historical value, he would have cited this story in his history. 

Unfortunately I do not have access to the history of Ibn Khaldun at present, but I am sure that had there been a mention of this story in it, it is very improbable that the protagonists would have remained unaware of it. They would not have referred to the Muqaddimah instead of the history itself. One should refer to Ibn Khaldun’s history in this regard. As for the library of Alexandria, in addition to the absence of any source and the narrators’ reporting the story in passive voice which discloses their own uncertainty about the report, there are certain external evidences of the story’s false character, including the historical reports that the said library had ceased to exist centuries before the advent of Islam.

There is also some external evidence concerning the book burning in Iran. First of all, basically no history has reported the existence of a library in Iran, as against the case of the library of Alexandria, whose existence between the period extending from the 3rd century B.C. to 4th century C.E. is historically established. Had there been libraries in Iran whose burning had not been recorded, their very existence at least should have been reported somewhere, especially considering that the incidents and events of the history of Iran were recorded in Islamic histories by Arabs as well as Iranians in greater details than about any other country. 

Secondly, there appeared a certain movement among the Iranians which requires that if such an event had taken place it would- have been definitely recorded and projected with great fanfare. This was the movement of the Shu`ubiyyah. The Shu`ubiyyah was originally a sacred Islamic movement directed at the pursuit of justice and against discrimination. But later it changed into a racist, anti-Arab movement. 

The Iranian Shu`ubis wrote books dedicated to the vices (mathalib) of the Arabs, highlighting and publicizing with much hue and cry every weakness of the Arabs that they could find. They would scan the pages of history to search out the details concerning Arabs and would not overlook anything. Had there been such a major weak point in Arab history, that they had set fire to libraries, particularly a library in Iran, it was impossible that the Shu`biyyah should have failed to mention this matter, for the Shu`ubiyyah attained the zenith of their influence in the 2nd/8th century with the full support of the Abbasid who pursued an anti-Umayyad and anti-Arab policy due to political expediency and publicized their weak points making a mountain out of a mole hill. This is itself a definite proof of the fictitious character of the story of book burning in Iran. 

Our discussion of the issue of book burning in Iran and Alexandria concludes here. To sum it up, it should be said that until the 7th/13th century, for six centuries after the conquest of Iran and Egypt, no mention was ever made in any Muslim or non-Muslim source of any such book burning by Muslims. For the first time, the issue was raised in the 7th/13th century, and even then those who raised it did not cite any source or foundation, and hence such reports are not reliable. 

Had these reports possessed no other shortcoming except this one, it was sufficient to undermine their credibility. Moreover, with the exception of Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti all have referred to it as a rumour current among the people and not as an incident that may have occurred. According to the rules of narration and historical reporting, if instead of reporting an incident a historian refers to it as something rumoured, that is, if instead of stating that such and such an incident has occurred says “it is said that such and such an incident has occurred” it indicates that the narrator himself is uncertain of its occurrence. 

In addition, all the 7th/13th century reports which form the basis of all other reports-that is the reports of Abd al-Latif, Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti-contain definitely false statements which establish their unreliability.

Besides, there is external evidence in regard to the reported incidents, both relating to Iran and Alexandria, which undermines the credibility of these reports, even if, supposedly, these reports had been free from the shortcomings of historical reporting and inner content.

Possibly, it may occur to the mind of the respected reader that I have prolonged my discourse on this issue more than was required and carried my criticism to an excessive degree, that this summary given here at the end would have sufficed, at the most with some additional details. 

I agree that if the issue of these book burnings were only a matter relating to some historical event pertaining to mere historical research it would not have required these details. But the respected reader will note that this story has crossed the limits of historical research and has been used as a weapon of propaganda. For impartial scholars, both Muslims and non-Muslim, the baselessness of this story is definite, but the groups who want to exploit these stories for their vested interests make use of it in various ways for propaganda purposes. 

The story of book burnings in Iran and Alexandria has gradually assumed the form of a strategy for attacking Islam. Shibli Nu`mani, in his booklet on the topic of the library of Alexandria, writes:

European scholars of renown, such as Gibbon, Carlyle, Hector, Renan, Siedlu and others have considered most of the vain stories prevalent in Europe concerning Islam and Muslims as baseless and have expressly rejected them. But in popular writings and traditions they have not lost their popularity. It is to be noted that the story of the burning of the library of Alexandria is one of such popular rumours. 

It is truly amazing how Europe has propagated this issue giving it a strange and terrible form. Books on history, fiction, religion, logic, philosophy and other subjects-none have been free from this propaganda (in order to establish it as a fact in the minds of the people, with some pretext or another, this story has been inserted in all kinds of books, including even books on logic and philosophy). So much so that once in an annual examination of the Calcutta University in India (which was under the control of the Britishers) in the question paper on logic, which was printed in thousands a question was framed asking students to resolve the following fallacy: “If books are in agreement with the Qur’an, they are not needed. If they are not in agreement with the Qur’an, burn them.” [Ibid, p. 6] 

Thereafter, Shibli Nu`mani poses this question: What policy is behind all this? Is it on account of regret for the books that were lost, or is there some other motive involved? If that which is involved is concern and regret for books, why is this concern not expressed in relation to definite and much more terrible occurrences of book burnings at the hands of Christians in their conquest of Spain and during the crusades?

Shibli himself answers the question, remarking that the real cause lies in the fact that the Christians themselves had destroyed that library before the advent of Islam, and now they try to impress on the people that Muslims destroyed that library. 

The real motive is to hide their own guilt. The reason mentioned by Shibli is only one of the reasons, that too applies only to the library of Alexandria. There are other causes at the work in this regard, and the main one is imperialism. Political imperialism can succeed only when cultural imperialism has succeeded. The essential condition for the success of cultural imperialism is to shake a people’s faith in their own culture and history.

Imperialism has found out the truth and tested it that it is Islam which is the source of the culture relied upon by Muslims and it is the ideology they are proud of. 
All other things are mere words that never go beyond the walls of conference halls, festivals and seminars and do not influence the minds on the masses. Hence the Muslim masses are to be brain-washed so that they lose their faith and conviction in their ideology and culture and are prepared to be moulded according to the Western pattern. What is a better way of making a people lose faith in their culture and ideology and their standard bearers than impressing it upon the minds of the young generations that the figures whom they consider to be the emancipators of humanity and leaders on the path of felicity, who invaded other countries in the name of human liberation and overthrew the ruling regimes, themselves committed the most barbaric acts? And here was one example of it.
Accordingly, the respected reader should not wonder why for setting a question concerning the resolution of a logical fallacy the examiner of the annual examination of the Calcutta University, which was under the control of the Britishers, could find no example or material other than the fictitious story of the book burning. Similarly, an Iranian writer compiling a book on elements of logic for the sixth year of higher secondary schools, a text of which tens of thousands of copies are printed and placed in the hands of unwary and simple-minded Iranian students, could not, while discussing the exceptional syllogism, and despite straining his mind, find any example other than the one that occurred to the English paper setters of Calcutta University and he was compelled to pose the issue in these words: 

“It is possible that the exceptional syllogism may simultaneously be both disjunctive and conjunctive, that is, a compound syllogism. The example of such a type of syllogism is the famous statement attributed to an Arab leader. When he wanted to rationalize and justify his act of setting fire to the Sassanian library, he argued in the following manner:`These books are either in agreement with the Qur’an, or are contradictory to it. If they are in agreement with the Qur’an, there existence is superfluous. Also , if they are contradictory to the Qur’an, their existence is harmful and superfluous. Therefore, in both the cases the books should be burnt.”  [Mabani-e-falsafeh, p. 256] 

The strongest weapon in favour of or against a faith or creed in our age is the manner in which the followers of that faith have encountered the manifestations of culture and civilization in the course of their history. 



Martyrdom of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Radhiyallahu Anhu) & the Role Of the Saba’iyyah

By Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Reasons for the Fitnah that led to the Murder of ‘Uthman (Radhiyallahu Anhu)
The importance of studying the turmoil that led up to the murder of ‘Uthman, and its consequences, and  the Prophet’s wisdom in telling him what would happen

The most important events of the fitnah that led up to the murder of ‘Uthman, and their consequences, such as the Battle of the Camel, Siffeen, etc

It was narrated that many of the salaf and scholars enjoined refraining from indulging in detailed discussion of the things that happened among the Sahabah, and referring their  affairs to Allah, the Most Just Judge, whilst thinking positively of them and believing that they were in the position of mujtahids who will be rewarded In sha Allah we should avoid criticizing them and impugning their honour, because that leads to undermining shari’ah, as they were its bearers who conveyed it to us. For example, it was narrated that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al ‘Azeez was asked about the people of Siffeen and he said: That is blood that Allah protected us from shedding and I do not want to contaminate my tongue with it. [Hilyat al-Awliya’, 9/114;  ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 12/274] 

One of them was asked about that and he responded by quoting the words of Allah,

“That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward  of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of  what they  used to do”  [Al-Baqarah 21:34].

There is a reason for this prohibition, which is the fear that it may lead to criticism and impugning their honour,  which in turn could lead to incurring the wrath and anger of  Allah. But if this reason no longer applies, then it seems that there is no problem with it, so long as discussing the details of  what happened will not lead to criticizing them at all. In that case, there is nothing wrong with studying this  matter in depth, examining its causes, motives, precise details, results and consequences for the society of the Sahabah and for those who came after them. Some of the scholars, such as Ibn Katheer, al-Tabari and others, wrote  about the events of that critical period of Islamic history, and discussed in detail many of the issues that have to  do with the fitnah. Some of them even  went so far as to suggest that one or  both parties were wrong, based on many reports and texts in which saheeh material is mixed with other kinds. [Ahdath wa Hadeeth Fitnat  al-Harj, by Dr. ‘Abd al-‘Areez  p. 79] 

There are reasons why ahl al-Sunnah  and the seekers of knowledge should  probe the depths with regard to the fitnah that arose at the beginning of  Islam, and examine its details. These reasons include the following:

(1) Contemporary writers who deal  with the turmoil that occurred among the Sahabah fall into three groups:

(a)  Books written by authors who the product of a western way of thinking that is hostile towards Islamic history or is ignorant of Islamic history and does not see any good in it, so they carried on criticizing the Sahabah and Tabi’een in such a way that served the goals of the enemies of Islam who studied the events of the turmoil in detail and interpreted it in a way that condemns all of the Sahabah and shakes the foundations of Islam. They presented these events as a political conflict for position and power, in which the Sahabah forgot about faith, piety and sincerity towards Allah and suggested that they turned into people who were seeking worldly gains and leadership without caring whether blood was shed, people were killed, wealth was stolen or sanctities were violated, so long as it led to the power and leadership that they wanted.

Among the worst of these fabricators was Taha Hussein (his book al-Fitnah al-Kubra) which indeed caused the greatest confusion in the minds of the new generation of Muslims. Taha Hussein went on condemning the Sahabah, casting aspersions on their intentions and directing accusations against them to serve the interests of the enemies of Islam and the Muslims. [Ahdath wa Ahadeeth  Fitnat al-Harj, p. 80]
Many were influenced by his approach. It seems that writers such as this relied on historical reports narrated by historians such as al-Tabari,  Ibn ‘Asakir and others, in which bad is mixed with good and lies with truth. He took the reports without paying attention to the way in which they compiled the reports in their books, and this is a serious mistake. [Ibid] 

The  Rafidis  tried  hard  in  their  books  to distort  Islamic  history,  as  in  the  reports  of:

Muhammad ibn  al-Saib  al-Kalbi.  (Ibn  Hibban  said:  He  was  a  Saba’i  (follower) of  ‘Abd Allah ibn Saba), one of those who said that ‘Ali did not die and that he will return to this world. He died in 146 AH. Mizan al-‘Itdal, 3/558; Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Jarh wa’l Ta’dil, 7/270,271)],

Abu  Mikhnaf  [Loot  ibn  Yahya  ibn Sa’eed  ibn  Mikhnaf  al-Azdi, from  Kufah.  ibn  ‘Adiyy  said:  He  was  a  fanatical  Shi’i  and  a  fabricator  of  their  reports.  He  died  in  157  AH.  He  wrote  many  books,  including:  al-Riddah,  al-Jamal,  Siffin  and  others].

Nasr  ibn  Mazahim  ibn  Sayyah  al-Munqari  al-Kufi.  [Al-Dhahabi  said:  He  is  a fanatical  Raafidhi  whose  report  should  be  ignored.  He  died  in  212  AH.  His  books  include  Waq’at  Siffin,  which  is  available  in  printed  form,  al-Jad  and  Maqtal  al-Hussein. Mizan  al-l’tidal, 4/253].

This  is  also  seen  even  in  the  history  of  al-Tabari,  but  al- Tabari  mentions  the  reporters  by  name,  so  that  people  of knowledge  will  realize  the  status  of  these  reports. [Usul  Madhhab  al-Shi’ah  al-lmamiyyah,  by  Nasir  al-Ghafiri,  3/1457] 

This also  applies  to  the  writing  of  al-Mas’oodi  in  Murooj  al- Dhahab  and  of  al-Ya’qoobi  in  his  Tareekh

Professor  Muhibb  al-Deen  al-Khateeb  indicated  in  his  commentary  on  al-‘Awasim  that  the  writing  of  history  only  began  after  the  end  of  the  Umayyad  state,  and  the  Batinis  and  Shu’oobis  who  presented  themselves  as  Shi’ah  played  a role  in  concealing  the  beauties  of  history  and  blackening  its  bright  pages. [Usul  Madhhab  al-Shi’ah  al-lmamiyyah,  by  Nasir  al-Ghafiri,  3/1458]

This  plot  will  become  apparent  to  anyone  who  studies al- ‘Awasim  min  al-Qawasim  by  Ibn  al-‘Arabi,  along  with  its commentary  written  by  the  great  scholar  Muhibb  al-Deen  al-Khateeb.  The  Rafidi  Shaykhs wrote  thousands  of  pages  slandering  the  best  generation  ever  known  to  mankind,  and  they  devoted  their  time  and  effort  to  distorting  the  history  of  the  Muslims. [Usul  Madhhab  al-Shi’ah  al-lmamiyyah,  by  Nasir  al-Ghafiri,  3/1459]

This  huge amount  of  Raafidhi  material  is  to  be  found  in  the  books  of  history  written  by  the  Raafidhis  or  in  the  books  that  quoted  some  of  their  reports,  and  you  can  see  it  in  their  books  of  hadeeth  such  as  al-Kafi  and  al-Bihar,  and  in  the  books  written  by  their  Shaykhs  in  the  past,  such  as  ihqaq  al- Haqq,  and  in  hadeeth  such  as  Kitab  al-Ghadeer.  This  hateful,  distorted  material  is  the  reference  point  for  everything  written  by  the  enemies  of  Muslims,  such  as  the  Orientalists  and  others.  Then  came  that  morally  defeated  generation  which  sees  the  west  as  its  example  and  ideal,  and  those  pro-westem  elements  seized  everything  that  was  written  by  the  Orientalists  and took  it  as  their  source  of  knowledge,  adopting  those views  and  spreading  that  confusion  throughout  the Muslim  lands,  which  had  a  serious  effect  on  Muslim thinking  and  culture.  The  Raafidhis  were  the  basic  source for  all  this  evil.  The  views  of  the  Orientalists  and  their connection  with  Shi’ism  is  a  subject  that  deserves  to  be studied  and  examined.  The  kafir  enemy  started  to  benefit  from  the  doubts  and  lies  of  the  Rtifidis  and  their  fabrications  against  Islam  and  the  Muslims  from  the  of  Ibn  Hazm  (d. 456  AH).

(b)  Books  written  by  some  of  the  contemporary  scholars  of this  ummah.  These  are  useful  in  general,  but  the  way  in which  they  discuss  and  interpret  the  attitude  of  some  of  the  Sahabah  and  Tabi’een  is  in  many  –  or  some  –  cases unfair,  such  as  what  was  written  by  Abu’l-A’la  Mawdoodi   in  al-Khilafah  wa’l-Mulk,  and  what  was  written  by  Shaykh Muhammad  Abu  Zahrah  in  Tareekh  al-Umam  al-Islamiyyah. These  two  books  are  filled  with  much  that  undermines  the  position  of  the  Sahabah  and  criticizes  the  caliphs  of  Banu  Umayyah  (the Umayyads),  condemning  them  and  denying  that  they  had  any  good  qualities  or  did  any  righteous  deeds.  It  seems  that  scholars  such  as  these  did  not  examine  the  historical  reports,  rather they  adopted  Raafidhi  Shi’i  reports  and  based  their  analysis  and  conclusions  on  them.  May  Allah  forgive  them  and  us.

(c)  Books  whose  authors  tried  to  follow  the  methods  of  al- jarh  wa’l-ta’deel  (impugnment  and  validation,  i.e.  criticism  of  hadeeth)  in  examining  historical  reports  and  subjecting  them  to  the  methods  of  the  Muhadditheen  with  regard  to  the  isnad  and  the  text,  in  order  to  distinguish  the  sound  reports  from  the  weak.

These  books  represent  a  good  attempt  to  resist  these fabrications  and  explain  the  events  in  a  proper  manner which  does  not  contradict  what  is  known  of  the  virtue,  faith and  jihad  of  the  Sahabah.  These  books  include  that written  by  Dr.  Yusuf  al-‘Ishsh  entitled  Tareekh  al-Dawlah al-Umawiyyah,  and  Muhibb  al-Deen  al-Khateeb’s  commentary  on al-‘Awasim  min  al-Qawasim by  Abu Bakr  ibn  al-‘Arabi,  as  well  as  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan by Sadiq  ‘Ar-joon, ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Athruhu  fi  Ahath  al-Fitnah  fi  Sadr  al-Islam  by  Dr.  Sulayman  ibn  Hammad  al- ‘Awdah,  Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah  by Muhammad  al-Amhazoon,  al-Khilafah  al-Rashidah  by  Dr.  Akram  al-‘Umari  Hiqbah  min  al-Tareekh  by  ‘Uthman  al-Khamees,  al-Madinah  al-Nabawiyyah  Fajr  al- Islam  wa’l-Asr  al-Rashidi by  Dr  Muhammad  Hasan  Sharib,  the  commentaries  by  Muhibb  al-Deen  on al-‘Awasim  min  al-Qawasim  and al-Muntaqa,  and  other  books,  studies  and  essays  that  follow  the  same  method.

From  this  discussion  it  is  clear  that  there  is  a  great  need  for  books  that  refute  these  false  claims.  These  misrepresentations  of  Islamic  history  and  the  status  of the  Sahibah  cannot  be  refuted  except  by  means  of  a  detailed  study  of  these  events  and  critical  examination  of  the  reports  using  the  standards  of  al-jarh  wa’l-ta’deel,  determining which  are  saheeh  and  which  are  weak.  It  was  narrated  that  Ibn  Taymiyah  said:  But  if  there  is  an  innovator  who  criticized  them  on  the  basis  of  falsehood,  they  should  be  defended  and  his  false  argument  should  be  refuted  on  the  basis  of  knowledge  and  fairness. [Mihaj  as-Sunnah, 3/192]

Imam al-Dhahabi  was  of  a  different  view;  he  called  for  the  burning  of  all  books  that  contained  such  lies  and  which  undermined  the  position  of  the  Sahabah.  He  said:  As  it  is  stated  that  one  should  refrain  from  discussing  what  happened among  the  Sahabah  and  their  fighting,  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  all.  We  still  come  across  this  in  various  books,  but  most  of  the  reports  are  fabricated  or  weak,  and  some  of  them  are  lies.  Whatever  is  in  our  hands  and  in  the  hands  of  our  scholars  should  be  hidden  away,  or  rather  destroyed  so  that  our  hearts  will  be  pure  and  we  will  be  united  in  love  and  praise  of  the  Sahabah.  [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola,  p.  84]

We  learn  something  very  important  from  al-Dhahabi,  which  is  his  statement  that  most  of  what  is  to  be  found  in  those  books  is  fabrications  and  lies  that  undermine  the  position  of  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu  anhum),  but  his suggestion  that  those  books  be  burned  is  no  longer  feasible,  because  these  books  are  widely  circulated  and  many  publishing  houses  and  many  of  those  who  have  ulterior  motives  have  printed  them,  so  we  have  no  option  but  to  subject  them  to  critical  examination  and  explain  the  faults,  lies  and  mistakes  that  are  contained  in  them,  so  as  to  protect  the  Muslim  community  from  deviating  in  its  beliefs  and  ways. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola,  p. 83]

(ii)  It  is  important  to  study  the  jitnah  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  and  its  consequences  in  order  to  know  the  real  causes  and  whether  they  were  internal  or  external,  the  extent  to  which  each  cause  contributed  to  what  happened. 

The  one  who  reads  a  little  of  what  has  been  written  about  this  fitnah  will  sense  that  there  was  a  major  conspiracy  behind  it,  and  that  the  Magians,  Christians,  Jews  and  hypocrites  co-operated  in  executing  the  plan.  It  is  the  matter  of  the  enemies  conspiring  against  the  Muslim  ummah  at  every  stage  of  its  lengthy  history. 

But  this  conspiracy  could  not  have  succeeded  were  it  not  for  an  internal  element  of  weakness  that  contributed  to its  success.  So  should  not  studying  the  era  of  the  Sahabah  become  obligatory  for  the  purpose  of  discovering  the reasons  for  the  weakness  of  the  Muslim  ummah,  noting  the  weak  points  through  which  the  enemy  was  able  to enter  and  benefiting  from  this  information  in  order  to  direct  the  ummah  of  this  time  and  protect  it  from  similar slip-ups  in  the  future.

The  major  events  that  led  up  to  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman  and  the  consequences  of  that  require  deep  and  painstaking  study  so  that  we  may  derive  lessons  from  that  period  of  history  that  will  guide us  in  the  present  day  and  help  us  in  our  serious  efforts  to  restore  the rightly-guided  caliphate,  following  the  path  of  the Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  thus  mankind  may  find  happiness  and  be  brought  out  of  its  misery  and  wretchedness  that  are  caused  by  its  being  far  astray  from  the  laws  of  Allah  Ta’ala.

The  wisdom  of  the  Prophet  in  telling  ‘Uthman  of  what  would  happen

In  many  Ahadith  the  Prophet  (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)  foretold  that  this  ummah  would  be  affected  by  division  and  fighting,  which  is  mentioned  in  brief   and  in  detail  in  various  reports  which  speak  of  the  causes  and  consequences  of  turmoil,  or  some  of  the  events  that  would  come  to  pass,  who  would  be  behind  it,  and  so  on.  Many  of  the  explanations  that  the  Prophet  (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  gave  were  answers  to  questions  posed  by  the  Sahabah,  who  were  enjoying  the  great  blessing  that  Allah  had  bestowed  upon  them,  which  was  the  blessing  of  brotherhood  and  unity.  They  started  asking  whether  this blessing  would  last  or  come  to  an end. Because  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had learned  via  the  Revelation  that  it  would  not  last  as  it  was,  he  wanted  to  prepare  them  for  this  turmoil  so  that  they  would  know  how  to  respond  on  the  day  when  Allah  decreed  that  it  should  come  to pass.  By  examining the  ahadeeth  which  speak  of  the  turmoil, we can  sense  the  following  wisdom: [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola, p 68]

1-  When  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) spoke  of  this  fitnah  and  turmoil,  he wanted  to  prepare  the  ummah  so  that  it  would  be  ready  to  cope  on  the  day  when  these  events  came  to  pass,  and  would  deal  with  them  effectively  at  that  time.

2-  These  ahadeeth  contain  hints  about  who  would  stir  up this  turmoil,  and  that  sometimes  they  would  be  people  who  appeared  to  be  believers  and  be  very  shrict  in  their  religious  commitment,  but  their  understanding  would  be deviant  and  their  hearts  would  be  twisted,  and  in  general  they  would  be  lacking  in  understanding  and  knowledge.

3-  This  turmoil  would  expose  the  hypocrites  and  cleanse  the  hearts  of  the  believers  and  increase  them  in  faith;  they  would  be  motivated  to  enjoin  that  which  is  good  and  forbid  that  which  is  evil.  It  would  be  a  kind  of  test  which  purifies  hearts  and  makes  people  strive,  so  that  good  would  be  enjoined  and  evil  forbidden. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola. p. 136, 137] 

4-  The  reports  about  this  turmoil  carry  an  implicit  warning  against  falling  into  it  or  playing  any  part  in  it,  because  when  the  believers  of  this  ummah  –  the  Sahabah  and others  –  heard  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) foretelling  that  some  of  them  would  be  involved  in  murder,  and  some  would  be  attached  to  this  world,  and  some  would  abandon  jihad, and  so  on,  this  stirred  in  their  hearts  the  feeling  of  wanting  to  confront  this  fitnah  and  each  one  of  them  would  hope  to  be  saved  from  that.  Thus  their  attitude would  be  one  of  constant  fear  of  falling  into  this  peril unawares  and  fear  in  this  sense  is  one  of  the  greatest means  of  attaining  salvation. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  at-Fitnah  at-Oola,  p.  69]

Ibn  Taymiyah  said,  after narrating  a  number  of  marfoo’ ahadeeth  which  speak  of  this  division  in  the  ummah:  This  idea  was  narrated  from the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  in  many  reports,  which  indicates  that  division  is  inevitable  in  this  ummah,  so  he  warned  his  ummah  so  that  whomever  Allah  wished  would  be  safe from  that. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  at-Fitnah  at-Oola,  p.  69]

5-  Informing  the  ummah  about  this  turmoil  is  the  best  way  of  ensuring  that  they  would  be  safe  from  it,  because  no  matter  how  much  you  warn  a  man  about  a  danger  that  is threatening  him,  if  you  do  not  describe  the  danger  to  him  or  explain  how  he  may  fall  into  it,  he  may  never  figure  out  how  it  could  happen  and  he  may  not  be  able  to  discern  the  nature  of  the  problem  that  is  facing him,  so  he  may  fall  into  that  danger  without  realizing  that  this  is  the  danger  that  he  was  warned  about.  [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  at-Fitnah  at-Oola,  p.  70]

6-  The  foretelling  of  this  turmoil  is  accompanied,  in  some  ahadeeth,  with  the  mention  of  its  causes  or  results,  or  what  the  Muslim’s  attitude  towards  it  should  be.  This  is  beneficial  to  the  Muslim  and  to  the  ummah  as  a  whole, as  it  will  help  them  to  stay  away  from  the  causes  of  turmoil  or  enable  them  to  judge  specific  events  by  their outcomes  or  to  adopt  a  sound  attitude  in  the  first  place.

7-  These  ahadeeth  also  offer  clear  evidence  of  the truthfulness  of  the  message  and  Prophethood  of  Muhammad  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  which  increased  the  faith  of  the  Sahabah  who  heard  the  hadeeth  and  then  saw  it  being  fulfilled  later  on.  And  it  increases  the  faith  of  any  believer  in  any  time  or  place  who  lives  through  the reality  of  fitnah  and  division  that  was  foretold  by  the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). [Ibid]

Dr.  ‘Abd  al-‘Azeez  Sagheer  Dukhan  has  compiled  and  examined  the  ahadeeth  that  speak  of  fitnah,  and  explained  which  are  saheeh  and  which  are  da’eef,  in  his  book  Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola.  Then  he  drew  certain  conclusions  from  the  saheeh ahadeeth,  including  the  following:

1-  Fitnah  or  turmoil  is  the  decree  of  Allah  in  all  nations,  and  in  this  ummah  until  the  Hour  begins.  It  is  turmoil  like pieces  of  dark  night,  blind,  deaf  and  dumb,  and  those  who  indulge  in  it  are  doomed  in  this  world  and  in  the  Hereafter,  but  those  who  stay  away  from  it  will  succeed.  Hardly  anyone  could  ever  know  where  he  stands  with  regard  to  it,  except  those  on  whom  Allah  bestows knowledge  and  piety  and  guides  to  the  truth  in  matters of  dispute  by  His  leave. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola,  p.  345]

2- These  ahadeeth  indicate  that  the  fitnah  of  fighting  amongst  Muslims  is  inevitable  and  there  is  no  way  that  it  can  be  regarded  as  something  strange,  starting  with  the  events  that  happened  between  the  Sahabah  and  the  Tabi’een,  and  throughout  the  eras  of  Islamic  history  until  the  present  day.  But  what  we  have  to  do  is  to understand  the  causes  of  this  fighting  in  order  to  avoid  them,  and  strive  to  extinguish  the  flames  of  fitnah  whenever  it  flares  up  among  the  Muslims;  the  Muslim  should  not  just  stand  there  watching

2-  By  the  mercy  of  Allah  to  this  ummah,  He  causes  their sins  to  be  expiated  in  this  world.  The  fighting  and  turmoils  that  befall  them  are  a  means  of  expiation  for  their  sins. 

3-  In  some  of  these  ahadeeth  there  is  a  clear  indication  that most  of  these  turmoils  would  originate  in  the  east,  and  this  is  what  indeed  happened.  The  first  fitnah  started  in  Kufah  and  Basra,  and  the  battle  of  the  camel  took  place  there. 

4- At  times  of  fitnah,  some  people  may  sell  their  religion  for  some  trifling  worldly  gain,  and  the  situation  is  controlled by  whims  and  desires  and  confusion,  and  those  who follow  true  Islam  become  strangers  in  their  attitude  and conduct.  Then  the  one  who  adheres  to  his  religious commitment  is  Like  one  who  is  holding  on  to  a  live  coal  or  a  thorn,  patiently  seeking  reward  through  his  pain  and  hardship  for  the  sake  of  his  religion  which  he  believes  to  be  true.

6-  By  means  of  fitnah  Allah  protects  some  people  so  that they  will  not  indulge  in  the  turmoil  and  their  hands  will  not  be  stained  with  Muslim  blood,  and  they  strive  to  bring  about  reconciliation  and  promote  the  sound  Islamic  principles  of  compassion  and  brotherhood.  Their attitude indeed  appears  strange in  the  midst  of  madding crowds  and  overwhelming  whims  and  desires. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola, p. 346-348]

7-  In  cases  of  fitnah,  the  tongue  plays  a  greater  role  than  the  sword,  and  indeed  the  tongue  is  one  of  the  main  causes  of  fitnah  and  turmoil.  A  poisonous  word  of  evil  that  is uttered  may  start  a  fire  in  the  heart,  making  people  angry  and  stirring  up  emotions,  thus  causing  overwhelming turmoil. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola, p. 346-348]

8-  At  times  of  fitnah,  knowledge  decreases,  either  due  to  the  death  of  the  scholars  or  because  they  keep  quiet  and isolate  themselves  from  society,  or  because  people  are  no  longer  interested  in  them  for  some  reason.  Then ignorance  prevails  and  the  people  take  ignorant  versons  as  their  leaders.  who  issue  fatwas  without  knowledge,  going  astray  and  leading  others  astray.  Thus  insigruficant  people  become  prominent  and  the  foolish  prevail. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola, p. 348]

In  these  ahadeeth  it  says  that  Allah  Ta’ala  has  promised  His Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  that  He  will  not  destroy  this  ummah  by  drought  and  famine,  and  He  would  not  send  an  enemy  against  them  who  would  prevail  over  them  forever,  no  matter  how  strong  and  powerful  this  enemy.  But  the  thing  that  Allah  did  not  promise  His  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  that  this  ummah  would  not  be  divided,  and  this  would  be  the  door  through  which  external  enemies  could  enter.  If  the  ummah  became  divided  and  they  killed  one  another,  then  they  would  become  weak  and  the  enemy  would  be  able  to  dominate  them,  steal  their  resources  and  control  their  affairs,  and  they  would  never  find  relief  from  that unless  they  became  strong  again  by  means  of  unity  and referring  for  judgement  to  that  which  Allah  has  revealed.

10-  These  ahadeeth  show  that  the  emergence  and  continuation  of  fitnah  is  the  cause  of  the  appearance  of  groups  that  deviate  from  Islamic  guidance,  and  of  the  prevalence  of  those  who  follow  falsehood.

11-  Fitnah  changes  people’s  attitudes,  until  they  are  no longer  interested  in  doing  righteous  deeds  and  good works;  it  creates  enmity,  resentment  and  hatred  among people  and  they  become  confused.

12-  The  ahadeeth  indicate  that  this  fitnah  would  be  preceded by  a  period  of  peace,  stability,  material  prosperity  and  security,  such  that  a  traveller  would  be  able  to  go  from  Iraq  to  Makkah,  not  fearing  anything  but  stray  animals  on  the  road.  This  in  fact  happened  during  the  caliphate  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu),  which  was  a  time  of  peace  and  stability during  which  there  was  an  accumulation  of  wealth,  then came  the  turmoil  of  killing  and  all  of  that  disappeared, turning  from  security  to  fear.

13-  During  times  of  fitnah,  the  best  and  most  wise  of  people are  killed,  and  all  that  are  left  are  the  riff-raff  who  do  not appreciate  any  good  deed  or  denounce  any  evil. 

These  are  some  of  the  meanings  derived  from  the  ahadeeth about  turmoil.

Reasons for the turmoil that led to the killing of ‘Uthman (Radhiyallahu Anhu)
Imam  al-Zuhri  said: ‘Uthman  ruled  for  twelve  years  as  caliph, during  the  first  six  years  of  which  the  people  did  not  criticize  him  for  anything,  and  he  was  more  beloved  to  Quraysh  than  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  (radhiyallahu anhu),  because  ‘Umar  had  been  very  strict  with  them,  but  ‘Uthman  was  lenient  and  generous  towards  them.  Then  the  turmoil  began  after  that.  The  Muslim  historians  call  the  events  that  happened  in  the  second  half  of  ‘Uthmiin’s  reign  (30-35  AH) the fitnah  (turmoil),  which  ended  in  the  martyrdom  of  ‘Uthman During  the  caliphates  of  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar,  and  the  first  part  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate,  the  Muslims  were  united  and  there were  no  disputes  among  them.  Then  at  the  end  of  ‘Uthman’s caliphate  there  were  some  events  that  resulted  in  some  kind  of  division,  and  some  evildoers  killed  ‘Uthman,  then  the  Muslims  became  divided  after  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman. [at-Tabaqat by ibn Sa’d 1/39-47; al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah 7/144-149; al-Khulafa’ al-Rashideen by al-Khalidi p.112]

Muslim  society  during  the caliphates  of  Abu  Bakr  and ‘Umar,  and  the  first  part  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate  had  the  following  characteristics:

1-  In  general  terms,  it  was  a  Muslim  society  in  the  full  sense of  the  word,  with  deep  faith  in  Allah  and  belief  in  the  Last  Day,  following  the  teachings  of  Islam  in  apparent  seriousness  and  with  clear  commitment,  with  the  least  amount  of  sin  ever  known  in  any  society  in  history.  In  this  society  religion  was  life  itself,  not  something marginal  that  people  turned  to  from  time  to  time;  rather  it  was  the  life  and  soul  of  the  people,  not  just  rituals  that  they  tried  to  do  properly.  Religion  guided  their  attitudes,  opinions,  interests,  values,  social  connections,  family  ties,  relationships  with  neighbours, buying  and  selling,  travelling  for  business,  efforts  to  earn  a  living  and  honesty  in  business.  It  meant  that  those  who  were  able  sponsored  those  who  did  not  have  any  means,  people  enjoined  that  which  is  good  and  forbade  that  which  is  evil,  and  watched  over  the  deeds  of  their  rulers  and  governors.  Naturally,  this  does  not  mean  that  every  individual  in  this  society  was  as  described,  as  that  is  something  that  cannot  be  achieved  in  this  life  or  in  any human  society.  Even  in  the  society  of  the  Messenger  of Allah –  as  it  says  in  the  Book  of  Allah  –  there  were  hypocrites  who  pretended  to  be  Muslim  when  deep  down  they  were  enemies  of  Islam;  there  were  people  whose  faith  was  weak,  and  those  who  tried  to discourage  others,  or  were  slow  to  do  good,  or  who  were  treacherous.  But  all  of  these  people  carried  no  weight  in  that  society  and  they  had  no  ability  to  divert  its  course,  because  those  who  were  directing  its  flow  were  the  sincere  believers  who  were  striving  for  the  sake  of  Allah  with  their  wealth  and  their  selves  and  adhering  to  the  teachings  of  this  religion. [Kuyfa  naktub  al-Tareekh  aI-Islami’  By  Muhammad  Qutb,  p.  100]

2-  It  was  the  society  that  achieved  the  highest  level  of  the  concept  of  the  ummah,  for  the  ummah  is  not  just  a  group
of  people  who  share  a  common  language,  land  and  interests,  which  were  the  bonds  that  united  people  during  the  Jahiliyyah.  If  a  nation  is  formed  on  such  bases then  it  is  a  nation  of  Jahiliyyah.  But  the  ummah  as  Allah  wants  it  to  be  is  a  nation  that  is  united  by  the  bond  of  faith,  regardless  of  language,  race,  colour  or  worldly  interests.  This  has  never  been  achieved  in  history  as  it  was  achieved  in  the  Muslim  ummah.  The  Muslim ummah  is  a  nation  that  is  not  based  on  bonds  of  land,  race,  colour  or  worldly  interests,  rather  it  is  bound  by  ties  of  faith  which  united  Arabs,  Abyssinians,  Byzantines and  Persians,  and  united  the  peoples  of  the  conquered  lands  with  the  conquerors  on  a  basis  of  complete  brotherhood  in  faith.  If  the  concept  of  ummah  was  achieved  by  this  ummah  for  the  longest  period  in history,  then  the  early  period  of  Islam  was  the  best  ever,  when  Islam  was  manifested  in  the  most  complete  way,  including  the  concept  of  ummah  which  was  achieved  in  an  unprecedented  fashion.  [Kuyfa  naktub  al-Tareekh  aI-Islami’  By  Muhammad  Qutb,  p.  101]

3-  It  was  a  moral  society  that  was  based  on  strong  moral foundations  that  were  derived  from  the  commandments  and  teachings  of  Islam.  This  moral  base  was  not  limited  to  guiding  relationships  between  the  sexes,  even  though  this  is  one  of  the  most  prominent  features  of  this  society,  which  was  free  from  wanton  display  and  the  chaos  of  free  mixing  and  free  from  any  deeds,  words  or  gestures  that  might  go  against  modesty,  and  free  from immorality  except  a  little  from  which  no  society  is  ever  entirely  free;  but  its  moral  foundation  went  much  further  than  governing  relationships  between  the  sexes.  It  included politics,  economics,  society,  thought  and  expression.  The political  system  was  based  on  the  morals  of  Islam;  the relationships  between  people  in  society  were  based  on honesty,  trustworthiness,  sincerity,  cooperation  and  love,  with  no  treachery,  malicious  gossip  or  impugning  of  people’s  honour. [Kuyfa  naktub  al-Tareekh  aI-Islami’  By  Muhammad  Qutb,  p.  102]

4- It  was  a  serious  society,  one  that  was  pre-occupied  with serious  issues,  not  trivial  matters.  Seriousness  does  not necessarily  mean  frowning  and  harshness,  rather  it  is  the inspiration  that  creates  energy  in  people  and  encourages vibrancy,  work  and  action.  The  issues  in  which  this  society  is  interested  are  far  and  above  these  physical  realities,  so  it  has  none  of  the  characteristics  of  idle,  hedonistic  societies  in  which  people  hang  about  in  their  homes  and  on  the  streets,  looking  for  ways  to  kill  time  because  they  have  too  much  free  time. [Kuyfa  naktub  al-Tareekh al-Islami’,  p.  102]

5-  It  was  a  society  that  was  striving  in  all  areas  where sacrifice  might  be  involved,  not  only  on  the  battlefield  for  the  sake of  Allah  –  even  though fighting  for  the  sake  of  Allah  occupied  a  great  space  in  the  life  of  this  society  –  but  also  all  other  areas.  Everyone  was  prepared  to  work  at  any  time  he  was  requested  to  do  so,  so  there  was  no  need  for  any  military  or  civil  mobilization,  because  the  society  was  already  mobilized,  motivated  by  faith  and  ready  to  act.  [Kuyfa  naktub  al-Tareekh al-Islami’,  p.  103]

6-  It  was  a  worshipping  society,  in  which  the  spirit  of worship  was  clear  in  all  its  activities,  not  only  in performing  obligatory  and  supererogatory  acts  of  worship,  seeking  the  pleasure  of  Allah,  but  also  in  doing  all  kinds  of  deeds.  For  them,  all  deeds  were worship,  so  they  did  work  in  the  spirit  of  worship.  The  ruler  ruled  people  in  the  spirit  of  worship;  the  teacher  who  taught  people  the  Qur’an  and  the  teachings  of  Islam  taught  in  the  spirit  of  worship;  the  merchant  who  remembered  that  Allahh  was  watching  him  as  he  bought  and  sold  did  that  in  the  spirit  of  worship;  the  husband  took  care  of  his  household  in  the  spirit  of  worship  and  the  wife  took  care  of  her  household  in  the  spirit  of  worship,  following  the  guidance  of  the  Messenger  of Allah  Ta’ala:

“Each  of  you  is  a  shepherd  and  each  of  you  is  responsible  for  his flock.” [At-Tirmidhi  (1705)]

These  are  the  most  important characteristics  of  the  era  of  Abu  Bakr  and  the  Rightly-Guided  Caliphs,  but  these  characteristics  were  stronger  the  closer  they  were  to  the  time  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  and  they  grew  weaker  the  further  away  we  get  from  that  time.  These  characteristics  made  it  a  Muslim  society  of  the  highest order,  and  they  are  what  made  that  time  an  exemplary  era  in  the  history  of  Islam.  They  are  also  the  factor  that  helped  this  religion  to  spread  so  astonishingly  quickly.  The  conquests  themselves  were  among  the  fastest  in  history;  within  fifty  years  they  reached from  the  Atlantic  in  the  west  to  India  in  the  east.  This  is  a phenomenon  which  in  itself  deserves  to  be  recorded  and highlighted.  Similarly,  the  people  in  the  conquered  lands embraced  Islam  with  no  force  or  pressure,  and  the characteristics  of  the  Muslim  society  are  the  real  cause  of  this  phenomenon.  The  people  came  to  love  Islam  when  they  saw  it  being  applied  in  this  wonderful  manner  and  they  wanted  to  be  among its  followers. [Kayfa  naktub  al-Tareekh  al-lslami’, p. 103]

Studying  this  period  of  history  should  leave  an  impression  that  cannot  be  erased  from  the  mind  of  the  researcher,  an impression  that  Islam  is  a  realistic  religion  that  is  applicable  with  all  its  ideals  in  the  real  world,  because  these  ideals  are  not  something  suspended  in  space  for  mere  pondering  and  wishing,  rather  they  are  realistic  ideals  that  can  be  implemented  if  people try  as  seriously  as  they  should  and  give  it  enough  effort. Moreover  there  is  another  impression,  that  what  happened before  could  happen  again,  because  people  are  people,  and people  are  always  able  to  rise  once  more  when  they  are determined,  and  they  can  attain  that  victory  and  power  again. Allah  says:

“Allah  has  promised  those  among  you  who  believe  and  do righteous  good  deeds,  that  He  will  certainly  grant  them succession  to  (the  present  rulers)  in  the  land,  as  He  granted  it  to  those  before  them,  and  that  He  will  grant  them  the  authority  to  practise  their  religion  which  He  has  chosen  for  them  (i.e. Islam).  And  He  will  surely,  give  them  in  exchange  a  safe  security  after  their  fear  (provided)  they  (believers)  worship  Me  and  do  not  associate  anything  (in  worship)  with  Me.  But  whoever  disbelieved  after  this,  they  are  the  Fasiqoon  (rebellious, disobedient  to  Allah)”  [An-Noor 24:55]

One  of  the  things  that  will  help  the  Muslims  to  restore  the Rightly-Guided  Caliphate  is  knowledge  of  the  factors  and  causes  that  led  to  its  decline  and  disappearance,  so  that  we  can  strive  to  avoid  them  and  follow  the  means  that  Allah  has  ordained  as  means  to  honour  this  ummah.  Hence  we  need  to  discuss  in  detail  the  causes  of  the  fitnah  that  ended  with  ‘Uthman’s  murder, because  they  are  important.  There  follow  the  most  important  of  these  causes:

Prosperity  and  its  effect  on  society
The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  saw  what  his  companions  were going  through  of  hardship  and  poverty,  so  he  told  them  to  be patient,  then  he  told  them  that  this  situation  would  not  last  for  long  before  the  treasures  of  this  world  would  be  opened  up  for  them,  but  he  warned  them  against  letting  that  distract  them  from  doing  righteous  deeds  and  striving  in  jihad  for  the  sake  of  Allah,  and  what  that  might  lead  them  into  of  fighting  for  worldly  gains  and  their  transient  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  understood  this  warning  and  it  was  part  of  his  policy  to  protect  the  Muslims  against  the  temptations  of  wealth  and  worldly  pleasures.  He  strove  hard  to  prevent  the  Muslims  from  spreading  in  the  non-Arab  lands.  Were  it  not  that  the  emergence  of  another,  stronger  interest  dictated  spreading  further,  his  ban  would  have  continued.  But  this  relenting  on  ‘Umar’s  part  did  not  extend  to  the  senior  Sahabah,  both  Muhajireen  and  Ansar,  who  were  in  Madinah;  his  ban  still  applied  to  them. [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitah  al-Oola,  p.  559] 

Undoubtedly  ‘Umar’s  attitude  is  indicative  of  his  fears  about  Muslims  spreading  to  lands  that  were  filled  with  all  kinds  of  goodness  and  provisions, lest  they  become  too  interested  in  worldly  gains  and  that  cause them  loss  in  the   hereafter. [Ibid. P. 559] 

When  the  reign  of  Uthman  came  and  the  conquests  spread  east  and  west,  and  wealth  started  pouring  in  to  the  bayt  al-mal  from  the  booty  that  was  acquired,  and  the  people’s  hands  were  filled  with  all  kinds  of  good provisions [Ahdath  wa  Ahadeeth  al-Fitnah  al-Oola,  p.  566], it  is  obvious  that  these  blessings  and  this  income  from  the  conquests  would  have  a  great impact  on  society,  because  of  the  coming  of  prosperity  and  the  resulting  pre-occupation  with  wealth.  Moreover  it  would  also  become  a  cause  of  competition  and  hatred,  especially  among  those  whose  faith  was  not  strong  enough  to  purify  their  hearts  and  who  were  not  disciplined  by  piety,  such  as  the  desert  Arabs  and  other  riff-raff,  those  who converted  as  the  result  of  conquest  and  the  members  of prosperous  nations  who  entered  Islam  at  a  superficial  level,  who  had  been  living  a  life  of  luxury  and  competing  in  those  things.  ‘Uthman  understood  this  phenomenon  and  warned  how this  ummah  would  change  in  his  letter  to  the  people:  The  affairs  of  this  ummah will  drift into  innovation after  three  things  happen  to  you:  when  prosperity  becomes  widespread,  when  your  children from  female  prisoners  of  war  reach  pube P and  when  the Bedouin  and  non-Arabs  start  to  read  Qur’an. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/245]

As  for  widespread  prosperity,  al-Hasan al-Basri – who  was  an eyewitness – spoke  of  the  state  of  society,  the  abundance  of  goods  and  the  accumulation  of  wealth,  and  how  the  people  changed  and  became  extravagant  and  ungrateful.  He  said:  I  understand  why  people  got  upset  with  ‘Uthman.  When a  time  comes  when  there  is hardly  a  day  when  provision  is  bemg  shared  out  among  the people,  it  will  be  said  to  them:  O  Muslims,  come  and  take  your stipends,  and  they  would  take  a  lot.  Then  it  would  be  said  to them:  Come  and  take  ghee  and honey.  The  stipends  were regular,  the  provisions  were  plentiful,  the  enemy  was  defeated,  relationships  were  good  and  there  was  plenty.  What  is  more,  the  sword was never  unsheathed  against  the people  of  Islam,  then  they  unsheathed  it  against  themselves,  and  by  Allah  it  has remained  unsheathed  until  today,  and  by  Allah  it  will  continue  like  that  until  the  Day  of  resurrection.  [al-Bidayah  wan-Nihayah,  7/224]

As  for  the  Muslims’  children from  the  female  prisoners  of  war  reaching  puberty,  this  manifested  itself  in  their  lifestyle  of  ease  and  luxury.  The  first  evil  that  appeared  in  Madinah  when  prosperity  became  widespread  was  when  the  people  started  to  keep  pigeons  and  fly  them.  ‘Uthman  appointed  a  man  from  Banu  Layth  in  the  eighth  year  of  his  caliphate  to  clip  their  wings. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/415]

People  began  to  feel  “high”  from  drinking  nabeedh,  so  ‘Uthman  sent  a  man  to  go  around  among  the  people  with  a  stick  to  prevent  that.  When  it  got  worse,  ‘Uthman  complained  to  his  advisors,  and they  agreed  to  flog  people  for  drinking  nabeedh.  He  caught  some  of  them  and  they  were  flogged.  Then  if  ‘Uthman  caught  anyone  doing  evil  or  unsheathing  his  weapon,  he would  banish  him  from  Madinah,  and  their  fathers  started  complaining  about  that. [Tareekh at-Tabari 4/416]

‘Uthman  stood  up  in  Madinah and  said:  I  am  hearing  news  about  wrong-doing  that  the  people  are  committing,  and  I  am  not  going  to  be  the  first  one  to  open  the  door  to  fitnah  or  initiate  it.  I  am  reining  myself  in  and  restraining  myself.  Whoever  follows  me,  I will  lead  him  in  the  path  that  he  knows,  and  whoever  does  not  follow  me,  for  every  soul  there  is  a  Day  of  Resurrection  and  an  angel  to  drive  and  an  angel  to  bear  witness  (cf.  Qaf 50:21).  Whoever  seeks  the  pleasure  of  Allah,  let  him  be  of  good  cheer,  but  whoever  seeks  worldly  gain  will  be  a  loser. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahaba  fi’l fitnah 1/361]

Thus  when  ‘Uthman,  the  pious  man  and  Rightly-Guided  Caliph,  carried  out  his  duties,  and  introduced  disciplinary  actions against  the  sons  of  the  rich  who  had  started  to  lead  a  life  of  luxury  and  corruption,  those  deviants  joined  with  others  who  resented  him.

With  regard  to  the  Bedouin  and  non-Arabs  studying  the Qur’an,  this  emerged  clearly  with  the  formation  of  a  class  in  the  Muslim  society  which  learned  Qur’an  not  for  the  sake  of  reward  in  the  Hereafter,  but  for  the  payments  offered  by  the  caliph  as  encouragement and  to  soften  people’s  hearts. [al-Watha’iq  al-Siyasiyyah  fi’l ‘Ahd  al-Nabawi  wa’l  Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p. 392]

It  is  worth  noting  that  the  effects  of  this  change  began  to  appear  first  at  the  edges  of the  Islamic  state,  then  they  moved  towards  the  capital  of  the  caliphate,  which  led  ‘Uthman  to  remind  the  Muslims  in  his  khutbahs  to  be  careful not  to  indulge  in  worldly  matters.  In  one  of  his  khutbahs  he  said:  Allah  has  given  you  these  worldly  conveniences  so  that  you  may  seek  reward  in  the  Hereafter;  He  has  not  given  them  to  you  so  that  you  may  be  content  with  them.  This  world  will  fade,  but  the  Hereafter  will  abide  forever,  so  you  should  not  be  tempted  by  these  temporary  conveniences  or  let  them  distract  you  from  that  which  is  eternal.  Fear  Allah,  adhere  to  the  main  body  (of  Muslims)  and  do  not  divide  into  groups  and  factions. [Ahdath wa’l Ahadeeth al-Fitnah  al-Oola, p. 567]

Then  he  recited:  “And  hold  fast,   all  of  you  together,  to  the  Rope  of  Allah  (i .e.  this  Qur’an),  and  be  not  divided  among  yourselves,  and  remember  All  this  Favour  on  you,  for  you  were  enemies  one  to  another  but  He  joined  your  hearts  together,  so  that,  by  His  Grace,  you  became  brethren  (in  Islamic  Faith),  and  you  were  on  the  brink  of  a  pit  of  Fire,  and  He  saved  you  from  it.  Thus  Allah  makes  His  Ayat  (proofs,  evidences,  verses,  lessons,  signs,  revelations, etc. ,)  clear  to you,  that  you  may  be  guided.  Let  there  arise  out  of  you  a  group  of  people  inviting  to  all  that  is  good  (Islam),  enjoining  Al-Ma’roof  (i.e.  Islamic  Monotheism  and  all  that  Islam  orders  one  to  do)  and  forbidding  Al-Munkar  (polytheism  and  disbelief  and  all  that  Islam  has  forbidden).  And  it  is  they  who  are  the  successful” [Al ‘Imran 3:103, 104]

In  circumstances  such  as  these,  when  prosperity  was  widespread  and  the  Muslims  were  living  a  life  of  ease  and plenty,  and  the  people  had  free  time  after  conquering  the  regions  and  they  felt  safe  and  secure,  they  started  to  criticize  and  feel  resentment  against  their  caliph. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahaba  fi’l  fitnah , 1/362]

Hence  we  can  see  the  effect  of  prosperity  in  creating  fitnah, and  we  can  understand  the  advice  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  gave  to  ‘Abd al-Rahman  ibn  Rabee’ah  –  who  had  spent  a  short  time  with  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) – when  he  was besieging  al-Bab  (What  is  meant  by  al-Bab  is  a  region  in  Azerbaijan  which  is  called  al-Durr al-Bund.  Mu’jam  al-Buldan,  1/303):  Many  of  the  people  have  become  heavy  (from  eating too  much),  so  take  it  easy  with  them  and  do  not  expose  the  Muslims  to  risk,  for  I  am  worried  lest  they  be  tested. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahaba  fi’l  fitnah 1/361]

At  the  end  of  a  khutbah  in  which  ‘Uthman  exhorted  the Muslims  after  they  had  accumulated  a  great  deal  of  wealth  and  property,  he  said: Do  not  let  this  transient  life  tempt  you  and  do  not  let  it distract  you  from  that  which  is  eternal.  Beware  of  what  may happen  to  you,  adhere  to  the  main  body  (of  Muslims)  and  do  not  be  divided  not  groups  and  factions. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahaba  fi’l  fitnah 1/362]

The  nature  of  social  change  at  the  time  of  ‘Uthman
Profound  social  effects  had  taken  place,  which  started  to work  quietly  but  forcefully  in  a  way  that  not  many  people noticed,  until  they  emerged  in  a  violent  and  explosive  manner that  started  in  the  second  half  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate  and  reached  its  peak  in  the  rebellion  that  led  to  the  martyrdom  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu). [al-Dawlah  al-Umawyyah  al-Muftara  ‘alayha,  p. 166]

When  the  Islamic  state  expanded  by  means  of  conquest,  there  came  about  a  change  in  the  structure  of  society  and  some  defects appeared  in  the  social  structure,  because  when  this  state  expanded  in  area  and  number  of  inhabitants,  it  inherited  a  vast  area  filled  with  different  races,  colours,  languages,  cultures,  customs,  systems,  ideas,  beliefs,  literature,  architecture  and  other  aspects  of  life.  On  the  surface  of  this  society  there  appeared  some  troubling  features  of  instability  and  areas  that  were  not  in  harmony  with  one  another.  Thus  society became  disharmonious, especially  in  the  large  provinces.  Because  of  their  strategic  location  and  importance,  they  were  used  as  bases  to  send  conquering  armies  and  received  them  on  their  way  back,  thus  their  numbers  decreased  because  of  death  and  killing.  Thus  to replace  those  who  had  died,  they  received  even  greater  numbers  of  people  from  the  conquered  lands,  Persians,  Turks,  Byzantines, Kurds  and  Berbers,  most  of  whom  were  Persians,  Arab  Christians,  other  Christians  or  Jews.  [Dirasat  Fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p.  379] 

Most  of  the  inhabitants of  these  large  provinces  were  those  who  had  taken  part  in  the  Islamic  conquests  then  settled  in  those  regions,  and  most  of  them  came  from  Arab  tribes  from  the  south,  north  and  east  of  Arabia.  They  were  not,  in  most  cases,  from  among  the  Sahabah,  or  more precisely,  they  were  not  among  those  who  had  been  taught  and disciplined  by  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  or  by  the  first  generation  of  the  Sahabah,  either  because  the  Sahabah  were  pre-occupied  with conquests  or  because  the  number  of  Sahabah  was  too  few.  Thus  there  were  many  changes  in  the  structure  of  this  human  society  which  consisted  of  the  early  generation  of  Muslims  and  the inhabitants  of  the  conquered  lands,  the  Bedouin,  those  who  had  previously  apostatized  and  Jews  and  Christians.  There  were  also  changes  in  the  cultural  structure  of  society,  its  standard  of  living, the  emergence  of  new  types  of  deviation  and  its  readiness  to accept  rumours. [Dirasat  Fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p.  380]

Changes  in  the  demographics  of  society
The  social  fabric  was  composed  of  a  number  of  groups

(a)  Those  who  remained  of  the  early  generation  of  the  Sahabah  and  those  who  had  learned  to  some  extent   from the  Sahabah. 

But  these  two  types  continued  to  decrease  either  as  a  result  of death  or  being  killed  in  battle,  or  due  to  their  dispersing  throughout  the  regions.  This  reduced  the  impact  of  their  presence  as  they  scattered  throughout  the  conquered  lands,  large  provinces,  newly-built  cities  such  as  Basra  and  Kufah,  Syria and  Egypt.  Some  of  them  left  Arabia  then  came  back  to  it. [Ibid]

(b)  The  original  inhabitants  of  the  conquered  regions. 

They  formed  the  majority  in  comparison  to  the  newcomers who  arrived  during  the  conquests.  The  newcomers  remained  a  minority  even  though  they  played  a  main  role  in  running  affairs  and  affecting  behaviour,  morals,  ideas  and  language.  But  despite that,  they  are  still  regarded  as  a  minority.  This  section  –  the original  inhabitants  of  the  conquered  regions  –  mostly  stayed  where  they  were,  but  some  of  them  moved  to  other  regions  in  the  Islamic  state,  some  of  them  settling  in  the  major  provinces  and  some  in  the  capital  of  the  state,  who  were  either  female  prisoners who  became  slaves,  meaning  that  they  settled  wherever  they followed  their  masters,  or  they  moved  for  the  purpose  of  trade,  to  seek  knowledge  or  to  work  in  the  state  administration,  as  there  was  no  law  that  prevented  them from  doing  that;  rather  they  may  have  been  encouraged  and  supported  to  do  so.’ [ibid]  The  non-Arabs  who  came  from  the  conquered  lands  were  among the  quckest  of  people  to  engage  in  fitnah,  because  most  of  them  came  from  nations  and  people  that  bore  a  great  resentment  at  having  been defeated,  so  they  were  quick  to  engage  in  fitnah  for  many  reasons,  including  the  following:

➡ Their  ignorance  and  the  fact  that  they  had  only  recently become  Muslim,  and  recently  lost  the  power  that  they  used  to  have.

➡ Their  lack  of  understanding  of  Islam,  due  to  the  language  barrier  and  other  factors.

➡ Nationalism  and  hatred  of  the  Arabs

➡ Some  groups  among  them entered  Islam  outwardly  for  fear  of  the  sword  or  jizyah,  but  they  harboured  feelings  of  ill-will  towards  Islam  and  the  Muslims,  and  they  hastened  to  engage  in  all  kinds  of  fitnah.

➡  People  of  whims  and  desires  were  relying  on  these groups  to  stir  up  trouble,  and  incited  them  accordingly. [Dirasat  fi’l-Ahwa’  wa’l-Firaq  wa’l-Bida’,  p.  161]

(c)  The  Bedouin  who  were  known  as  desert-dwellers

Like  other  people,  some  of  them  were  pious  Muslims  and some  were  kafirs  and  hypocrites,  but  they  were  as  Allah  says:

“The  Bedouins  are  the  worst  in  disbelief  and  hypocrisy,  and more  likely  to  be  in  ignorance  of  the  limits  (Allah’s Commandments  and  His  Legal  Laws)  which  Allah  has  revealed  to  His  Messenger.  And  Allah  is  All-Knower,  All- Wise” [At-Tawbah 9:97].

That  is  because  they  were  hard-hearted,  harsh-natured  and coarse  in  speech,  and  due  to  these  characteristics  they  were  more  inclined  to  have  no  knowledge  of  the  limits  that  Allah  had  revealed,  namely  laws,  rulings  and  jihad. [Dirasat fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p.  380,  quoting  from  ai- Shawkani,  Fath  al-Qadeer,  2/395-397] 

So  they  were  among  the  quickest  of  people  to  engage  in  fitnah,  and  there  are  several reasons  for  that,  including  the  following:

➡ Lack  of  understanding  of  Islam.

➡ One of  them  would  be  quick to  develop  self-admiration  as  soon as  he  learned  anything  of  the  Qur’an  believing  that  he  had  become  a  scholar  when  he  acquired  a  little  knowledge.

➡  Their  disrespect  towards  the  scholars  and  reluctance to  learn  from  them  or  follow  their  example.

➡  Their  deeply  rooted  tribalism.

➡ The  people  of  whims  and  desires  took  advantage  of them  and  their  naivete  and  ignorance
➡ Their  hot-tempered  nature,  aversion  to  cities  and  mixing  with  their  inhabitants,  and  their  suspicion  of  people  whom  they  do  not  know.  This  is  the  nature  of  the  Bedouin  in  all  times  and  places.

➡  Their  strictness  in  religious  observance  and  their stubbornness  with  no  knowledge.  Hence  most  of  the rebels  came  from  this  group. [Dirasat fi’l-Ahwa’  wa’l-Firaq  wa’l-Bida’,  p. 161]

From  these  Bedouin  emerged  men  who  were  known  as  al- qurra’  (lit.  the  readers  or  reciters),  but  in  this  case  what  was  meant  by  qurra’  was  different  from  the  usual  meaning.  What  is  usually  meant  is  a  group  of  people  who  specialized  in  reciting  the  Qur’an,  but  the  word  came  to  mean  something  else.  Some  of  them  followed  the  path  of  the  rebels,  who  understood  the  Qur’an  in  their  own  way;  some  of  them  were  ascetics  who  did  not  understand  the  meaning  of  what  they  read  and  could  not  adjust  to  the  reality  of  society. [Dirasat fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p.  381] 

These  ignorant  readers  hastened  to  become  involved  in  fitnah  for  several  reasons,  including  the  following:

➡  Strictness  in  religious  practice  in  addition  to  their  lack  of  proper  understanding  of  Islam,  which  made  them  feel  enthusiasm  and  protective jealousy  with  regard  to  religion,  but  without  knowledge  or  insight.  Hence  they  got  carried  away  with  their  whims  and  desires  in  the  name  of  protective  jealousy  towards  their  religion,  with  no  attention  paid  to  the  consequences  and  no  understanding  of  basic  principles  of  sharee’ah,  such  as warding  off  evil  or  serving  the  interests  of  the  ummah.

➡ Self-admiration  which  one  of  them  would  develop  as  soon  as  he  learned  a  few  verses  or  ahideeth,  without  understanding  them  properly,  so  he  would  imagine  that  he  had  become  one  of  the  scholars  who  are  able  to  determine  what  is  in  the  best  interests  of  the  Muslims.

➡ Looking  down  on  the  scholars  and  imams,  and thinking  that  they  had  reached  a  point  where  they  had  no  need  of  them  or  their  understanding  and  knowledge,  thinking  “they  are  just  men  and  we  are just  men.”

➡ Taking  ignorant  people  as  their  leaders  instead  of  the scholars  and  imams,  because  the  people  of  whims  and desires  and  the  leaders  of  innovation  and  fitnah  –  most  of  whom  were  crafty  individuals  –  always  sought  out  these  qurra’  and  tempted  them,  leading  them  step  by  step  and  exploiting  their  love  of  religion  and  provoking  their  protective  jealousy,  without  proper  insight.
➡ Their  ignorance of  the  rules  on  how  to  use  the  evidence and  understand  the  texts  with  regard  to  rulings  on  fitnah. [Dirasat fi’l-Ahwa’  wa’l-Firaq  wa’l bida’,  p. 163]

(d)  Those  who  had  previously  apostatized

They  had  not  been  Muslim  for  long,  and  their  joining  Islam was  out  of  necessity.  We  do  not  deny  that  some  of  them  became righteous  and  good,  and  were  among  the  virtuous,  but  some  of them  had  not  tasted  the  sweetness  of  Islam  and  even  though  they claimed  to  be  Muslim,  they  retained  their  previous  mentality  and continued  as  they  had  been  before  Islam,  motivated  by  tribalism  as  if  Islam  had  never  penetrated  deeply  into  their  hearts  or  as  if  they  believed  that  there  was  no  contradiction  between  Islam  as  they  knew  it  and  tribalism. [Dirasat fi ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah al-Rashidah,  p. 381]

These  groups  of  former  apostates  formed  an  element  that  contributed  to  setting  the  stage  for fitnah. The  apostates were  there  at  the  time  of  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhum);  the  only  difference  was that  ‘Uthman’s  policy  towards  them  was  different  from  the  policy  of  the  two  caliphs  who  came  before  him.  Abu  Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  written to  his  commanders  telling  them  never  to  seek  the  help  of  a  former  apostate  in  jihad  against  the  enemy,  and  he  emphasized  to  Khalid ibn  al-Waleed  and  ‘Iyad  ibn  Ghanam  that  they  were  not  to  bring  on  any  military  campaign  anyone  who  had  apostatized,  until further  notice.  So  during  his  era,  no  former  apostate  played  any  role.  [‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Athruhu fi Ahdath  al-Fitnah, by  Sulayman al-‘Awdah, p. 155] 

Al-Shu’bi  said:  In  his  wars,  Abu  Bakr  never  sought  the help  of  any  of  those  who  had  apostatized,  until  he  died. [al-Bidayah  wan-Nihayah,  6/347]

Hence  some  of  those  who  had  apostatized  but  then  became  good  Muslims  felt  too  shy  to  meet  Abu  Bakr.  For  example,  Tulayhah  ibn  Khuwaylid  went  to  Makkah  for  ‘Umrah,  but  he  was  never  able  to  meet  Abu  Bakr,  until  he  died. [at-Tareekh  al-Islami,  9/59] 

During  the  caliphate  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu), he  started  to  ease  off  on  this  policy  towards  the  former  apostates,  and  he  urged  them  to  go  and  join  the  fighting  in  Syria  and  Iraq. [‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Athruhu fi Ahdath  al-Fitnah, p. 156] 

In  the  army  of  Sa’d  ibn  Abi  Waqqas  that  went  to  al- Qadisiyyah  there  were  Qays  ibn  Makshooh  al-Muradi  and  ‘Amr ibn  Ma’di  Yakrib,  who  used  to  urge  the  people  to  fight.  This  all  came  about  after  ‘Umar  gave  the  former  apostates  permission  to go  and  fight. [Ibid]  But  this  easing  off  on  Abu  Bakr’s  policy  at  the  time  of  ‘Umar  was  accompanied  by  a  kind  of  caution;  there  were always  conditions  and  guidelines  before  they  were  allowed  to  join,  and  a  former  apostate  could  never  be  appointed  over  a  company  of  one  hundred  men.  Hence  Sa’d  had  to  send  Qays  ibn al-Makshooh  with  seventy  men  only  to  pursue  the  non-Arabs who  attacked  them  on  the  night  of  al-hareer.'”  [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 4/382]

Then  ‘Uthman  came  and  waived  all  these  restrictions  that  had  been  imposed  by  the  two  previous  caliphs  on  the  former  apostates.  He  thought  that enough  time  had  elapsed  since the  time  of  apostasy  for  anyone  to  have  gotten  rid  of  any  of  its  influence,  and  he  even  decided  to  appoint  some  of  the  former  apostates  to  do work  for  the  state  as  a  means  of  strengthening  their  faith,  but  that  had  no  such  effect  on them,  rather  it  made  them  even  more  corrupt.  The  result  of  ‘Uthman’s  allowing  former  apostates  to  go  to  Kufah  and  join  the  army  there  was  that  the  people  of  Kufah  changed,  and  the  army  commander  in  Kufah,  ‘Abd  al-Rahman  ibn  Rabee’ah,  was  injured  in  the  campaign  against  the  Turks  –  he  was  the  one  who  had  fought  them  at  the  time  of  ‘Umar,  when  they  were  scared  of  him  and  used  to  say:  This  man  would  never  have  dared  to  come  and  fight  us  unless  he  had  angels  with  him,  protecting  him  from  death. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/146]

These  effects  can  clearly  be  seen  in  the  fitnah  that  resulted  in  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman.  When  we  look  at  the  names  of  those  who  were  accused  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder,  we  see  men  who  belonged  to  tribes  that  were  among  the  former apostates,  such  as  Sawdan  ibn  Hamran  al-Sakooni,  Qutayrah  ibn  Fulan  al-Sakooni  and  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah  al-‘Abdi. [Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Athruhu fi Ahdath  al-Fitnah, p. 157]

(e)  The  Jews  and  Christians

Some  of  them  –  in  fact  many  –  had  left  or  been  expelled  from the  Arabian  Peninsula  and  had   settled  in  the  large  provinces,  such as  Kufah  and  Basra.  The  Jews  in  particular  –  as  is  their  nature  – stayed  in  those  regions  that  adjoined  the  areas  under  conquest,  engaging  in  their  well-known  dual  mission  of  financial  control  by  various  means  and  conspiring  to  bite  the  hand  that  was  feeding them. [Dirasat fi ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah al-Rashidah,  p. 381]  We  will  discuss  the  role  of  the  Jews  below,  in  sha  Allah.

The  cultural  fabric  of  society
In  addition  to  this  human  mix,  there  was  another  mix  of  no less  significance,  if  not  of  greater  significance,  namely  the  cultural  mix.  Cultures,  ideas,  systems  and  beliefs  flowed  with  these  huge  numbers  of  people  that  joined  the  Muslim  society,  forming  a  heavy  burden on  its  shoulders.  What  made  matters  worse  was  the  fact  that  despite  the  Muslims’  integration  into  the  conquered lands,  as  they  Lived  in  their  midst  and  intermarried  with  them,  learning  their  languages,  adopting  their  dress  and  following  their  traditions,  their  influence  on  the  conquered  peoples  was  limited  at  that   early  stage. [‘Ibid]  And  the  people  of  the  conquered  lands  did  not  get  a  big  share  of  Islamic  education  and  did  not  become  infused  with  the  Islamic  spirit  as  had  been  the  case  with  the  Sahabah,  the Muhajireen  and  Ansar;  the  same  was  also  true  of  the  Arab  tribes  who  mixed  with  the  people  of  the  conquered  lands.  Islam  had  managed  to  fuse  many  tribes  in  a  single  melting-pot  for  a  while.  But  it  should  be  taken  into  account  that  the  process  of  teaching and  education  that  was  led  by  a  solid  base  of  the  Muhjireen  and  Ansar  was  not  able  to  encompass  these  huge  numbers  of  people,  so  the  non-Arabs  were  unable  to  get  rid  of  all  the  ideas  and  customs  that  they  had  followed  during  their  jahiliyyah.  This  was  due  to  a  lack  of  balance  between  the  horizontal  expansion  of  the conquests  and  the  vertical  expansion  in  teaching  people  and  enabling  them  to  understand  the  Book  of  Allah  and  the  Sunnah  of  His  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  even  though  the  jihad  was  invariably accompanied  by  da’iyahs  and  teachers  who  sought  to  teach  the  people  their  religion  so  as  to  keep  pace  (with  the  conquests)  and avoid  any  weakness  in  the  Muslim  ranks and  avoid  any  widening  of  the  gap  between  the  conquerors  and  the  inhabitants  of  the conquered  lands,  which  would  result  in  many  negative consequences  and  affect  the  political  and  ideological  unity  of  the  Muslim  ranks. [Tahqeeq Mawaqif al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah,  1/358] 

It  was  not  possible  to  avoid  these  negative  consequences  despite  the  enthusiastic  efforts  in  the  field  of  teaching  Islam,  the  reason  being  that  the  spread  of  Islam  was  so  swift  and  far-reaching.  Iraq  and  the  regions  beyond  it,  as  well  as Syria,  were  conquered  within  a  few  short  years,  and  it  was  not humanly  possible  for  education  efforts  to  reach  and  encompass the  huge  numbers  of  people  in  those  regions. [Ibid]  Among  the reasons  for  that  was  the  fact  that  most  of  the  Sahabah  who  could  have  carried  out  this  mission  were  killed  in  the  battlefield,  and  there  were  only  a  few  of  them  left,  scattered  in  different  regions.  Those  Muslims  who  wanted  to  learn  gathered  around  them,  which  led  to  the  emergence  of  the  Tabi’een,  most  of  whom  were sincere  and  were  in  the  forefront  of  jihad,  and  some  of  them  were  killed  too. [al-Yemen fi  Sadr  al-Islam  by  Shuja,  p.  334]

Similarly,  there  was  not  enough  time  to  consolidate  the  teachings  of  Islam  in  the  hearts  of  many  people  which,  along  with  other  factors,  led  to  confusion  and  negative  consequences.  This  was  clearly  manifested  in  the  last  years  of  ‘Uthman’s reign. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif al-Sahabah fi’l-Fitnah, 1/359]

Emergence  of  a  new  generation An  even  greater  change  took  place  in  society,  which  was  the emergence  of  a  new  generation  of  people  who  started  to  take  up  positions  in  society.  They  were  different  from  the  generation  of  the  Sahabah,  living  in  a  different  era  and  with  different  characteristics.  This  is  a  generation  which  in  general  is  regarded  as  being  of  a  lesser  quality  than  the  first  generation  that  had  borne  on  its  shoulders  the  burden  of  building  and establishing  the  state.  The  first  generation  of  Muslims  was  distinguished  by  its  strength  of  faith  and  sound  understanding  of  the  essence  of  Islamic  belief  and  its  complete  readiness  to  submit  to  the  system  of  Islam  as  embodied  in  the  Qur’an  and  Sunnah.  These  characteristics  were  less  apparent  in  the  new generation  that  was  the  product  of  far-reaching  conquests,  in  which  individualism  and  selfishness  appeared,  along  with  the tribalism  of  different  races  and  peoples,  some  of  whom  still  bore  the  legacy  of  the  Jahiliyyah  that  they  had  once  followed.  They  did  not  gain  from  an  education  in  sound  Islamic  belief  what  the  first generation  of  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  gained  at  the  hands  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  That  was  because  they  were  so  great  in  number,  and  the  conquerors  were  so  pre-occupied  with  war  and  new  conquests. [Tahqeeq  Mawiqif al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah,  1/356] 

So  the  Sahabah  were  less  involved  in  differences  and  divisions  than  those  who  came  after  them;  the  later  a  period was  from  the  time  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) the  greater  the  differences and  divisions. [Dhun-Noorayn,  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan by  Muhammad  Mal-Allah,  p.  99]

The  new  generation  did  not  accept  the  way  of  the  previous generation,  and  were  accustomed  to  a  different  way.  Thus  a  new  mentality  and  a  new  outlook  on  life  emerged,  which  was  a  concept  that  drifted  away  from  the  outlook  that  had  prevailed  at  the  time  of  the  first  two  Rightly-Guided  Caliphs.  The  new  generation  could  not  understand  that  mentality  or  accept  it,  or surrender to  its  rule. [al-Dawlah al-Umawiyyah,  by  Yoosuf  al-‘Ishsh,  p. 133] 

Hence  the  deviants  of  the  new  generation  joined  those  who  were  promoting  fitnah.

Society’s  readiness  to  accept  rumours
From  this  heterogeneous  mix  we  can  understand  that  society was  susceptible  to  turmoil  and  receptive  to  rumours  and hearsay. [Dirasat ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah,  p.  382] 

This  was  expressed  clearly  by  Ibn  Taymiyah  who  said:  Because  the  people  at  the  time  of  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar,  whose  example  the  Muslims  were  enjoined  to  follow  as  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said:

“Follow  the  example  of  the  two  who  come  after  me,  Abu  Bakr and  ‘Umar …” [At-Tirmidhi  #3662]

were  closer  in  time  to  the  Message  and  were  stronger  in  faith  and  more  righteous,  their  leaders  were  doing  a  better  job  and  the  society  was  more  stable,  and  no  fitnah  occurred  because  society  was  dominated  by  people  of  strong  faith.  But  at  the  end  of  ‘Uthman’s  rule  and  during  ‘Ali’s  caliphate,  the  third  type  (i.e.,  people  with  self-reproaching  souls  who  mixed  good  deeds  with  bad)  grew  greater  in  numbers,  and were  influenced  by  whims  and desires  and  by  confusion  as  well  as  by  faith  and  religious commitment.  That  happened  to  some  of  the  governors  and  some  of  the  people.  Then  this  type  (whose  good  deeds were  mixed  with  bad)  increased  even  more,  and  fitnah  emerged  because  of  that  of  which  we  have  spoken  above,  namely  the  lack  of  piety  and  obedience  on  both  sides,  who  were  both  under  the  influence  of  some  whims  and  desires  and  sins.  Both  found  explanations  for their  actions  and  believed  that  they  were  enjoining  what  is  good and  forbidding  what  is  evil,  and  following  truth  and  justice,  but  along  with  that  justification  there  was  a  kind  of  whims  and  desires  and  confusion,  even  though  one  was  closer  to  the  truth than  the  other. [Majmoo’  Fatwa  Ibn  Taymiyah,  28/148,149] 

This  may  be  explained  more  precisely  by  the  dialog  that  took  place  between  the  caliph  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib  and  one  of  his  followers.  The  man  said:  Why  did  the  Muslims  differ concerning  you  when  they  did  not  differ  concerning  Abu  Bakr and  ‘Umar?  ‘Ali  said:  Because  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  were  rulers over  people  like  me,  and  today  I  am  a  ruler  over  people  like you.  [Muqaddimat  Ibn  Khaldoon,  p.  189] 

The  caliph  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan  understood  what  was  going  on in  society,  as  he  said  in  his  letter  to  his  commanders:  The people  are  scattered  far  and  wide,  and  selfishness  is  becoming  widespread  among  them.  I  see  three  reasons  for  that:  love  of  this  world,  whims  and  desires  and  too  many  grudges.  Soon  it  will  lead  to  turmoil. [al-Tamheed  wa’l-Bayan,  p.  64]

‘Uthman’s  coming  after  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
The  fact  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  came  directly  after  ‘Umar  and  the  differences  in  their  natures  led  to  changes  in  the  way  in  which  people  were  dealt  with.  Whereas  ‘Umar  was  a  strong  character  who  was  strict  both  with  himself  and  with  those  who  were  under  his  authority,  ‘Uthman  was  softer  in  nature  and  kinder  in  his  dealings  with  others,  and  he  was  not  as  strict  with  himself  or  others  as  ‘Umar  was.  ‘Uthman  himself  said:  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Umar;  who  can  do  what  ‘Umar  used  to  do? [Tareekh at-Tabari,  5/418]

Although  the  people  were  happy  with  ‘Uthman  during  the  first  part  of  his  reign,  because  he  was  lenient  with  them  where  ‘Umar  had  been  strict,  and  love  of  ‘Uthman  became widespread,  later  on  they  began  to  criticize  him.  This  had  to  do  with  ‘Uthman’s upbringing,  as  he  was  kind,  easy-going,  soft-natured,  tactful  and  diplomatic,  which  influenced  the  way  things  developed  and  changed  during  his  reign  from  how  they  had  been  during  the  reign  of  his  predecessor  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab.  ‘Uthman  understood  that  when  he  said  to  some  people  whom  he  imprisoned:  Do  you  know  why  you  are  daring  to  challenge  me? Nothing  made  you  dare  to  challenge  me  but  my  forbearance. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 2/250 ]

When  the  intentions of  some  of  the  rebels  became  apparent,  after  ‘Uthman  had  proven  them to  be  wrong  with  evidence  that  refuted  all  the  criticisms  they  presented  to  him  in  front  of  a  group  of  Sahabah  and  other  people,  the  Muslims  insisted  on  killing  them  but  ‘Uthman  insisted  on  letting  them  go  because  of  his  forbearance  and  gentleness,  saying:  We  shall  pardon  and  not  kill;  we  will  try  to  explain  to  them  and  we  will  not  punish  anyone  unless  he  commits  an  offence  that  requires  a  hadd  punishment  or makes  a  blatant  show  of  kufr.” [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif al-Sahabah fi’l-Fitnah, 1/364]

Departure  of  the  senior  Sahabah  form  Madinah
‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  prevented  the  prominent  people  of  Quraysh,  the  Muhijireen,  from  leaving  to  other  countries,  except  with  permission  for  a  short  period.  They  complained  about  him  and  news  of  that reached  him,  so  he  stood  up  and  said:  I  liken  Islam  to  the  ages  of  a  camel;  it  starts  out  as  a  jadha’  (one  year  old  camel), then  it  becomes  a  thaniyy  (two year  old),  then  a  raba’iyy  (four year old),  then  a  sadasiyy  (six  year  old),  then  a  bazil  (nine  year  old).  Is  there  anything  left  for  the  bazil  but  the  onset  of  its  decline  (as  it  has  reached  its  peak)?  Now  Islam  is  Like  a  bazil  (i.e.,  it  has  reached  its  peak).  So  long  as  Ibn  al-Khattab  is  alive,  I  will  be  standing  at  the  mountain  pass  of  al-Harrah,  holding  Quraysh  by  their  chests  to  prevent  them  from  throwing  themselves  into  the  Fire. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/413]

‘Umar  was  afraid  for  these  Sahabah  if  they  scattered  in  the  conquered  lands  and  acquired  property  and  wealth.  If  one  of  the  Muhajireen  whom  ‘Umar  was  keeping  in  Madinah came  to  ‘Umar  and  asked  him  for  permission  to  leave,  ‘Umar  would  answer:  In  your  having campaigned  with  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  is  that  which  will take  you  to  Paradise;  what  is  better  for  you  today  than  going  out  on  campaign  is  not  seeing  any  worldly  temptations. [Tareekh  at-Tabari 5/414]

But ‘Uthman allowed  them  to  go  out  and  was  easy-going  with  them.  al-Sha’bi  said:  When  ‘Uthman  became  caliph,  he  let  them  go  and  they  went  all  over,  and  the  people  gathered  around  them,  so  he  was  dearer  to  them  than  Umar. [Tareekh  at-Tabari 5/414] 

As  a  result  of  that  expansion, some  of  Quraysh  gained  wealth  and  property  in  the  regions,  and  people  gathered  around  them. [Tareekh  at-Tabari 5/413]

According  to  one  report,  when ‘Uthman  proved  not  to  be  strict  with  them  as  ‘Umar  had  been,  they  spread  all  over.  When  they  saw  this  world  and  the  people  saw  them,  those  who  had  no  virtue  and  nothing to  offer  Islam  and  were  not  known  among  the  people  at  all  gathered  around  them,  and  thus  different  groups  formed.  That  was  the  first  weakness that  appeared  in  Islam,  and  the  first  fitnah  that  affected  the masses. [Tareekh  at-Tabari 5/414]

Jahili Tribalism
Ibn  Khaldoon  said:  When  the  conquests  were  complete  and the  Muslims  gained  full  control and  power,  and  the  Arabs  settled  in  the  regions  on  the  border  between  them  and  other  nations,  in  Basra,  Kufah,  Syria  and  Egypt,  there  were  those  who  had  been  companions  of  the  Messenger  of  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  were  adhering  to  his  guidance,  the  Muhajireen,  Ansar,  Quraysh  and  people  of  the  Hijaz,  as  well  as  others  who  were  like  them.  As  for  the  rest  of  the  Arabs,  such  as  the  tribes  of  Banu  Bakr  ibn  Wa’il,  ‘Abd  al-Qays,  Rabee’ah,  al-Azd,  Kindah,  Quda’ah  and  others,  only  a  few  of  them  attained  that  level,  but  they  played  a  major  role  in  the conquests  so  they  saw  themselves  as  deserving  of  respect,  but  the  people  of  wisdom  showed  greater  respect  to  the  earlier  generation  and  recognized  their  rights,  as  they  were  still  in  a  state  of  awe  at the  issue  of  Prophethood  and  the  coming  of  the  Revelation  and  the  angels.  But  when  the  influence  of  that  awe  waned,  and  when  the  enemy  was  humiliated  and  the  Muslims’  power  grew  stronger,  jahili  ideas  began  to  re-emerge.  When  they  realized  that  their  leaders  were  from  among  the  Muhajireen  and  Ansar,  from Quraysh  and  other  tribes,  they  began  to  resent  that,  and  this happened  to  be  at  the  time  of  ‘Uthman.  They  started  to  criticize  the  governors  openly  in  the  various  regions,  picking  on everything  they  did  and  blaming  them  for  that.  They  made  unfair  demands  for  governors  to  be  dismissed  and  replaced,  and  they  started  to  criticize  ‘Uthman  a  great  deal,  and  this  criticism  became  widespread  among  their  followers,  along  with  rumours that  spoke  of  injustice  in  various  areas.  News  of  that  reached  the  Sahabah  in  Makkah,  so  they  grew  suspicious  and  began  to  speak of  dismissing  ‘Uthman  or  telling  him  to  dismiss  his  governors.  He  sent  people  to  the  regions  to  check  on  this  news,  and  they  came  back  to  him  and  said:  We  did  not  find  anything  to  be  denounced  and  neither  the  prominent  Muslims  not  the  ordinary  Muslims denounced  the  governors.
[Tareekh  Ibn  Khaldoon,  2/477]

The  cessation  of  conquest
When  the  conquests  came  to  an  end  at  the  end  of  ‘Uthman’s reign,  because  of  insurmountable  natural  or  human  barriers,  especially  in  Persia,  northern  Syria  and  North  Africa,  and  the  booty  stopped  as  a  result,  the  Bedouin  started  wondering  where  the  previous  booty  and the  conquered  lands  that  they  regarded  as  their  due  had  gone. [Tahqeeq Mawaqif al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah, 1/344]

False  rumours  began  to  spread,  accusing  ‘Uthman  of  having  disposed  of  the  lands  that  had  been  given  as  waqfs  to  the  Muslims  according  to  his  own  whims  and  desires,  and  having  allocated  them  to  whomever  he  wanted.  These  rumours  upset  and  disturbed  the  Bedouin  specially  since  most  of  them  had  no  work  and  were  spending  half  of  their  time  eating  and  sleeping,  and  the  other  half  discussing  the  policies  of  the  state  and  talking  about  ‘Uthman’s  conduct,  which  the  followers  of ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  were  exaggerating  about. One  of  ‘Uthman’s  governors –  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir  –  understood  what  was  going  on  and  he  advised  the  caliph,  when  he  sought  the  advice  of  his  workers,  governors  and  advisors,  that  he  should  tell  the  people  to engage  in  jihad  and  send  them  away  from  their  wives  on campaign  for  lengthy  periods,  so  that  the  main  concern  of  any  one  of  them  would  be  dealing  with  the  lice  on  his  head  and  taking  care  of  his  mount. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 2/340]

In  this  atmosphere,  where people  who  were  used  to  going out  on  campaign  but  did  not  have  much  understanding  of   Islam  were  talking  about  serious  matters,  bad  consequences  were  possible  and  it  was  sufficient  to  stir  up  these  Bedouin  and  manipulate them  into  revolting  and  causing tdoubles  and  turmoil.  And  this  is  what  actually  happened.  Due  to  the  cessation  of  conquest,  the  Bedouin  played  a  role  in  the  emergence  of  the  first  fitnah,  and  they  were  one  of  its  main  causes. [Tahqeeq Mawiqif al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah,  p.  353]

Mistaken concept of Piety
In  Islam,  piety  is  regarded  as  a  good  thing;  it  means  giving  up something  that  is  permissible  for  fear  of  falling  into  something  wrong.  In  principle  it  means  giving  up  permissible  things  for  the  sake  of  Allah.  Piety  (wara’)  is  a  personal  matter  which  a  person  may  expect  of  himself,  but  it  is  not  right  for  him  to  expect  it  of others.  One  of  the  most  dangerous  types  of  piety  (wara’)  is  ignorant  piety  which  regards  a  permissible  thing  as  either  forbidden  or  obligatory,  and  this  is  what  happened  to  those  who  were  involved  in  the fifnat. [al-Asas’ fi’l-Sunnah,  4/1676]

The  enemies  of  Islam  at  that time  exploited  their  emotions  and  stirred  them  up,  so  they regarded  ‘Uthman’s  actions  which  were  permissible  and  served  the  interests  of  the  ummah  as  drifting  away  Islam  and  from  the  path  of  those  who  had  come  before,  and  these  ignorant  people  regarded  those  actions  as  very  serious,  to  such  a  degree  that  they thought  it  permissible  to  shed  the  blood  of  the  Rightly-Guided Caliph  ‘Uthman  or  to  help  those  who  regarded  that  as permissible.  Thus  the  door  of  fitnah  was  opened  to  the  Muslims  and  has  remained  open  until  today.  This  ignorant  type  of  piety  may  be  seen  today  in  the  actions  of  some  Muslims  who  insist  of  shaping  the  rulings  of  Islam  in  accordance  with  their  own  likes and  dislikes,  or  their  customs  and  traditions. [Ahdah  wa Ahadeeth  Fitnah  ul-Haq,  p.  517]

Ambitions  of  ambitious  people In  the  second  generation  of  the  children  of  the  Sahaba  (radhiyallahu anhum)  there  were  those  who  regarded  themselves  as  qualified  to  rule  and  be  in  positions  of  leadership,  but  they  found  that  the  way  to that  was  blocked.  Usually  when  there  are  ambitious  people  who cannot  find  a  way  to  fulfil  their  ambitions,  they  get  involved  in  any  movement  that  is  aimed  at  changing  the  status  quo.  Dealing  with  such  people  is  an  extremely important  matter. [al-Asas fi’l-Sunnah, 4/1676]

The conspiracy  of  the  haters Hate-filled  hypocrites  entered  Islam,  whose  combined resentment,  smartness  and  craftiness  enabled  them  to understand  the  weak  points  through  which  they  could  create  fitnah,  and  they  found  people  who  would  listen  to them  eagerly,  and  that  led  to  whatever  it  led  to. [Ibid] 

We  have  seen  previously  that there  were  Jews,  Christians  and  Persians  whose  motives  for hating  Islam  and  the  Islamic  state  are  well  known.  But  here  we  may  add  those  who  were  subjected  to  ta’zeer  punishments  for  offences  that  they  had  committed,  and  who  had  been  punished  by  the  caliph  or  his  governors  in  some  regions,  especially  Basra,  Kufah,  Egypt  and  Madinah.  These  Jewish,  Christian  and  Persian haters,  and  criminals  (who  had  been  given  hadd  punishments) exploited  groups  of  people,  most  of  whom  were  Bedouin who  did  not  understand  this  religion  as  it  really  is,  and  they  all  formed  a  group  which  was  described  by  all  those  who  met  them  as  evil,  and  as  troublemakers  from  the  provinces  and  the  dregs  of  the tribes [Dirasat fi ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah, p. 392]; the  wolves  of  the Arabs [Ibid];  the  dregs  of  mankind  who were  united  in  evil [at-Tabaqat,  3/71.  These  are  the  words  of  Ibn  Sa’d]; fools  with  no  understanding  [Dirasat fi ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah, p. 392] ; the  worst thugs  of  the  tribes  [Shadharat  al-Dhahab,  1/40].  These  are  the  words  of  Ibn  al-‘Imad];  they  were  rabble  and  ruffians,  the  troublemakers  of  the  tribes,  the  lowest  of  the  low’  [Sharh  Sahi  Muslim,  15/148,149];  they  were  the  tools  of  the  shaytan. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 5/327]  The  sources  constantly  mention  the name  of  the  Jew  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  al-San’ani  among  these  hate-filled  persons.  They  say  that  he  was  a  Jew  who  became  Muslim,  but  no  one  checked  on  his  intentions,  and  he  was  able  to move  among  the  Muslim  provinces  because  he  was  regarded  as one  of  the  Muslims. [Dirasat fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah  p.  33] 
We  will  discuss  him  in  a  separate  section,  in  sha  Allah.

Plans  to  stir  up  trouble  against  “Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  Society  was  primed  to  accept  rumours  and  talk  due  to  a number  of  internal  factors,  and  the  social  fabric  was  susceptible  to  penetration.  Those  who  wanted  to  stir  up  turmoil  decided  to  criticize  the  rulers  and  governors  on  the  grounds  of  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil  until  they  got  the  people on  their  side  and  the  criticism began  to  reach  ‘Uthmann ibn ‘Affan  (radhiyallahu anhu)  himself,  because  he  was  the  ruler  of  the  state.  If  we  list  the  criticisms  that  were  levelled  against  the  caliph  and  used  against  him,  we  will  see  that  they  fall  into  five  categories.

1-  Personal  issues  from  the  time  before  he  was  caliph  (his absence  from  some  battles  and  other  events)

2-  His  financial  policies  –  stipends  and  lands  set  aside  for grazing

3- His  executive  administrative policies:  appointment  of  his relatives  and  his  way  of  selecting  governors 

4- Fiqhi  matters  based  on  his  ijtihad  or  the  interests  of  the ummah  (offering  the  prayer  in  full  in  Mina,  compiling  the  Qur’an,  expanding  the  mosque)

5-  His  dealings  with  some  of  the  Sahabah:  ‘Ammar,  Abu Dharr,  Ibn  Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhum) [Dirasat  fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah  p. 394] 

There  were  some  other accusations  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  either  during  his  reign,  with  which  they  confronted  him  and  he  refuted  them  then,  or  things that  were  fabricated  against  him  later  on  by  some  narrators  and  writers, which  were  not  valid  and  which  did  not  reach  a  level  that  would  justify  killing  him.  [Dirasat  fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashidah, p. 400]

The  criticisms  referred  to  above,  which  are  mentioned  in Tareek  al-Tabari  and  other  books  of  history,  and  which  was  narrated  via  unknown  narrators  and  weak  storytellers, especially  among  the  Raafidhis,  were  and  still  are  a  major  problem  with  regard  to  facts  about  the  lives  of  the  caliphs  and  imams,  especially  at  times  of  tibulation  and  turmoil.  Unfortunately  the  biography  of ‘Uthman  has  the  greatest  share  of  that;  his  biography  has  been subjected  to  fabrications,  distortions  and  exaggerations produced  by  these  deviants  so as  to  incite  people  against  him  and  give  him  a  bad  image.  ‘Uthman  himself  realized  that  when  he  wrote  to  his governors  saying:  The  people  have  spread  all  over  and  become  inclined  towards  evil,  with  three  types  of  motives  for  that:  love  of  this  world,  whims  and  desires,  or  hatred  and  grudges. [al-Tamheed  wa’l-Bayin, p.  64]

Ibn  al-‘Arabi  said  of  that  criticism:  They  said  unfairly,  based  on  the  reports  of  liars,  that  ‘Uthman  committed  many  evils  and  injustices  during  his  caliphate.  All  of  that  is  false,  both  is  isnid  and  text. [al-‘Awasim  min  al-Qawasim, p.  61-63]

Ibn  Taymiyah  stated  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  not  infallible,  and  said:  The  basic  principle  is  that  we  do  not  believe  that  anyone  was infallible  after  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  rather  the  caliph  or  anyone  else  may  make  mistakes  and  commit  sins,  but  they  may  repent  or  their  sins  may  be  expiated  by  their  many  good  deeds,  or  they  may  be  faced with  calamity  by  means  of  which  Allah  will  expiate  their  sins,  or  they  may  be  expiated  in  other  ways.  Everything  that  has  been  narrated  from  ‘Uthman  may  at  worst  be  a  sin  or  a  mistake,  but  ‘Uthman  achieved  the  means  of  attaining  forgiveness  in  many ways,  such  as  his  having  come  to  Islam  early,  his  faith  and jihad,  and  other  good  deeds  that  he  did.  It  is  proven  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam  testified  in  his  favour  and  gave  him  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise  for  a  calamity  that  would  befall  him. [Muslim,  Kitab  Fada’il  al-Sahibah, 4/1867, 1869] 
Moreover,  he  repented  from  most  of  the  things  for  which  they  criticized  him,  and  he  met with  a  great  calamity  by  means  of  which  Allah  expiated  his  sins and  he  bore  it  with  patience  until  he  was  killed  wrongfully  as  a  martyr,  which  is  one  of  the  greatest  means  of  expiation. [Dhu’n-Noorayn, ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan, by  Muhammad  Ma-Allah, p. 63]

Using  means  to  stir  up  the  people
The  most  important  of  these  meaw  were:  spreading  rumours until  they  became  widespread;  stirring  up  debates  and arguments  against  the  caliph  before  the  people;  criticizing  the  governors;  fabricating  forged  letters  which  were  attributed  to  the  Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum),  ‘Aa’ishah,  ‘Ali,  Talhah  and  az-Zubayr;  spreading  the  rumour  that  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib  was  more  entitled  to  the  caliphate  and  that  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  left instructions  that  he  should  be  the  caliph  after  him;  organizing groups  in  Basra,  Kufah  and  Egypt,  with  four  groups  in  each province,  which  is  indicative  of  prior  planning.  They  gave  the people  of  Madinah  the  false  impression  that  they  had  only  come  at  the  invitation  of  the  Sahabah  and  things  escalated  until  they  reached  the  level  of  murder. [Dirasat fi ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashida,  p. 401]

In  addition  to  these  means,  they  also  used  a  number  of  slogans,  including  takbeer  and  the  claim  that  their  jihad  was  against  injustice,  or  that  they  were  only  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil,  or  making  demands  to change  and  dismiss  governors,  but  then  the  demand  turned  into  a  demand  for  the  dismissal  of  ‘Uthman,  until  they  got  carried  away  in  their  audacity  and  hastened  to  kill  the  caliph,  especially  when  they  heard  that  the  people  of  the  provinces  were  coming  to  support  the  caliph;  that  made  them  more  eager  to  corner  the  caliph  and  kill  him  by  any  means. [Dirasat fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nubuwwah  wa’l-Khilafah  al-Rashida,  p. 401]

Influence  of  the  Saba’is  (followers  of  “Abd-Allah ibn  Saba”  on  the  fitnah
The  Saba’is  were  a  real  group,  not  a  figment  of  the imagination

The  early  scholars  were  unanimously  agreed  that  the  Saba’is  existed,  with  no  exception.  A  few  modern  scholars,  most  of  whom  are  Shi’is,  agreed  with  that,  and  their  claim  is  based  on  the  view  that  this  was  a  product  of  the  imagination  of  Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar al-Tameemi,  because  some  of  the  scholars  of  biography  criticized  this  Sayf  in  the  field  of  hadeeth  narration,  but  the  scholars  regard  him  as  acceptable  in  the  field  of  historical  reports.  Moreover,  there  are  many  reports  narrated  by  Ibn  ‘Asakir  which  mention  ‘Abd- Allah  ibn  Saba’  of  which  Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar  is  not  one  of  the  narrators. Al-Albani  ruled  that  some  of  these  reports were  saheeh  even  though  they  were  narrated  by  the  Shi’ah  in  their  books  of  sects,  biographies  or  hadeeth,  and  there  is  no  mention  of  this  Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar  at  all  in  them.  This  is  discussed  in  detail  by  Dr. Sulayman al-‘Awdah  in  his  book  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Athruhu fi Ahdath al-Fitnah  fi  Sadr  al-Islam

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  who  is  also  known  as  Ibn  al-Sawda’,  was  a  Jew  from  San’a  who  appeared  outwardly  to  have  become  Muslim  at  the  time  of ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan.  He  was  noticeably  active  in  Syria,  Iraq  and  Egypt  in  particular.  He  drew  up  plans  and  produced  destructive  ideas  to  divert  the Muslims  from  their  religion  and  stop  them  obeying  their  caliph  and  create  division  among  them.  [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  aI-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah,  1/284]

Some  researchers  doubted  the  existence  of  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  and  said  that  he  was  an  imaginary  figure.  But  they denied  his  existence  without  offering  any  proof  or  evidence. Those  who  denied  the  existence  of  Ibn  Saba’  were  groups  of  Orientalists  and  Arab  researchers,  most  of  whom  were  modern  Shi’ah.  It  is  strange  that  these  Orientalists  and  their  lackeys  among  the   Raafidhis  and  westernized  Muslims  of  our  time  deny  the existence  of  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  and  claim  that  he  is  an imaginary  figure.  How  ignorant  and  audacious  it  is  to  suggest
such  a  thing  when  the  books  of  history  and  sects  are  filled  with  his  biography  and  the  narrators  transmitted  reports  of  his  deeds  that  were  well  known  throughout  the  region.  The  historians,  scholars  of  hadeeth  and  authors  of  books  on  sects  and  groups,  biography,  literature  and  genealogy  who  discussed  the  Saba’is  were  all unanimously  agreed  that  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  who  appears  in the  books  of  Sunni  writers  as  well  as  in  Shi’i  books  was  a  real  historical  character.  Hence  the  reports  of  the  fitnah  and  Ibn  Saba’s  role  in  it  are  not  limited  to  Tareekh  al-Tabari  and  are  not  based  only  on  the  reports  of  Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar  al-Tameemi  contained  therein, rather  there  are  widespread  reports  in  the  narrations  of  earlier  scholars  and  throughout  the  books  that  record  the  events  of  Islamic  history  and  discuss  the  views  of  different sects  during  that  period.  But  the  advantage  that  Imam  al-Tabari  had  over  others  is  that  he  had  more  abundant  material  and  more  details cthan  others. Hence  shedding  doubts  on  these  events  without  any  evidence  implies  a  rejection  of  all  these  reports  and  labelling  those  narrators  and  scholars  as  foolish,  and  distorting  the  historical  facts.  Since  when  does  an  academic  methodology  based  on  pure  rational  thinking  form  a  basis  for  rejection  as  opposed  to  texts  and corroborating  reports?  Is  this  methodology  based  on  overlooking  and  ignoring  all  the  sources,  both  earlier  and  later,  which  prove  that  Ibn  Saba’  was  a  real  person? [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah  fl-Fitnah  (1/70);  Da’awa  al-Inqadh  li’l-Tareekh  al- Islam]  Ibn  Saba’  is  mentioned  in  many  books  of  ahl  al-sunnah,  including  the  following:

“The  Saba’is  are  mentioned  by  A’sha  Hamadan [His  name  was  ‘Abd  al-Rahman  ibn  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  al-Harith  al-Hamadani,  who  was  known  as  A’sha  Hamadan.  He  was  a  Persian  poet  and  one  of  the  fuqaha’  of  the  qurra’,  but  he  composed  poetry  and  was  known  for  it.  Al- Dhahabi  said:  a  famous  eloquent  poet,  who  was  a  devoted  worshipper  and  man  of  virtue.  He  was  killed  in  83  AH].  He  lampooned  al-Mukhtar  ibn  Abi  ‘Ubayd  al- Thaqafi  and  his  supporters  from  Kufah,  after  he  fled  with the  nobles  of  the  tribes  of  Kufah  to  Basra,  by  saying:

I  bear  witness  that  you  are  Saba’is,  and  I  am  aware  of  you,  O  guardians  of  kufr. [Diwan  A’sha  Hamadan, p. 148]

There  is  a  report  from  al-Sha’bi  (d. 103 AH/721 CE)  which  says  that  the  first  one  who  told  lies  was  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’.” [Tareekh  Dimashq,  by  Ibn  ‘Asakir,  9/331]

Muhammad  ibn  Habeeb  ibn  Umayyah  al-Hashimi,  a  scholar  of  genealogy,  historical  reports, language  and  poetry,  d.  245  AH/860  CE.  Tareekh  Baghdad,  2/277  mentioned  Ibn  Saba’  and regarded  him  as  one  of  the  children  of  the  Ethiopian  women. [al-Muhbar  by  Ibn  Habeeb,  p.  308]

Abu  ‘Aasim  Khushaysh  ibn  Asram  (d. 253  AH)  narrated  a  report  about  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu) burning  some  of  the  companions  of  Ibn Saba’,  in  his book  al-Istiqamah.

Al-Jahiz.  His  name  was  ‘Amr  ibn  Bahr  ibn  Mahbooh  al-Kinabi,  one  of  the  leading scholars  of  literature  and  knowledge,  d.  255  AH.  Wafiyat  al-A’yun,  33/40  is  regarded  as one  of  the  first  to  refer  to  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’ [al-Bayan  wa’l-Tabyeen,  3/81]:but  his  report  is  not the  first,  as  Dr.  Jawad  ‘Ali  thinks. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah  (1/290)]

The  story  of  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib (radhiyallahu anhu)  burning  a  group  of  heretics  is  mentioned  in  saheeh  reports  that  are  narrated  in  the  Saheehs,  Sunans  and  Musnads  (books  of  hadeeth). [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah  (1/290)] 

There  is  nothing  strange  about  using  the  word  heretic  with  regard  to  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  and  his  group.  Ibn  Taymiyah  said:  The  Raafidhi  ideas  started  with  the  heretic  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’. [Majmoo’  al-Fatawa, 28/483] 

Al-Dhahabi said: ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  was  one  of  the extreme heretics;  he  was  misguided  and  misled  others. [Mizan  al-l’tidal  by  al-Dhahabi,  2/462] 

Ibn  Hajar  said:  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn Saba’  was  one  of  the  extreme  heretics …  he  had  followers  who  were  called  Saba’is,  who  believed  in  the  divinity  of  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi Talib.  ‘Ali  burned  them with  fire  during  his  caliphate. [Lisan  at-Mizan  by  Ahmad  ibn  Hajar]

Ibn  Saba’ is  also  mentioned  in  the  books  of  al-jarh  wa’l-Ta’deel  (hadeeth criticism).

Ibn  Hibban (d. 354  AH)  said: al-Kalbi –  Muhammad ibn al-Sa’ib  al-Ikhbari  –  was  a  Saba’i,  one  of  the  followers  of  ‘Abd- Allah ibn  Saba’,  one  of  those  who  said  that  ‘Ali  did  not  die  and that  he  will  come  back  to  this  world  before  the  Hour  begins.  If  they  saw  a  cloud,  they  would  say:  The  ameer  al mu’mineen  (i.e., ‘Ali)  is  in  it. [al-Mujrooheen  min  al-Muhaddifheen,  by  Abu  mtim  al-Tameemi,  2/253]

The  books  of  genealogy  also confirm  that  the  Saba’i  group  is  named  after  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn Saba’  such  as,  for  example  al- Ansab  by  al-Sam’ani [‘Abd  al-Kareem ibn Muhammad al-Sam’sni,  d.  562 AH;  Tadhkirat al-Hufffz, 4/1316]. 

Ibn  ‘Asakir  (d.  571 AH)  described  Ibn  Saba’  as  follows:  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  after  whom  the  Saba’is  were  named,  who  are  a  group  of  extreme  Raafidhis.  He  was  origi ally  from  Yemen,  a  Jew  who  apparently  became  a  Muslim. [Tareekh  Dimashq,  by  Ibn  ‘Asakir,  9/328,  329 ]

Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar  was  not  the  only  source  for  reports  about  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’.  In  his  Tareekh,  Ibn  ‘Asakir  narrated reports  which  have  no  connection  to  Sayf,  which  confirm  the  existence  of  Ibn  Saba’. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif al-Sahabah, 1/298]

Shaykh  al-Islam  Ibn  Taymiyah  (d.  728 AH)  stated  that  the  origins  of  the  Raafidhi  sect  lay  with  the  hypocrites  and  heretics,  and  that  it  was  the  invention  of  the  heretic  Ibn  Saba’,  who  exaggerated  about ‘Ali  and  claimed  that  he  should have  been  caliph  and  that  he  was  appointed  by  a  clear  text, and  he  claimed  that  he  was  infallible. [Majmoo al-Fatawa  by  Ibn  Taymiyah,  4/435]

Al-Shatibi  (d. 790 AH) pointed  out  that  the  innovation  of  the  Saba’is  was  one  that  had  to  do  with  belief  in  the  existence  of  another  god  besides  Allah  – exalted  be  Allah  –  and  this  was  an  innovation  that  differed  from  others. [al-I’tisam,  by  Abu  Ishaq  al-lakhmi,  2/197] 

In  al-Khutat  by  al-Maqreezi  (d.  845  AH)  it  says  that ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  appeared  at  the  time  of  ‘Ali,  saying  that  ‘Ali  was  the  wasiy  (caliph  appointed  by  the  Prophet)  and  would  return,  and  promoting  belief  in  the  transmigration  of  souls. [ al-Mawa’iz  wa’l-l’tibar  bi  Dhikr  al-Khutat  wa’l-Athir,  by  al-Maqreezi, 2/256,257]

The  Shi’ah  sources  which  mention  Ibn  Saba’  include  the following:  Al-Kushshi  narrated  that  Muhammad  ibn  Qawlawiyyah said:  Sa’d  ibn  ‘Abd-Allah  told  me:  Ya’qoob  ibn  Yazeed  and  Muhammad  ibn  ‘Eesa  told  me,  from  ‘Ali  ibn  Mahziyk,  from  Faddalah  ibn  Ayyoob  al-Azdi,  that  Aban  ibn  ‘Uthman  said:  I  heard  Abu  ‘Abd-Allah  say: May  Allah  curse ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  for  he  claimed  that  [‘Ali]  was  divine,  but  by  Allah,  [‘Ali]  was  an obedient  slave.  Woe  to  the  one  who  tells  lies  about  us.  If  people  say  of  us  things  that  we  do  not  say  about  ourselves,  we  disavow  ourselves  of  them  before  Allah. [Rijal  al-Kashshi,  1/324]  The  isnad  of  this  report  is  Saheeh.

In  al-Khisal,  al-Qommi  narrated  the  same  report,  but  in connection  with  a  different  isnad.  The  author  of  Rawdat  al-Jannat  mentioned  Ibn  Saba’  in  a  quotation  from  Imam  al-Sadiq  who  cursed  Ibn  Saba’  and  accused  him  of  lying,  fabricating,  broadcasting  secrets  and  misinterpreting. [‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  by  Sulayman al-‘Awdah,  p.  62] 

In  his  book,  Dr. Sulayman al-‘Awdah  mentioned  a  number  of  texts  with  which  the  Shi’ah  books  are  filled,  and  their  reports  from  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  which  are  more  akin  to  recorded  documents  that  condemn  anyone  among  the  later  Shi’ah  who  tries  to  deny  the  existence  of  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  or  shed  doubt  on  the  reports  that  refer  to  him  on  the  basis  of  paucity  or  weakness  of  the  reports. [Ibid]

Ibn  Saba’  was  a  real  historical  figure  concerning  whom  there  is  no  confusion  in  either  the  Sunni  or  Shi’i  sources,  earlier  or  later.  This  is  also  the  view  of  most  of  the  orientalists  such  as  Julius  Falhausen,  Van  Houlton,  Levi  de  la  vidar, Goldschieher,  Ronald  Nicholson,  and  Dwight  Ronaldson.  At  the  same  time,  Ibn  Saba’  remains  a  doubtful  figure  or  no  more  than  a  myth  for  a  few  Orientalists  such  as  Caetani  and  Bernard  Lewis  and  Fred  Lander  who  remains uncertain.   But  we  should  remember  that  we  do  not  rely  on  these  authors  with  regard  to  our  history.

The  one  who  studies  these  sources,  ancient  and  modern, Sunni  and  Shi’ah,  will  be  certain  that  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  really  existed  and  that  his  existence  is  supported  by  the  historical  reports.  The  books  of  ‘aqeedah,  hadeeth,  biography,  genealogy,  literature  and  language  also  mention  him  a  great  deal.  This  idea  was  accepted  by  modern  scholars  and  researchers.  It  seems  that the  first  ones  who  shed  doubt  on  the  existence  of  Ibn  Saba’  were  some  of  the  Orientalists,  then  this  denial  was  supported  by  the  majority  of  modern Shi’ah,  and  some  of  them  denied  his  existence  altogether.  Among  modern  Arab  researchers  there  were  some who  admired  the  ideas  of  the  Orientalists  and  were  influenced   by  the  books  of  the  modem  Shi’ah,  but  none  of  them  have  anything  to  support  their  suspicions  and  denials  except  doubt  itself,  which  is  based  on  speculations  and  assumptions.   Whoever  wishes  to  find  out  more  about  the  Sunni,  Orientalist  and  Shi’i  references which  mention  Ibn  Saba’  may  refer  to  Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah  fi’l-Fitnah  by  Dr.  Muhammad  Amhazon,  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  wa  Atharuhu  fi  Ahdah  al-Fitnah fi  Sadr  al-Islam,  by  Dr.  Sulayman  ibn  Hamad  al-‘Awdah.

The  role  of  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  in  stirring  up  fitnah
In  the  last  years  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate,  signs  of  trouble  in  the  Muslim  society  began  to  loom  on  the  horizon,  due  to  the  changes  that  we  have  mentioned.  Some  of  the  Jews  seized  this  opportunity  to  stir  up  trouble  by  pretending  to  be  Muslim  and  using  the  tactic  of  taqiyah  (dissimulation).  Among  them  was  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’ who  is  also  known  as  Ibn  al-Sawda’.  Whilst  we  should  not exaggerate  about  his  role  in  the  fitnah  as  some  have  done  (Such  as  Sa’eed  al-Afghani  in  his  book  ‘Aa’ishah  wa’s  Siyasah), we  should  not  cast  doubts  on  it  either,  or  think  little  of  the  role  that  he  played  as  one  of  several  factors.  Rather  his  role  was  the  most prominent  and  the  most  dangerous.  Just  as  the  atmosphere  of  fitnah  paved  the  way  for  him,  there  were  other factors  that  helped  him  too.  All  Ibn  Saba’  did  was  to  spread  views  and  beliefs  that  he fabricated  himself,  that  reflected  his  hateful  nature,  and  propagated  them  for  his  own  purposes,  namely  introducing  new  things  into  the  Muslim  society  to  destroy its  unity  and  stir  up  fitnah.  So  he  planted  seeds  of  division  among  the  people.  That  was  one  of  several  factors  that  led  to  the  murder  of  the  caliph ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  division  of  the  ummah  into  factions  and  parties. [Tahqeeq Mawaqif al-Sahabah, 1/327]

To  sum up  his  ideas,  he  quoted  true  ideas  but  leapt  to  wrong conclusions  that  found  acceptance  among  the  simple-minded,  extremists  and  those who  were  swayed  by  whims  and  desires.  He  followed  convoluted  ways  whereby  he  deceived  those  who  gathered  around  him.  He  started  quoting  Qur’an  and  misinterpreting  it  in  accordance  with  his  false  claims,  when  he  said:  It  is  strange  that  people  believe  that  ‘Eesa  is  coming  back,  but they  do  not  accept  that  Muhammad  is  coming  back,  when  Allah  says

“Verily,  He  Who  has  given  you  (O Muhammad  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  the  Qur’an  (i .e.  ordered  you  to  act  on  its  laws  and  to  preach  it  to  others) will surely,  bring  you  back  to  Ma’d  (place  of  return)”  [Al-Qasas 28:85], and  Muhammad  is  more  deserving  of  coming  back  than ‘Eesa.” [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/347]

He  also  resorted  to  false  analogy  in  trying  to  claim  that ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhi)  was  the  wasiy  or  true  heir  appointed  by  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  succeed  him,  when  he  said:  There  were  one  thousand  Prophets,  and  each  Prophet  had  a  wasiy  (heir),  and  ‘Ali  was  the  wasiy  of Muhammad.  Then  he  said:  Muhammad  was  the  seal  of  the Prophets  and  ‘Ali  was  the  seal  of  the  heirs. [Ibid] 

When  this  idea  had  become  entrenched  in  the  hearts  of  his  followers,  he  moved  on  to  his  ultimate  aim,  which  was  making  the  people  rebel  against  the caliph  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu).  That  happened  to  coincide  with  the  whims  and  desires  of  some  of  the  people  when  he  said  to  them:  Who  does  more  wrong  than  the  one who  did  not  fulfil  the  final wishes  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)   who  pushed  aside  ‘Ali  the  true  heir  (wasiy)  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  took  control  of  the  ummah?  Then  after  that  he  told  them:  ‘Uthman  took  it unlawfully;  here  is  the  true  heir  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  – get  up  and  do  something  about  it.  Start  by  criticizing  your governors,  and  pretend  that  you  are  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil,  so  that  people  will  be  inclined  towards  you,  and  call  them  to  this  matter. [Ibid 5/348 ]

He  sent out  his  agents  and  wrote  to  people  in  the  regions who  were  corrupted  by  his  ideas,  and  they  wrote  to  him  and  propagated  their  views  in  secret,  pretending  to  enjoin  what  is  good  and  forbid  what  is  evil.  They  started  writing  to  the  regions,  mentioning  the  faults  of  their  governors,  and  corresponding  with  their  counterparts  in  other  regions,  telling  them  of  what  they  were doing.  They  even  sent  letters  to  Madinah  and  spread  their  false  propaganda  all  over,  aiming  for  something  other  than  what  they  appeared  to  be  seeking.  The  people  in  the  regions  said:  We  are  free  of  what  others  are  suffering  from.  But  the  people  of  Madinah received  letters  from  all  over  and  said:  we  are  better  off  than  the  rest  of  the  people. [Ibid]

From  this  text  we  can  see  the  methods  followed  by  Ibn  Saba’. He  wanted  to  give  the  impression  that  there  was  a  rift  between  two  of  the  Sahabah  by  showing  that  one  of  them,  ‘Ali,  had  been  deprived  of  his  rights,  whereas  the  other,  ‘Uthman,  was  a usurper.  Then  he  tried  to  stir  up  the  people,  especially  in  Kufah,  against  their  governors  in  the  name  of  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbiddmg  what  is  evil.  So  they  started  to  revolt  against  their  governors  for  the  slightest  reasons.  In  this  campaign  of  his  he  focused  on  the  Bedouin  because  he  found  them  to  be  suitable  material  for  carrying  out  his  plan.  He  gained  the  support  of  the religious  people  among  them  by  using  the  idea  of  enjoining what is  good  and  forbidding what  is  evil,  and  he  gained  the  support  of  those  who  had  worldly  ambitions  by  means  of  false  rumours  against  ‘Uthman,  such  as  the  claim  that  he  was  biased  in  favour  of  his  relatives  and  was  spending  money  from  the  bayt  al-mal  of  the  Muslims  on  them,  or  that  he  had  allocated  grazing  land  for himself  only,  and  other  accusations  and  criticisms  by  means  of which  ibn  Saba’  managed  to  rally  the  thugs  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu).  Then  he  started  inciting  his  followers  to  send  letters  with  terrible  news  about  their  cities  to  other  provinces,  so  that  people  in  all  regions  would  think  that  the  situation had  got  so  bad  that  it  could not  get  any  worse.  Those  who  benefited  from  this  situation were  the  Saba’is,  because  when  the  people  believed  that,  they  would  be  able  to  light  the  spark  of  fitnah  in  the  Muslim  society. [Al-Dawlah  al-Umawiyyah  by  Yoosuf  al-‘Ishsh,  p.  168 ]

‘Uthman  realized  that  there  were  plots  in  other  provinces,  and  that  the  ummah  was  facing  a  bad  time.  He  said: By  Allah,  the  millstone  (of  fitnah)  will  soon  start  turning,  and  it  will  be  better  for  ‘Uthman  if  he  dies  and  does  not  set  it  in  motion. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/350]

But  the  place  where  Ibn  Saba’  found  his  niche  was  in  Egypt, where  he  started  to  organize  his  campaign  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu), urging  the  people  to  go  to  Madinah  and  stir  up  fitnah  on  the  basis  that  ‘Uthman  had  become  caliph unlawfully  and  snatched it from ‘Ali,  the  true  heir  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/348] 

He  deceived  them  by  means  of  the  letters  which  he  claimed  to  have  received  from  the  senior  Sahabah,  but  when  the  Bedouin  came  to  Madinah  and  met  with  the  Sahabah,  they  did  not  receive  any  encouragement  from  them  and  they  denied  any  letters  that  had  been  attributed  to  them,  inciting  the  people  against  ‘Uthman. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/365]

They  found  that  ‘Uthman  paid  attention  to  the  dues  of  others and  he  debated  with  them  concerning  that  which  was  attributed  to him,  refuting  their  lies  and  explaining  that  his  deeds  were  based  on  sincere  intentions,  until  one  of  these  Bedouin  –  Malik  ibn  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  –  said:  Perhaps  it  is  a   plot  that  has  been  drawn  up  against  him  and  you. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif as-Sahabah, 1/331]

Al-Dhahabi is  of  the  view  that  ‘Abd- Allah  ibn  Saba’  started  the  fitnah  in  Egypt,  where  he  planted  the seeds  of  grudges  and  criticism  against  the  governors,  then  against  the  ruler  ‘Uthman. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif as-Sahabah, 1/338]

But  Ibn  Saba’  was  not  alone;  his  agents  were  at  work  among the  network  of  conspirators, using  their  craftiness  and  trickery  to  recruit  the  religious  Bedouin  and  others.  Ibn  Katheer  narrated  that  among the  causes  of  the  incitement against  ‘Uthman  was  the  emergence  of  Ibn  Saba’,  and  his  going  to  Egypt  and  spreading  rumours  among  the  people  that  he  fabricated himself,  and  many  people  in  Egypt  were  deceived. [al-Bidayah  wan-Nihayah, 7/167,168]

The  famous  historians  and  scholars  of  both  the  earlier  and later  generations  of  this  ummah  are  agreed  that  Ibn  Saba’  appeared  among  the  Muslims  with  ideas,  plans  and  plots  aimed  at  diverting  the  Muslims  from  their  faith  and  from  obeying  their  ruler,  and  spreading  division  and  disputes  among  them.  The  thugs  rallied  around  him  which  led  to  the  formation  of  the  Saba’i  group  which  formed  one  of  the  factors  in  the  fitnah  which  ended  with  the  murder  of  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan  (radhiyallahu anhu).  It  seems that  the  Saba’i  plots  were  very  well  organized  as  they  were  very  skilled  in  directing  their  “missionaries”  and  spreading  their  ideas  because  they  had  the  means  of  propaganda  and  influencing  the  thugs  and  dregs  of  society.  They  were  also  active  in  forming  branches  in  Basra,  Kufah  and  Egypt,  exploiting  tribalistic  sentiments  and  exploiting  the  weak  points  of  the  Bedouin  and  slaves  based  on  knowledge  of  what  they  wanted  to  hear.  [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif as-Sahabah Fi’l Fitnah,  p. 339]

The  spread  of  fitnah  (turmoil)
The  hate-filled  liars  succeeded  in  removing  al-Waleed  ibn ‘Uqbah  from  his  post  as  governor  of  Kufah,  and  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu) appointed  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  as  the  new  governor  in  Kufah.  When  Sa’eed  reached  his  province  he  ascended  the  mimbar  and  after  praising  and  glorlfying  Allsh  he  said:  By  Allah,  I  have  been  sent  to  you  and  I was  reluctant,  but  when  ‘Uthmin  ordered  me  to  come,  I had  no  choice  but  to  accept.  Fitnah  (turmoil)  has  raised  its  head  among  you  and  by  Allah  I  shall  strike  it  on  the  face  until  I  suppress  it  or  it  defeats  me,  and  I  shall  start  from  today. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/280] 

Sa’eed  examined the  situation  in  Kufah  and  found  out  about  the  people’s  attitudes.  He  realized  how  deeply  rooted  fitnah  was  there,  and  he  found  out  that  groups  of  rebels,  hate-filled bearers  of  grudges  and  enemies  of  Islam  were  conspiring  and  plotting  and  that  the  view of the  thugs  and  Bedouins  was  the  prevalent  view.”‘ [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  122]

Sa’eed  wrote  a  letter  to  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  telling  him  about  the  deteriorating  situation  in  Kufah.  Among  other  things,  he  said:  The  people  of  Kufah  are  in  a  bad  way  and  the  people  of  honour and  those  who  became  Muslim  early  on  and  served  Islam  are suppressed.  Those  who  are  prevailing  in  this  land  are  the  lowest  class  of  people  and  the  ignorant  Bedouin  so  you  hardly  see  anyone  there  who  is  noble  or  who  has  a  history  of  Islam  and  Jihad.  ‘Uthman  (Radhiyallahu anhu)  responded  with  a  letter  in  which  he  asked  him  to  re-arrange  things  in   Kufah,  to  list  the  people  in  order  of  seniority  in  Islam  and  contribution  to  jihad,  and  to  give  precedence  to  those  who  were  knowledgeable  and  sincere  and  had  a  history  of  jihad  over  others.  Among  other  things  he  said:  Give  precedence  to  those  who  became  Muslim  early  on  and  served  Islam,  at  whose  hands  Allah  caused  that  land  to  be  conquered.  Make  the  Bedouin who  came  to  the  land  after  it  was  conquered  followers  of  the mujaahideen  who  preceded  them,  unless  those  who  preceded  them  have  become  slow  and  have  started  to neglect  jihad  and  support  of  the  truth,  and  those  who  came  later  have  taken  on  that  mission.  Recognize  the  position  of  each  man  there  and  give  them  all  their  dues  fairly,  for  knowledge  of  the  people  will  ensure  fairness  among  them. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/280] 

Sa’eed  carried  out  the  instruction of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  told  the  caliph  what  he  had  done.  ‘Uthman  assembled  the  decision-makers  in  Madinah  and  told  them  of  the  situation  in  Kufah  and  how  deeply-rooted  fitnah  was  and  the  steps  that  Ibn  al- ‘Aas  had  taken  to  confront  it.  They  said: You  did  the  right  thing;  do  not  help  the  people  of  fitnah  in  any  way  and  do  not  let  them  become  leaders  of  the  people,  and  do  not  appoint  them  to  positions  to  which  they  are  not  entitled,  for  if  you  appoint  one  who  is  not  qualified  he  will  not  do  a  good  job,  rather  he  will  spread  mischief.  ‘Uthman  said  to  them:  O people  of  Madinah,  the  people  are  already  planning  to  start  fitnah  so  be  prepared  to confront  it.  Adhere  to  the  truth  and  I  shall  inform  you  of  the  latest  developments  as  they  come.  [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/281]

The Followers of whims and desires were upset with the reforms
The  thugs  and  rough  Bedouin were  upset  with  the  preference that  was  shown  in  gatherings  and  with  regard  to  being  given positions  of  leadership  and  being  consulted,  to  those  who  had  come  to  Islam  earlier,  had  contributed  to  jihad  and  who  were  knowledgeable  and  pious. They  began  to  criticize  their  governors  for  showing  preference  to  those  people  and  consulting  them  in  exclusion  to  them,  and  they  regarded  that  as  favouritism,  bad  treatment  and  exclusion.  Those  who  bore  grudges  exploited  this  and  started  to  instil  hatred  of  the  caliph  and  the  state  and  a  refusal  to  accept  the  reforms  of  the  governor  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas,  and  they  spread  rumours  against  him  among  the  people.  The  common  folk  of  Kufah  rejected  the  words  of  the  hate-filled  rebels  so  the  latter  began  to  keep  quiet  and  keep  their  specious  arguments  to themselves  and  not  discuss  them  openly,  because  most  of  the  Muslims  rejected  them.  But  they  discussed  them  with  the Bedouin  and  thugs  who  supported  them,  and  those  who  had  been  subjected  to  ta’zeer  punishments. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen by al-Khaalidi, p. 14]

The  enemies  of  Islam,  the  Jews,  Christians  and  Magians,  were  conspiring  against  Islam  and  the  Muslims,  spreading  false  rumours  against  the  caliph  and  the  governors,  and  making  the  most  of  mistakes  committed  by  some  of  them  to  incite  the  common  folk  against  them,  adding  a  lot  of  lies  and  forged  letters  to  it.  Their  aim  in  doing  so  was  to  spread  chaos  and  deepen  divisions  between  the  Muslims,  thus  satisfying  their  hatred  of  Islam which  had  put  an  end  to  their  false  religions  and  destroyed their  states  and  armies.  In  order  to  achieve  these  aims,  these  enemies  recruited  the  thugs,  fools  and  hooligans,  and  those  who  bore  grudges  at  having  been  disciplined  or  punished  by  the  caliph  or  one  of  his  governors  rallied  around  them.  They  formed  an  evil  secret  society  whose  members  were  the  ones  who  responded  to  their  call.  So  they  gained  followers  in  many  major  cities  and  other regions,  and  formed  a  secret  communications network.  The  most important branches of  this  evil  network were  in  Kufah,  Basra  and  Egypt,  and  there  were  also  some  elements  in  Madinah  and Syria. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p  124]

The Jew ‘Abd-Allah ibn Saba’ was the head of the Gang
Ibn  Saba’  told  his  criminal followers  in  his  evil  secret  society,  who  were  spread  throughout  the  Muslim  lands:  Start  executing  the  plan  now.  Stir  up  trouble  and  start  criticizing  your  rulers  and governors  who  have  been  appointed  by  the  caliph.  Pretend  to  be  enjoining  that  which  is  good  and  forbidding that  which  is  evil  so  that  you  can  win  people  over  to  your  side  and  call  them  to  join  you. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/34]

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  sent  his  envoys  to  all  regions,  and  sent letters  to  his  followers  whom  he  had  managed  to  corrupt  and  make  them  join  him,  and  they  wrote  to  him.  His  followers  in  different  regions  began  to  take  action,  calling  their  followers  in  secret  to  begin  the  planned  rebellion  against  the  governors  and  the  caliph,  and  to  work  towards  the  dismissal  of  ‘Uthman  from the  position  of  caliph.  They  pretended  to  enjoin  that  which  is  good  and  forbid  that  which  is  evil,  so  that  they  could  influence  the  people  and  deceive  them  and  win  them  over.  The  followers  of  Ibn Saba’  began  to  fabricate  lies  about  the  faults  of  their  governors and  rulers,  and  they  spread  them  by  means  of  letters  that  they  sent  to  one  another  in  different  regions.  So  the  people  in  each  region  began  to  send  letters  filled  with  lies  to  the  people  in  other  regions,  and  the  people  of  each  region  read  those  falsified  letters  to  the  people  who  were  with  them.  Thus  the  people  heard  about the  faults  of  governors  in  other  provinces  and  they  said:  We  are  safe  from  the  problems  that  Muslims  are  facing  in  that  land,  and  they  believed  what  they  heard.  Thus  the  followers  of  Ibn  Saba’  were  able  to  spread  mischief  among  the  Muslims  throughout  the  land  and  create  division  among  them,  shattering  the  bonds  of brotherhood  and  unity  and  inciting  the  people  against  their  governors  and  rulers,  and  spreading  lies  against  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  himself.  They  carried  out  these  well-planned crimes  in  a  skilful  manner,  aiming  at  something  other  than   what  they  seemed  to  want,  which  was  to  dismiss  ‘Uthma   and  put  an  end  to  the  Islamic  state.  [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p  126]

Ibn  Saba’  went  to  Syria  to  corrupt  and  influence  some  of  its  people,  but  he  did  not  succeed  in  his  devilish  aim,  because  Mu’awiyah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  watching  him. [Ibid] 

He  went  to  Basra  to  recruit  his  followers  from  among  the  evil-doers,  grudge-bearers,  hooligans  and  thugs.  The  governor  of  Basra  was  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir  ibn  Kurayz,  who  was  a  man  of  resolve,  just  and  righteous.  When  Ibn  Saba’  reached  Basra,  he  stayed  with  an  evil  man  who  lived  there,  a  ruthless  thief  by  the  name  of  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p  129]

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir  heard  that  there  was  a  stranger staying  with  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah,  and  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah was  a  thief.  When  the  armies  of  jihad  returned  to  Basra,  Hakeem  would  stay  behind  to  spread  mischief  in  the  Persian  lands  and  raid  the  lands  of  ahl  al-dhimmah  and  the  Muslims,  taking  from  them  whatever  he  wanted.  The  ahl  al-dhimmah  and  the  Muslims  complained  to  ‘Uthman  about  him,  and  ‘Uthman  wrote  to  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir,  telling  him:  Detain  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah  in  Basra  and  do  not  let  him  leave  the  city  until  you  think  that  he  has  come  to  his  senses.  So  Ibn  ‘Aamir  put  him  under  house  arrest  and  he  could  no  longer  leave  Basra.  Whilst  the  thief  Ibn  Jablah  was  under  house  arrest,  the  Jew  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  came  and  stayed  with  him.  Ibn  Saba’  took  advantage  of  the  fact  that  Ibn Jablah  was  a  mean,  hate-filled  thug  and  recruited  him  for  his cause,  and  Ibn  Jablah  became  his  man  in  Basra,  introducing  Ibn  Saba’  to  other  deviants  like  him.  Ibn  Saba’  instilled  his  ideas  in  their  hearts  and  recruited  them  into  his  secret  society.  When  Ibn ‘Aamir  found  out  about  Ibn Saba’,  he  summoned  him  and  said  to him:  Who  are  you?  He  said:  Ibn  Saba’;  I  am  a  man   from  among  the  people  of  the  Book  who  liked  Islam  and  became  Muslim,  and  I  wanted  to  be  close  to  you  and  settle  near  you.  Ibn  ‘Aamir  said:  What  is  this  talk  that  I  have  heard  about  you?  Get  away  from  me. So  Ibn  ‘Aamir  expelled  him  from  Basra  and  Ibn  Saba’  departed,  leaving  behind  some  of  his  followers  there  and  having  established  a  branch  of  his  party  there. 

Ibn  Saba’  went  to  Kufah  where  he  found  deviant  types  who  were  prepared  to  accept  him,  so  he  recruited  them  for  his  group. When  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  found  out  about  him,  he  expelled  him  from  Kufah,  and  he  headed  for  Egypt,  where  he  settled  and  put  down  roots,  spreading  corruption  and  mischief.  He  attracted  a  following  of  thugs  and  fools,  those  who  bore  grudges  and  sinners and  evildoers.  Ibn  Saba’  organized  secret  communications  between  his  base  in  Egypt  and  his  followers  in  Madinah,  Basra  and  Kufah,  and  his  men  moved  between  these  regions. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p  129]

Ibn  Saba’  and  his  followers  continued  their  efforts  for  six  years,  so  their  fiendish  efforts  began  in  30  AH  and  finally  succeeded  at  the  end  of  35  AH  in  killing  the  caliph  ‘Uthman,  and  their  mischief  continued  throughout  the  caliphate  of  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu).  The  Saba’is decided  to  start  their  fitnah  in  Kufah. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p 129]

Mischief-makers  causing  trouble  in  the  majlis  of  Sa’eed  ibn  ‘Aas One  day  in  33  AH,  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  was  sitting  in  his  public majlis  with  ordinary  people  around  him,  talking  and  conversing  with  one  another.  These  Saba’i  rebels  slipped  into  the  majlis  and  tried  to  cause  trouble  and  stir  up  fitnah. 

There  was  a  debate  going  on  in  the  majlis  between  Sa’eed  ibn al-‘Aas  and  one  of  those  present,  a  man  by  the  name  of  Khunays  ibn  Hubaysh  al-Asadi,  who  disagreed  concerning  some  matter.  Seven  of  the  rebels  and  mischief  makers  were  sitting there,  among  whom  was  Jundub  al-Azdi,  whose  thieving  son  had  been  executed  because  of  his  involvement  in  a  case  of  murder,  along  with  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i,  Ibn  al-Kawa’  and  Sa’sa’ah  ibn  Sawhaan.  The  troublemakers  took  advantage  of  the  opporhmity  and  started  hitting  Khunays  al-Asadi.  When  his  father  got  up  to  help  him,  they  hit  him  too.  Sa’eed  tried  to  stop  the  beating  but  they  would  not  stop.  The  man  and  his  son  lost  consciousness because  the  beating  was  so  severe.  Banu  Asad  came  to  avenge  their  people  and  it  almost  led  to  war  between  the  two  sides,  but  Sa’eed  was  able  to  sort  things  out. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/323] 

When  ‘Uthman  found  out  about  the  incident,  he  asked  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  to  deal  with  it wisely,  and  to  suppress  the  fitnah  as  much  as  he  could. The  hate-filled  rebels  went  home  and  spread  rumours  and Lies  against  Sa’eed  and  ‘Uthman,  and  against  the  people  of  Kufah  and  its  prominent  figures.  The  people  of  Kufah  got  upset  with  them and  asked  Sa’eed  to  punish  them.  Sa’eed  said  to  them:  ‘Uthman  has  forbidden  me  to  do  that,  but  if  you  want  you  can  tell  him  about  it.  The  nobles  and  righteous  people  of  Kufah  wrote  to ‘Uthman  telling  him  about  that  group,  and  asking  him  to  expel  them  and  banish  them  from  Kufah,  because  they  were  causing mischief  in  the  city.  ‘Uthman  told  his  governor  Sa’eed  ibn  al  ‘Aas  to  expel  them  from  Kufah.  There  were  more  than  ten  men,  and  Sa’eed  sent  them  to  Mu’iwiyah  in  Syria  on  the  orders  of  ‘Uthman.  ‘Uthman  wrote  to  Mu’awiyah  telling  him  about  them,  and  said:  The  people  of  Kufah  have  expelled  some  people  for  whom  fitnah  is  second  nature,  and  sent  them  to  you;  threaten  them,  instil  fear  in  them,  discipline  them  and  punish  them,  then  if  you  feel  that  they  have  come  to  their  senses,  accept  that  from  them.  [Tareekh at-Tabari,  5/324] 

Among  those  who  were  banished  to  Syria  were:  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i,  Jundub  al-Azdi,  Sa’sa’ah  ibn  Sawhaan,  Kameel  ibn  Ziyaad,  ‘Umayr  ibn  Daabi’  and  Ibn  al-Kawa’. [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen,  p. 131]

The  exiles  from  Kufah  with  Mu’awiyah 
When  they  came  to  Mu’awiyah  he  welcomed  them  and  let them  stay  in  a  church  called  Maryam,  and  he  supplied  them  with  provisions  on  ‘Uthman’s  orders,  as  he  had  supplied  them  with  provisions  in  Iraq,  and  he  ate  lunch  and  dinner  with  them  every day.  One  day  he  said  to  them:  You  are  Arab  people  who  have  teeth  and  tongues;  you  have  been  honoured  with  Islam  and  you prevailed  over  other  nations,  inheriting  their  wealth  and positions.  I  have  heard  that  you  bear  a  grudge  against  Quraysh  but  if  it  were  not  for  Quraysh  you  would  have  remained  in  a  low  position  as  you  were  before. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/324]

‘Uthman  understood  that  Mu’awiyah  was  able  to  deal  with  them,  because  he  was  eloquent,  patient  and  smart  enough  to  confront  the  Fitnah.  Because  of  that,  as  soon  as  there  was  a  problem,  ‘Uthman  was  able  to  send  them  to  Mu’awiyah  so  that  he  could  solve  it.  Indeed,  Mu’awiyah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  did  his  utmost  to  convince  these  people.  First  of  all,  he  treated  them  well,  sitting  with  them and  mixing  with  them  in  order  to  find  out  what  was  in  their  hearts  before  he  passed  judgement  on  them  on  the  basis  of  what  he  heard.  After  they  began  to  feel  relaxed  with  him  and  let  down  their  guard,  he  realized  that  tribalism  and  the  desire  for  power  were  their  motives,  so  he  had  no  choice  but  to  highlight  two  issues  to   them:

1-  How  Islam  had  honoured  the  Arabs

2- The  role  of  Quraysh  in  spreading  Islam

Islam  had  any  impact  on  them,  they  would  have  appreciated what  he  said.  After  that,  he  told  them  what  the  Arabs  used  to  be,  and  how  Islam  had  turned  them  into  a  single  nation  with  a  single  leader,  and  they  had  left  behind  a  life  of  chaos,  bloodshed  and  foul  tribalism.

Mu’awiyah  followed that by  saying:  Your  leaders are  a  shield for  you,  so  do  not  abandon  your  shield.  Your  rulers  today  treat  you  with  patience  and  take  care  of  you.  By  Allah,  you  should  stop  or  else  Allah  will  punish  you  with  rulers  who  will  mistreat  you,  then  you  will  not  be  praised  for  your  patience,  then  you  will  be  their  partners  in  sin  for  the  injustice  that  you  will  have  brought  upon  the people,  during  your  Life  and  after  your  death.  One  of  the people  said:  As  for  what  you  have  said  about  Quraysh,  they  were  never  the  most  numerous  or  strongest  of  the  Arabs  during  the  Jaahiliyyah,  such  that  you  could  scare  us  with  them.  As  for  what  you  have  said  about  a  shield,  if  the  shield  is  breached,  then  we could  get  hurt.  Mu’awiyah  said:  I  know  you  now.  I  know  that what  has  led  you  to  this  attitude  is  a  lack  of  maturity. You  are  the  spokesman of  the  people  but  you  do  not  make  any  sense  to  me.  I  am  trying  to  remind  you  of  the  greatness of  Islam  and  you  remind me  of  the  Jaahiliyyah?  I  am  exhorting you  and  you  claim  that  the shield  that  is  protecting  you  can  be  breached?  Even  if  it  is breached,  it  is  not  the  fault  of  the  shield.[Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/324]

Mu’awiyah  realized  that  mere  hints  would  not  convince  them;  he  had  no  choice  but  to  explain in  detail  about Quraysh first  of  all.  So  he  said:  Try  to  understand,  although  I  do  not  think  that  you  will  understand.  Quraysh  was  never  raised  in  status  during  the  Jaahiliyyah  or  in  Islam  except  by  Allah,  may  He  be  glorified  and  exalted.  They  were  never  the  greatest  or  the  strongest  of  the  Arabs,  but  they  were  the  noblest  in  descent  and  the  purest  in  lineage,  the  best  in  character  and  attitude.  They  were  not  in  a  position  of  safety  during  the  Jaahiliyyah  when  the  people  were  killing  one  another,  except  by  the  help  of  Allah;  no  one  can  be humiliated  whom  He  honours. Do  you  know  of  any  people,  Arab  or  non-Arab,  black  or  red,  whose  land  was  stricken with  calamity  and  violated  at  the  same  time,  except  for  Quraysh?  No  one  ever  plotted  against  them  but  Allah  brought him  low,  then  when  Allah  wanted  to  save  those  whom  He  had  honoured  and  who  had followed  His  religion  from  humiliation  in  this  world  and  a  bad  end  in  the  Hereafter,  He  chose  for  that  mission  the  best  of  His  creation,  then  He  chose  for  him  companions  the  best  of  whom  were  Quraysh,  then  He  built  this  great  kingdom  on  that  foundation  and  established  this  caliphate  among  them,  and  no  one  could  be  fit  for  that  except  them.  So  Allah  was  taking  care  of  them  as  they  were  following  His  religion,  and  He  protected  them  against  the  kings  who  were  subjugating  you  during  the  Jaahiliyyah.  Woe  to  you  and  your  companions!  I  wish  that  someone  else  had  spoken  instead  of  you,  but  you  rushed  to  speak  first.  As  for  you,  O  Sa’sa’ah,  your  town  is  the  worst  of  Arab  towns,  with  the  least  produce,  the  deepest  valleys,  the  most  familiar  with  evil  and  the  meanest  to  its  neighbours.  No  one,  noble  or  lowly,  stayed  there  but  he  was  reviled  and  mistreated. Moreover,  they  are  the  worst  in  using  offensive  nicknames,  the worst  sons-in-law,  the  dregs  of  the  nations.  You  are  on  the  border  and  you  were  controlled  by  the  Persians  when  the  call  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  reached  you.  But  you  were  not  there  with  your  people;  you  were  in  Oman,  not  in  Bahrain,  so  the  call  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  did  not  include  you,  and  you  are  the  worst  of  your people.  When  Islam  made  you  prominent  and  made  you  prevail  over  nations  that  used  to  rule  you,  now  you  aim  to  distort  the  religion  of  Allah  and  you  demonstrate  your  meanness.  This  does  not  affect  Quraysh  in  the  slightest and  it  will  never  harm  them  or  prevent  them  from  doing  their  duty.  The  Shaytaan  is  not  unaware  of  you;  he  knew  that  you  are  the  most  evil  of  your  people  and  he  has  misled  the  people  through  you.  He  is  going  to  be  the  cause  of  your  doom.  He  knows  that  he  will  not  be  able  to  change  the decree  by  means  of  you,  or  change  any  decree  of  Allah.  There  is  nothing  that  you  can  achieve  by  means  of  evil  actions  but  Allah  will  punish  you  with  something  more  evil  or  more  humiliating  than  it.  Then  he  stood  up  and  left,  and  they  started  muttering  amongst  themselves. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/326]

Thus  Mu’awiyah  did  his  utmost  to  convince  them  on  an intellectual  and  political  level.

⚫ First  of  all  he  highlighted  to  them  the  position  of  Quraysh  in  the  Jahiliyyah  and  in  Islam.

⚫ He  discussed  the  tribes  that  these  people  came  from  and  their  position  during  the Jaahiliyyah,  as  they  lived  in  an  area  with  a bad  climate  and poor  vegetation  from  a  natural  point  of  view,  then  their  humiliation  and  subjugation to  the  Persians  from  a  political  point  of  view,  until  Allah  honoured  them  with  Islam and  raised  them  in  status  after  they  had  been  humiliated.

⚫ Mu’awiyah  spoke  of  the  track  record  of  their  spokesman Sa’sa’ah  ibn  Sawhaan,  who  had  been  very  slow  in  responding  to  the  call  of  Islam  after  his  people  had  become  Muslim,  then  he  came  back  and  joined  Islam,  and  Islam  raised  him  in  status  after  he  had  been  brought  low.

⚫ Mu’awiyah  (radhiyallahu anhu) exposed  the  plots  of  Sa’sa’ah  and  his  companions,  how  they  were  seeking  to  stir  up  turmoil  and  in  fact  wanted  to  damage  the  religion  of  Allah. 

The  Shaytaan  was  the  mastermind behind  this  evil  plot,  thus  Mu’awiyah  made  the  connection  between  the  history  of  this  ummah  and  the  help  of  Allah,  then  Islam  and  true  faith  (‘aqeedah).  Then  he  exposed  the  spurious  nature  of  this  group  and  he  exposed  every  single  one  of  them  and  their  plots,  and  demonstrated  that  the  motive  behind  the  plots  was  tribalism. [Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan,  p. 111]

Another  meeting
Then  Mu’awiyah  came  to  them  the  next  day  and  talked  to them  at  length,  then  he  said:  O  people,  respond  to  me  in  a  good  manner,  or  else  keep  quiet  and  think;  think  of  that  which  will  benefit  you,  your  families,  your  tribes  and  all  of  the  Muslims.  Seek  that  and  you  could  live  and  we  could  live  happily  with  you. 

Sa’sa’ah  said:  You  have  no  right  to  say  that,  and  there  is  no way  that  you  should  be  obeyed  when  it  involves  disobedience towards  Allah.  Mu’awiyah  said:  Is  it  not  the  case  that  the  first thing  I  did  was  enjoin  you  to  fear  Allah  and  obey  Him,  and  obey His  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  and  hold  fast,  all  of  you  together,  to  the  Rope  of  Allah,  and  be  not  divided  among  yourselves  (cf.  Aal  ‘Imraan 3:103)  They  said: No,  you  ordered  us  to  be  divided  and  you  told  us  something different  from  what  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said.  He  said: I am  ordering  you  now,  if  I  did  that,  then  I  repent  to  Allah  and  I order  you  to  fear  Him  and  obey  Him  and  obey  His  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  and  adhere  to  the  main  body  of  Muslims  and  avoid  division,  and  show  respect  to  your  leaders  and  guide  them  to  what  is  good  as much  as  you  can,  and  exhort  them  kindly  and  gently  if  they  make  a  mistake.  Sa’sa’ah  said: And  we  enjoin  you  to  give  up  your  post,  for  among  the  Muslims  there  is  one  who  is  more  qualified  for  it  than  you.  Mu’awiyah  said:  Who  is  that?  They  said:  One  whose  father  has  more  seniority  in  Islam  than  your  father,  and  he  himself  has  more  seniority  in  Islam  than  you.  Mu’awiyah  said: By  Allah,  I  have  seniority  in  Islam  and  there  are  others  who  have  more  seniority  than  me,  but  there  is  no  one  in  my  time  who  is  more  able  to  do  what  I  am  doing  than  me.  This  was  the  opinion  of  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  concerning  me.  If  someone  else  was  more  able  than  me,  ‘Umar  would  not  have  compromised  with  me  or  with  anyone  else.  I  have  not  done  anything  wrong  for  which  I  should  be  dismissed  from  my  post.  If  the  caliph  and  the  community  had  thought  that,  he  would  have  written  with  his  own  hand  and  I would  have  given  up  my  post.  If  Allah  decreed  that  he  should  do  that,  I  would  hope  that  his  decision  would  be  the  right  one.  Be  careful,  for  what  you  are  doing  is  what  the  shaytaan  wishes  and  tells  others  to  do.  By  Allah,  if  matters  were  canied  out  as  you  wish,  then  nothing would  be  done  in  the  right  way  to  the  people  of  Islam  by  day  or  by  night.  But  Allah  decrees  and  arranges  and whatever  He  decrees  is  what  comes  to  pass.  But  they  persisted  and  said:  You  are  not  qualified  for  that.  Mu’awiyah  said:  By Allah,  Allah  is  Severe  in  punishment  and  I  fear  that  if  you  continue  to  obey  the  shaytaan,  your  obedience  to  the  shaytaan  and  your  disobedience  of  the  Most  Merciful  will  expose you  to  the vengeance  of  Allah  in  this  world  and  eternal  humiliation  in  the  Hereafter.  They  pounced  on  him  and  grabbed  him  by  the  head  and  beard,  and  he  said  to  them:  Stop  it!  This  is  not  Kufah.  By  Allah,  if  the  people  of  Syria  see  what  you  have  done  to  me  when  I  am  their  leader,  I  would  not  be  able to  stop  them  from  killing  you. Then  he  got  up  and  left,  and  said:  By  Allah,  I  will  never  meet  with  them  again  so  long  as  I  live. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/330-331]

Mu’awiyah,  the  governor  of  Syria,  put  all  his  effort  into  this  final  attempt,  tackling  the  problem  with  patience,  knowledge  and  self-control  in  order  to  divert  them  from  fitnah. He  called  on  them  to  fear  Allah  and  obey  Him,  and  to  adhere  to  the  main  body  of Muslims  and  avoid  division,  but  they  responded  with  all arrogance  saying:  You  have  no  right  to  be  obeyed  in disobedience  to  Allah. [op. cit.,  5/330] 

But  he  responded  with  extreme patience,  reminding  them  that  he  was  not  enjoining  anything but  obedience  to  Allah,  and  even  if  what  they  said  was  true,  he  declared  his  repentance  to  Allah  from  the  sin,  if  it  had  happened.  Then  he  called  them  once  again  to  obey  Allah  and  adhere  to  the  main  body  of  Muslims,  and  to  keep  away  from  creating  division  in  the  ummah.  If  exhortation  could  have  had  any  effect  on  them, then  their  hearts  should  have  been  touched  by  this  kind  and patient  treatment,  but  they  viewed  it  as  weakness  and  negligence,  especially  since  he  was  telling  them  to  use  kind  and  peaceful  means  when  exhorting  and  giving  advice.  Now  they  found  an  opportunity  to  expose  what  was  in  their  hearts  and  they  said:  We  enjoin  you  to  give  up  your  post,  for  among  the  Muslims  there  is  one  who  is  more  qualilied  than  you.  Suddenly  Mu’awiyah  realized  what  they  were  hiding,  and  he  wanted  to  know  more  about  that  mysterious  side  of  them,  in  hopes  of  finding  out  what  was  motivating  them  and  instilling  these  false  notions  in  their minds.  But  they  concealed  it,  and  all  they  did  was  indicate  that  they  wanted  him  to  give  up  his  job  to  someone  better,  one  whose  father  was  better  than  his  father.  He  continued  to  be  even  more  patient  with  them,  despite  their  rudeness  towards  him  and  their  telling  him  to  give  up  his  position.  Here  we  see  how  Mu’awiyah  gave  them  a  detailed  answer  describing  his  view  on  ruling, governorship  and  leadership. Mu’awiyah  summed  up  his  answer in  six  basic,  important  points:

1-  That  he  had  seniority  in  Islam  and  he  had  been  guarding  the  borders  of  Syria  since  the  death  of  his  brother  Yazeed  ibn  Abi  Sufyan  (radhiyallahu anhu).

2- There  were  among  the  Muslims  those  who  were  better than  him,  who  were  more  senior  and  who  had  made  more  sacrifices,  but  he  was  the  most  qualified  to  protect  this  important  Muslim  border  region  (Syria).  Since  his  appointment  he  had  been  able  to  rule  it  and  control  it,  and  he  understood  the  psychology  of  its  people,  so  they  loved  him.

3- The  standard  by  which  governors  were  to  be  measured was  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  (radhiyallahu anhu) who  fought in  the  way  of  Allah,  and  never  feared  the  blame  of  the  blamers  (al- Maa’idah  5:54). If  he  had  seen  any  misconduct,  deviance  or  weakness  in  Mu’awiyah,  he  would  have  dismissed  him  and  would  not  have  kept  him  even  for  a  single  day.  He  worked  for  him  throughout  his  caliphate;  before  that  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had  appointed  him  for  some  tasks,  including  appointing  him  as  a  scribe  to  write  down  the  Revelation,  and  Abu  Bakr  al-Siddeeq  had  also  appointed  him,  and  no  one  had  questioned  his  abilities.

4- If  he  were  to  give  up  his  post,  there  should  be  a  good  reason  for  him  having  to  do  so.  What  evidence  did  those  who  promoted  turmoil  have  that  Mu’awiyah  should  give  up  his  post? 

5- It  was  not  up  to  these  agitators  to  decide  whether  he should  be  dismissed  from  his  post  or  remain  as  governor.  That  was  the  right  of  the  caliph  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), who  had  the  right  to  appoint  and  dismiss  governors.

6- If  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  decided  to  dismiss  Mu’awiyah   some  day,  he  was  confident  that  it  would  all  work  out  well  in  the  end,  and  he  would  take  no  offence  at  that,  because  he was  a  governor  who  was  under  the  authority  of  the  caliph  of  the  Muslims. [Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan,  Sahabi  Kabeer  wa  Malik  Mujaahid,  p.  114-117]

The  end  of  this  meeting  was  regrettable  and  sad,  because  he wanted  to  warn  them  against  the  wrath  and  punishment of  Allah  and  against  the  temptation  of  the  shaytaan  and  the  slippery  slope  to  which  it  would  lead,  and  against  division  and  disobeying  the  ruler,  and  against  giving  in  to  their  whims  and  desires  and  being arrogant.  And  what  was  their  response?  They  pounced  on  him  and  grabbed  him  by  the  head  and  beard,  and  at  some  point  he  rebuked  them  and  said  harsh  words  that  carried  an  implied  threat.  He  realized  that  these  people  would  never  follow  the  right  path,  so  he  had  to  tell  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  about  them  and  the  real  danger  that  they  posed,  so  that  he  could  decide  about them. [Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan  by  Ghadbaan, p. 117,118]

Mu’awiyah’s  letter to ‘Uthman about the  troublemakers  in  Kufa Mu’awiyah  wrote  to  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  saying:  In  the  name  of  Allah,  the  Most  Gracious,  the  Most  Merciful.  To  the  slave  of  Allah  ‘Uthman,  the  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  from  Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi Sufyan.  O Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  you  sent  to  me  some  people  who  speak with  the  tongues  of  devils  and  say  what  these  devils  wants them  to  say.  They  come  to  the  people  and  support  their arguments  with  the  Qur’an,  as  they  claim,  and  they  confuse  the  people.  Not  everyone  realizes  what  they  are  up  to.  All  they  want  is  to  create  division  and  fitnah.  They  are  fed  up  with  Islam  and  the shaytaan  has  full  control  of  their  hearts.  They  have  corrupted  many  people  among  whom  they  lived  in  Kufah,  and  I  am  worried  that  if  they  stay among  the  people  of  Syria  they  may  mislead  them with  their  influence  and  immorality. It  is  better  to  send  them  back to  their  own  region  and  let  them  live  in  the  place  where  their hypocrisy  started.[”  

Return  of  the  troublemakers  to by  their  expulsion  to  al-Jazeerah  ‘Uthman  wrote  to  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Aas  and  sent  them  back  to him,  but  they  only  became  more  active  in  evil-doing  when  they  returned.  Sa’eed  wrote  to  ‘Uthman  complaining  about  them,  and  ‘Uthman  wrote  to  Sa’eed  telling  him  to  send  them  to  ‘Abd  al- Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  ibn  al-Waleed  –  who  was  the  governor  of  Homs.  When  they  reached  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  ibn  al- Waleed  he  summoned  them  and  spoke  sternly  to  them,  saying  to  them,  among  other  things:  O  tools  of  the  shaytaan,  you  are  not  welcome here.  The  shaytaan  went  back  defeated  and  lost,  but  you  are  still  active  in  falsehood.  May  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  be  doomed  if he  does  not  discipline  and  humiliate  you.  O  people  who  I  do  not  know  whether  you  are  Arabs  or  Persians,  you  will  never  be  able  to  speak  to  me  as  you  spoke  to  Sa’eed  or  Mu’swiyah.  I  am  the  son of  Khaalid  ibn  al-Waleed,  I  am  the  son  of  one  who  was  toughened by  his  experiences,  I  am  the  son  of  the  one  who  defeated  apostasy,  and  by  Allah  I  shall  humiliate  you.  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  let  them  stay  with  him  for  a  whole  month,  during  which  he  treated  them  with  the  utmost  strictness  and  harshness,  and  was  not  soft  with  them  as  Sa’eed  and  Mu’awiyah  had  been.  If  he  walked,  they  walked  with  him;  if  he  rode,  they  rode  with  him;  if  he  went  out  on  a  military  campaign,  they  went  out  with  him.  He  did  not  miss  any  opportunity  to  humiliate  them.  Every  time  he  met  their  leader,  Sa’sa’ah  ibn  Sawhaan,  he  said  to  him:  O  son  of  sin,  do  you  know  that  if  a  person  cannot  be  disciplined  by  good means,  he  will  be  disciplined  by  bad  means,  and  if  he  cannot  be disciplined  by  a  soft  approach  he  will  be  disciplined  by  a  hard approach?  And  he  told  them:  Why  are  you  not  answering back  as  you  used  to  answer  back  to  Sa’eed  in  Kufah  and  Mu’awiyah  in  Syria?  Why  do  you  not  address  me  as  you  used  to  address  them? 

The  method  of  ‘Abd  ar-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  worked  with  them.  His  harshness  silenced  them  and  they  showed  repentance  and  regret.  They  said  to  him:  We  repent  to  Allah  and  ask  His  forgiveness.  Forgive  us  and  pardon  us,  may  Allah  forgive  you  and  pardon   you.  The  people  stayed  in  al-Jazeerah  with  ‘Abd  ar- Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid,  and  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  sent  one  of  their leaders  –  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  –  to  ‘Uthman,  to  tell  him  of  their repentance  and  reform,  and  that  they  had  ceased  their troublemaking.  ‘Uthman  said  to  al-Ashtar:  Go  and  live  wherever  you  want,  you  and  those  who  are  with  you,  for  I  have  forgiven  you.  Al-Ashtar  said:  We  want  to  stay  with  ‘Abd  ar- Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  ibn  al-Waleed,  and  he  told  him  about  the  virtue  and  resolve  of  ‘Abd  ar-Rahmaan. So  they  stayed  with  ‘Abd al-Rahmaan  in  al-Jazeerah  for  a  while,  appearing  outwardly  to  have  repented  and  to  have  mended  their  ways. [Tareekh at-Tabari  5/327]

The  troublemakers  in  Kufah  were  quiet  for  a  while.  This  lasted  for  a  few  months  in  33  AH,  after  the  leaders  of  turmoil  had  been  banished  to  Mu’awiyah  in  Syria,  then  to  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid.  The  troublemakers  in  Kufah  decided  that  it  was  in  their best  interests  to  keep  quiet  for  a  while. [al-Khulafa’ al-Raashideen, p.134]

The  troublemakers  in  Basra  fabricate  lies  against  Ashajj ‘Abd  al-Qays
The  troublemakers  in  Basra,  under  the  leadership  of  Hakeem ibn  Jablah,  were  against  the  people  of  virtue  in  the  city.  They  conspired  against  them  and  told  lies  about  them.  One  of  the  best  and  most  pious  of  the  people  of  Basra  was  Ashajj  ‘Abd  al-Qays,  whose  real  name was  ‘Aamir  ibn  ‘Abd  al-Qays. He was  a  leader  of  his  people  who  had  come  to  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  learned  from  him,  and  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  praised  him  when  he  said:

“You  have  two characteristics  that  Allah  loves:  forbearance  and  deliberation.” [Saheeh as-Seerah an-Nabawiyyah, p.  635,  At-Tirmidhi (2011)]

‘Aamir  ibn  ‘Abd  al-Qays  was  one  of  the  leaders  of  jihad  in  al-Qaadisiyyah  and  elsewhere. He  lived  in  Basra  and  he  was  a  man  of  great  righteousness  and  piety.  The  rebels  told  lies  about  him  and  made  false  accusations against  him,  so  ‘Uthman  told  him  to go  to  Mu’awiyah  in  Syria.  When  Mu’awiyah  spoke  to  him,  he  realized  that  he  was  innocent  and  sincere,  and  that  the  rebels  were fabricating  lies  against  him.  The  architect  of  these  lies  against  ‘Aamir  ibn  ‘Abd  al-Qays  was  Hamraan  ibn  Abaan,  who  was  a  sinful  man  with  no  religious  commitment.  He  had  married  a  woman  during  her  ‘iddah,  and  when  ‘Uthman  found  out  about  that,  he  separated  them  and  beat  him  as  discipline  for  having sinned,  and  banished  him  to Basra,  where  he  met  the  leader of  the  Saba’is  in  that  city,  the  thief  Hakeem  ibn  Jablah. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 5/333, 334]

Ibn  Saba’  designated  the  year  34  AH  for  action
In  34  AH  –  the  eleventh  year  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate  –  ‘Abd- Allah  ibn  Saba’  finalized  his  plans  and  made  arrangements with  his  followers  to  begin  the  rebellion  against  the  caliph  and  his  governors.  From  his  den  of  conspiracy  in  Egypt,  Ibn  Saba’  got  in  touch  with  his  devilish  followers  in  Basra,  Kufah  and  Madinah,  and  agreed  with  them  on  the  details  of  the  rebellion,  and  they  corresponded  with  one  another  concerning  that.  Among  his  correspondents  were  the  Saba’is  in  Kufah.  There  were  more  than  ten  men,  some  of  whom  had  been  exiled  to  Syria,  then  to  al- Jazeerah  where  they  stayed  with  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  ibn  al-Waleed.  After  the  exile  of  these  rebels,  the  hateful  Saba’i  leader  in  Kufah  was  Yazeed  ibn  Qays.  [al-Khulafa’  aI-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi, p. 135]

In  34  AH,  Kufah  was  devoid  of  prominent  figures  because  they  were  all  out  on  campaign,  fighting  in  jihad  for  the  sake of  Allah,  and  there  was  no  one   left  in  the  city  but  the  hooligans  and  thugs  who  were influenced  by  the  deviant  Saba’is,  who  filled  their  minds  with  their  evil  ideas  and  incited  them  against  ‘Uthman’s  governor  in  Kufah,  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas. [Ibid]

The  situation  in  Kufah  when  the  troublemakers  made  their move
al-Tabari  said  of  the  situation  in  Kufah  in  34  AH.  Sa’eed  ibn al-‘Aas  went  to  ‘Uthman  in  the  eleventh  year  of  ‘Uthman’s  rule, and  before  he  left,  he  sent  al-Ash’ath  ibn  Qays  to  Azerbaijan, Sa’eed  ibn  Qays  to  al-Rayy,  al-Nusayr  al-‘Ajali  to  Hamadhaan,  al- Saa’ib  ibn  al-Aqra’  to  Asbahaan,  Maalik  ibn  Habeeb  to  Maah,  Hakeem  ibn  Salaamah  to  Mosul,  Jareer  ibn  ‘Abd-Allah  to  Qarqeesa,  Salmaan  ibn  Rabee’ah  to  al-Baab,  and  ‘Utaybah  ibn  al-Nahhaas  to  Hadwaan.  He  appointed  al-Qa’qaa’  ibn  ‘Amr   al- Tameemi  as  commander-in-chief,  and  he  appointed  ‘Amr  ibn  Hurayth  as  his  deputy  after  he  left.  Thus  Kufah  became  empty  of prominent  figures  and  no  one  was  left  there  except  those  who  were  insignificant  or  who  were  among  the   troublemakers. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/337] 

It  was  in  this  atmosphere  that  the  Saba’i  leader  in  Kufah,  Yazeed  ibn  Qays,  emerged  with  the  agreement  of  the  devilish  Ibn  Saba’  in  Egypt,  accompanied  by  the  troublemakers  who  had  joined  the  secret  society  of  Ibn  Saba’,  and  the  thugs  who  were  influenced  by  this  group. [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p. 136]

al-Qa’qaa’  ibn  ‘Amr  al-Tameemi  put  an  end  to  the  first  action Yazeed  ibn  Qays  emerged  in  Kufah,  aiming  to  depose ‘Uthman.  He  entered  the  mosque  and  sat  there,  and  the  Saba’is  to  whom  Ibn  as-Saba’  had  written  from  Egypt  joined  him  in  the  mosque.  When  the  rebels  gathered  in  the  mosque,  al-Qa’qaa’  ibn ‘Amr,  the  commander-in-chief,  came  to  know  of  them,  so  he  arrested  them  along  with  their  leader  Yazeed  ibn  Qays.  When Yazeed  saw  how  tough  and  alert  al-Qa’qaa’  was,  he  did  not  disclose  their  plan  of  rebelling  against  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  and deposing  him.  He  pretended  that  all  he  and  his  group  wanted  to  do  was  to  bring  about  the  dismissal  of  the  governor  Sa’eed  ibn  al- ‘Aas  and  ask  for  another  governor  in  his  place.  So  al-Qa’qaa’  let  the  group  go  when  he  heard  the  words  of  Yazeed,  then  he  said  to  Yazeed:  Do  not  gather  for  this  purpose  in  the  mosque,  and  do  not  meet  with  anyone;  stay  in  your  house.  Seek  what  you  want  from  the  caliph  and  you  will  achieve  what  you  want. [Tareekh at-Tabari,  5/337]

Yazeed  ibn  Qays  wrote  to  the  troublemakers  who  were  with ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid Yazeed  ibn  Qays  stayed  in  his  house,  and  he  was  forced  to change  his  plans  for  rebellion  and  turmoil.  This  Saba’i  –  Yazeed  ibn  Qays – hired  a  man,  giving  him  money  and  a  mule,  and  told  him  to  quickly  and  in  secret  go  to  the  Saba’is  from  Kufah  whom  ‘Uthman  had  exiled  to  Syria,  then  to  al-Jazeerah,  who  were  staying  with  ‘Abd  ar-Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  ibn  al-Waleed,  and  who  had  made  a  show  of  having  repented  and  regretted  their actions.  Yazeed  said  in  his  letter  to  his  devilish  brethren:  When  this  letter  of  mine  reaches  you,  do  not  let  it  fall  from  your  hands  before  you  come  to  me,  for  we  have  corresponded  with  our  brothers  in  Egypt  –  the  Saba’is  in  that  land  –  and  we  have  agreed  to launch  the  rebellion.  When  al-Ashtar  read  the  letter  of  Yazeed,  he  immediately  left  for  Kufah,  joined  by  other  rebels.  ‘Abd  ar- Rahmaan  ibn  Khaalid  noticed  that  they  were  missing  and  he  could  not  find  them,  then  he  sent  a  group  to  look  for  them,  and  they  could  not  find  them  either.  Yazeed  ibn  Qays  got  in  touch  with  his  group  once  again,  and  his  group  contacted  the  hooligans and  thugs  in  Kufah,  and  they  gathered  in  the  mosque.  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  entered  upon  them  in  the  mosque,  and  started  stirring  them  up  and  motivating  them  to  rebel.  Among  other  things,  he  said  to them:  I  have  come  to  you  from  the  caliph  ‘Uthman,  and  left  your  governor  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  with  him.  ‘Uthman  and Sa’eed  have  agreed  to  reduce  your  stipends  from  two  hundred  dirhams  to  one  hundred.  Al-Ashtar  was  telling  lies,  because  ‘Uthman  and  Sa’eed  had  not  discuss  that,  but  the  plan  of  the  Saba’is  was  to  spread  lies  and  provoke  the  masses.  Al-Ashtar  stirred  up  the  people  in  the  mosque,  and  the  hooligans  and  thugs became  excited,  and  there  was  a  great  deal  of  noise  in  the  mosque.  The  wise  Muslims,  those  who  were  prominent  people  and  righteous,  began  speaking  to  him,  such  as  Abu  Moosa  al- Ash’ari,  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Mas’ood  and  al-Qa’qaa’  ibn  ‘Amr,  but  he  did  not  listen  to  them  or  respond  to  them. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/338]

Yazeed  ibn  Qays  shouted  to  the  hooligans  and  thugs  inside  and  outside  the  mosque:  I  am  going  to  go  out  to  the  road  to  Madinah, to  prevent  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  from  entering  Kufah.  Whoever  wants  to  go  out  with  me  to  prevent  Sa’eed  from  entering  and  to  demand  a  new governor,  let  him  do  so.  The  Saba’is  and  thugs  responded  to  his  call,  and  nearly  one  thousand  of  them  went  out  with  him. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/338]

al-Qa’qaa’  ibn  ‘Amr  thought  that  the  leaders  of  the troublemakers  should  be  executed
When  the  Saba’is  and  thugs  went  out,  seeking  to  rebel  and stir  up  turmoil  and  trouble,  the  prominent  Muslims  and  people  of  deliberation  and  wisdom  stayed  in  the  mosque.  The  governor’s  deputy,  ‘Amr  ibn  Hurayth,  ascended  the  minbar  and  asked  the  Muslims  to  remain  united  and  told  them not  to  be  divided,  and  he  called  on  them  not  to  respond  to  the  rebels. [Al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  139] 

Al-Qa’qaa’  ibn ‘Amr  said:  Can  you  stop  the  flood  or  divert  the  Euphrates  from  its  course? No  way.  No,  by  Allah,  nothing  will  stop  these  thugs  but  the  sword,  and  soon  all  the  blessings  that  they  are  enjoying  will  vanish,  and  they  will  wish  to  have  them  back  but  they  will  never  be  able  to.  So  be  patient.  He  said: I  will  be  patient.  Then  he  left  and went  back  to  his  house. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/338]

The  troublemakers  prevented  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  from  entering  Kufah
Yazeed  ibn  Qays  and  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  led  thousands  of rebels  to  a  place  on  the  road  to  Madinah  that  was  called  al-Jara’ah.  Whilst  they  were  camping  in  al-Jara’ah,  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  saw  them  as  he  was  returning  from  his  meeting  with  ‘Uthman.  They  said  to  him:  Go  back  from  whence  you  came,  for  we  have  no  need  of  you  and  we  will  not  let  you  enter  Kufah.  Tell  ‘Uthman  that  we  do  not  want  a  governor,  and  we  want  ‘Uthman  to  give  us  Abu Moosa  al-Ash’ari  as  a  governor  instead  of  you.  Sa’eed  said  to them:  Why  have  a  thousand  of  you  come  to  tell  me  this,  when  it  would  have  been  sufficient  for  you  to  send  one  man  to  the  caliph,  and  send  one  man  to  stand  on  the  road  to  tell  me  this.  Do  you  think  that  one  thousand  men  with  any  sense  would  come  out  to  confront  one  man? [ibid]

Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  thought  it  wise  not  to  confront  them  or  fan  the  flames  of  turmoil  (fitnah),  rather  he  tried  to extinguish  it  or  at  least  delay  it.  This  was  also  the  view  of  Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari,  ‘Amr  ibn  Hurayth  and  al-Qa’qaa’  ibn  ‘Amr  in  Kufah. [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  104] 

Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  went  back  to  ‘Uthman  and  told  him  about  the  rebels,  and  ‘Uthman  said  to  him:  What  do  they  want? Are  they  refusing  to  obey?  Have  they  rebelled  against  the  caliph  and  declared  their  refusal  to  obey  him?  Sa’eed  said  to  him: No.  What  they  said  is  that  they  do  not  want  me  as  their  governor,  and  they  want  someone  else  instead  of  me.  ‘Uthman  said  to  him:  Who  do  they  want  as  a governor?  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  said:  They  want  Abu  Moosa  al- Ash’ari.  ‘Uthman  said:  Then  we  will  appoint  Abu  Moosa  as  their governor.  By  Allah,  we  will  never  give  anyone  any  excuse,  and  we  shall  certainly  be  patient  with  them  as  is  expected  of  us,  until  we  find  out  what  they  really  want.  And  ‘Uthman  wrote  to  Abu  Moosa  appointing  him  as  governor  of  Kufah. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/339]

Before  the  letter  appointing Abu  Moosa  as  governor  arrived, there  were  some  of  the  companions  of  the  Messenger of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  in  the  mosque  of  Kufah  who  tried  to  calm  things  down,  but  they  were  not  able  to  do  that,  because  the  Saba’is  and  haters  had  gained  control  over  the  hooligans  and  thugs  and  stirred  them  up,  and  they  would  no  longer  listen  to  any  voice  of  reason  or  logic.  At  the  time  of  the  rebellion  and  turmoil  there  were  two  of  the companions  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  in  the  mosque  of Kufah,  Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yamaan  and  Abu  Mas’ood  ‘Uqbah  ibn  ‘Aamir  al-Ansari  al-Badri.  Abu  Mas’ood  was  very  angry  about  this  rebellion  of  the  hooligans  and  their  going  out  to  al-Jara’ah,  dismissing  the  governor  Sa’eed  and  disobeying  him,  which  was  the  first  time  this  had  happened.  Hudhayfah,  on  the  other  hand, was  more  far-sighted  and  he  dealt  with  the  incident  objectively and  wisely. [al-Khulafa’ al-Raashideen, p. 141]

Abu  Mas’ood  said  to  Hudhayfah:  They  will  not  come  back  safe  from  al-Jara’ah;  the  caliph  will  send  an  army  to discipline  them  and  many  of  them  will  be  killed.  Hudhayfah replied:  By  Allah,  they  will  come  back  to  Kufah  and  there  will  be  no  fighting  and  no  bloodshed.  There  is  nothing  I  am  learning  about  this  but  I  already  learned  it  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  when  he  was  still  alive,  because  he  told  us  about  these  turmoils  that  we  are  seeing  today  before  he  died.  The  Messenger of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  told  us  that  a  man  would  be  a  Muslim  in  the  morning  then   when  evening  came  he  would  have  nothing  of  Islam  left  in him,  then  he  would  fight  the  Muslims  and  apostatize,  and  his heart  would  be  turned  upside  down,  and  Allah  would  cause him  to  die  the  next  day,  and  that  will  happen  later  on. [Tareekh al-Tabari, 5/332]

Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yamaan  specialized  in  knowledge  of  turmoil  (al-fitan)  and  he  dealt  with  the  turmoil  of  the  Saba’is  in  Kufah  and  elsewhere  on  the  basis  of  what  he  had  heard  and  learned  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  bearing  in  mind  what  he  had  memorized  of  those  ahaadeeth.  He  understood  the  reality  of  what  was  going  on  around  him  and  did  not  find  it  odd  at  all,  but  he  tried  to  sort  it  out  as  much  as  he  could. [Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yamaan  by  Ibraaheem  al-‘Ali,  p.  86]

Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari  tried  to  calm  things  down  and  tell  the people  not  to  rebel 
Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari  (radhiyallahu anhu)  tried  to  calm  things  down  and  told  the  people  not  to  be  disobedient. He  said  to  them:  O  people,  do not  rebel  any  more  and  do  not  disobey  any  more.  Adhere  to  your  community  (jamaa’ah)  and  be  obedient.  Beware  of  haste;  be  patient  and  soon  you  will  have  a  new  govemor.  They  said:  Lead  us  in  prayer.  He  said:  No,  not  unless  you  confirm  your  obedience  to  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan.  They  said: We  pledge  to  Listen  to  and  obey ‘Uthman. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 5/339]

But  they  did  not  say  that  with  any  sincerity,  rather  they  were concealing  their  true  aims  from  others.  Abu  Moosa  led  the  people  in  prayer  until  the  letter  of  ‘Uthman  came,  appointing  him  as  govemor  of  Kufah.  When  things  calmed  down  in  Kufah  for  a  while  –  in  34  AH  –  Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yamaan  went  back  to  Azerbaijan,  leading  the  armies  of  jihad  there,  and  the  agents  and  governors  went  back  to  their  work  in  Persia. [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  142]

‘Uthman’s  letter  to  the  rebels  in  Kufah  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan  wrote  a  letter  to  the  rebels  in  Kufah  in  which  he  explained  the  reason  why  he  had  responded  to  their  demands  to  dismiss  Sa’eed  and  appoint  Abu  Moosa  in  his  place.  This  is  a  letter  of  great  significance  which  explains  the  way  in  which  ‘Uthmam  confronted  the  turmoil  and  how  he  tried  to  delay  its  outbreak  as  much  as  he  could,  even  though  he  was certain  that  it  was  inevitable  and  he  would  not  be  able  to  stop  it.  This  is  what  he  had  learned  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  ‘Uthman  said  to  them  in  his  letter:  I  have  appointed  over  you  the  one  whom  you  have  chosen,  and  I  have  dismissed  Sa’eed.  By  Allah,  I  shall  do  my  utmost  and  I  shall  be  very  patient  with  you,  and  I  shall  do  what  is  in  your  best  interests  as  much  as  I  can.  Ask  me  for  everything that you  want,  so  long  as  it  does  not  involve  any  disobedience towards  Allah,  and  I  will  grant you  it.  Tell  me  about  all  that  you  dislike  so  long  as  it  does  not  involve  any  disobedience towards  Allah, and  I  will  let  you  off.  I  shall  go  along  with  what  you  want  so  that  you  will  have  no  excuse  to  go  against me.  He  also  wrote  similar  letters to  other  provinces. [Tareekh at-Tabari 5/343]

May  Allah  be  pleased  with  the  caliph  ‘Uthman;  how  good  he  was  and  how  open-hearted,  and  how  greatly  was  he  wronged  by  the  Saba’is,  rebels  and  haters  who  told  lies  against  him.  [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen by al-Khaalidi, p. 143]

Uthman’s policy in dealing with the Turmoil (Fitnah)
From  the  historical  texts  in  a  number  of  sources  it  is  clear  that  ‘Uthman  confronted  the  turmoil  in  a  number  of  ways,  as  follows:  Some  of  the  Sahabah  thought  that  ‘Uthman should  send  committees  to  investigate  the  matter.

Muhammad  ibn  Maslamah,  Talhah  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah  and others  were  shocked  by  what  they  heard  of  the  rumours  spread  by  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  in  the  regions.  They  entered  upon  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  in  haste  and  said:  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  have  you  heard  what  we  have  heard  from  the  people?  He  said:  No,  by  Allah,  I  have  only  heard  good  things.  They  said:  We  have  heard  such  and  such,  and  they  told  him  what  they  had  heard  about turmoil  spreading  throughout  the  Muslim  provinces,  and  about  the  vicious  attacks  on  the  governors  in  every  place.  He  said:  You  are  my  partners  and  witnesses  for  the  believers;  advise  me.  They  said:  We  advise  you  to  send  men  whom you  trust  to  the  provinces  so   that  they  may  find  out  what  is  going  on. [Tareekh at-Tabari,  5/348] 

‘Uthman  took  a  wise  decision  and  did  what  had  to  be  done.  He  chose  a  group  of the  Sahabah  whose  piety  and  sincerity  no  one  could  dispute.  He chose  Muhammad  ibn  Maslamah  whom  ‘Umar  used  to  entrust  with  checking  on  his  governors  and  the  provinces  they  were  ruling;  Usaamah  ibn  Zayd,  the  beloved  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  the  son  of  his  beloved,  the  commander  of  the  army  which  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  insisted  should  cany  on  its  mission  at  the  end  of  his  life,  saying,  Let  the  mission  of  Usaamah  go  ahead;  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir,  the  great  mujaahid  who  had  come  to  Islam  early  on;  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Umar,  the  pious  faqeeh.  He  sent  Muhammad  ibn  Maslamah  to  Kufah,  Usaamah  to  Basra, ‘Ammaar  to  Egypt  and  Ibn  ‘Umar  to  Syria,  and  each  of  them  took  a  group  of  people  with  him.  He  sent  them  to  those  major  provinces,  and  each  of  them  went  about  their  difficult,  exhausting and  dangerous  work.  Then  they  all  came  back,  except  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir,  who  stayed  longer  in  Egypt,  then  he  returned.  They presented  their  findings  to  the  caliph,  telling  him  what  they  had  seen  and  heard  and  asked  the  people  about. [‘Uthman ibn  ‘Affan, al-Khaleefah  al-Shaakir al-Saabir, p. 120]  

What  they  reported  was  the  same  for  all  provinces.  They  said:  O people,  we  have  not  seen  anything  reprehensible  and  the  Muslims  did  not complain  about  anything.  All  that  we  found  is  that  the  governors  have  been  fair  to  them  and  are  taking  care  of  them. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/348] 
As  for  that  which  was  narrated  about  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir  inciting  the  people  against  ‘Uthman,  the  isnaads  of  these reports  are  da’eef  (weak)  and  are  not  free  of  faults,  and  their  texts  are  also  weird. [Fitnah  Maqtal  ‘Uthman,  1/117]

The  inspectors  came  back  from  the  provinces,  and  it  became clear  that  there  was  no  reason  for  the  caliph  to  dismiss  any governor;  the  people  were  fine,  being  treated  justly  and  living  in  an  atmosphere  of  goodness,  compassion  and  tranquillity.  The  caliph  himself  was  being  just,  sharing  out  wealth  fairly  and  paying  heed  to  the  dues  of  Allah  and  the  dues  of  the  people.  The  rumours  were  no  more  than  speculation  and  lies  that  were  fabricated  by  those  who  bore  grudges  in  dark  corners  so  that  no  one  would  know  their  source.  But  the  great,  righteous,  rightly-guided  caliph  did  not  stop  there;  rather  he  wrote  to  the  people  of  the  provinces. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  1/349]

He  wrote  a  letter  to  all  the provinces that was a general  announcement  to  all  Muslims 
I  check  on  my  governors and workers  every  time  I  meet  them  during  Hajj.  Since  I  was  appointed  caliph,  the  ummah  has  been  encouraged  to  enjoin  that  which  is  good  and  forbid  that  which  is  evil.  No  complaint  is  made  about  me  or  any  of  my  workers  but  I will  deal  with  it,  and  my  family  and  I  have  no  rights  before  any  of  the people  but  I will  give  them  up to  them.  The  people  of  Madinah  complained  to  me  that  there  were  some  people  who  were  insulted  and  others  who  were  beaten. O  you  who  were  beaten  in  secret  and  insulted  in  secret,  whoever  has  any  claim  of  that  nature,  let  him  come  to  Hajj  and  take  his  rights  wherever  they  are,  from  me  or  from  my  workers,  or  else  give  charity  (i.e.,  forgive)  and  Allah  will  reward  those  who  give  charity.

When  this  letter  was  read  out  in  the  provinces,  the  people wept  and  prayed  for  ‘Uthman,  and  said:  This  ummah  is  headed  for  trouble. [Ibid]

Does  anyone  in  the  whole  world  want  to  hear  someone with  more  resolve  and  determination  than  this  resolve  and  determination  of  a  man  who  had  passed  the  age  of  eighty-two,  yet  he  still  had  the  energy  and  strength  to  follow  up  and  check  on  allegations  of  mistreatment?  Could  the  people  find  any  justice more  sublime  than  his  fairness  and  justice,  in  which  the  caliph  gave  up  his  own  personal  rights  so  long  as  the  rights  of  Allah  were  preserved  and  His  sacred  limits  were  not  transgressed?  Indeed,  ‘Uthman  did  not  stop  there.  He  did  not  only  send  trustworthy people  to  check  on  the  people’s  situation  and  write  to the  people  of  the  provinces  telling  them  to  come  to  Hajj  to  present  their  complaints  –  if  they  had  any  –  before  all  the  pilgrims.  That  was  not  enough;  rather  he  sent  word  to  the  governors  of  the  provinces  themselves,  telling  them  to  meet  the  people  when  they brought  their  complaints – if  there  were  any  –  then  let  them  ask  the  caliph  about  what  the  people  were  talking  about,  and  offer  him  sound  and  sincere  advice. [‘Utkman  ibn  ‘Affaan,  al-Khaleefah  al-Skaakir  al-Saabir,  p. 212]

‘Uthman’s  advise  to  the  governors  of  the  provinces

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sent  for  the  governors  of  the  provinces,  summoning  them  to  come  at  once:  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir,  Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Sa’d,  and  he  included  with  them  in  the  consultation  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  and  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  –  who  were  both  former  governors.  It  was  a  closed,  serious  meeting  in  which  the  following  issues  were  discussed  and  in  which  a  new  plan  was  developed  in  light  of  the  news  that  had reached  Madinah,  the  capital  of  the  Islamic  state. [Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan,  p. 126]

‘Uthman  said:  Woe  to  you,  what  are  these  complaints? What  are  these  rumours? By  Allah,  I  am  afraid  that  they  may  be  true  about  you  and  it  is  my  responsibility  to  deal  with  it.  They  said  to  him: Didn’t  you  send  people  to  find  out?  Didn’t  they  come  back  with news  of  what  is  really  going  on?  Didn’t  they  come  back  and  say  that  no  one  had  complained  to  them  about  anything? By  Allah,  the  rumours are  not  true  and  they  are suspicious.  We  do  not  know  of  any  basis  for  what  is  happening  and  you  cannot  hold  anyone  responsible  on  this  basis.  It  is  no  more  than  rumours  that  it  is  not permissible  to  believe  or  accept.  He  said:  Advise  me.  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  said:  This  is  a  plot  that  is  being  drawn  up  in  secret;  rumours  are  being  fabricated  and  transmitted  to  the  people  with  no  knowledge,  then  they  take  them  and  talk  about  them  in  their  gatherings.  He  said:  What  is  the  remedy  for  that?  He  said:  Look  for  these  people  and  kill  those  who  are  behind  these  fabrications. 

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Sa’d  said:  Take  from  the  people  what  they  owe  when  you  give  them  what  is  due  to  them,  for  that  is  better than  leaving  them  like  that.  Mu’awiyah  said:  You  appointed  me  as  a  governor  over  people  and  you  have  not  heard  anything  but good  from  them,  and  these  two  men  know  best  about  their provinces.  He  said:  What  do  you  think,  O ‘Amr?  He  said:  I  think that  you  have  been  too  gentle  with  them  and  too  kind,  you  have been  more  generous  with  them  than  ‘Umar  was.  I  think  that  you should  follow  the  way  of  your  companion  (‘Umar)  and  be  strict  when  strictness  is  appropriate  and  be  gentle  when  gentleness  is  appropriate.  Strictness  should  be  employed  with  one  who  wants  to  do  harm  to  people  and  gentleness  should  be  employed  with  one  who  is  sincere  towards  people,  but  you  have  been  persistently gentle.  ‘Uthman  stood  up  and  praised  Allah,  then  he  said:  I understand  all  the  advice  that  you  have  given  me.  There  is  a  time  for  everything.  What  we  fear  may  befall  the  ummah  is  inevitable  and  the  barrier  that  is  keeping  it  from  happening  must  be  reinforced  by  kind  and  gentle  means,  except  when  it  has  to  do  with  the  sacred  limits  of  Allah,  in  which  there  is  no  room  for  compromise.  If  anything  can  close  this  door  to  turmoil,  it  is  kindness,  but  by  Allah  it  will  inevitably  open.  No  one  has  any  reason  to  blame  me  when  Allah  knows  that  I  have  done  my  best  for  the  people,  but  the  wheels  of   turmoil  will  turn.  Glad  tidings  for  ‘Uthman  if  he  dies  without  having  set  them  in  motion.  Calm  the  people  down  and  give  them  their  dues  and  pardon  them,  but  if  the  sacred  limits  of  Allah  are  transgressed  do  not  compromise. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/351]

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  disagreed  with  his  brother  ‘Amr’s  view  that  strictness  should  be  employed,  but  he  did  not  disagree  with  the  idea  of  following  his  two  predecessors.  The  wheels  of  turmoil  were  already  turning  but  it  could  not  be  dealt  with  by  means  of violence,  because  violence  is  what  usually  fuels  it.  He  did  not  want  to  be  the  one  to  start  it  (“Glad  tidings  for  ‘Uthman  if  he  dies  without  having  set  them  in  motion.”)  But  he  was  very  clear  that  the  area  in  which  there  could  be  no  compromise  was  the  sacred limits  of  Allah.  There  could  be  no  compromise  in  that  case,  but  in  other  areas  kindness  and  forgiveness  were  better,  and  it  was  essential  to  respect  the  rights  of  all. [‘Amr ibn  al ‘Aas  –  al-Ameer  al-Mujaahid,  by  al-Ghadbaan,  p. 447]

There  are  reports  with  some  weakness  and  unknown narrators  in  their  isnaads  which  misrepresent  the  relationship between  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  and  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhum).  These  worthless  reports  contributed  to  the  distortion of  the  image  of  ‘Amr  ibn  al- ‘Aas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  change  his  relationship  with  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  into  that  of  a  murderer  who  planned  to  kill  his  leader  and  then,  in  a  spirit of  opportunism,  demand  qisaas. [op. cit., p. 448] 

This  report  is  weak  and  was rejected  by  the  historians  and  scholars  of  hadeeth. [Ibid] 

There  is  another  report  whose  isnaad  also  contains  weak  and  unknown  narrators  which  says  that  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  said:  O  ‘Uthman,  you  have  controlled  the  people  by  appointing  Banu  Umayyah.  You  said  and  they  said;  you  drifted  away  and  they  drifted  away.  Sort  yourself  out  or  else  resign;  decide  what  you  want  to  do  and  go ahead  with  it. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/340] 

In  the  same  report  it  says  that  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Aamir  said:  I  think  that  you  should  send  them  away  from  their  wives  on  these  campaigns  so  that  the  only  concern  of  any  of  them  will  be  dealing  with  the  lice  on  his  head  and  taking  care  of  his mount,  and  that  will  distract  them  from  causing you  trouble. [ibid]

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  prevented  the  governors  from  punishing  these  troublemakers by  imprisoning  or  executing them,  and  he  decided  to  treat  them  with  kindness  and  gentleness. [Khilaafat  ‘Uthman, by  Dr.  al-Sulami,  p. 77] 

He  asked  his  governors  to  return  to  their  work  in accordance  with  the  way  that  he  announced  of  dealing  with  the  turmoil  which  everyone  with  insight  realized  was  inevitable. [al-Khulafa’  al-Rashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p. 151] 

Two  suggestions  from  Mu’awiyah  that  were  rejected  by  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu) Before  Mu’awiyah  ibn  Abi  Sufyan  headed  back  to  Syria,  he went  to  ‘Uthman  and  said  to  him:  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  come with  me  to  Syria  before  the  situation gets  worse  and  you  will  not be  able  to  handle  it. ‘Uthman  said: I  will  not  trade  being  close  to  the  Messenger  of Allah   for  anything,  even  if  it  leads  to  the  cutting of  my neck. Mu’awiyah  said  to  him:  Then  I  will  send  an  army  to  you  from Syria,  to  stay  in  Madinah  and  confront  the  expected  dangers  and protect  you  and  the  people.  ‘Uthman  said:  I  do  not want  to  reduce  the  provision  of  the  neighbours  of  the  Messenger of  Allah  with  these  soldiers coming to  live  amongst  them,  and  I  do  not  want  conditions to  become  crowded  for  the Muhajireen  and Ansar.  Mu’awiyah  said  to  him:  O Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  you  wilI  be assassinated  or  an  army  will  come  and  invade  Madinah. ‘Uthman  said:  Allah  is  sufficient  for  me  and  He  is  the  best  disposer  of affairs. It  is  as  if  ‘Uthman  knew  that  behind  all  the  turmoil  and rumours  there  were  evil  people  who  were  planning  to  achieve  a terrible  goal,  which  was  no  less  than  toppling  the  caliph  and undermining  the  caliphate.  But  the  rightly-guided  caliph ‘Uthman  had  a  different  opinion,  because  he  wanted  to  go along  with  these  people  all  the  way,  so  that  he  could  leave  them  with  no  excuse  before  Allah  or  before  the  people,  thus  exposing  them  in  this  world  and  in  the  Hereafter. This was  a  patient  way  of  dealing with  the  situation  on  the  part  of  the  great  and  just  ruler. [Uthman  ibn  ‘Affaan  –  al-Khaleefah  al-Shaakir  al-Saabir,  p. 214]

‘Uthman’s  spies  penetrate  the  ranks  of  the  conspirators  after they  come  to  Madinah
The  caliph  ‘Uthman  had  sufficient  alertness  to  ensure that  his  spies  penetrated  the  ranks  of  conspirators,  by  sending  two  men  who  had  been  disciplined  and  punished  so  that  the  conspirators  would  feel  at  ease  with  them.  ‘Uthman  sent  two  men,  a Makhzoomi  and  a  Zuhri,  and  said:  Go  and  find  out  what  they  are  up  to,  and  bring  me  news  of  them.  The  punishment  they  received  from  ‘Uthman  was  aimed  at  disciplining  them,  so  they  had  borne  it  with  patience  and  did  not  bear  any  grudges.  When  the  conspirators  saw  them  they  told  them  what  their  aims  were.  They  said:  Who  is  with  you  in  this  aim  among  the  people  of  Madinah? They  said:  Three  men.  They  said:  Is  that  all?  They  said: No.  They  said:  What  do  you  want  to  do?  They  explained  to  the two  men  the  full  extent  of  the  conspiracy  and  the  plans  that  had  been  drawn  up.  They  said:  We  want  to  confront  him  with  the  things  that  we  have  told  the  people  about,  then  we  will  go  back  to  the  people  and  tell  them  that  he  admitted  it,  but  he  did  not  want  to  give  it  up  or  repent.  Then  we  will  come  back  again  as  if  we  are  going for  Hajj,  but  we  will  come  to  Madinah  and  besiege  him  and depose  him;  if  he  resists  we   will  kill  him  and  let  it  be.  The  two  men  went  back  to  ‘Uthman  and  he  smiled  and  said:  O  Allah,  guide  these  people  for  if  You  do  not  guide  them,  they  will  be  doomed.  He  sent  word  to  the  people  of  Kufah  and  Basra  and  the  call  went  out:  As-salaatu  jaami’ah  (prayer  is  about  to  begin),  and  they  were with  him  at  the  base  of  the  minbar.  The  companions  of  the Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  came  and  surrounded  them,  and  he praised  and  glorified  Allah  and  told  them  what  these  people  were  up  to,  and  that  they  were  seeking  to  promote  the  lies  about  him  in  order  to  pave  the  way  for  rebellion  and  then  depose  or  kill  him.  The  two  men  who  had  spoken  to  the  Saba’is  stood  up  and  bore witness  to  what  they  had  told  them.  The  Muslims  inside  the mosque  all  said:  Kill  them,  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  for  they  want  to  rebel  against  the  caliph  and  divide  the  Muslims.  But  ‘Uthman  refused  the  call  of  the  Sahabah  to  kill  them,  because  they  were  outwardly  Muslims  who  were  under  his  care,  and  he  did  not  want  it  to  be  said  that  ‘Uthman  killed  the  Muslims  who  disagreed  with  him.  Hence  ‘Uthman  ibn ‘Affan  rejected  that  call  saying:  We will  not  kill  them,  rather  we  will  forgive  them  and  pardon  them,  and  we  will  try  to  show  them  the  right  way  as  much  as  we  can.  We  will  not  kill  any  of  the  Muslims  unless  he  commits  an  offence  which  is  subject  to  the  hadd  punishment  of  execution  or  he  shows  himself  to  be  an  apostate  or  kafir. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/345, 355]

Establishing  proof  against  the  rebels
Then  ‘Uthman  called  on  the Saba’is  to  explain  what  they were  confused  about  and  to  make  a  list  of  the  mistakes  and  transgressions  that  they  thought  ‘Uthman  had  committed,  in  a  meeting  in  the  mosque  in  which  things  were  to  be  discussed  frankly  in  front  of  the  Sahabah  and  the  Muslims.  So  the  Saba’is  spoke  and  explained  the  mistakes  that  ‘Uthman  had  made  – according  to  their  allegations  –  and  ‘Uthman  explained, eloquently  and  clearly,  his  position  and  the  basis  for  his  actions. The  Muslims  who  were  fair-minded  listened  to  this  frank  discussion  and  transparent  accounting.  ‘Uthman  mentioned  the  alleged  grievances,  explained  how  things  really  were,  and  defended  his  good  conduct,  and  asked  the  Sahabah  who  were  sitting  in  the  mosque  to  testify  to  that. [al-Khulafa al-Raashideen, p. 154, 155]

1-  He  said:  They  say  that  I  offer  the  prayer  in  full  when  I travel,  and  that  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  did  not  do  that  before  me.  But  I  offered  the  prayer  in  full  when  I  travelled  from  Madinah  to  Makkah,  and  Makkah  is  a  town  in  which  I  have  a  family,  so  I  am  staying  with  my  family  and  I  am  not  a  traveller,  is  that  not  so?  The  Sahabah  said:  By  Allah,  yes.

2- They  said  that  I  have  allocated  grazing  land  for  myself,  and  caused  hardship  for  the  Muslims,  and  set  aside  a vast  area  of  land  for  my  camels.  Before  my  time,  grazing land  was  allocated  for  the  camels  that  were  given  in zakaah  and  used  in  jihad,  and  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  all  allocated  land  for  grazing.  I  had  to  add  to  it  because  the  number  of  camels  given  in  zakaah  and  used  in  jihad  increased.  Moreover,  I  did  not  prevent  the  livestock  of  the  poor  Muslims  from  grazing  on  that  land.  I  never  allocated  it  for  my  own  livestock.  When  I  was   appointed  caliph,  I  was  one  of  the  richest  of  the  Muslims  in  camels  and  sheep,  but  I  have  spent  it  all  and  I  have  no  livestock  at  all  now  except  two  camels  which  I  keep  for  Hajj.  Is  that  not  so? The  Sahabah  said: By  Allah,  yes.

3-  They  say  that  I  kept  only  one  copy  of  the  Mush-haf  and burned  all  the  rest,  and  I  united  the  people  in  reading one  Mush-haf:  But  the  Qur’an  is  indeed  the  word  of  Allah, which  came  from  Allah,  and  it  is  all  one,  and  all  I  did  was  to  unite  the  Muslims  behind  the  Qur’an,  and  forbid  them  to  differ  concerning  it.  By  doing  that  I  followed  in  the  footsteps  of  Abu  Bakr,  who  compiled  the  Qur’an.  Is  that  not  so?  The  Sahabah  said;  By  Allah,  yes.

4- They  said  that  I  allowed  al-Hakam  ibn  al-‘Aas  to  return  to  Madinah  when  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  banished  him  to  al-Taa’if.  Al-Hakam  ibn  al-‘Aas  is  a  Makkan,  not  a  Madeenan,  and  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) exiled  him  from  Makkah  to  al-Taa’if,  and  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  let  him  return  to  Makkah  after  he  was  pleased  with  him.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  sent  him  to  al-Taa’if  and  he  is  the  one  who  let  him  come  back  to  Makkah.  Is  that  not  so?  The  Sahabah  said:  By  Allah,  yes.

5- They  said  that  I  employed  young  people  and  appointed youngsters  as  governors,  but  I  have  never  appointed  anyone  but  a  man  who  was  just  and  kind  and  of  good  character.  These  are  the  people  over  whom  they  were  appointed  –  go  and  ask  them  about  them.  Those  who  came  before  me  appointed  some  who  were  even younger  than  these.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  appointed Usaamah  ibn  Zayd  when  he  was  younger  than  those  whom  I  appointed,  and  they  spoke  more  harshly  to  the Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  than  they  spoke  to  me.  Is  that not  so?  The  Sahibah  said:  By  Allah,  yes,  these  people  criticize  others  but  they  do  not  understand  what  is  happening.

6- They  said  that  I  gave  to  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Sa’d  ibn  Abi’l- Sarh  what  Allah  had  granted  of  booty,  but  I  only  gave  him  one-fifth  of  the  Khums  –  which  was  one  hundred  thousand  -when  he  conquered  North  Africa,  as  a  reward  for  his  efforts.  I  said  to  him:  If  Allah enables  you  to  conquer  North  Africa,  you  will  have  one-fifth  of  the  Khums  as  a  reward.  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be pleased  with  them  both)  did  that  before  me,  yet  despite  that  the  mujahideen  troops  said  to  me:  We  object  to  you giving  one-fifth  of  the  khums,  although  they  had  no  right to  object.  But  I  took  the  one-fifth  of  the  Khums  from  Ibn Sa’d  and  gave  it  to  the  hoops,  so  in  fact  Ibn  Sa’d  did  not  take  anything.  Is  that  not  so?  The  Sahabah  said:  By  Allah,  yes.

7- They  said  that  I  love  my  family  and  am  generous  to  them.  As  for  my  love  for  my  family,  that  did  not  make  me  biased  towards  them  or  make  me  support  them  in  cases  of  injustice  or  mistreatment  of  others.  Rather  they  have  duties like  everyone  else  and  I  take  their  dues  from  them.  As  for  giving  to  them,  I  gave  to  them  from  my  own  wealth,  not  from  the  wealth  of  the  Muslims, because  I  do  not  regard  the  wealth  of  the  Muslims  as permissible  for  me,  and  no  one  has  the  right  (to  take  the wealth  of  the  Muslims).  I  used  to  give  generously  from  my  own  wealth  at  the  time  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both).  At  that  time  I  was  very  careful  in spending.  But  now  I  am  the  oldest  of  my  family  and  am approaching  the  end  of  my  life,  and  I  have  given  my  wealth  to  my  family  and  relatives.  Let  the  evildoers  say  what  they  say.  By  Allah, I  did  not  take  any  wealth  or  surplus  from  any  Muslim  province.  I  let  those  provinces keep  their  wealth  and  I  did  not  bring  anything  to  Madinah  except  the  khums  (one-fifth)  of  the  war  booty.  The  Muslims  took  care  of  dividing  the  other  four-fifths  and  gave  it  to  those  who  were  entitled  to  it.  By  Allah,  I  did  not  take  even  a  penny  or  anything  else  from  that  booty.  I  only  eat  from  my  own  wealth  and  I  only  give  to my  family  from  my  own  wealth.
8- They  said  that  I  gave  the  conquered  land  to  certain  men, and  that  the  Muhajireen  and  Ansar,  and  other  mujaahideen, took  part  in  conquering  these  lands.  When  I  divided  these  lands  among  the  conquerors,  some  of  them  settled  there,  and  some  came  back  to  their  families  in  Madinah  or  elsewhere,  but  that  land  remained  in  their  possession, and  some  sold  the  land  and  kept  its  price  with  them. 

Thus  ‘Uthman  answered  the  main  objections  that  had  been raised  against  him;  he  clarified  his  position  and  highlighted  the true  facts. [al-‘Awasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  p. 61-11] 

From  this  strong  defence  presented  by  ‘Uthman  ibn ‘Affan  (radhiyallahu anhu),  which  he  discussed  with  the  Sahabah,  we  get  an  idea  of  the  harsh  criticism  that  was  directed  against  him  and  the  foul rumours  and  fabricated  falsehoods  that  the  Saba’is  spread  about  him.  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  summed  up  the  objections  that  they  had against  him  and  highlighted  the  facts  about  his  actions.  He explained  that  he  knew  what  he  was  doing  and  that  he  had  a clear,  shar’i  basis  for  all  his  actions.  But  they  had  ulterior  motives  and  were  not  interested  in  seeking  guidance  or  setting  things  straight. His  approach  in  this  debate  was  that  of  a  sincere  man  to  one  who  is  watching  him  and  looking  for  his  faults,  aiming  to  achieve  his  goals  of  stirring  up  people  against  him.  Such  a  one  cannot  be  convinced  by  any  proof  or  guided  by  any evidence,  and  whomsoever  Allah  leaves  astray,  no  one  can  guide. [Tareekh al-Jadal by Muhammad Abu  Zahrah,  p.  98, 99]

The  leaders  of  the  troublemakers  who  were  beside  the  minbar  heard  his  explanations,  as  did  the  noble  Sahabah  and  the  Muslims  and  righteous  men  who  were  with  them.  The  Muslims  were  moved  by  ‘Uthman’s  words  and  believed  what  he  said,  and  it increased  their  love  for  him.  As  for  the  Saba’is  who  were promoting  turmoil  and  division,  they  were  not  moved  at  all,  and  they  did  not  retract  their  views,  because  they  were  not  looking  for  truth  or  seeking  the  good,  rather  their  aim  was  to  create  trouble  and  plot  against  Islam  and  the  Muslims.  The  Sahabah  and  Muslims  suggested  to  ‘Uthman  that  he  execute  those  Saba’is  and  leading  troublemakers  because  of  their  lies,  fabrications  and hatred  that  had  become  apparent;  rather  they  insisted  that  he  should  kill  them  and  rid  the  Muslims  of  their  evil  and  bring  stability  by  putting  an  end  to  the  turmoil  that  had  been  stirred  up  by  them  and  their  followers.  But  ‘Uthman  had  a  different  opinion;  he  preferred  to  leave them  alone  and  he  thought  that  they  should  not  be  killed,  in  an  attempt  to  delay  the  onset  of  turmoil.  So ‘Uthman  did not  take  any  steps  against the  Saba’is  who  had  come  from  Egypt,  Kufah  and  Basra,  even  though  he  knew  what  they  were  plotting  and  he  let  them  leave  Madinah  and  go back  to  their  own  lands. [al-Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon by al-Khaalidi, p. 158, 159]

Responding  to  some  of  their  requests  ‘Uthman  responded  to  some  of  their  requests  by  dismissing  some  governors  and  appointing  those  they  asked  for.  These  steps  could  have  been  sufficient  to  deal  with  the  situation  and  ensure  truth  and  justice,  if  the  situation  had  been  normal.  But  the  fact  of  the  matter  is that  there  were  hidden  aims  and  jaahili  hatred  behind  these  complaints  and  provocations,  and  there  was  an  effort  to  provoke  turmoil  and  disunity  among  the  Muslims,  and  the  fulfilling  of  what  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  foretold  about  the  martyrdom  of  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu). [Khilafat ‘Uthman by al-Sulami, p. 78]

‘Uthman’s Guidelines for dealing with the turmoil
Anyone  who  studies  the  way  in  which  ‘Uthman  dealt  with  the  turmoil  that  occurred  during  his  reign  may  discern  some  of  the  guidelines  that  will  help  the  Muslim  to  confront  turmoil. These  guidelines  include  the  following:

‘Uthman  sent  inspection committees  to  the  regions  to  listen  to  the  people  and  he  managed  to  penetrate  the  Saba’i  group  and  find  out  what  they  were  really  up  to,  and  he  did  not  hasten  to  pass judgement. 

Adhering  to  justice  and  fairness This  guideline  was  manifested  in  the  letter  that  he  sent  to  the  regions,  in  which  he  asked  anyone  who  claimed  to  have  been  insulted  or  beaten  by  the  governors  to  come  to  Hajj  and  settle  his  score  with  the  caliph  or  any  of  the  governors. [Tareekh al-Tabari 5/349]

Forbearance  and  deliberation. This  guideline  is  manifested  in  his  letter  to  the  people  of Kufah,  when  they  asked  him  to  dismiss  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas  and appoint  Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari.  In  this  letter  it  says:  “By  Allah,  I  shall  do  my  utmost  and  I  shall  be  very  patient  with  you,  and  I  shall  do  what  is  in  your  best  interests  as  much  as I  can. Ask  me  for  everything  that  you  want,  so  long  as  it  does  not  involve  any  disobedience  towards  Allah,  and  I  will  grant  you  it.  Tell  me  about  all that  you  dislike  so  long as  it  does not  involve  any  disobedience towards  Allah,  and  I  will  let  you  off.” [Ibid]

Keenness  for  that  which  unites  people  and  shunning  that  which  causes  division  among  the  Muslims
Hence  ‘Uthman  united  the  people  on  one  Mushaf.  When  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  gave  him  three  options  –  which we will  discuss  in  detail  below,  in  sha  Allih  –  ‘Uthman  said:  If  you  kill  me,  I  have  not  done  anything that  deserves  killing.  By  Allah,  if you  kill  me  you  will  never  love  one  another  after  I  am  gone,  and  you  will  never  pray  together  after  I  am  gone,  and  you  will  never  fight  the  enemy  together  after  I  am  gone. [al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah, 7/184]

Keeping  quiet  and  not  speaking  too  much
From  the  biography  of  ‘Uthman  it  is  clear  that  he  was  someone  who  did  not  speak  too  much  unless  it  included beneficial  knowledge,  advice,  or  refutation  of  false  accusations. He  was  very  quiet  and  spoke  little.

Consulting knowledgeable  people
‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  consulted  the  scholars  among the  Sahabah,  such  as  ‘Ali,  Talhah,  az-Zubayr,  Muhammad  ibn  Maslamah,  Ibn  ‘Aamir  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Salaam  (radhiyallahu anhum).  The  scholars  are  the  key  to  security  and  a  refuge  at  times  of  calamity  and  tribulation, because  they  have  the  most  insight  into  turmoil  and  know  where  it  is  heading.  The  one  who  turn  to  them  will  find  sound understanding,  the  correct  view  and  the  proper  Islamic attitude. [Ahdaath  wa  Ahaadeeth  Fitnat  al-Harj,  p.  728]

Seeking  guidance  from  the  ahaadeeth  of  the  Messenger  of Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  concerning  turmoil
‘Uthman’s  method  during  the  turmoil  and  in  dealing  with  the rebels  was  not  dictated  by  the  unfolding  of  events  or  the  pressures  of  reality,  rather  it  was  based  on  the  guidance  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), as  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhu wasallam)  had  instructed  him  to  be  patient  and  seek  reward,  and  not  to  fight  back,  until  Allah  decreed  what  He  willed.  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  fulfilled  his  promise  to  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  throughout  his  caliphate,  until  he  fell  as  a  martyr  stained  with  his  own  pure  blood. [Istishhaad  ‘Uthman ma  Waq’at  al-Jamal, p.  116]

Muhibb  al-Deen  al-Khateeb  said:  What  is  indicated  by  a number  of  reports  about  ‘Uthman’s  attitude  about  defending  himself  or  surrendering  to  the  decree  of  Allah  is  that  he  hated  turmoil  and  feared  Allah  with  regard  to  shedding  Muslim  blood,  but  in  the  end  he  wished  that  he  had  enough  power  to  scare  the transgressors  so  that  they  would  be  deterred  from  their  deeds  with  no  need  to  use  weapons  in  order  to  reach  this  outcome.  Before  matters  got  out  of  hand,  Mu’awiyah  offered  to  send  troops  from  Syria  to  him,  to  be  under  his  command,  but  he  refused  lest  that  cause  hardship  to  the  people  of  Madinah  due  to  the  soldiers being  stationed  among  them.  He  did  not  think  that  audacity would  reach  such  a  level  that  his  Muslim  brothers  would  shed  the  blood  of  the  first  Muhaajir  who  had  migrated  for  the  sake of  Allah  and  His  religion.  Even  when  the  evildoers  besieged  him  and  surrounded  him, he realized  that  defending  himself  would  lead  to  futile  bloodshed,  so  he  urged  everyone  who  was supposed  to  hear  and  obey  to  refrain  from  fighting  or  engaging  in  any  violence.  The reports  about  his  attitude  are  abundant  in  the  sources  of  both  those  who  loved  him  and  of  those  who  hated  him.  But  if  there  had  been  an  organized  force  available  that  had  the  power  to  withstand  this  rebellion  and  put  limits  on  this  arrogance  and  tribalism,  then  ‘Uthman  would  have  been  content  and  at  ease  with  that,  and  he  would  have  still  been  reassured  that  he  would  not  die  but  as  a  martyr.  [al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  p.  138]

The  rebels’  occupation  of  Madinah

Arrival  of  the  rebels  from  the  regions
The  rebels  agreed  among  themselves  to  carry  out  the  final  stage  of  their  plot  to  attack  ‘Uthman  in  Madinah  and  force  him  to  give  up the  caliphate  or  be  killed.  They  decided  to  come  from  their three  centres:  Egypt,  Kufah  and  Basra,  at  the  time  of  Hajj,  leaving  their  lands  with  the  pilgrims;  they  would  present  themselves  as  pilgrims  and  tell  others  that  they  were  going  for  Hajj.  When  they  reached  Madinah,  they  let  the  pilgrims  go  on  to  Makkah  to  perform  the  Hajj  rituals,  and  they  took  advantage  of  the  fact  that most  of  the  people  of  Madinah  had  also  left  for  Hajj,  and  the besieged  ‘Uthman  with  the  aim  of  deposing  him  or  killing  him. In  Shawwaal  of  35  AH,  the  rebels  were  on  the  outskirts  of  Madinah. [al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  159]

The  rebels  from  Egypt  came  in  four  groups,  each  of  which  had  a  leader,  and  these  four  leaders in  turn  had  a  leader.  They  had with  them  their  devil  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  and  the  leaders  of  the  four  groups,  whose  names  were: ‘Abd  ar-Rahmaan  ibn  ‘udays  al-Balawi,  Kinaanah  ibn  Basheer  al-Tujaybi,  Sawdaan  ibn  Hamraan al-Sukooni  and  Qateerah  ibn  Fulaan  as-Sukooni.  Their  commander-in-chief  was  al-Ghaafiqi  ibn  Harb  al-‘Aqqi.  The  four  groups  totalled  one  thousand  men  in  all. 

The  rebels  from  Kufah  also  numbered  one  thousand  men  in four  groups.  The  leaders of  their  groups  were:  Zayd  ibn  Sawhaan al-‘Abdi,  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i,  Ziyaad  ibn  al-Nadar  al-Haarithi  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn al-Asamm.  The  leader  of  the  Kufan  rebels  was  ‘Amr  ibn  al-Asamm.

The  rebels  from  Basra  also  numbered  one  thousand  men  in four  groups.  The  leaders  of  their  groups  were:  Hakeem  ibn Jabalah  al-‘Abdi,  Dhuray’  ibn  ‘Abbaad,  Bishr  ibn  Shurayh  al- Qaysi  and  Ibn  al-Muharrish ibn  ‘Abd  al-Hanqi.  The  leader  of  the  Basran  rebels  was  Harqoos  ibn  Zuhayr  al-Sa’di.

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  travelled  with  these  people,  feeling  happy  and  proud  at  the  success  of  his  devilish  plan.  The  rebels  from  Egypt  wanted  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  as  caliph,  the  rebels  from  Kufah  wanted  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam  as  caliph,  and  the  rebels  from  Basra  wanted  Talhah  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah   as  caliph. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/357]

The  reason  for  that  was  to  create  division  among  the   Sahabah  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them).  This  is  what  al-Aajurri  suggested  when  he  said:  Allah  (may  He  be  glorified  and  exalted)  saved  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib,  Talhah  and  az-Zubayr  (radhiyallahu anhum)  from  getting  involved  with  these  groups,  who  only  claimed  to  support  them  in  order  to  confuse  the  people  and  create  trouble  among  the  Sahabah,  but  Allah  protected  the  Sahabah  from  that. [Istishhaad  ‘Uthman wa  Waq’at  al-Jamal  by  Khaalid  il-Ghayth,  p.  148]

News  of  their  approach  reached ‘Uthman  before  they  arrived, when  he  was  in  a  village  outside  Madinah.  When  they  heard  that  he  was  there,  they  went  there  and  he  received  them  there.  The  reports  do  not  tell  us  the  name  of  this  village,  but  al-Madaa’ini  put  the  date  of  their  arrival  as  a  Wednesday  night  at  the  beginning  of Dhu’l-Qa’dah. [Fitnat  al-Maqtal  ‘Uthman  by  Dr.  Muhammad  al-Gadbaan, 1/127]

The  first  to  arrive  were  the  Egyptians,  who  said  to  ‘Uthman  Call  for  the  Mushaf.  So  he  called  for  it  and  they  said: Open  the  seventh  soorah  –  which  was  what  they  called  Soorat  Yoonus.  He  read  until  he  reached  this  verse:

“Say  [O  Muhammad  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  these  polytheists]:  ‘Tell  me,  what provision  Allah  has  sent  down  to  you!  And  you  have  made  of  it  lawful  and  unlawful.’  Say  [O  Muhammad  (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):  ‘Has  Allah  permitted  you  (to  do  so),  or  do  you  invent  a  lie  against  Allah?”‘   [Yoonus 10:59].

They  said  to  him:  Stop.  What  do  you  think  about  the  land  that  you  set  aside  for  grazing? Has  Allah  permitted  you  (to  do that),  or  do  you  invent  a  lie  against  Allah?  He  said:  I  will  tell  you.  This  verse  was  revealed  concerning  such  and  such.  As  for  the  grazing  land,  ‘Umar  allocated  it  before  me  for  the  zakaah  camels.  When  I became  caliph,  the  number  of  zakaah  camels  increased  so  I  added  to  the  grazing  land  because  of  this  increase  in  the  numbers  of  zakaah  camels.  What  else?  They  started  quoting verse  after  verse, and  he  kept  saying:  It  was  revealed  concerning  such  and  such. Then they  did  not  say  any  more,  and  they  made  a  deal  with  him. They  stipulated  conditions  for  him  and  he  stipulated  the condition  that  they  should  not  rebel  or  split  from  the  main  body  of  Muslims  so  long  as  he  fulfilled  their  conditions.  Then they  went  away  content.”’ [Fitnat  al-Maqtal  ‘Uthman  by  Dr.  Muhammad  al-Gadbaan, 1/128]

  ‘Uthman  sent  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib to  negotiate  with  the  rebels from  the  provinces

The  people  stayed  in  Dhu’l-Marwah  for  about  a  month  and  a  half  before  his  murder.  ‘Uthman  sent  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu),  and  another  man  who  is  not  named  in  the  sources,  to  meet  with  them.  ‘Ali  met  with them  and  said  to  them:  If  I  quote  to  you  from  the  Book  of  Allah,  will  you  accept  it  and  settle  all  the  issues  that  you  are  complaining  about  on  that  basis?  They  agreed  to  that.  According  to  one  report  they  argued  with  him  and  he  argued  with  them  two  or  three  times,  then  they  said:  He  is  the  cousin  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and  the  envoy  of  the  caliph;  he  is  asking  you  to  accept the  Book  of  Allah  (as  a  reference  point),  so  they  agreed  to  deal with  him.  They  agreed  to  five  things:  that  the  one  who  was banished  could  return  home,  the  one  who  was  deprived  of  a stipend  would  be  given  it,  the  fay’  would  be  shared  out,  he  would  be  fair  in  dividing  the  spoils,  and  he  would  employ  people  of  honesty  and  ability.  They  wrote  that  down  in  a  document,  and  also  stipulated  that  Ibn  ‘Aamir  would  be  reinstated  as  governor  of  Basra  and  Abu  Moosa  would  remain  as  governor  of  Kufah. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/129]

Thus  ‘Uthman  made  a  deal  with  each  group  on  its  own,  then each  party  set  off  for  its  own  land. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/129]

Fabricated  letter  giving  orders  to  kill  the  Egyptian  delegation After  this  treaty  had  been  drawn  up  and  the  people  of  the  regions  started  heading  for  home  feeling  content  with  what  they  had  achieved,  it  became  clear  to  the  instigators  of  turmoil  that  their  plans  had  failed  and  their  evil  goals  had  not  been  reached.  So  they  came  up  with  a  new  plan  to  revive  the  turmoil  and  destroy all  the  deals  that  had  been  made  between  the  people  of  the  regions  and  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu).  This  plot  took  the  following  form:  As  the  Egyptian  delegation  was  travelling  homeward,  they  saw someone  riding  a  camel  who  repeatedly  approached  them  then  moved  away,  as  if  he  was  fleeing  from  them  and  saying,  come  and  catch  me.  So  they  caught  him  and  said  to  him:  What  is  the  matter  with  you? He  said:  I  am  the  envoy  of  the caliph  to  his  agent  in  Egypt.  They  examined  him  and  found  a  letter  that  bore  ‘Uthman’s  seal  but  was  a  forgery,  addressed  to  his  governor. When  they  opened  it,  they  found  that  it  contained  orders  to  crucify  them  or  kill  them,  or  cut  off  their  hands  and  feet.  They  went  back  to  Madinah [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/379], but  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  denied  ever  writing  this  letter. He  said  to  them:  There  are  two  ways  you  can  prove  me  guilty;  either  bring  two  Muslim  men  to  testify  or  accept  my  oath  by  Allah,  besides  Whom  there  is  no  other  god,  that  I  did  not  write  it  or  dictate  it  or  have  any  knowledge  of  it.  A  letter  may  be  attributed  to  a  man  and  a  seal  may  be  put  on  it.  But  they  did  not  believe  him. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman  (5/132)]
This  letter  which  the  hateful  rebels  claimed  was  from ‘Uthman,  bearing  his  seal  and  carried  by  his  slave  on  one  of  the  zakaah  camels  to  his  governor  in  Egypt,  Ibn  Abi’l-Sarh,  ordering  him  to  kill  these  rebels,  was  a  forged  letter  that  was  falsely  attributed  to  ‘Uthman.  That  is  clear  for  a  number  of  reasons:

1-  The  carrier  of  the  forged  letter  approached  those  Egyptians  then  ran  away,  and  he  did  that  repeatedly.  He  only  did  that  to  attract  their  attention  and  make  them  suspicious,  as  if  he  was  saying:  I  have  something  important  concerning  you.  If  the  letter  carrier  had  really  come  from  ‘Uthman  he  would  have  been  scared  of  them  and  would  have  kept  away  from  them,  and  he  would  have  hastened  to  reach  the  governor  of  Egypt  and  hand  over  the  instructions  so  that  he  could  carry  them  out.

2- How  did  the  Iraqis  know  about  this  matter  when  they  had  set  out  for  their  own  country  and  were  separated  from  the  Egyptians  –  who  intercepted  this  fabricated  letter  –  by  a  huge  distance?  The  Iraqis  were  in  the  east  and  the  Egyptians  were  in  the  west,  yet  they  all  came  back  at  the  same  time,  as  if  they  had  an  appointment.  That  could  not  have  happened  unless  those  who  fabricated  the  letter  and  hired  someone  to  carry  it  and  play  his  role  in  al-Buwayb  with  the  Egyptians  had  hired  another  rider  to  go  and  tell  the  Iraqis  that  the  Egyptians  had  discovered  a  letter  sent  by  ‘Uthman  with  instructions  to  kill the  Egyptian  rebels.  This  is  what  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu)  thought  when  he  said:  O  people  of  Kufah  and  Basra,  how  did  you know  what  had  happened  to  the  people  of  Egypt,  when  you  had  travelled  a  long  distance,  then  you  came  back?  In  fact  ‘Ali  was  certain  about  that  and  said:  By  Allah,  this  was  a  plan  that  was  drawn  up  in  Madinah. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/359]

3-  How  could  ‘Uthman have  written  to  Ibn  Abi’l-Sarh  telling him  to  kill  these  rebels,  when  after  the  rebels  had  left  Egypt heading  for  Madinah,  Ibn  Abi’l-Sarh  had  written  to  the  caliph  asking  for  permission  to  come  to  him,  when  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Hudhayfah  seized  control  of  Egypt?  In  fact,  Ibn  Abi’l-Sarh  left  Egypt  and  went  to  al-‘Areesh  and  Palestine,  then  to  al-‘Aqabah,  so  how  could  ‘Uthman  have  written  to  him,  telling  him  to  kill  them,  when  he  had  received  a  letter  from  him  asking  for  permission  to  come  to him?

4-  ‘Uthman  forbade  killing  the  rebels  when  they  besieged  him and  refused  to  let  the  Sahabah  defend  him,  and  he  did  not give  any  instruction  to  fight  the  rebels  in  self-defence,  as  we  shall  see  in  detail  below  in  sha  Allah,  so  how  could  he  write  something  like  this  fabricated  letter  when  they  had  left  Madinah  making  a  show  of  repentance? 

5-  The  fact  that  Hukaym  ibn  Jablah  and  al-Ashtar  al-Nakha’i  stayed  behind  in  Madinah  after  the  rebels  had  left  clearly indicates  that  they  were  the  ones  who  fabricated  the  letter, because  they  had  nothing  to  do  in  Madinah  and  they  only stayed  there  for  that  purpose.  They  were  the  ones  who  had  a stake  in  the  matter. [‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan  al-Khaleefah  al-Shaakir  al-Saabir,  p.  277]

That  may  have  been  on  the instructions  of  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  because  ‘Uthman  had nothing  to  gain  from  that  and  neither  did  Marwaan  ibn  al- Hakam.  Those  who  accuse  Marwaan  with  regard  to  that  are  in  fact  accusing  the  caliph  of  being  negligent  in  his  duties and  suggesting  that  in  the  caliph’s  court  there  were  people who  were  doing  things  without  his  knowledge,  and  thus  they  attempt  to  clear  those  traitors  of  any  blame.  Moreover,  if Marwaan  had  forged  the  letter,  he  would  have  advised  the camer  to  stay  away  from  those  rebels  and  not  approach  them  on  the  road  lest  they  capture  him,  otherwise  he  would  be  one  of  the  conspirators  against  ‘Uthman,  and  that  is  not possible.

6-  This  cursed  letter  was  not  the  first  letter  fabricated  by these  rebels,  rather  they  also  fabricated  letters  that  were attributed  to  the  Mothers  of  the  Believers,  and  also  ‘Ali, Talhah  and  az-Zubayr.  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anhum)  was  accused  of  having  written  to  the  people,  telling  them  to  rebel  against  ‘Uthman,  but  she  denied  it  and  said:  No,  by  the One  in  Whom  the  believers  believe,  and  in  Whom  the disbelievers  disbelieve,  I  never  wrote  anything  to  them  until  I  sat  here  where  I  am. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah, 1/334]

Al-A’mash  commented:  They  thought  that  it  had  been  falsely  attributed  to  her. [Tareekh  Kahleefah  ibn  al-Khayyaaf,  p. 169] 

The  delegates  accused  ‘Ali  of  having  written  to  them,  telling  them  to  come  to  Madinah,  but  he  denied  that  and  swore:  By  Allah,  I  did  not  write  any  letter  to  you. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah, 1/335]

Letters  to  people  in  other  regions,  telling  them  to  come  to  Madinah  because  the  religion  of  Muhammad  had  been  corrupted  and  abandoned, and  jihad  in  Madinah  was  better  than  staying  in  remote  outposts,  were  also  attributed  to  the  Sahabah. [Ibid]

Ibn  Katheer  commented  on  this  report  by  saying:  This  is  a  lie  against  the  Sahabah,  and  the letters  were  fabrications  against them.  Fabricated  letters  that  were  attributed  to  ‘Ali, Talhah and  az-Zubayr,  which  they  denied,  were  sent  to  the  rebels  –  the  killers  of  ‘Uthman.  This  letter  was  also  falsely  attributed  to  ‘Uthman;  he  did  not  tell  anyone to  write  it  for him  and  he  was  not  aware  of  it. [al-Bidaayah  wan-Nihaayah, 7/175] 

The  words  of  Ibn  Katheer  are confirmed  by  the  report  of  al-Tabari,  as  quoted  by  Khaleefah, which  says  that  the  senior  Sahabah  themselves  –  ‘Ali,  ‘Aa’ishah  and  az-Zubayr –  denied  these  letters,  according  to  the  most  sound  reports.   The  criminals  who  fabricated  these  letters  and  attributed  them  falsely  to  the  Sahabah  are  the  same  ones  who  fanned  the  flames  of  turmoil  from  beginning  to  end  and  stirred  up  all  that  far-reaching corruption.  They  are  the  ones  who  fabricated  and  propagated  all  these  lies  against  ‘Uthman and  tried  to  spread  them  among  the  people,  until  the  hooligans  began  to  accept them.  Then  they  forged  that  letter  which  they  attributed  to  ‘Uthman,  so that  ‘Uthman  would  end  up  as  a  victim  and  thus  become  a  blessed  martyr.  But  the  martyr  ‘Uthman  was  not  the  only  victim  of  this  Saba’i  conspiracy,  rather  Islam  itself  was  a  victim  before  that,  and  the  many  generations  who  learned  that  distorted  history were  also  victims  of  this  evil  Jew  and  his  helpers  who  were motivated  by  greed,  whims  and  desires,  and  grudges.  Is  it  not time  for  the  Muslims  to  learn  the  truth  about  their  history  and  its  great  men?  Rather,  is  it  not  time  for  contemporary Muslim  writers  to  fear  Allah  and  not  have  the  audacity  to  criticize  the  innocent  before  examining  the  reports  and  investigating  thoroughly,  so  that  they  do  not  fall  into  the  same  trap  as  others? [Uthman  bin  ‘Affaan  Khaleefah  al-Shaakir  al-Saabir, p. 228, 229]

The  beginning  of  the  siege,  and  ‘Uthman’s  opinion  on  praying  behind  the  leaders  of  the  troublemakers
The  sound  reports  do  not  describe  in  detail  how  the  siege  began,  but  perhaps  the  events  that  preceded  it  shed  some  light  on  how  it  began.  Whilst  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  addressing the  people  one  day,  a  man  called  A’yun  [A’yun  ibn  Daba’iyah  ibn  Naajiyah  ibn  Ghaffaal  d-Tameemi  al-Hanzali  al- Dharami] suddenly  interrupted  him,  saying:  O  Na’thal  [An  insulting  nickname  given  by  the  accursed  rebels  to  ‘Uthman],  you  have  changed.  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  Who  is  this?  They  said:  A’yun.  ‘Uthman  said:  Rather  you  have  changed,  O slave.  The  people  leapt  on  A’yun  and  a  man  from  Banu  Layth  started  trying  to  push  them  away  from  him  until  he  let  him  in  his  house. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/143] 

Then  the  rebels  came  back  again,  and  before  the  siege  got  worse,  ‘Uthman  was  able  to  go  out  to  pray,  and  admit  whoever  he  wanted  to  his  house.  Then  he  was  prevented  from  leaving  the  house,  even  for  the  obligatory  prayers. [Tareekh  Dimashq Tarjamat  ‘Uthman, p.  341,342  –  its  isnad  is  hasan] 

One  of  the  leading  rebels  who  were  besieging  ‘Uthman  led  the  prayers,  until  ‘Ubayd-Allah  ibn  ‘Adiyy  ibn  al-Khayyaar  felt  uneasy  about  praying  behind  him,  so  he  consulted  ‘Uthman  about  that,  and  ‘Uthman  told  him  to  pray  behind  him.  He  said  to  him:  Prayer  is  the  best  deed  that  the  people  do,  so  if the  people  are  doing  good, then  join  them,  and  if  they  do  bad  then  stay  away  from  them. [Al-Bukhaari, Kitaab  al-Salaah,  no. 192]

According  to  some  weak  reports,  the  one  who  was  leading  the  people  in  prayer  was  their  leader  al-Ghaafiqi. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/145]

The  report  narrated  by  al-Waaqidi,  which  says  that  ‘Ali  told  Abu  Ayyoob al-Ansari  to lead  the  people  in  prayer,  and  he  led  them  in  prayer  at  the  beginning  of  the  siege,  then  ‘Ali  led  them  in  prayer  on  Eid  and  after  that,  is  not  sound. [Taarikh at-Tabari,  5/444  (al-Waaqidi  himself  is  known  to  report  fabricated narrations)]

In  addition  to  the  fact  that  the  lsnaad  of  this  report  is  weak,  if  ‘Ali  or  Abu  Ayyoob  had  been  the  one  who  was  leading  the  prayers,  ‘Ubayd-Allah  ibn  ‘Adiyy  ibn  al- Khayyaar  would  not  have  felt  uneasy  about  praying  behind  them. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/145]

Negotiations  between  ‘Uthman and  the  besiegers
After  the  siege  was  complete  and  the  rebels  had  surrounded ‘Uthman  in  the  house,  they  asked  him  to  give  up  the  caliphate,  or  they  would  kill  him. [at-Tabaqaat  by  lbn  Sa’d,  3/66] 

But  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  refused  to  give  it  up,  and  said:  I  will  never  take  off  the  garment  that  Allah  has  given  me  to  wear [Tamheed, p. 46, 47] , referring  to  the  advice  that  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  given  him.  However,  a  few  of  the  Sahabah  had  a  different opinion  and  some  of  them,  including  al-Mugheerah  ibn  al- Akhnas  (radhiyallahu anhu),  suggested  to  him  that  he  should  give  up  the  caliphate  to  save  his  life,  but  he  refused  to  do  that. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman,  1/147]. 

1. Ibn  ‘Umar  urges  ‘Uthman  not  to  give  up  the  position  of caliph Ibn  ‘Umar  entered  upon  ‘Uthman  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both)  during  the  siege  and  said  to  him:  Look  at  what  these  people  are  saying.  They  are  saying:  Give  it  up  and  do  not  kill  yourself.  Ibn  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  If  you  give  it  up,  are  you  going  to  live  forever  in  this  world?  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  No.  He  said:  If  you  do  not  give  it  up,  can  they  do  any  more  than  kill  you?  ‘Uthman said:  No.  He  said:  Are  they  the  ones  to  decide  whether  you  go  to  Paradise  or  to  Hell?  He  said:  No.  He  said:  I  do  not  think  that  you  should  take  off  a  garment  that  Allah  had  given  you  to  wear,  otherwise  that  will  become  a  precedent  and  every  time  a  people  dislikes  their  caliph  or  ruler  they  will  kill.  [Fadaa’il  al-Sahabah,  1/473.  Its  isnad  is  saheeh].

May  Allah  be  pleased  with  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Umar  –  how  far- sighted  he  was.  He  did  not  want  ‘Uthman  to  set  a  bad  precedent  for  the  caliphs  who  came  after  him,  and  ‘Uthman  is  far  above  doing  such  a  thing.  If  ‘Uthman  gave  in  to  these  Saba’i  rebels  and  gave  up  the  caliphate,  the  caliphate  would  have  become  a  plaything  in  the  hands  of  evil-doers  and  those  with  ulterior  motives,  and  thus  the  position  of  caliph  would  become  unstable  and  have  no  respect  among  the  people.  But  ‘Uthman  set  a  good precedent for  those  who  came  after  him  by  consulting  Ibn  ‘Umar  and  other  Sahibah  (radhiyallahu anhum),  and  he  bore  it  with  patience,  seeking  reward  (with Allah);  he  did  not  give  up  the  caliphate  or  cause  the  blood  of  Muslims  to  be  shed. [Al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen  by  al-Khaalidi,  p.  179]

If  he  had  responded  to  the  demands  of  the  rebels,  who  were  a  small  group  among  the  ummah  and  not  among  the  decision-makers,  prominent  figures  or  leading  scholars,  that  would  have  had  serious  consequences  for  the  ummah,  the  position  of  the  caliph  and  the  relationship  between  the rulers  and  the  people.  The  price  he  paid  for  averting  these  negative  consequences  was  his life;  he  was  certain  of  his  fate but  he  surrendered  to  it  even though  that  is  something  that  was  disliked,  but  he  gave  precedence  to  the  best  interests  of  the  ummah  over  his  own  personal  interests, which  demonstrates  his  strength,  resolve  and  courage,  and  refutes  the  accusation  made  against  him,  that  he  was  weak  of  character.  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  able,  by  Allah’s  leave,  to  rein  in  the turmoil,  but  he  thought  that  it  would  lead  to  evil  consequences  that  outweighed  the  interests  achieved  by  resisting  it.  So  he  decided  not  to  resist  it  so  as  to  avoid  negative  consequences.  Thus  it  is  clear  that  al-‘Aqqaad  was  mistaken  when  he  said  that  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  can  only  be  described  as  troublemaking  on  the  part  of  some  thugs  with  no  one  who  could  contain  it [Dhu’n-Noorayn  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affaan, p. 122], because  that  implies  some  criticism  of  the  character  and  courage  of  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu).  It  was  indeed  turmoil  caused  by  thugs,  but  not  resisting  it  is  something  for  which  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)  is  to  be  praised,  because  that  was  a  sacrifice  he  made  for  the  sake of  Allah,  hoping  to  do  that  which  was  in  the  best  interests  of  the  ummah  and  acting  on  the  advice  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/149]

2.  The  besiegers  threaten  to  kill  him 
Whilst  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  in  his  house,  and  the  people  were  outside  the  house  besieging  him,  ‘Uthman  went  to  the  entrance  of  the  house  one  day  and  heard  the besiegers  threatening  to  kill  him.

He  went  away  from  the  entrance  and  entered  upon  those  who  were  with  him  in  the  house,  his  face  drained  of  colour.  He  said:  They  were  threatening  to  kill  me  just  now. They  said  to  him:  Allah  will  suffice  you,  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen.  He  said:  Why  would  they  kill  me,  when  I  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say: 

“It  is  not  permissible  to  shed  the  blood  of  a  Muslim  except  in  three  cases:  a  man  who  disbelieved  after  having  believed,  or  who  committed   zina  after  having  been  married,  or  who  killed  a  soul  unlawfully .”

By  Allah,  I  never  committed  zina  during  the  Jaahiliyyah  or  in  Islam,  and  I  never  wished  to  change  my  religion  after  Allah guided  me,  and  I  never  killed  anyone,  so  why  would  they  kill me?”’ Then  he  looked  out  over  the  people  who  were  besieging him  and  tried  to  calm  them  down  and  stop  their  rebelion  against  their  leader  by  refuting  the  criticisms  they  made  against  him  and  explaining  the  things  that  had  been  distorted,  in  the  hope  that  they  would  come  to  their  senses.  He  asked  the  besiegers  to  send  him  a  man  to  speak  to  him,  and  they  sent  a  young  man  called Sa’sa’ah  ibn  Sawhaan,  and  ‘Uthman  asked  him  to  explain  to  him  what  they  were  angry  about. [Fitnat Maqtal ‘Uthman, 1/150]

3.  ‘Uthman  established  proof  against  Sa’sa’ah’s  misquotation  of  Qur’an
‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu) Sa’sa’ah  said:  We  were  expelled  from  our  homes  unjustly  only  because  we  said,  Our  Lord  is  Allah  (cf.  al-Hajj  22:40). Uthman  said  to  him:  Quote  the  Qur’an.  So  he  recited:

“Permission  to  fight  (against  disbelievers)  is  given  to  those (believers)  who  are  fought  against,  because  they  have  been wronged;  and  surely,  Allah  is  Able  to  give  them  (believers) victory”   [Al-Hajj 22:39].

‘Uthman  said:  This  does  not  apply  to  you  and  your companions;  rather  it  applies  to  me  and  my  companions.  Then  ‘Uthman  recited  the  verse  that  Sa’sa’ah  had  quoted  as  evidence  and  that  which  comes  after  it,  which  showed  that  Sa’sa’ah  was  misquoting  it.  He  recited:

“Permission  to  fight  (against  disbelievers)  is  given  to  those (believers)  who  are  fought  against,  because  they  have  been  wronged;  and  surely,  Allth  is  Able  to  give  them  (believers) victory.  Those  who  have  been  expelled  from  their  homes  unjustly only  because  they  said:  “Our  Lord  is  Allah.”  For  had  it not  been that  Allah  checks  one  set  of  people  by  means  of  another,  monasteries,  churches,  synagogues,  and  mosques,  wherein  the  Name  of  Allah  is  mentioned  much  would  surely,  have  been  pulled  down.  Verily,  Allah  will  help  those  who  help  His  (Cause).  Truly,  Allah  is  All-Strong,  All-Mighty.  Those (Muslim  rulers)  who,  if  We  give  them  power  in  the  land,  (they)  enjoin  Iqaamat-as-Salaah  [i .e.  to  perform  the  five  compulsoy  congregational  Salaah  (prayers)  (the  males  in mosques)],  to  pay  the  Zakaah  and  they  enjoin  Al-Ma’roof  (i.e. Islamic  Monotheism  and  all  that  Islam  orders  one  to  do),  and  forbid  Al-Munkar  (i.e.  disbelief,  polytheism  and  all  that  Islam  has  forbidden)  [i.e.  they  make  the  Qur’an  as  the  law  of  their  country  in  all   the  spheres  of  life]. And  with Allah  rests  the  end  of  (all)  matters  (of  creatures).”   [Al-Hajj 22:39-41]

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  explained  to  the  people  the  correct  meaning  of  these  verses  as  they  were  revealed,  the  reason  why  they  were  revealed  and  concerning  whom  they  were  revealed,  and  what  they  meant,  so  that  the  people  would  not  be  confused  by  one who  read  the  Qur’an  to  them but  did  not  know  what  it  meant  and  used  it  as  evidence  for  the  opposite  of  what  it  meant. [Fitnat  Maqfal  ‘Uthman, 1/151]  Moreover, when  ‘Uthman  banished  those  whom  he  banished,  he  did  so  in accordance  with  the  verse  which  follows  the  verse  that  was  misquoted  by  Sa’sa’ah,  which  instructs  those  to  whom  Allah gives  power  in  the  land  to  enjoin  what  is  good  and  forbid  what  is evil;  ‘Uthman  was  the  caliph  and  he  banished  them  by  way  of  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil,  because  of  what  they  did  of  transgressing  against  some  of  the  Muslims  and their  attempts  to  stir  fitnah.  [Ibid]

4.  ‘Uthman  reminds  the  people  of  his  virtues
After  refuting  these  people,  ‘Uthman  reminded  the  people  of  his  status  and  of  some  of  his  virtues,  urging  those  who  knew  of  them  or  had  heard  them  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  testify  to  the  people.  He  said:  I  adjure  by  Allah  whoever  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  on  the  mountain  of  Hira’,  when  the  mountain  shook  and  he  kicked  it  with  his  foot  and  said:

“Calm  down,  Hira’,  for  there  is  no  one  on  you  but  a Prophet  or  a  Siddeeq  or  a  martyr,” 

and  I  was  with  him.  Some  men  testified  to  that,  then  he  said:  I  adjure  by  Allah  whoever  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  on  the  day  of  the  oath  of  allegiance  of  al-Ridwaan,  when  he  had  sent  me  to  the  mushrikeen,  to  the  people  of  Makkah,  and  he  said:

“This  is  my  hand  and  this  is  the  hand  of  ‘Uthman,”

and  he  swore  allegiance  on  my  behalf.  Some  men  testified  to  that,  then  he  said:  I  adjure  by  Allah  whoever  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say:

‘Who  will  incorporate  his  house  into  the  mosque  in  return  for  a  house  in  Paradise?”

so  I  bought  it  with  my  own  wealth  and  incorporated  it  into the  mosque.  Some  men  testified  to  that,  then  he  said:  I  adjure  by  Allah  whoever  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  on  the  day  of  Tabook  when  he  said:

“Who  will  spend  today  and  his  charity  will  be  accepted?”

So  I  equipped  half  of  the  army  from  my  own  wealth.  Some men  testified  to  that,  then  he  said:  I  adjure by  Allah  whoever  saw  the  water  of  the  well  of  Roomah  being  sold  to  wayfarers,  and  I  bought  it  with  my  own  wealth  and  made  it  free  for  wayfarers.  He said:  And  some  men  testified  to  that.” [al-Musnad, 1/59]

It  was  narrated  that  Abu  Thawr  al-Fahmi  said:  I  came  to ‘Uthman,  and  whilst  I  was  staying  with  him  I  went  out  and  saw  that  the  delegation  from  Egypt  had  returned.  I  entered  upon  ‘Uthman  and  told  him  about  that,  and  he  said:  How  do  you  see  them?  I  said: I  see  evil  in  their  faces,  and  Ibn  ‘Udays  al-Balawi  is  in  charge  of  them.  Ibn  ‘Udays  ascended  the minbar  of  the  Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  led  the  people  in  praying  Jumu’ah,  and  he  criticized  ‘Uthman  in  his  khutbah.  I  entered  upon  ‘Uthman  and  told  him  what  he  had  said  concerning  them,  and  he  said:  Ibn ‘Udays  is  lying,  by  Allah.  If  he  had  not  said  that,  I  would  not  mention  this.  I  was  the  fourth  person  to  enter  Islam.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  gave  his  daughter  to  me  in  marriage, then  she  died  and  he  gave  his  other  daughter  to  me.  I  did  not  commit  zina  or  steal  during  the  Jaahiliyyah  or  in  Islam.  I  have  not  told  lies  since  I  became  Muslim  and  I  have  not  touched  my  private  part  with  my  right  hand  since  I  swore allegiance  to  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  I  compiled  the  Qur’an  at  the  time  of  the  Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  and  since  I  became  Muslim,  no  Friday  ever  came  but  I  set  free  a  slave,  unless  I  could  not  find  a  slave  that  Friday,  in  which  case  I  would  set  two  free  the  following Friday. [Al-Marifah wa’l-Tareekh,  2/488]

When  ‘Uthman  realized  that  the  rebels  were  insisting  on killing  him,  he  warned  them  against  that  and  against  the consequences  thereof.  He  looked  out  at  them  through  a  hole  in the  wall  and  said  to  them:  O  people,  do  not  kill  me;  rather  talk  to me,  for  by  Allah,  if  you  kill  me  you  will  never  be  united  in  a  fight against  your  enemy,  rather  you  will  be  divided  until  you  become  like  that  –  and  he  interlaced  his  fingers. [at-Tabaqaat,  3/71]

According  to  another report  he  said:  O  people,  do  not  kill  me,  for  I  am  a  ruler  and  a  Muslim  brother.  By  Allah,  all  I  wanted  was  to  do  what  was  best for  the  ummah  as  much  as  I  could,  whether  I  was  right  or  wrong.  If  you  kill  me,  you  will  never  pray  together  or  go  on  campaign  together  again,  and  you  will  never  share  your  booty  among you. [At-Tabaqaat,  3/67, 68] 

He  also  said:  If  you  kill  me,  you  will  never  love  one  another  again  after  I  am  gone,  and  you  will  never  fight  anyone together  after  I  am  gone. [Tareekh  Ibn  Khayyat,  p. 171]

And  what  he  warned  them  of  came  to  pass;  after  he  was  killed,  everything  he  said  happened.

Concerning  that,  al-Hasan  al-Basri  said:  By  Allah,  even  when  the  people  pray  together,  their  hearts  are  divided.  [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Ufhman, 1/157]

The  Sahabah’s  offer  to  defend  ‘Uthman  and  his rejection thereof
‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sent  word  to  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhuma)  consulting  them  about  the  besiegers  and  their  threats  to  kill  him.  Their  attitudes  were  as  follows:

1.  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Ibn  ‘Asaakir  narrated  from  Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (radhiyallahu anhu)  that  ‘Ali  sent  word  to  ‘Uthmiin  saying:  I  have  five  hundred  men  with  shields;  give  me  permission  to  protect  you  against  the  people,  for  you  have  not  done  anything  that  would  make  it  permissible  to shed  your  blood.  He  said:  May  you  be  rewarded  with  good,  I  do  not  want  blood  to  be  shed  for  my  sake. [Tareekh  Dimashq,  p. 403]

2.  Az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  Abu  Habeebah  said:  Az-Zubayr  sent me  to  ‘Uthman  when  he  was  being  besieged  and  I  entered  upon  him  on  a  summer day.  He was  sitting  on  a  chair  and  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali,  Abu  Hurayrah,  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Umar  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-Zubayr  were  with  him.  I  said:  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam  has  sent  me  to  you.  He  sends  greetings  of  salaam  to  you  and  says  to  you:  I  am  still  loyal  to  you  and  I  have  not  changed  or  retracted.  If  you  wish,  I  will  join  you  in  your  house,  and  will  be  one  of  the  people  there,  or  if  you  wish,  I  will  stay  where  I  am,  because  Banu  ‘Amr  ibn  ‘Awf  have  promised  to  come  to  my  place,  then  they  will  follow  whatever  instructions  I  give  them.  When  ‘Uthman  heard  the  message,  he  said:  Allahu  akbar,  praise  be  to  Allah  Who  has protected  my  brother.  Convey  salaams  to  him  and  tell  him:  I appreciate what  you  said;  may  Allah  ward  off  harm  from  me  by  you. When  Abu  Hurayrah  read  the  message  he  stood  up  and  said:  Shall  I  not  tell  you  what  my  ears  heard  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)?  They  said:  Yes.  He  said:  I  bear  witness  that  I  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say:

“After  I  am  gone  there  will  be  turmoil  and  other  things.”

We  said:  Where  should  we  turn  to  for  safety,  O Messenger  of Allah? He  said:

“To  Al-Ameen  (the  trushworthy  one)  and  his  group,” 

and  he  pointed  to  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan.  The  people  stood  up  and  said:  Now  we  know  what  we  should  do.  Give  us  permission  to  fight  in  jihad.  But  ‘Uthman  said:  I  urge  anyone  who  is  supposed  to  obey  me  not  to  fight. [Fadha’il  al-Sahabah, 1/511,512  Its  isnad  is  saheeh]

2.  Al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  entered  upon  ‘Uthman  when he  was  being  besieged,  and  said:  You  are  the  ruler  of  the  people  and  there  has  befallen  you  what  you  see.  I  advise  you  of  three  options;  choose  one  of  them. go  out  and  fight  them,  for  you  have  the  numbers  and  strength,  and  you  are  in the  right  and  they  are  in the  wrong;  or  make  a  door  other  than  the  door  where  they  are,  and  sit  on  your  mount  and  go  to  Makkah,  for  they  will  not  dare  to  attack  you  there;  or  go  to  Syria,  for  among  the  people  of  Syria  is  Mu’awiyah.  ‘Uthman  said:  As  for  going  out  and fighting  them,  I  will  not  be  the  first  one  after  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  rule  the  ummah  by  shedding  its  blood.  As  for  going  out  to  Makkah  because  they  would  not  dare  to  attack  me  there,  I  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say: 

“A  man  of  Quraysh  who  visits Makkah  with  the  aim  of  profanity  or  wrongdoing  will  have  the  punishment  of  half  of  mankind,”

and  I  will  never  be  that  one;  and  as  for  going  to  Syria because  among  the  people  of  Syria  is  Mu’awiyah,  I  will  never  leave  the  place  to  which  I  migrated  and  where  I  am  close  to  the  Messenger  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). [AI-Bidaayah  wa’n-Nihaayah,  7/211]

4.  ‘Abd-Allah ibn  az-Zubayr  (radhiyallahu anhu)

The  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhum)  decided  to  defend  ‘Uthman,  and  some  of  them  entered  the  house,  but  ‘Uthman  urged  them  strongly  to  refrain  from  fighting  in  his  defence,  which  prevented  them  from fulfilling  their  sincere  desire  to  defend  him.  Among  them  was ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-Zubayr  (radhiyallahu anhu)  who  said  to  ‘Uthman:  Fight  them,  for  by  Allah,  Allah  has  permitted  you  to  fight  them.  But  ‘Uthman said:  No,  by  Allah,  I  will  never  fight  them. [Tabaqaat  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/70.  Its  isnad is  saheeh]

According  to  another  report  he  said:  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen, we  are  with  you  in  the  house,  a  group  with  strong faith,  and  Allah  may  give  victory  to  a  smaller  group  than  us,  so  give  us  permission  to  fight.  But  ‘Uthman  said:  I  adjure  you  by  Allah  that  no  man  should  shed  his  blood  for  my  sake. [Tareekh  Ibn  Khayaat,  p. 173]

Then  he  appointed  him  in charge  of  the  house  and  said:  Whoever  was  obliged  to  obey  me,  let  him  obey  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-zubayr  [Tabaqaat  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/70;  its  isnad  going  back  to  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  al-Zubayr  is saheeh]

5.  Ka’b  ibn  Maalik  al-Ansari  and  Zayd  ibn  Thabit  al-Ansari (radhiyallahu anhum)

Ka’b  ibn  Maalik  (radhiyallahu anhum)  urged  the  Ansar  to  support  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  said  to  them  O  Ansar,  be  supporters  of  Allah  twice.  So  the  Ansar  came  to  ‘Uthman  and  stood  at  his  door,  and  Zayd  ibn  Thabit  entered  and  said  to  him:  The  Ansar  are  at  your  door;  if  you  wish  we  will  be  supporters  of  Allah  twice.  But  ‘Uthman  refused  to  fight  and  said:  There  is  no  need  for  that;  do  not  do  it. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/162]

6.  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu)

al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  came  and  said  to  him:  Should  I  unsheathe  my  sword?  He  said  to  him:  I  will  never  be  able  to  justify  the  shedding  of  your  blood  before  Allag;  put  your  sword  back  in  its  sheath  and  go  back  to  your  father. [al-Musannaf  by  Ibn  Abi  Shaybah,  152/224]

7.  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  (radhiyallahu anhu) When  the  Sahabah  realized  that  the  situation  was  getting  out  of  hand,  some  of  them  decided  to  defend  him  without  consulting  him,  so  some  of  them  entered  the  house  and  prepared  to  fight.  Ibn  ‘Umar  was  with  him  in  the  house,  with  his  sword  in  his  hand  and his  shield  on  his  arm,  ready  to  fight  in  defence  of  ‘Uthmgn  (radhiyallahu anhu),  but  ‘Uthman  urged  him  to  leave  the  house  lest  he  fight  with  the people  when  they  entered  the  house  and  be  killed. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/163]

8.  Abu  Hurayrah  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Abu  Hurayrah  entered  the  house  and  said  to  ‘Uthman  O Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  now  it  is  time  to  fight.  He  said  to  him: O  Abu Hurayrah,  would  you  be  happy  to  kill  all  the  people  and  me?  He  said: No.  He  said:  By  Allah,  if  you  killed  a  single  man  it  would  be  as  if  you  had  killed  all  the  people.  So  he  went  back  and  did  not  fight.  According  to  another  report,  Abu  Hurayrah  had  his  sword  in  his  hand,  until  ‘Uthman  told  him  not  to  fight  [Tareekk  Kahleefah  ibn  Khayaat,  p. 164]

9.  Sulayt  ibn  Sulayt
He  said:  ‘Uthman  forbade  us  to  fight  them,  and  if  he  had given  us  permission  we  would  have  driven  them  out  of  the city. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/165]

Ibn  Sireen  said:  There  were  seven  hundred  men  with  ‘Uthman  in  the  house;  if  he  had  let  them  and  if  Allah  had willed,  they  would  have  driven them  out  of  the  city.  Among them  were  Ibn  ‘Umar,  al-Hasan ibn  ‘Ali  and  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-Zubayr.  He  also  said:  On  the  day  when  ‘Uthman  was  killed,  the  house  was  crowded  with  people,  including  Ibn  ‘Umar  and  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali, who  had  his  sword  around  his  neck,  but  ‘Uthman  told  them  not  to  fight. [Tareekh  Dimashq  by  Ibn  ‘Asaakir]

Thus  it  is  clear  that  the  accusation  that  the  Sahabah,  both  Muhajirin  and  Ansar,  let  ‘Uthman  down,  is  false,  and  none  of  the reports  which  say  that  are  free  of  serious  faults  in  the  isnaad  or text  or  both. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman,  1/166] 

Offer  of  some  of  the  Sahabah  to  help  ‘Uthman  leave  and  go  to  Makkah
When  some  of  the  Sahqbah  saw  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  insisting  on  refusing  to  fight  the  besiegers,  and  that  the  besiegers  were  insisting  on  killing  him,  they  could  find  no  other  way  to protect  him  but  to  offer  to  help  him  to  leave  and  go  to  Makkah,  to  escape  from  the  besiegers.  It  was  narrated  that  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az- Zubayr,  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah  and  Usaamah  ibn  Zayd  all  suggested  that  to  him  separately,  each  of  them  making  the  suggestion  by  himself,  but  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  refused  all  of  these offers. [Fitnat  MaqtaI  ‘Uthman, 1/166]

The  reasons  why  ‘Uthman  told  the  Sahabah  not  to  fight
From  the  reports  of  the  turmoil,  researchers  have  found  five  reasons  for  that,  which  are:
1-  Following  the  advice  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  which  he  told  him  in  secret  and  which  ‘Uthman  announced  on  the  day  of  the  siege,  which  is  a  promise  that  he  made  to  him,  that  he  would  bear  it  with patience. [Fadaa’il  al-Sahibah,  1/605;  its  isntd  is  ssaheh].

2- ‘Uthman’s  words:  I  will  never  be  the  first  of  the successors  of  the  Messenger  of  Alltih  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  shed  blood  among  his  ummah.  He  did  not  want  to  be  the  first  of  the successors  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  to  shed  the blood  of  the  Muslims. [Fitnat  Maqtal ‘Uthman, 1/167]

3- He  knew  that  the  rebels  were  not  after  anyone  else,  and he  did  not  want  to  use  the  believers  as  a  shield  to  protect himself,  rather  he  wanted  to  be  a  shield  to  protect  them. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman;  there  is  some  weakness  in  the  isnad  of  the  report].

4.  He  knew  that  this  turmoil  would  involve  his  being  killed,  from  what  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had  told  him  when  he  gave   him  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise  for  a  calamity  that  would  befall  him,  and  that  he  would  be  killed  when  adhering patiently  to  the  truth.  The  evidence  indicated  that  the  time  for  that  had  come,  and  that  was  supported  by  a  dream  which  he  saw  the  night  before  he  was  killed,  in  which  he  saw  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  he  said  to  him:

“Break  your  fast  with  us  tomorrow.”

From  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  understood  that  the  time  of  his  martyrdom  was  at  hand.

5-  Acting  on  the  advice  of  Ibn  Salaam  (radhiyallahu anhu)  who  said  to  him:  Refrain  from  fighting,  for  that  will  give  you  a  stronger  position  against  them  (on  the  Day  of  Resurrection). [At-Tabaqaat,  3/71;  its  isnad  is  hasan].

The  Prophet’s  foretelling that  ‘Uthman  would  be  killed  was fulfilled,  as  it  was  narrated  by  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Hawaalah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

‘Whoever  is  saved  from  three  is  indeed  saved  –  three  times  –  : my  death,  the  Dajjaal  and  the  murder  of  a  caliph  who  is  killed  adhering  to  the  truth  and  fulfilling  his  duty.” [Musnad  Ahmad,  4/106, no. 16973]

From  the  above  we  can  see how  calm  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  in  his  thinking,  for the  severity  of  the  calamity  did  not  prevent  him  from  thinking  clearly  and  taking  the  right  decisions.  So  many  reasons came  together  to  make  him  take  a  peaceful  position  with  regard  to  fighting  those  who  had  rebelled  against  him. Undoubtedly  he  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  in  the  right  in  all  his  stances  that  he  took,  because  it  was  narrated  in  sound  reports  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  referred  to  this  turmoil,  and  had  testified  that  ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  his  companions  would  be  in  the  right. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/168;  see  the  saheeh  ahdeeth to  which  I  have  referred  in  the  sections  on  his  virtues  and  on  the  Prophet’s  foretelling  of  his  killing  in this  book].

Ibn  Taymiyah  said:  It  is  known  through  mutawaatir  reports  that  ‘Uthman  was  among  the  most  careful  of  people  to  avoid  bloodshed  and  among  the  most  patient  towards  those  who  impugned  his  honour  and  those  who  plotted  to  shed  his  blood,  so  they  besieged  him  and  sought  to  kill  him.  He  knew  of  their  intention  to  kill  him,  and  the  Muslims  came  to  defend  him  and  advised  him  to  fight  them,  but  he  told  the  people  to  refrain  from  fighting  and  ordered  those  who  should  obey  him  not  to  fight  them.  It  was  said  to  him:  Will  you  go  to  Makkah?  And  he  said:  I will  not  be  one  of  those  who  cause  the  sanctuary  to  be  violated. It was  said  to  him:  Will  you  go  to  Syria? He  said:  I will  not  leave  the  land  to  which  I  migrated.  It  was  said  to  him:  Then  fight  them,  but  he  said:  I  will  not  be  the  first  of  the  successors  of  Muhammad  to rule  his  ummah  by  the  sword. The  patience  that  ‘Uthman  showed  until  he  was  killed  is  among  the  greatest  of  his  virtues  in  the  eyes of  the  Muslims. [Minhaaj al-Sunnah, 3/202, 203]

The  attitude  of  some  of  the  Mothers of the Believers  and some of the female Sahabiyyah (radhiyallahu anham)

Umm  Habeebah  bint  Abi  Sufyan  (radhiyallahu anha)
The  stance  taken  by  Umm  Habeebah,  the  Mother  of  the Believers,  concerning  these  events  was  a  very  serious  one,  as  she  was  nearly  killed  for  ‘Uthman’s  sake.  When  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  besieged  and  water  was  withheld  from  him, ‘Uthman sent  a  son  of  ‘Amr  ibn  Hazam al-Ansari – who was  one  of  his  neighbours – to ‘Ali  to  tell  him:  They  are  withholding  water  from  us;  if  you  can,  send  us  some  of  your  surplus  water. He  also  sent  word  to  Talhah,  az-Zubayr, ‘Aa’ishah  and  the  other  wives  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The first  ones  to  come  to  his  aid  were  ‘Ali  and  Umm  Habeebah (radhiyallahu anha). [Daur al-Marrah  as-Siyaasi,  by  Asma’  Muhammad,  p.  340]

Umm  Habeebah  was  very  concerned  about  ‘Uthman, as  Ibn ‘Asaakir  said,  and  this  was  entirely  natural  on  her  part,  as  they  shared  a  common  lineage  and  were  from  the  same  tribe  (Banu  Umayyah).  Umm  Habeebah  came  and  they  struck  the  face  of  her  mule,  and  she  said:  The  wills  of  Banu  Umayyah  are  all  with  this  man;  I  want  to  meet  him  and  ask  him  about  that  so  that  the  wills  of  the  widows  and  orphans  will  not  be  lost.  They  said:  You  are  lying;  and  they  struck  out  at  her  with  their  swords,  and  cut  the  rope  of  her  mule,  which  started  running  away  with  Umm Habeebah.  The  people  tried  to  stop  it,  and  the  saddle  tilted,  so  they  grabbed  hold  of  it  and  stopped  the  mule,  but  Umm  Habeebah  was  nearly  killed.  Then  they  took  her  back  to  her  house. [Tareekh at-Tabari, 5/402] 

It  seems  that  she  (radhiyallahu anha)  told  her  freed  slave  Ibn  al-Jarraah  to  stay  close  to  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu),  and  the  events  that  took  place  in  the  house  (of  ‘Uthman)  happened  when  Ibn  al-Jarraah  was  present. [Tareekh  al-Madinah, 2/298]

Safiyyah (radhiyallahu anha) – the  wife  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Safiyyah  (radhiyallahu anha)  did  something  similar  to  what  Umm  Habeebah  did.  It  was  narrated  that  Kinaanah  said:  I  was  leading  Safiyyah’s  mule  when  she  went  and  tried  to  defend  ‘Uthman,  and  she  was  met  by  al-Ashtar. [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  as-Siyaasi, p. 340]

He  struck  the  face  of  her  mule until  the  saddle  tilted,  and  she  said:  Let  me  go  back  for  I  do  not  want  this  to  expose  me.  Then  she  put  a  piece  of  wood  from  her  house  to  ‘Uthman’s,  and  transported  food  and  water  on  it. [Siyar  A’laam  al-Nubala’,  2/237]

‘Aa’ishah  the  Mother  of  the  Believers  (radhiyallahu anha)
When  that  happened  to  Umm  Habeebah,  the  people  were  very  upset  and  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  left  Madinah  filled  with  anger  against  the  rebels.  Marwaan  ibn  al-Hakam  came  to  her  and  said: O  Mother  of  the  Believers,  if  you  had  stayed  they  would  have shown  some  respect  towards  this  man.  She  said:  Do  you  want  to  happen  to  me  what  happened  to  Umm  Habeebah? And  there  is no  one  there  to  defend  me.  No,  by  Allah,  I  do  not  want  to  be  in  such  a  humiliating  situation. I  do  not  know  where this  matter  will end. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/401] 

She  (radhiyallahu anha)  thought  that  by  leaving  it  might  help  to  disperse  the  crowds  as  may  be  explained  by  a  second  report,  so  the  Mothers  of  the  Believers  prepared  to  flee  from  the  turmoil,  but their  departure  was  not  aimed  only  at  escaping the  turmoil,  so  it was  not  merely  an  escape;  rather  it  was  an  attempt  to  save  ‘Uthman  from  the  hands  of  those  who  were  deceived,  among  whom  was  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr,  the  brother  of  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha),  who  had  tried  to  get  him  to  follow  her  to  Hajj,  but  he  had  refused.  What  led  to  this  attempt  on her  part  to  get  him  to  follow her  and  his  refusal  to  do  so,  was  so  obvious  that  Hanzalah  the  scribe  was  surprised  when  Muhammad  refused  to  follow ‘Aa’ishah.  He  compared  this  refusal  with  his  following  of  the  people  from  the  regions  and  said:  O  Muhammad,  the  Mother  of  the  Believers  is  calling  you  but  you  do  not  follow  her,  and  the  wolves  of  the  Arabs  are  calling  you  to  something  that  is  not permissible,  and  you  follow  them.  But  he  refused. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/401]

‘Aaishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  said:  By  Allah,  if  I  could  stop  them,  I  would  do  it.  These  words  of  hers,  which  she  said  after  trying  to  persuade  her  brother,  indicate  that  she  had  begun  her  attempt  to  make  the rebels  disperse  from  besieging  ‘Uthman  and  to  stir  up  public opinion  against  them  from  the  time  they  first  started  to  think  of  going  to  Makkah.  This  is  what  was  confirmed  by  Imam  Ibn  al- ‘Arabi,  who  said:  It  was  narrated  that  their  leaving  –  i.e.,  the  leaving  of  the  Mothers  of  the  Believers  with  a  number  of  the  Sahabah  – was  meant  as  a  means  to  put  an  end  to  the turmoil,  in  the  hope  that  the  people  would  follow  their  mothers,  the  Mothers  of  the  Believers,  respect  the  sanctity  of  their  Prophet  and  listen to their  words,  as  they  used  to  come  from  the  furthest  horizons  to  listen  to  them. [Daur  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi, p.  342] 

In  other words,  their  leaving for  Makkah  was  an  attempt to  disperse  these  crowds,  because it  was  the  custom  of  the  people  to  ask  their  opinion  and  consult  them,  and  they  –  may Allah be  pleased  with  them  all  –  never  imagined  that  it  would reach  a  point  where  these  people  would  kill  the  caliph.  [op.  dt.,  p.  343]

How  the  female  Sahabah  dealt  with  the  situation

(a)  Asma’  bint  ‘Umays  (radhiyallahu anha)
Asma’  bint  ‘Umays  tried  to  do  the  same  thing  as  the  Mother of  the  Believers  ‘Aa’ishah  had  done.  She  sent  word  to  her  two  sons,  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  and  Muhammad  ibn  Ja’far, saying:  The  lamp  consumes  itself  in  order  give  light  to  the  people,  so  do  not  indulge  in  sin  for  something  that  will  benefit  someone  else.  The  thing  that  you  are  trying  to  achieve  now  will  end  up  being  for  someone  else  later  on,  so beware  lest  your  actions  today lead  to  regret. [ibid, 343]

But  they  would  not  listen  and  they  left  angrily,  saying:  We  will  never  forget  what  ‘Uthman  did  to  us.  And  she  said:  All  he  did  to  you  was  command  you  to  adhere  to  the  way  of  Allah.’ [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/202]

And  it  was  said  that  this  conversation  took  place  between  Layla  bint  Asma’  and  her  two  brothers. [op.  cit.,  5/202]

In  this  case,  she  was  referring  to  when  the  people  of  the regions  had  come  to  Madinah  then  come  back  again  after  they  had  debated  with  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu),  and  he  had  debated  with  them  and  established proof  against  them,  then  they  pretended  that  they were  returning  to  their  homelands,  then  they  soon  came  back,  claiming that  ‘Uthman  had  sent  a  man  with  instructions  that  the  people  be  killed,  including –  or  so  they  claimed  –  Muhammad  ibn Abi  Bakr. [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi,  p.  343]

This  is  probably  what  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  was referring  to  when  he  said:  We  will  never  forget  what  ‘Uthman  did  to  us.  But  ‘Uthman  denied having  anything  to  do  with  this  letter  and  he  said:  Either  bring  two  men  to  witness  against  me,  or  I  will  give  you  my  oath  that  I  never  wrote  (the  letter)  or  told  anyone  else to  write  (it).  It  is  possible  that  a  letter  could  be  forged  and  falsely  attributed  to  a  man,  or  his  signature  or  seal  could  be  forged. [al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  p. 120]

Asma’  (radhiyallahu anha)  was  aware  of  what  was  happening,  namely  plots  to  shake  the   foundation  of  the  Islamic  state  and  depose  ‘Uthma   ibn ‘Affan  (rashiyallahu anha)  from  the  caliphate.  Hence  her  attitude towards  her  two  sons  and  her  clear  understanding  of  the  matter  caused  her  not  to be  influenced  by  the  fact  that  she  was  a  mother,  and  she  took  the  right  stance  with  regard  to  this  clear  situation.  This  attitude  is  undoubtedly  very  significant  and  gives  a  clear  image  of  the  dignity  and  good  character  of  the  noble  Sahabah. [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi, p. 544 ]

(b)  al-Sa’bah  bint  al-Hadrami When  the  siege  intensified,  al-Sa’bah  bint  al-Hadrami  asked her  son  Talhah  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  speak  to  ‘Uthman  and  make  him  change  his  mind  about  exposing  himself  to  danger  and  not allowing  the  Sahabah  to  come  to  his  defence  or  seeking  help  from  the  governors  of  other  provinces.  Al-Sa’bah  bint  al-Hadrami  went  out  and  said  to  her  son  Talhah  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah:  The  siege  of  ‘Uthman  has  intensified;  why  don’t  you  speak  to  him  and  make  him  change  his  mind? [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  aI-Siyaasi,  p. 345]

This  report  clearly  shows  that  al-Sa’bah  was  concerned  about ‘Uthman,  and  that  Umm  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Raafi’  was  also  concerned  about  the  matter  and  was  following  developments  as  the  turmoil progressed;  [op. cit., p. 345]  as she  is  the  one  who  narrated  this  incident  from  al-Sa’bah  bint  al-Hadrami. 

This  was  the  attitude  of  the  Muslim  women  in  general,  a balanced  attitude  that  was  able  to  see  things  as  they  really  were,  despite  the  clouds that  were  surrounding  the  scene. Whatever  the  case,  this  was  the  attitude  of  all  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallaahu anhum). [op. cit.,  p. 345, 346]

Who  led  the  peopfe  in Hajj  that  year?  Did  Uthman  ask  the  governors  for  help?

Who  led  the  people  in  Hajj  in  35  AH?
‘Uthman  summoned  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Abbaas  and  told  him  to lead  the  people  in  Hajj  that  year.  Ibn  ‘Abbaas  said  to  him:  Let  me  stay  with  you  and  be  by  your  side,  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  to  confront  these  people,  for  by  Allah,  fighting  in jihad  against  these  rebels  is  dearer  to  me  than  Hajj.  ‘Uthman  said  to  him:  I  insist  that  you  lead  the  Muslims  in Hajj.  So  Ibn  ‘Abbaas  had  no  choice  but  to  obey  the  caliph.  ‘Uthman  wrote  a  letter  that  he  sent  with  Ibn  ‘Abbaas  to  be  read  out  to  the  Muslims  on  Hajj,  in  which  he  explained  what  was  going  on  with  those  who  had  rebelled  against  him, his  attitude  towards  them,  and  their  demands  on  him. [Al-Khulafa’ al-Raashideen by al-Khaalidi, p. 167,168]

This  is  what  was  said  in  the  letter  of  ‘Uthman  addressed  to the  Muslims  on  the  occasion  of  Hajj  in  35  AH:

In  the  name  of  Allah,  the  Most  Gracious,  the  Most  Merciful. From  the  slave  of  Allah,  ‘Uthman  the  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen  to  the  believers  and  Muslims.  Peace  be  upon  you.  I  praise  Allah  besides  Whom  there  is  no  other  god.  To  proceed:  I  remind  you  of  Allah, may  He  be  glorified  and exalted,  Who  has  blessed  you  and  guided  you  to  Islam,  and  has  saved  you  from  misguidance  and  disbelief,  and  has  shown  you  clear  signs,  bestowed  abundant  provision upon  you,  granted  you  victory  over  your  enemy  and  bestowed His  blessings  upon  you.  Allah says,  and  His  word  is  true:

“And  He  gave  you  of  all  that  you  asked  for,  and  if  you count  the  Blessings  of  Allah,  never  will  you  be  able  to  count  them.  Verily,  man  is  indeed  an  extreme  wrongdoer,  a  disbeliever  (an  extreme  ingrate  who  denies  Allah’s  Blessings  by  disbelief,  and  by worshipping  others  besides  Allah,  and  by  disobeying  Allah  and  His  Prophet  Muhammad  sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)”   [Ibraaheem 14:34]

“O  you  who  believe!  Fear  Allah  (by  doing  all  that  He  has ordered  and  by  abstaining  from  all  that  He  has  forbidden)  as  He  should  be  feared.  (Obey  Him,  be  thankful  to  Him,  and remember  Him  always,)  and  die  not  except  in  a state  of  Islam [as  Muslims  (with  complete  submission  to  Allah)].  And  hold fast,  all  of  you  together,  to  the  Rope  of  Allah  (i.e.  this  Qur’an), and  be  not  divided  among  yourselves,  and  remember  Allah’s Favour  on  you,  for  you  were  enemies  one  to  another  but  He  joined  your  hearts  together,  so  that,  by  His  Grace,  you  became  brethren  (in  Islamic  Faith),  and  you  were  on  the  brink  of  a  pit  of  Fire,  and  He  saved  you  from  it.  Thus  Allah  makes  His  Ayaat  (proofs,  evidences,  verses,  lessons,  signs,  revelations, etc.,)  clear  to  you,  that  you  may  be  guided.  Let  there  arise  out  of  you  a  group  of  people  inviting  to  all  that  is  good  (Islam), enjoining  Al-Ma’roof  (i.e.  Islamic  Monotheism  and  all  that  Islam  orders  one  to  do)  and  forbidding  Al-Munkar (polytheism  and  disbelief  and  all  that  Islam  has  forbidden). And  it  is  they  who  are  the  successful.  And  be  not  as  those  who  divided  and  differed  among  themselves  after  the  clear  proofs  had  come  to  them.  It  is  they  for  whom  there  is  an  awful  torment”   [Aal  ‘Imraan  3:102-105]

“And  remember  Allah’s  Favour  to  you  and  His  Covenant  with which  He  bound  you  when  you  said:  ‘We  hear  and  we  obey.’ And  fear  Allah.  Verily,  Allah  is  All-Knower  of  that  which  is  in (the  secrets  of  your)  hearts”   [Al-Maa’idah  57]

“O  you  who  believe!  If  a Faasiq  (liar –  evil  person)  comes  to  you with  any  news,  verify  it,  lest  you  should  harm  people  in ignorance,  and  afterwards  you  become  regretful  for  what  you have  done.  And  know  that  among  you  there  is  the  Messenger  of Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). If  he  were  to  obey  you  (i.e. follow  your  opinions  and  desires)  in  much  of  the  matter,  you  would  surely  be  in  trouble. But  Allah  has  endeared  the  Faith  to  you  and  has  beautified  it  in  your  hearts,  and  has  made  disbelief,  wickedness  and  disobedience  (to  Allah  and  His  Messenger   hateful  to  you.  Such  are  they  who  are  the  rightly guided.  (This  is)  a  Grace  from  Allah  and  His  Favour.  And  Allah  is  All-Knowing,  All-Wise” [Al-Hujuraat 49:6-8]

“Verily,  those  who  purchase  a  small  gain  at  the  cost  of  Allah’s Covenant  and  their  oaths,  they  shall  have  no  portion  in  the  Hereafter  (Paradise).  Neither  will  Allah  speak  to  them  nor  look  at  them  on  the  Day  of  Resurrection  nor  will  He  purify  them,  and  they  shall  have  a  painful  torment”  [Aal ‘Imraan  3:77]

“So  keep  your  duty  to  Allah  and  fear  Him  as  much  as  you  can;  listen  and  obey,  and  spend  in  charity;  that  is  better  for  yourselves.  And  whosoever  is  saved  from  his  own covetousness,  then  they  are  the  successful  ones”   [At-Taghaabun 64:16]

“And  fulfil  the  Covenant  of  Allah  (Bay’ah : pledge  for  Islam) when  you  have  covenanted,  and  break  not  the  oaths  after  you have  confirmed  them  –  and  indeed  you  have  appointed  Allah , your  surety.  Verily, Allah  knows  what  you  do.  And  be  not  like  her  who  undoes  the  thread  which  she  has  spun,  after  it  has  become  strong,  by  taking  your  oaths  as  a  means  of  deception  among  yourselves,  lest  a  nation  should  be  more  numerous  than  another  nation.  Alllah  only  tests  you  by  this  (i.e.  who  obeys  Allah  and  fulfils  Allah’s  Covenant  and  who  disobeys  Allah  and  breaks  Allah’s  Covenant).  And  on  the  Day  of  Resurrection,  He  will  certainly  make  clear  to  you  that  wherein  you  used  to  differ (i.e.  a  believer  confesses  and  believes  in  the  Oneness  of  Allah  and  in  the  Prophethood  of  Prophet  Muhammad  which  the  disbeliever  denies  and  that  is  their  difference  amongst  them  in  the  life  of  this  world).  And  had  Allah  willed,  He  could  have made  you  (all)  one  nation,  but  He  sends  astray  whom  He  wills  and  guides  whom  He  wills.  But  you  shall  certainly  be  called  to  account  for  what  you  used  to  do.  And  make  not  your  oaths,  a  means  of  deception  among  yourselves,  lest  a  foot  should  slip  after  being  firmly  planted,  and  you  may  have  to  taste  the  evil  (punishment  in  this  world)  of  having  hindered  (men) from  the  path  of  Allah  (i.e.  belief  in  the  Oneness  of  Allah  and  His  Messenger,  Muhammad),  and  yours  will  be  a  great  torment (i.e. the  fire  of  Hell  in  the  Hereafter). And  purchase  not  a  small  gain  at  the  cost  of  Allah’s  Covenant.  Verily,  what  is  with  Allah  is  better  for  you  if  you did  but  know.  Whatever  is  with  you,  will  be  exhausted,  and  whatever  is  with  Allah  (of  good  deeds)  will  remain.  And  those  who  are  patient,  We  will  certainly  pay  them  a  reward  in  proportion  to  the  best  of  what  they  used  to  do”   [An- Nahl 16:91-96]

“O  you  who  believe!  Obey  Allah  and  obey  the  Messenger (Muhammad,  and  those  of  you  (Muslims)  who  are  in authority.  (And)  if  you  differ  in  anything  amongst  yourselves,  refer  it  to  Allah  and  His  Messenger,  if  you  believe  in  Allah  and  in  the  Last  Day.  That  is  better  and  more  suitable  for  final  determination” [An-Nisa’  4:59]

“Allah  has  promised  those  among  you  who  believe  and  do righteous  good  deeds,  that  He  will  certainly  grant  them succession  to  (the  present  rulers)  in  the  land,  as  He  granted  it  to  those  before  them,  and  that  He  will  grant  them  the  authority  to  practise  their  religion  which  He  has  chosen  for  them  (i.e. Islam).  And  He  will  surely,  give  them  in  exchange  a  safe  security  after  their  fear  (provided)  they  (believers)  worship  Me  and  do  not  associate  anything  (in  worship)  with  Me.  But  whoever  disbelieved  after  this,  they  are  the  Faasiqoon  (rebellious, disobedient  to  Allah)”   [An-Noor 24:55]

“Verily,  those  who  give  Bay’ah  (pledge)  to  you  (O  Muhammad  they  are  giving  Bay’ah  (pledge) to  Allah.  The  Hand  of  Allah  is  over  their  hands.  Then  whosoever  breaks  his  pledge,  breaks  it  only  to  his  own  harm;  and  whosoever  fulfils  what  he  has  covenanted  with  Alllah,  He  will  bestow  on  him  a  great  reward” [Al-Fath 48:10]

To  proceed:  Allah  wants  you  to  hear  and  obey,  and  to  be united,  and  He  warns  you  against  disobedience,  division  and  dissent.  He  has  told  you  about  the  behaviour  and  attitude  of  those  who  came before  you,  and  He  has  told  you  of  that  so  that  you  will have  no  excuse  if  you  disobey  Him.  So  accept  the  advice  of  Allah,  may  He  be  glorified  and  exalted,  and  beware  of  His  punishment, for  you  will  never  find  any  nation  that  was  doomed  but  that  came  about  after  they  were  divided,  unless  they  had  a  leader  to  rally behind.  When  you  are  divided,  you  are  not  going  to  pray  all together,  Allah  will  give  your  enemies  power  over  you  and  you will  violate  the  sanctity  of  one  other.  When  that  happens,  then  Islam  will  no  longer  be  strong  and  will  be  broken  up  into  sects. Allah  says:

“Verily,  those  who  divide  their  religion  and  break  up  into  sects (all  kinds  of  religious  sects),  you  (O  Muhammad)  have  no  concern  in  them  in  the  least.  Their  affair  is  only  with  Allah,  Who  then  will  tell  them  what  they  used  to  do”   [Al-An’aam  6:159].

I  advise  you  to  pay  heed  to  what  Allah  has  enjoined  upon  you  and  to  beware  of  His  punishment.  Shu’ayb  (alayhis salaam)  said  to  his  people:

“And  O  my  people!  Let  not  my  shiqaaq  (i.e.  separation,  enmity,  anger  and  opposition,  because  of  your  disbelief  in  the  Oneness  of  Allah  (Monotheism), and  your  worship  of  the  idols, and  your  defrauding  of  the  people  (in  their  things),  and  you  giving of  short  measure  and  weights  to  the  people) cause  you  to  suffer  the  fate  similar  to  that  of  the  people  of  Nuh  (Noah)  or  of  Hood  or  of  Saalih  (Saleh),  and  the  people  of  Loot  are  not  far  off  from you!  And  ask  forgiveness  of  your  Lord  and  turn  unto  Him  in  repentance.  Verily,  my  Lord  is  Most  Merciful,  Most  Loving”   [Hood  11:39,  90].

To  proceed:  These  people  who  were  involved  in  this  matter presented  themselves  to  others  as  calling  them  to  the  Book  of Allah  and  the  truth,  and  claimed  that  they  were  not  seeking  worldly  gains  or  competing  in  worldly  matters.  But  when  the  truth  was  presented  to  them,  they  responded  in  different  ways. Some  accepted  the  truth  and  were  content  with  it  when  it  was  shown  to  them;  some  turned  away  from  the  truth  and  ignored  it,  wanting  their  own  way  with  no  right  (to  do  that).  I  have  lived  too  long  for  them  and  they  are  rushing  to  seize  a  position  of  authority, so  they  are  trying  to  hasten  my  death.  They  wrote  to  you  and  told  you  that  they  were  content  with  the  deal  that  I  had  given  them,  and  I  am  not  aware  that  I  changed  my  mind  or  went  against  the  deal  that  I  had  made  with  them.  They  claimed  that  they  want  justice  to  be  done  (hadd  punishments),  and  I  said:  Carry  out  the  hadd  punishment  against  anyone  who  you  know  deserves  a  hadd  punishment  and  against  anyone  who  has  wronged  you,  whether  he  is  a  relative  or  a  stranger.  They  said:  The  Book  of  Allah  is  being  recited.  I  said: Anyone  may  recite  it  without misinterpreting  it  in  a  way  different  than  what  was   revealed.  They  said:  The  one  who  has  been  deprived  should  given  provision  and  wealth  should  be  given  to  those  who  deserve  it,  and  there  should  be  no  transgression  with  regard  to  the  khums  or  the  zakaah;  people  of  ability  and  honesty should  be  appointed  as  governors  and  the  rights  of  those  who  have  been  wronged  should  be  restored  to  them.  I  accepted  that  and  showed  patience  towards  them.  I  am  writing  to  you  when  those  who  are  involved  in  this  matter  are  seeking  to  hasten  my  death  and  they  have  prevented  me  from  praying;  they  have  stopped  me  from  going  to  the  mosque  and  have  confiscated whatever  they  could  in  Madinah.  I  have  written  this  letter  to  you  when  they  are  giving  me  three  choices:  either  they  will  settle  the  score  with  me  regarding  every  man  I  have  dealt  with,  whether  I  was  right  or  wrong,  without  leaving  anyone  out;  or  I  should  give  up  the  caliphate  and  they  will  appoint  someone  else;  or  they  will  send  word  to  the  troops  and  people  of  Madinah  who  will  obey them  and  they  will  disown  the  one  whom  Allah enjoined  them  to  hear  and  obey.  I  said  to  them:  As  for  settling  the  scores  with  me, the  caliphs  who  came  before  me  sometimes got  things  wrong  and  someiimes  got  them  right,  but  there  were  no  scores  to  be  settled  with  any  of  them.  I  am  certain  that  they  want  to  kill  me.  As  for  me  giving  up  my  position,  for  them  to  beat  me  with  an  iron  stirrup  is  dearer  to  me  than  my  giving  up  what  I  am  doing  for  the  sake  of Allah  and  the  caliphate.  As  for  them  saying  that  they  will  send word  to  the  troops  and  people  of  Madinah  so  that  they  will  no longer  obey  me,  I  am  not  in  charge  of  what  you  do  and  I  did  not  force  them  before  to  hear  and  obey,  rather  they  offered  their obedience  willingly,  seeking  the  pleasure  of  Allah  and  harmony  among  the  Muslims.  Whoever  among  you  is  seeking  worldly  gain  will  not  get  anything  but  that  which  Allah  has  decreed  for  him,  and  whoever  is  seeking  the  Countenance  of  Allah  and  the Hereafter,  the  interests  of  the  ummah,  the  pleasure  of  Allah  and  following  the  good  ways  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  the  two  caliphs  who  came  after  him,  it  is  only  Allah  Who  gives  reward  for  that  and  I  have  no  reward  for  you.  Even  if  I  gave  you  the  whole  world,  it  would  not  be  the  price  for  your  religious  commitment  and  it  would  not  help  you  in  any  way.  So  fear  Allah  and  seek reward  with  Him.  If  anyone among  you  is  content  to  turn back  on  his  heels,  that  is  not  what  I  want  for  him,  and  Allah  does  not  want  you  to  break  your  covenant  with  Him.  As  for  the  choices  that  you  are  giving  me,  they  are  all  about  dismissing  me  from  my  position  and  appointing   someone  else.  I  have  controlled  myself  and  those  who  are  with  me.  I  thought  of  the  decree  of  Allah  and  blessings  can  only  be  bestowed  and  taken  away  by  Allah,  may  He  be  glorified.  I  did  not  want  to  set  a  precedent  that  would  lead  to division  and  bloodshed.  I  adjure  you  by  Allah  and  by  Islam  to only  follow  the  truth  and  direct  me  to  follow  the  truth;  do  not wrong  the  people  of  truth.  Let  justice  rule  between  us  as  Allah  has  commanded  you.  I  adjure you  by  Allah  Who  has  enjoined  you  to follow  His  commandments,  for  Allah  says  and  His  Word  is  true:

“And  come  not  near  to  the  orphan’s  property  except  to  improve  it,  until  he  attains  the  age  of  full  strength.  And  fulfil  (evey)  covenant.  Verily,  the  covenant  will  be  questioned  about” [Al- Isra’  17:34].

Thus  I  seek  to  be  free  of  guilt  before  Allah  (cf.  Al-A’raaf 7:164), and  perhaps  you  may  heed  this reminder.  To  proceed:  I  do  not  free  myself  from  blame.

“And  I  free  not  myself  (from  the  blame).  Verily,  the  (human) self  is inclined  to  evil,  except  when  my  Lord  bestows  His  Mercy (upon  whom  He  wills). Verily,  my  Lord  is  Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”  [Yoosuf 12:53].

If  I  punished  some  people,  I  only  did  it  for  a  good  reason,  and  I  repent  to  Allah  for  everything  that  I  have  done.  I  seek  His  forgiveness,  for  no  one  forgives  sins  but  Him.  The  mercy  of  my  Lord  encompasses all  things,  and  no  one  despairs of  the  mercy  of Allah  but  those  who  have  gone  astray.  He  accepts  repentance  from  His  slaves  and  forgives  bad  deeds,  and  He  knows  what  you  are  doing.  I  ask  Allah  to  forgive  me  and  you,  and  to  reconcile this  ummah  and  make  evil  abhorrent  to  them.  Peace  be  upon  you  and  the  mercy  of  Allsh  and  His  blessings,  O  believers  and  Muslims.

Ibn  ‘Abbaas  said:  I  read  this letter  to  them  in  Makkah  one  day  before  al-Tarwiyah. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/425-431]

Did  ‘Uthman  ask  the  governors  to  support  him?
Sayf  ibn  ‘Umar  claimed  in  his  report  narrated  by  al-Tabari  that  when  ‘Uthman  was besieged,  he  wrote to  his  governors  in  the  regions  asking  them  for  help,  and  Mu’awiyah  sent  Habeeb  ibn  Maslamah  al-Fihri  at  the  head  of  an  army;  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Sa’d  in  Egypt  did  likewise,  sending  Mu’awiyah  ibn  Hudayj;  and  al- Qa’qa’  ibn  ‘Amr  came  from  Kufah  leading  his  forces. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/379, 380] 

But  this  claim  is  not  in  accordance  with  the  attitude  of  ‘Uthman  who  dealt  with  the  turmoil  by  erring  on  the  side  of  caution  and  refraining  from  taking  action;  neither  is  it  in  accordance  with  his  certainty that  he  would  be  killed.  It  is  contrary  to  his  attitude  of  turning  away  those  of  the  senior  Sahabah  and  their  sons  who  wanted  to  defend  him.  He  even  emphatically  forbade  his  slaves  and  freed  slaves  to  fight;  rather  he  promised  manumission  to  those  of  them who  refrained  from  fighting,  as  we  shall  see.  But  it  can  be imagined  that  just  as  some  of  the  Sahabah  hastened  to  defend  him  without  him  asking  them  to,  and  despite  his  many  attempts  to  turn  them  away,  so  many  large  groups  of  Muslim  soldiers  in  the  other  regions  hastened  to  defend  the wronged  caliph  on  their  own initiative,  or  on  the  instructions  of  their  commanders.  We  should  not  think  that  a  man  such  as  Mu’awiyah,  who  was  so  close  to  ‘Uthman,  would  be  content  to  sit  down  and  do  nothing  and  not  send  an  army  of  troops  to  defend  him.  We  cannot  assume  that  men  such  as  ‘Uthman’s  supporters  in  Egypt  –  led  by  Mu’awiyah  ibn  Hudayj,  Maslamah  ibn  Mukhallad and  other  Muslim  heroes – would  sit  and  wait  until  the  caliph  was  killed  before  making  a  move  to  avenge  him  and  expose themselves  to  being  killed  in that  way.  Rather  what  we  can imagine  and  assume  is  that  troops  from  the  regions  were  on  the  move,  coming  to  Madinah  to  support  the  caliph  without  him  asking  them  to  do  that. [al-Dawlah  al-Islamiyyah  fi ‘Asr  al-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen,  p.  278,  279]

The  last  khutbah  delivered  by  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)
The  last  public  meeting  that  ‘Uthman  had  with  the  Muslims was  several  weeks  into  the  siege,  when  he  summoned  the  people  and  they  all  gathered  in  response,  both  the  Saba’i  rebels  and  the  peaceful  residents  of  Madinah,  foremost  among  whom  were  ‘Ali, Talhah and  az-Zubayr.  When  they  sat  before him,  he  said  to them:  Allah,  may  He  be  glorified  and  exalted,  has  given  you  this  world  as  a  means  of  seeking  the  Hereafter;  He  has  not  given  you  this  world  for  you  to  be  content  with  it.  This  world  is  transient  but  the  Hereafter  will  abide  forever,  so  do  not  let  that  which  is  transient  distract  you  from  that  which  will  abide  forever.  Show  preference  to  that  which  will  abide  forever  over  that  which  is  transient.  This  world  will  come  to  an  end  and  your  destiny  will  be  with  Allah.  Fear  Allah,  may  He  be  glorified  and  exalted,  for  fear  of  Him  is  a  protection  and  a  shield  against  His  wrath  and  punishment.  Adhere  to  the  main  body  of  the  Muslims  and  do  not  break  into  factions.  Allah  says:

“And  hold  fast,  all  of  you  together,  to  the  Rope  of  Allah  (i.e.  this  Qur’an),  and  be  not  divided  among  yourselves,  and  remember  Allah’s  Favour  on  you,  for  you  were  enemies  one  to  another  but  He  joined  your  hearts  together,  so  that,  by  His  Grace,  you  became  brethren  (in Islamic  Faith),  and  you  were  on  the  brink  of  a  pit  of  Fire,  and  He  saved  you  from  it.  Thus  Allah  makes  His  Ayaat  (proofs,  evidences,  verses,  lessons,  signs,  revelations, etc. ,)  clear  to  you,  that  you  may  be  guided”   [Aal ‘Imraan 3:103].

Then  he  said  to  the  Muslims:  O  people  of  Madinah,  I  bid  you farewell,  and  I  ask  Allah  to  appoint  a  good  caliph  for  you  after  I  am  gone.  By  Allah,  I  shall  never  enter  upon  anyone  again  after  this  day  until  Allah  lets  His  decree  come  to  pass.  I  shall  leave  these  rebels  outside  the  door  and  I  shall  not  give  them  anything  that  they  might  use  against  you  in  religious  or  worldly  terms,  until  Allah  decrees  whatever  He  wills.  He  commanded  the  people  of Madinah  to  leave  and  swore  an oath  urging  them  to  do  so,  so they  left  except  for  al-Hasan,  Muhammad,  Ibn  az-Zubayr  and  others  like  them,  who  sat  at  ‘Uthman’s  door  on  their  fathers’  orders,  and  many  people  gathered  around  them.  And  ‘Uthman  stayed  in  the  house  until  he  met  his  fate.  [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/399,400]

The  martyrdom  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)
In  addition  to  the  armies  coming  from  the  regions  to  support  the  caliph,  the  days  of  Hajj  had  ended  quickly  and  scores  of  pilgrims  were  now  marching  towards  Madinah  to  support  the  caliph  too,  especially  since  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Abbaas,  ‘Aa’ishah  and  others  were  coming  to  defend  ‘Uthman.  News  reached  the  rebels  that  the  pilgrims  wanted  to  come  to  support  ‘Uthman. When  they  heard  that  news,  along  with  news  of  the  hatred  that  the  people  of  the  regions  felt  towards  them,  the  Shaytaan  whispered  to  them and  tempted  them,  and  they  said:  Nothing  can  save  us  from  what  we  have  let  ourselves  in  for  but  killing  this  man,  and  that  will  distract  the  people  from  us. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/402]

The  last  day  of  the  siege  and  the  dream  that  ‘Uthman  saw
On the  last  day  of  the  siege -which  is  the  day  on which  he  was  killed  –  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  fell  asleep  and  that  morning  he  told  the people:  They  are  going to  kill  me  today. [at-Tabaqaat  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/75] 

Then  he  said:  I  saw  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  in  my  dream.  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  were  with  him, and  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said:  O ‘Uthman,  break  your  fast  with  us.  He  was  fasting,  and  he  was  killed  that  day. [at-Tabaqaat,  3/75. The  report  is  hasan  because  of  corroborating  evidence].

How  he  was  killed
The  rebels  attacked  the  house  and  were  confronted  by  al- Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali,  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-Zubayr,  Muhammad  ibn Talhah,  Marwaan  ibn  al-Hakam  and  Sa’eed  ibn al-‘Aas,  and  other  sons  of  the  Sahabah  who  stayed  with  them.  Fighting broke  out  and  ‘Uthman  called  to  them:  Allah  Allah;  I  don’t  want  you  to  defend  me.  But  they  insisted,  and  ‘Uthman’s  slaves  came  in  to  defend  him, but  he  told  them  not  to  do  that,  rather  he  announced  that whoever  among  them  refrained  from  fighting  would  be  a  free man. [al-Dawlah  al-lslamiyyah fi ‘Asr al-Khulafa’ al-Raashideen, p.  282] 

‘Uthman  said  clearly  and  decisively,  as  the  caliph  who was  to  be  obeyed:  I  insist  that  everyone  who  believes  that  he  is  obliged  to  hear  and  obey  should  restrain  himself  and  refrain  from  fighting. [al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim, p.  133] 

The  only  justification  for  saying  that  was  that  ‘Uthman  was  certain  that  he  would  become  a  martyr,  based  on  the  testimony  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Hence  he  did  not  want  blood  to  be  shed  on  his  account  or  division  to  arise  among  the  Muslims  because  of  him. [al-Dawlah  al-lslamiyyah fi ‘Asr al-Khulafa’ al-Raashideen, p.  283]

Al-Mugheerah  ibn  al-Akhnas  was  among  those  who  had done  Hajj,  then  hastened  to leave  Mina  after  two  days  instead  of  three,  along  with  a  group  who  had  performed  Hajj  with  him.  He  managed  to  come to  ‘Uthman  before  he  was  kiIled;  he  entered  the  house  to  protect  him  and  said:  What  excuse  will  we  have  before  Allah  if  we  leave  you  when  we  are  able to  stop  them  until  we  die? The  rebels  came  and  wanted  to  burn  down  the  door  and  portico,  but  the  people  in the  house  leapt  up  to  stop  them,  whilst  ‘Uthman  was  praying.  Al-Mugheerah  ibn  al-Akhnas,  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali, Muhammad  ibn  Talhah,  Sa’eed  ibn  al-‘Aas,  Marwaan  ibn  al- Hakam  and  Abu  Hurayrah  fought  and  did  their  utmost,  but  ‘Uthman  sent  word  to  them  telling  them  to  leave  and  not  fight, then  he  went  back  to  his  prayer.  He  started  to read:

“Ta-Ha. [These letters are  one  of  the miracles  of  the  Qur’an,  and none  but  Allah  (Alone)  knows  their  meanings]. We  have  not sent  down  the  Qur’an  unto you  (O Muhammad!)  to  cause  you distress,  But  only  as  a  Reminder  to  those  who  fear  (Allah)”   [Ta-Ha 20:1-3]

He  was  a  fast  reader,  and  he  was  not  disturbed  by  what  he heard.  He  carried  on  reading  and  did  not  make  any  mistake  or  stumble,  until  he  came  to  the  end  of  the  soorah  before  they  reached  him.  Then  he  recited  a  du’aa‘  and  sat  down  and  recited  the  verse

“Many  similar  ways  (and  mishaps  of  life)  were faced  by  nations  (believers  and  disbelievers)  that  have  passed  away  before  you  (as  you  have  faced  in  the  battle  of  Uhud),  so  travel  through  the  earth,  and  see  what  was  the  end  of  those  who  disbelieved  (in  the Oneness  of  Allah,  and  disobeyed  Him  and  His  Messengers)” [Aal ‘Imran 3:137].

On  that  day,  four  young  men  of  Quraysh  were  injured:  al- Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali,  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  az-Zubayr,  Muhammad  ibn Haatib  and  Marwaan  ibn  al-Hakam. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/169] 

Al-Mugheerah  ibn  al-Akhnas,  Niyaar  ibn  ‘Abd-Allah  al-Aslami   and  Ziyaad  al-Fihri  were  killed.  ‘Uthman  managed  to  persuade the  defenders  to  leave  the  house  and  leave  him  alone  with  the  rebels.  So  no  one  was  left in  the  house  except  ‘Uthman  and  his  family,  and  there  was  no  defender  or  guard  between  him  and  the  people,  then  he  (radhiyallahu anhu)  opened  the  door  of  the  house. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/188]

After  those  who  had  wanted  to  defend  him  had  left  the house, ‘Uthmh  spread  the  Mus-haf  before  him  and began  to  read  from  it,  and  at  that  time  he  was  fasting.  Then  one  of  the  besiegers,  whose  name  is  not  mentioned  in  the  reports,  entered  upon  him. When  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  saw  him  he  said  to  him:  Between  me  and  you  there  is  the  Book  of  Allah. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/405,406]

So  the  man  went  out  and  left  him  alone.  But  no  sooner  had  he  left  but  another  one  came  in.  He  was  a  man  from  Banu  Sadoos  who  was  called  al-Mawt  al-Aswad  (the  Black  Death).  He  strangled  him  before  striking him  with  the  sword.  He  said:  By  Allah,  I  never  saw  anything  more  soft  when  strangling. I strangled  him  until  I felt  that  his  soul  was  moving  in  his  body  like a  jinn. [Tareekh  Ibn  Khayaat,  p. 174, 175.  Its  isnad  is  saheeh  or  hasan].

Then  he  struck  him  with  his  sword,  and  ‘Uthman  tried to  protect  himself  with  his  hand,  but  he  cut  it  off.  ‘Uthman  said: By  Allah,  it  was  the  first  hand  to  write  al-Mufassal. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/398] 

That  was  because  he  was  one  of  the  scribes  who  wrote  down  the Revelation,  and  he  had  been  the  first  one  to  write  the  Mus-haf  as  dictated  by  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  killed  when  the  Mus-haf  was  in  front  of  him,  and  when  his  hand  was  cut  off,  the  blood  spilled  onto the  Mus-haf  that  was  in  front  of  him,  and  it  fell  upon  the  verse:

“So  Allah  will  suffice  for  you  against  them.  And  He  is  the  All- Hearer,  the  All-Knower”   [Al-Baqarah  2:137].[ibid]

According  to  another  report,  the  first  one  to  strike  him  was  a  man  who  was  called  Rumaan al-Yamaani,  who  struck  him  with  a  short,  hooked  staff. When  they  surrounded  him,  his  wife  Naa’ilah  bint  al- Faraafisah  said:  Whether  you  kill  him  or  spare  him,  he  used  to  stay  up  all  night,  reciting  the  entire  Qur’an  in  a  single  rak’ah. [at-Tabaqaat,  3/76]

Naa’ilah  defended  her  husband  ‘Uthman  and  shielded  him,  and she  received  several  blows  of  the  sword  on  her  hands.  Sawdaan  ibn  Hamraan  went  to  her  and  struck  her  fingers,  and  cut  them  off.  [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/406, 407]

When  one  of  the  slaves  of  ‘Uthman,  whose  name  was Nujayh,  saw  what  was  happening,  he  was  distressed  by  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman.  Nujayh  attacked  Sawdaan  ibn Hamraan  and  killed  him,  and  when  Qutayrah  ibn  Fulaan  al-Sakooni  saw  that  Nujayh  had killed  Sawdaan,  he  attacked Nujayh  and  killed  him. Then  another  slave  of  ‘Uthman,  whose  name  was  Subayh,  attacked  Qutayrah  ibn  Fulaan  and  killed  him.  So  there  were  four  who  were  killed  in  the  house,  two  martyrs  and  two  criminals.  The  martyrs  were ‘Uthman  and  his  slave  Nujayh,  and  the  criminals  were  Sawdaan  and  Qutayrah,  who  were  both  from  the  tribe  of  Sakoon.  When  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  been  killed,  a  caller  from  among  the  Saba’is  cried  out:  It  cannot  be  the  case  that  the  man’s  blood  is  permissible  for  us  and  his  property  is  forbidden  for  us;  his  property  is  permissible  for  us  too.  So  they  ransacked  the house,  and  the  Saba’i  thugs  did  a  lot  of  mischief  in  the  house.  They  ransacked  everything,  even  taking  the  jewellery  that  the  women  were  wearing. One  of  the  Saba’is  whose  name  was  Kulthoom  al-Taleebi  attacked  ‘Uthman’s  wife  Naa’ilah  and  took  the  abayah  that  she  was  wearing,  then  he  poked  her  in  the  hips  and  said  to  her:  Woe  to  your  mother,  what  a  perfect  backside.  ‘Uthman’s  slave  Subayh  saw  that  and  heard  the  ugly  words  he  said  to  Naa’ilah,  so  he  attacked  him  with  a  sword  and  killed  him.  Then  one  of  the Saba’is  attacked  the  slave  and  killed  him. [Ibid]

After  the  Saba’is  had  finished  ransacking  the  house  of  ‘Uthman,  they  called  out:  Let  us  go  and  raid  the  bayt al-maal  before  anyone  else  gets  there,  and  take  whatever  is  in  it.  The  guards  of  the  bayt  al-maal  heard  their  voices,  but  there  was  nothing  in  it  except  two  containers  of  food,  so  they  said:  Save  yourselves,  for  these  people  are  after  worldly  gains. The  Saba’is  attacked  the  bayt  al-maal  and  ransacked  it. [Ibid]

The  Saba’i  rebels  achieved  their  aim  of  killing  the  caliph.  But after  that,  many  of  the  thugs  and  hooligans  who  had  followed  them  stopped  and  thought.  They  had  never  thought  that  it  would  end  with  them  killing  him,  but  the  devilish  Saba’is  had  fooled  them  and  used  them  to  stir  up  trouble  against  ‘Uthman.  But killing  him  was  something  that  they  found  abhorrent  and  could not  accept.  These  thugs  regretted  it,  and  there  happened  to  them  the  same  as  happened  to  the  Children  of  Israel  when  they  worshipped  the  calf:  some  of  them  regretted  it  as  Allah  says:

“And  the  people  of  Moosa  (Moses)  made  in  his  absence,  out  of  their  ornaments,  the  image  of  a  calf  to  worship.  It  had  a  sound  (as  if  it  was  mooing).  Did  they  not  see  that  it  could  neither  speak  to  them  nor  guide  them  to  the  way?  They  took  it  (for  worship)  and  they  were  Zaalimoon  (wrongdoers).  And  when  they  regretted  and  saw  that  they  had  gone  astray,  they  (repented  and)  said:  ‘If  our  Lord  have  not  mercy  upon  us  and  forgive  us,  we  shall  certainly  be  of  the  losers”‘  [Al-A’raaf  7:148- 149]. [al-bidayah wa’n Nihayah, 7/197,198]

The  righteous  people  in  Madinah  were  grieved  by  the  murder  of  their  caliph,  and  they  began  to  say  Inna  Lillaahi  wa  inna  ilayhi raaji’oon  (Truly,  to  Allah  we  belong  and  truly,  to  Him  we  shall  return),  and  wept.  But  what  could  they  do  when  the  rebel  Saba’i  armies  were  occupying  Madinah  and  spreading  mischief  and preventing  its  people  from  doing  anything?  The  de  facto  ruler  of  Madinah  was  the  leader  of  the  Egyptian  rebels,  al-Ghaafiqi  ibn  Harb  al-‘Akki,  and  they  had  with  them  the  architect  of  their  devilish  plans,  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  who  was rejoicing  greatly  at  the  achievement  of  his  fiendish aims.

The  senior  Sahabah  commented  on  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  as  follows.

(a)  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam  (radhiyallahu anhu). 
When  he  learned  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  he  said:  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Uthman.  Truly,  to  Allah  we  belong  and  truly,  to  Him  we  shall  return.  It  was  said  to  him:  The  people  are  regretting  it.  He  said:  They  planned  it  for  a  long  time,  but  it  is  as  Allah  says:

“And  a  barrier  will  be  set  between  them  and  that  which  they  desire  [i.e.  At-Tawbah  (turning  to  Allah  in  repentance) and  the  accepting  of  Faith],  as  was  done  in  the  past  with  the  people  of  their  kind.  Verily,  they have  been  in  grave  doubt”  [Saba’ 34:54].

(b)  Talhah  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah  (radhiyallahu anhu). 
When  he  learned  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  he  said:  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Uthman.  Truly,  to  Allah  we  belong  and  truly,  to  Him  we  shall  return.  It  was  said  to  him:  The  people  are  regretting  it. He  said:  May  they  perish!  And  he  recited  the  words  of  Allah:

“They  await  only  but  a  single  Sayhah  (shout) which  will  seize them  while  they  are  disputing!  Then  they  will  not  be  able  to make  bequest,  nor  they  will  return  to  their  family”  [Ya-Seen 36:49, 50].

(c)  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu).
When  he  learned  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  he  said:  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Uthman.  Truly, to  Allah  we  belong  and  truly,  to  Him  we  shall  return.  It  was said  to  him:  The  people  are  regretting  it.  He  recited  the  verse: 

“(Their  allies  deceived  them)  like  Shaytaan  (Satan),  when  he says  to  man: ‘Disbelieve  in  Allah’  But  when  (man)  disbelieves  in  Allah,  Shaytaan  (Satan)  says  : ‘I  am  free  of  you,  I fear  Allah,  the  Lord  of  the  ‘Aalameen  (mankind,  jinn  and  all  that  exists)!’ So  the  end  of  both  will  be  that  they  will  be  in  the  Fire,  abiding  therein.  Such  is  the  recompense  of  the  Zaalimoon  (i.e. polytheists,  wrongdoers,  disbelievers  in  Allah  and  in  His  Oneness)”   [Al-Hashr  59:16, 17).

(d)  Sa’d  ibn  Abi  Waqqaas  (radhiyallahu anhu).
When  Sa’d  learned  of  that  he said:  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Uthman.  Then  he  recited  the verse: “Say  (O Muhammad): ‘Shall  We  tell  you  the  greatest  losers in  respect  of  (their)  deeds?.  ‘Those  whose  efforts  have  been wasted  in  this  life  while  they  thought  that  they  were  acquiring  good  by  their  deeds.  ‘They  are  those  who  deny  the Ayaat  (proofs,  evidences,  verses,  lessons,  signs,  revelations,  etc.)  of  their  Lord  and  the  Meeting  with  Him  (in  the Hereafter).  So  their  works  are  in  vain,  and  on  the  Day  of  Resurrection,  We shall  assign  no  weight  for  them.  ‘That  shall  be  their  recompense,  Hell;  because  they  disbelieved  and  took  My Ayaat  (proofs,  evidences,  verses, lessons,  signs,  revelations,  etc.)  and  My  Messengers  by  way  of jest  and  mockery”‘   [Al-Kahf  18:103-106].

Then  Sa’d  said:  O  Allah,  make  them  regret  it  and  make  them grieve,  humiliate  them  then  seize  them. [Tareekh  at-Tabari, 5/407,408] 

And  Allah  answered the  prayer  of  Sa’d  –  who  was  a  man  whose  prayers  were  answered –  and  He  seized  everyone  who  had  taken  part  in  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  such  as  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’,  al-Ghaafiqi,  al-Ashtar, Hakeem  ibn  Jablah  and  Kinaanah  al-Tajeebi,  as  they  were  all  killed  later  on. [al-Khulafah’  al-Raashidoon  by  al-Khaalidi,  p. 192]

The  date  of  his  murder,  his age when he was martyred,  his  funeral  and  burial

The  date  of  his  murder
There  is  virtual  consensus  among  historians  as  to  the  date  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder.  There  is  no  dispute  that  it  took  place  in  35  AH,  apart  from  the  report  narrated  from  Mus’ab  ibn  ‘Abd-Allah  which  says  that  it  happened  in  36   AH. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/435,436] 

This  is  an  odd  view  which  differs  from  the  consensus.  Those  who  were  of  the  first  view  are  a  large  number,  including  ‘Abd- Allah  ibn  ‘Amr  ibn  ‘Uthman,  ‘Aamir  ibn  Shurahbeel  al- Sha’bi,  Naafi’  the  freed  slave  of  Ibn  ‘Umar,  Makhramah  ibn  Sulaymaan  and  many  others. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthmtn, 1/193,194]

The  historians  did  not  differ concerning  the  month  in  which  he  was  killed,  which  was  Dhu’l-Hijjah.  But  after  that,  they  differed  as  to  the  day  and hour.  Of  the  many  scholarly  points  of  view,  it  seems  most likely  to  me  is  that  he  was  martyred  on  the  18th  of  Dhu’l- Hijjah  35   AH. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/435] 

As  for  the  particular  day  of  the  week  on  which  he  was  killed,  there  are  three  views;  the  one  which  seems  most  likely  to  me  is  the  view  of  the  majority,  which  is that  it  was  a  Friday,  because  there  is  no  stronger  view  that  contradicts  the  view  of  the  majority.  [op.  cit., 5/436] 

The  time  of  his  killing  was  the  morning.  This  is  the  view  of  the  majority  and  there  is  no  stronger  view  that  contradicts  this  majority  view.  [Ibid 5/437]

His  age  when  he  was  martyred There  are  conflicting  reports  about  his  age  when  he  was martyred,  and  this  is  an  old  dispute.  At-Tabari   said: 

The  early  generation  before  us  differed  as  to  how  old  he  was. I am  inclined  to  think  that  he  was  eighty-two  (82)  years  old when  he  died.  This  is  the  view  of  the  majority  and  is  more likely  to  be  correct  for  a  number  of  reasons,  including  the following:

(a)  This  is  the  result  of  comparing  the  year  of  his  birth with  the  year  of  his  martyrdom.  He  was  born  in  the  sixth  year  after  the  Year  of  the  Elephant,  and  he  was  martyred  in  35  AH.  Subtracting  the  date  of  his  birth  from  the  date  of  his  martyrdom  shows  us  his  age  at  the  time  he  was  martyred.

b)  It  is  the  view  of  the  majority  and  is  not  contradicted  by  any  stronger  view.

His  funeral  and  burial
On  the  day  that  he  was  killed,  a  number  of  the  Sahabah washed  him,  shrouded  him  and  carried  him,  including  Hakeem  ibn  Hizaam,  Huwaytib  ibn  ‘Abd  al-‘Uzza,  Abu’l-Jahm  ibn  Hudhayfah,  Niyaar  ibn  Makram  al-Aslami,  Jubayr  ibn  Mut’im,  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam,  ‘Ali ibn  Abi  Taalib,  and  a  number  of  his  companions  and  womenfolk,  including  his  two  wives  Naa’ilah  and  Umm  al-Baneen  bint  ‘Utbah  ibn  Husayn,  and  two  boys.  Jubayr  ibn  Mut’im  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  him,  or  it  was  said  that  this  was  done  by  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam,  Hakeem  ibn  Hizaam,  Marwaan  ibn  al-Hakam  or  al-Miswar  ibn  Makhramah [al-Bidaayah  wa’n-Nihaayah, 7/199]

What  seems  most  likely  in  my  view  is  that  the  one  who  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  him  was  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam,  because  of  the  report  narrated  by  Imam  Ahmad  in  his Musnad.  This  report  states  that  az-Zubayr  ibn  al-‘Awwaam (radhiyallahu anhu)  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  ‘Uthman  and  buried  him,  and  that  was  in  accordance  with  ‘Uthman’s  wishes. [al-Mawsoo’ah al-Hadeethiyyah, Musnad  al-Imam  Ahmad,  1/555.  The  men  of  its Isnad  are  thiqaat  (trustworthy), but  it  is  munqati’]. 

HIe was  buried  at  night;  this  is  supported  by  the  report  narrated  by  Ibn  Sa’d  and  al-Dhahabi,  as  they  said  that  he  was  buried  between  Maghrib  and  ‘Isha’. [At-Tabaqaat, 3/78]

As  for  the  report  narrated  by al-Tabaraani  via  ‘Abd  al-Malik  ibn  al-Maajashoon  who  said:  I  heard  Maalik  say:  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  killed  and  was  left  thrown  on  the  garbage  heap  of  Banu  Fudaan  for  three days  [al-Mu’jam  al-Kabeer, 1/78;  Istishhaad  ‘Uthman, p.  194], the  isnaad  of  this  report  is  weak  (da’eef) and  its  text  is  false.  Its  isnaad  has  two  faults:

(a)  The  weakness  of  ‘Abd  al-Malik  ibn  Maajashoon  who  used  to  narrate  munkar  (weird) reports  from  Imam  Maalik.

(b)  This  report  is  mursal,  because  Imam  Maalik  was  not  alive  at  the  time  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu),  as  he  was  not  born  until  93  AH.’ [AT-Tahdheeb  by  Ibn  Hajar,  6/408]

As  for  the  text  of  this  report,  it  is  false.  Ibn  Hazm  said concerning  it:  Whoever  says  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  left  thrown  on  a  trash  heap  for  three  days  is  lying.  This  is  the  fabrication  of  one  who  has  no  shame.  The  Messenger  of Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  ordered  that  the  bodies  of  the  kuffar  who  had  been  slain  at  Badr  be  thrown  into  a  dry  well,  and  he  threw  dirt  on  top  of  them  even  though  they  were  the  worst  of  Allah’s  creation.  And  he  ordered  that  ditches  be  dug  for  the  slain  Jews  of  Qurayzah, who  were  the  worst  of  those  who  are  buried  in  the  ground.  Burying  believers  and  disbelievers  alike  is  obligatory  for  the  Muslims.  So  how  could  anyone  who  has  any  sense  of  shame  claim  that  ‘Ali,  who  was  the  most  prominent  figure  and  those  of  the  Sahabah  who  were  in  Madinah,  would  leave  a  dead  man  on  a  garbage  heap  for  three  days  without  burying  him? [al-Fasl,  4/239,  240]

It  would  not  occur  to  any  man  of  sound  reason  who  is  free from  Raafidhi  influences  that  they  would  leave  their  leader  like  that  without  burying  him  for  three  days,  no  matter  how  strong  those  evildoers  were  who  had  come  to  besiege  him  and  kill  him.  All  The  Sahabah,  as  their  Lord  described  them,  strove  in  the  way  of  and  did not  fear  the  blame  of  the  blamers  [al-Maa’idah 5:54].  Rather  these  reports  are  fabrications  which  were  inserted into  the  history  books  by  the  Raafidhis.  [‘Aqeedat  Ahl  al-Sunnah, 3/1091 ]

The  innocence  of  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  with  regard  to  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)
The  one  who  killed  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  an  Egyptian  man.  The  reports  do  not  clearly  state  his  name,  but  they  say  that  he  was  originally  from  the  tribe  of  Sadoos  and  was  black  skinned.  He  was  nicknamed  Jabalah  because  of  the  blackness  of  his  skin,  and  he  was  also  known  as  al-Mawt al-Aswad  (the  Black  Death).  Muhibb  al-Deen  al-Khateeb  was  of  the  view that  the  killer  was  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Saba’  himself,  as  he  said:  It  is  proven  that  Ibn  Saba’  was  with  the  Egyptian  rebels  when  they  came  from  al-Fustaat  to  Madinah,  and  in  all  similar  events  he  was  keen  to  work  behind  the  scenes.  Perhaps  al- Mawt  al-Aswad  was  a  nickname  that  he  wanted  to  hide behind  in  order  to  continue  his  plots  to  destroy   Islam. [al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  quoted  from  Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/207]

What  supports  this  is  the  fact  that  Ibn  Saba’  was  also  black skinned.  It  is  narrated  in  a  saheeh  report  that  ‘Ali  described  him  as  evil  and  black  skinned. [Lisaan  al-Mizaan,  3/290]

As  for  the  accusation  that  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  killed ‘Uthman with  his  arrow  head,  this is  false.  There  are  weak  reports  which  mention  that,  as  well  as  texts  which  are  regarded  as  odd  because  they  contradict  the  saheeh  report  which  states  that  the killer  was  an  Egyptian  man. [Fitnat  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/209] 

Dr.  Yahya  al-Yahya  lists  a  number  of  reasons  why  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  is  innocent  in  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  including  the  following:

(a)  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha) went  out  to  Basra  to  demand  retaliation  for  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman.  If  her  brother  had  been  one  of  them  she  would  not  have  grieved  for  him  when he  was  killed  later  on.  We  will  discuss  that  in  detail  when  we  speak  of   ‘Ali  ibn Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sometimes later  in  another  post  in  sha  Allah.

(b)  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  cursed  the  killers  of  ‘Uthman  and  disavowed  them,  which  implies  that  he  did  not  let  them  become  close  to  him  and  did  not  appoint  them  to  any  position.  But  he  appointed Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  as  governor  of  Egypt.  If Muhammad  had  been  one  of  them,  ‘Ali  would  not  have  done  that.

(c)  The  report  narrated  by  Ibn  ‘Asaakir  with  his  isnaad  from Muhammad  ibn  Talhah  ibn  Musarrif  who  said:  I  heard Kinaanah  the  freed  slave  of  Safiyyah  bint  Huyayy  say:  I  was present  when  ‘Uthman  was  killed  and  I  was  fourteen  years old  (at  that  time),  She  said:  Was  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr involved  in  his  killing  at  all?  He  said:  AlIah  forbid.  He  entered  upon  him  and  ‘Uthman  said:  O  son  of  my  brother,  you  cannot be  the  one  who  kills  me;  then  he  went  out,  and  he  was  not  involved  in  his  killing  at  all. [Marwiyaat  Abi  Mikhnaf  fi  Tareekh  at-Tabari,  p. 243]

This  is  supported  by  the  report  narrated  by  Khaleefah  ibn Khayyaat  and  al-Tabari  with  isnaads  whose  men  are  trustworthy,  from  al-Hasan  al-Basri  – who  was  one  of  those  who  were  present  on  the  day  of  the  siege  [Tahdheeb  al-Kamaal,  6/97]  – which  says  that  Ibn  Abi  Bakr  took  hold of  ‘Uthman’s  beard  and  ‘Uthman  said:  You  are  holding  me  in  a way  that  your  father  would  not  do.  Then  he  went  out  and  left him. [Marwiyat  Abi  Makhnaf,  p.  244]

Thus it  is  clear  that  Muhammad  ibn  Abi  Bakr  was  innocent  in the  murder  of  ‘Uthman,  just  as the  wolf  was  innocent  of  the blood  of  Yoosuf.  It  is  also  clear  that  the  reason  for  this  accusation  was  that  he  had  entered  upon  him  before  the  murder  took  place. [Fitnat  Maqtal ‘Uthman, 1/209]

Ibn  Katheer  stated  that  when  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  spoke  to  him,  he  felt  ashamed  and  went  back,  and  he  regretted  his  actions  and covered  his  face,  and  he  tried  to  defend  him,  but  to  no  avail. [al-Bidayah  wan-Nihaayah, 7/193 ]

Attitude  of  the  Sahabah  towards the  murder  of ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Some history  books  have  distorted  the  attitude  of  the  Sahabah towards  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman.  That  is  due to  the Raafidhi  reports  that  are  quoted  by  many  historians.  The  one  who  studies  the  events  of  the  turmoil  mentioned  in  Tareekh  al-Tabari  and  other books of  history  through  the reports  of  Abu  Makhnaf,  al-Waaqidi,  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  Shi’i  inclinations  and  did not  refrain  from  accusing  ‘Uthman  of  being  the  caliph who  made  so  many  mistakes  that  he  deserved  what  he  got.  In  his  reports,  Talhah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  appears  as  one  of  those  who  rebelled  against  ‘Uthman  and  incited  the  people  against  him.  The  reports  of  al-Waaqidi  are  no different  from  those  of  Abu  Makhnaf,  as  they  suggest  that  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  came  to  Madinah  and  started  to  criticize  ‘Uthman.  There  are  many  Raafidi  reports  which  accuse  the  Sahabah  of  conspiring  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  say  that  they  are  the  ones  who  stirred  up  turmoil  and  incited  the  people.  These  are  all  lies and   fabrications. [Tahqeeq Mawaqif al-Sahabah (2/ 14-18)

In  contrast  to  the  fabricated  and  weak  Raafidhi  reports,  the books  of  the  Muhadditheen  (scholars  of  hadeeth)  have,  praise  be  to Allah,  preserved  for us  the  saheeh  reports  which  show  the  Sahabah  as  supporting  and  defending  ‘Uthman,  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.”’ [Ibid 2/18]

The  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhum)  are  all  innocent  of  shedding  the  blood  of  ‘Uthman.  If  anyone  says  otherwise,  his  words  are  false  and  no  evidence  can  be  presented  that  reaches  the  level  of  being  saheeh. Hence  Khaleefah  narrated  in  his  Tareekh  from  ‘Abd  al-A’la  ibn  al- Haytham that  his  father  said:  I  said to  al-Hasan:  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. [Shaheed  al-Daar  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affaan  by  Ahmad  al-Khuroof,  p. 148]

Al-Zubayr  described  them  as  thugs  from  the  regions.  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  described  them  as  the  dregs  of  the  tribes. [Sharh  al-Nawawi  ‘ala  Saheeh  Muslim,  5/148] 

Ibn  Sa’d  described  them  as  the scum  of  the  people  who  were united  in  evil. [Tahqeeq Mawaaqif  al-Sahabah,  1/481]

Ibn  Taymiyah  described  them  as  evil  rebels  and  transgressors  who  had  gone  astray. [Minhaj  al-Sunnah,  3/189-206] 

Al-Dhahabi  described  them  as  the  essence  of  evil  and  cruelty. [Duwal  al-Islam  by  al-Dhahabi,  1/12] 

Ibn  al-‘Imaad  al- Hanbali  described  them  in  al-Shadharaat  as  evil  people  from  the  trash  of  the  tribes. [Tazqeeq Mawaaqif al-Sahabah,  1/482]

These  descriptions  are  borne  out  by  the  conduct  of  these thugs  from  the  time  they  began  the  siege  until  they  killed  the  caliph  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  spent  a  great  deal  of  money  on  the  people  at  times  of  famine  or  calamity.  ‘Ali  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. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/400]
The  saheeh  reports  and  the  events  of  history  confirm  that  the  Sahabah  are  innocent  of  inciting  people  against  ‘Uthman  or  taking  any  part  in  the  turmoil  against  him. [Tahqeeq  Mawaaqif al-Sahabah, 2/18] 

There  follow  comments  of  the  Sahabah  which  show  that  they  are  innocent  of  shedding  the  blood  of  ‘Uthman.

Praise  of  ahl  al-Bayt  for  ‘Uthman  and their innocence  of  shedding  his  blood
The  attitude  of  ‘Aa’ishah  the  Mother  of  the  Believers 

(a) It  was  narrated  from  Faatimah  bint  ‘Abd  al-Rahmaan  al- Yashkuriyyah  from  her  mother  that  she  asked  ‘Aa’ishah,  at  the  request  of  her  paternal  uncle,  saying:  One  of  your  sons  sends  you  greetings  of  salaam  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  Prophet  of  Allah,  and  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  leaning  his  back  against  me,  and  Jibreel  (alayhis salaam)  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 Messenger. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif al-Sahabah, 1/378 ]

(b)  It  was  narrated  from  Masrooq  that  ‘Aa’ishah  said,  when  ‘Uthman  was  killed:  You  left  him  like  a  clean  garment,  then  you  decided  to  slaughter  him  like  a  ram.  Masrooq  said  to  her:  This  is  your  doing;  you wrote  to  the  people  telling  them  to  rebel  against  him.  ‘Aa’ishah  said:  No,  by  the  One  in  Whom  the  believers  believe  and  the  disbelievers  disbelieve.  I  have  never  written  anything  to  them  up  till  now. [Fitnah  Maqtal  ‘Uthman, 1/391] 

We  have  already  seen  how  the  Saba’is  told  lies  and  wrote  letters  to  the  people  of  the  regions  that  they  fabricated  and  falsely  attributed  to  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha).

(c)  When  she  heard  of  the  death  of   ‘Uthman  on  her  way  back  from  Makkah  to  Madinah,  she  went  back  to  Makkah  and entered  al-Masjid  al-Haraam,  and  she  went  and  hid  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  criticized  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  criticized  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  haraam  blood  and  violated  the  sanctity  of  the  holy  land,  they  took  haraam  wealth  and  violated  the  sacred  month.  By  Allah,  one finger  of  ‘Uthman  is  better  than  an  earthful  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. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  5/473, 474]

In  contrast  to  the  good  picture  that  may  be  drawn  from  these sound  reports  of  the  relationship  between  the  Mother  of  the  Believers  ‘Aa’ishah  and  ‘Uthman,  there  are  still  other  reports  narrated  by  al-Tabari  and  others  which  depict  the  relationship  between  ‘Aa’ishah  and  ‘Uthman  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  (radhiyallahu  anhu),  and  her  understanding  of  the  games  played  by  the  saba’is. [ [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi  fi  ‘Ahd  al-Nabi  wa’l-Khulafa’  al-Raashideen, p.  352]

The  reports  that  were  narrated in  al-‘Aqd  al-Fareed,  al-Aghaani, Tareekh  al-Ya’qoobi.  Tareekh  al-Mas’oodi  and  Ansaab  al-Ashraaf  and  the  conclusions  they  reached  concerning  the  political  role  played  by  ‘Aa’ishah  during  the  era  of  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan,  may  lead  one  to  criticize  the  political  stance  taken  by  ‘Aa’ishah  but  they  are  not  to  be  relied  on  because  they  contradict  the  saheeh  reports  and  because  they  are  based  on  weak  reports. [See  also  concerning  these  false  conclusions:  al-Siddeeqah  bint  al-Siddeeq  by  al-‘Aqqaad,  p.  116-124]

Most  of  the  reports  have  no  isnaad  and  those  that  do  have  isnaads  have  faulty  isnaads  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. [Dawr  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi,  p.  370 ] 

Asma’  Muhammad  Ahmad  Ziyaadah  has  undertaken  a  study  of  the  isnaads  and  texts  of  the  reports  which  speak  of  the  political  role  played  by  ‘Aa’ishah  in  the  events  of  the  turmoil,  and  she  criticized  the  reports  which  speak  of  a  difference  of  political  opinion between  ‘Aa’ishah  and  ‘Uthman,  as  narrated  by  at-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  Shi’is,  liars  and  Raafidhis.  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  ‘Aa’ishah,  and  between  ‘Uthman  and  all  the  Sahabah. [op. cit.,  p.  370] 

If  it  is proven  that  ‘Aa’ishah  agreed  with  the  rebels  to  incite  the  people  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu 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  ‘Aa’ishah’s  attitude  towards  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman  were  sound,  they  would  take  away  the  credibility  of  ‘Aa’ishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  and  the  Sahibah  who  took  the  same  stance  as  her.  This  is  something  that  we  cannot accept  because  of  the  true  texts  from  Allah  and  His  Messenger  which  confirm  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. [Daur  al-Mar’ah  al-Siyaasi,  p.  371]

‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu)
‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  Ahl  al-Bayt  respected  ‘Uthman  and  acknowledged  his  rights.

(a)  The  first  one  to  swear  allegiance  to  ‘Uthman  after  ‘Abd  al- Rahmaan  ibn  ‘Awf  was  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib. [al-Bukhaari,  Kitab  Fadaa’il  al-Sahabah,  no.  3700]

It  was narrated  that  Qays  ibn  ‘Abbaad  said:  I  heard  ‘Ali  say,  when  ‘Uthman  was  mentioned: 
He  is  a  man  of  whom  the Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said:

“Should  I  not  feel  shy  before  the  one  before  whom  the  angels  feel  shy?’ [Muslim,  Kitaab  Fadaa’il  al-Sahabah,  no.  2401  (Al-Hakim 3/95)]

(b)  He  testified  that  he  had  been  given  glad  tidings  of  Paradise.  It  was  narrated  that  al-Nazzaal ibn Saburah said:  I  asked ‘Ali about  ‘Uthman  and  he  said:  He  is  a  man  who  is  called  Dhun- Noorayn  by  the  exalted  assembly  (angels). He  was  the  son-in- law  of  the  Messenger of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and  was  married  to  two  of  his  daughters,  and  he  was  guaranteed  a  house in Paradise. [al-‘Aqeedah  fi  Ahl  al-Bayt  bayna  al-lfraat  wa’l-Tafreet,  p.  227]

(c)  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  obedient  to  ‘Uthman  and  acknowledged  his  position  as  leader  and  caliph,  and  he  did  not  disobey  any  command.  lbn  Abi  Shaybah  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  Ibn  al-Hanafiyyah  that  ‘Ali  said:  If  ‘Uthman  told  me  to  march  to  Siraar,  I  would  hear  and  obey. [al-Sunan  by  al-Khallaal, 1/325,  no. 416. Its isnad  is saheeh].

This  is  indicative  of  the  extent  of  his  willingness  to  follow  and  obey  ‘Uthman  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both).

(d)  When  ‘Uthman  united  the  people  in  reading  one  recitation of  the  Qur’an,  after  consulting  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhum)  and  reaching  consensus  on  that, ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu) said:  If  I  were  in  his  position  I would  have  done  the  same  as  he  has  done. [al-Sunan  by  al-Bayhaqi,  2/42]

(e)  Hence  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  denounced  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman  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 [Bidaayah  wa’n-Nihaayah, 7/202],  contrary  to  what  the  Raafidis  claim,  that  he  approved  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu). [al-‘Aqeedah fi  Ahl  al-bayt  bayna  al-lfrat  wa’l-Tafreet,  p.  229]

After  mentioning  some  of  the  reports  that  speak  of  his  murder,  al-Haakim  said:  As  for  that  which  is  claimed  by  some  of  the  innovators,  that  the  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  helped  (in  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman),  that  is  a  lie  and  a fabrication.  The  mutawaatir  reports  say  otherwise. [al-Mustadrak,  3/103] 

Ibn Taymiyah  said:  This  is  all  a  lie  against  ‘Ali  and  a  fabrication  against  him.  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  did  not  take  part  in  the murder  of  ‘Uthman,  nor  did  he  order  it  or  approve  of  it.  That was  narrated  from  him  and  he  was  truthful  and  honest. [Minhaaj  al-Sunnah,  4/406]

‘Ali  said:  O  Allah,  I  declare  my  innocence  before  You  of shedding  the  blood  of  ‘Uthman. [al-Aqeedah  fi Ahl  al Bayt,  p.  230.  Its  isnad  is  hasan].

Al-Haakim  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  Qays  ibn  ‘Abbaad  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 Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said:

“Should  I  not feel  shy  before  the  one  before  whom  the  angels feel shy?  [Al-Hakim 3/95]

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 Ameer  al-Mu’mineen,  it  was  as if  it  gave  me  a  shock,  and  I  said:  O Allah,  take  (hasanaat) from  me  and  give  them  to  ‘Uthman  until  You  are  pleased. [Op.  cit.,  1/559,560.  Its  isnad has  corroborating  evidence].

Imam  Ahmad  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  Muhammad  ibn -Hanafiyyah  that  he  said:  ‘Ali  heard  that  ‘Aa’ishah  was  cursing  the  killers  of  ‘Uthman  in  al-Mirbad ( A  place  near  Basra,  approximately three  miles  away).  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. [Fadaa’il  al-Sahabah,  1/555,  no. 733,  its  isnad  is  saheeh].

Ibn  Sa’d  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  Ibn  ‘Abbaas  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. [al-Bidayah  wan-Nihaayah, 7/202]

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. [al-Riyaadh al-Nadrah, p. 543] 

(f)  And  ‘Ali  said  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu): He  was  the  one  among  us  who  upheld  ties  of  kinship  the  most,  and  he  was  the  one  who  feared  the  Lord  the  most.” [Sifat al-Safwah, 1/306]

(g)  It  was  narrated  that  Abu  ‘Awn  said:  I  heard  Muhammad  ibn Haatib  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- Maa’idah  5:93). [Fadaa’il  al-Sahbah, 1/580  Its  isnad  is  saheeh]

(h)  It  was  narrated  that  ‘Umayrah  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: “And  His  are  the  ships  going  and  coming  in  the  seas,  like  mountains”   (Ar-Rahmaan  55:24). 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. [Op.  cit., 1/559,560. Its  isnad  has  corroborating  evidence].

(i)  Imam  Ahmad  narrated  in  his  Musnad  that  Muhammad  ibn Haatib  said:  I  heard  ‘Ali  say: “Verily,  those  for  whom  the  good  has  preceded  from  Us,  they  will  be  removed  far  therefrom  (Hell)” [AI-Anbiya’  21:101]

–  ‘Uthman  is  one  of  them. [op.  cit., 1/580, no. 771.  Its  isnad  is  saheeh].

And  ‘Ali  said:  I  became  ill  on  the  day  ‘Uthman  was  killed. [Al-Muntazam fi  Tareekh  al-Mulook  wa’l-Umam,  5/61]

Al-Haafiz  ibn  ‘Asaakir  compiled  all  the  reports  from  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)  in  which  he  declared  his  innocence  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman.  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  imams  of  hadeeth. [al-Bidaayah  wa’l-Nihaayah, 7/193]

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Abbaas  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Imam  Ahmad  narrated  with  his  isnad  from  Ibn  ‘Abbaas  that  he  said:  If  all  the  people  had  gathered  to  kill  ‘Uthman, they would  have  been  stoned  the  way  the  people  of  Loot  were stoned. [Fada’il  al-Sahabah,  1/563,  no. 746].

And  he  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said,  praising  ‘Uthman  and condemning  those  who  criticized  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  Tabook,  the  son-in-law  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  May  Allah  punish  those  who  curse  him  with  the  curse  of  those  who  curse  until  the  Day  of Judgement.  [Al-‘Aqeedah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 234]

Zayd  ibn  ‘Ali
Ibn  ‘Asaakir  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  al-Saddi  that  he said:  I  came  to  him  –  i.e.,  Zayd  –  when  he  was  in  Baariq,  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. [Al-‘Aqeedah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 335]

‘Ali  ibn  al-Husayn 
It  is  proven  that  ‘Ali  ibn  al-Husayn  disavowed  the  Raafidhi view  about  Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  ‘Uthmn (radhiyallahu anhum).  Abu  Nu’aym  narrated  with  his  isnaad  from  Muhammad  ibn  ‘Ali  that  his  father  ‘Ali  ibn  al-Husayn  said:  Some  people  of  Iraq  sat  together  and  spoke  of  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar,  and  they  criticized  them,  then  they started  criticizing  ‘Uthman.  He  said  to  them:  Tell  me,  are  you among  the  first  Muhajirin

“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  –  lslamic  Monotheism)  and  His  Messenger (Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)”   [Al-Hashr 59:8]?

They  said:  No.  he  said:  Are  you  among  those  who 

“Before  them,  had  homes  (in Al-Madinah)  and  had  adopted  the  Faith,  love  those  who  emigrate  to  them”  [Al-Hashr 59:9]?

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:. ..

“And  those  who  came  afer  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”  [Al- Hashr  59:10]

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. [al-‘Aqeedah fi  Ahl  al-Bayt, p. 236]

The  attitude  of  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir 
In  the  historical  reports  that  may  contain  sound  or  fabricated  material,  it  says  that  there  had  been  a  dispute  between  ‘Ammaar  and  ‘Uthman.  Some  of  these  reports  have  isnaads  and  some  have  no  isnaad  at  all.  I  have  not  come  across  anyone  who  examined and  analyzed  these  reports  except  a  few,  therefore  it  is  not  possible  to  leave  these  reports,  which  undermine  the  dignity  of  the  Sahabah without  examining them. [‘Ammar ibn Yaasir, by  Usaamah Ahmad  Sultaan,  p. 122 ]

The  beating  of  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir
The  reports  which  speak  of  ‘Uthman’s  beating  ‘Ammaar  are regarded  as  the  most  famous  and  numerous  of  these  reports (which  undermine  the  dignity  of  the  Sahabah).  The  fabricators  of  these  reports  mentioned  the  different  methods  supposedly  used  by  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  in  beating  ‘Ammaar  and  the  different  consequences  that  followed,  but  in  addition  to  their  isnads  being  corrupt,  the  texts  themselves  are  weird  and  incredible. [ ‘Ammar ibn Yaasir, by  Usaamah Ahmad  Sultaan, p. 122]

Al-Qaadi  Abu  Bakr  ibn  al-‘Arabi  says  in  al-‘Awaasim,  when discussing  the  lies  that  are attributed  to  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu):  With  regard to  his  beating  Ibn  Mas’ood  and  withholding  his  stipend,  this  is false,  and  his  beating  of  ‘Ammaar  is  also  a  fabrication.  If  he  had  disembowelled  him  he would  not  have  lived  at  all.  Some  scholars  tried  to  find  an  acceptable  way  of  interpreting this  report,  but  no  attention should  have  been  paid  to  it  in the  first  place,  because  it  is all  false  and  no  truth  can  be  based  on  falsehood.  We  should  not  go  along  with  the  ignorant because  it  is  a  waste  of  time. [ al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  p.  82-84]

‘Uthman’s age,  faith,  modesty,  gentleness,  kindness,  soft  nature,  seniority  in Islam  and  status  all  put  him  far  above  sinking  to  this  level  in  attitude  towards  a  man  who  was  one  of  the  most  senior  of  the companions  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  whose  seniority  and  virtue ‘Uthman  recognized  despite  the  differences  in  opinion  that  arose  between  them.  Would  ‘Uthman  be  able  to  do  that  when  he  was  insisting  that  the  people  should  not  fight  to  defend  him  and  was  content  to  die,  patiently  seeking  reward  and  to  protect  Muslim  blood  from  being  shed  and  prevent  widespread  turmoil?  Would  he  accept  to  do  to  ‘Ammaar  –  when  he  was  well  aware  of  his seniority  and  virtue  in  Islam  –  what  is  mentioned  in  the  false reports,  namely  ordering  his  slaves  to  beat  him  until  he  lost consciousness,  then  stepping  on  his  stomach  when  he  was  in  that  state?  Would  the  character and  modesty  of  ‘Uthman  allow  him  to demonstrate  the  Jaahili  attitude  of  insulting  ‘Ammaar  by slandering  his  mother  Sumayyah,  who  was  one  of  the  earliest  Muslims  and  a  woman  of  great  virtue,  when  ‘Uthman  knew  of  the  honour  that  accrued  to  ‘Ammaar  by  virtue  of  his  being  the  son  of his  mother  Sumayyah  (radhiyallahu anha),  the  first  martyr  in  Islam? 

No,  this  is  not  true  at  all,  because  in  the  sound  reports  there  is no  indication  at  all  that  ‘Uthman  could  sink  to  such  a  low  level  in  rebuking  and  disciplining.  Moreover,  his  attitude,  nature  and character  make  that  very  unlikely.  There  is  no  doubt  that  examining  these  fabricated  reports  against  what  is  known  of  the  attitude  and  character of  these  prominent  figures,  and  taking  into  account  the  standards  of  the  era,  is  the  best  way  to  expose  the  fabrication  and  the  fabricators. [al-Khalifah al-Muftara  ‘alayhi  ‘Uthman ibn  ‘Affaan, p. 14-41]

Accusation  against  ‘Ammaar  of  taking  part  in  the  turmoil  and  stirring  up  trouble  against  ‘Uthman
In  attributing  these  fabrications  to  ‘Ammaar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  the  historians  relied  on  reports  none  of  which  were  free  of weakness  in  their  isnaads  or  texts.  Different  accusations  were  levelled  against  ‘Ammaar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  about  his  stirring  up  turmoil,  inciting people  against  ‘Uthman  and inciting  them  to  rebel  against  him.  Some  of  these  reports say  that  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sent  word  to  him  in  Egypt  to  find  out  what  was  happening  with  regard  to  what  they  had  heard  about  the  people  rebelling,  and  that  the  Saba’is had  managed  to  influence  ‘Ammaar.  The  isnaad  of  this  report,  which  was  narrated  by  al-Tabari, includes  Shu’ayb  ibn Ibraaheem  al-Tameemi  al-Kufi,  the  narrator  of  the  books  of Sayf,  about  whom  there  is  some  ambiguity.  Al-Raawi  said concerning  him:  He  is  not  known,  although  he  has  some ahaadeeth  and  reports  in  which  there  is   some  weirdness  and they  contain  a  lot  of  bias  against the  salaf. [Istishhaad  ‘Uthman  wa  Waq’ah  al-Jamal, p.  30] 

It  was  also  narrated  by  ‘Umar  ibn  Shabbah  in  Tareekh  al-Madinah,  where  its  isnaad includes  the  Shaykh  of  ‘Umar,  ‘Ali  ibn  ‘Aasim,  of  whom  Ibn  al- Madeeni  said:  ‘Ali  ibn  ‘Aasim  made  a  lot  of  mistakes,  and  when  corrected,  he  would  not  retract.  He  was  known  for  narrating  hadeeth  and  he  narrated  weird  ahadeeth. [Siyar  A’laam  an-Nubala’, 9/253]

Yahya  ibn  Ma’een  said:  He  is  worthless.  And  on  one  occasion  he  said:  He  is  a  liar and  worthless. [ibid]

Al-Nasaa’i  said: His  hadeeth is  to  be  ignored.’ [Ibid]

Al-Bukhaari  said:  He  is  not  sound  according  to  them,  and  they  criticized  them. And they criticized him. [Ibid]

And  there  were  some  who  tried  to  be  tactful  about  him.  Ibn  Hajar  said  concerning  him:  He  is  sadooq  but  he  makes  mistakes  and  insists on them,  and  he  was  accused  of  being  a  Shi’i.[Taqreeb  al-Tahdheeb, p.  403] 

A  report  whose  isnad  is  like  this  cannot  be  easily  accepted,  especially  when  it  is  known  that  ‘Ammaar  was  a  pious  man  whose  piety  would  prevent  him  from  indulgmg  in  such  things.  We  do  not  know  of  anyone  who  would  indulge  in  such  dirty  work  except  a  hate-filled  Saba’i  Jew.  Allah  forbid  that  a Sahaabi,  one  of  the  companions  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  could  sink  to such  a  low  level.  Khaalid  al-Ghayth  says:  This  report  contradicts  what  has  been  proven  of  the  dignity  of  the  Sahabah  (radhiyallahu anhum),  in  addition  to  the  fact  that  it  was  not  narrated  via  any  sound  isnaad. [lstishhaad  ‘Uthman  wa  Waq’at  al-Jamal, p.  86]

Among  the  false  reports  that  have  been  narrated  concerning this  matter  is  that  which  was  attributed  to  Sa’eed  ibn  al- Musayyab,  in  which  it  says  that  the  Sahabah  in  general  were upset  with  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  in  addition  to  others  who  were  also  upset,  and  they  got  angry  with  him,  especially  Abu  Dharr;  Ibn Mas’ood  and  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir  (radhiyallahu anhum). [Tareekh  Dimashq, 39/415]

The  problem  with  this  report  is  that  it  contains  a  kind  of  deception  (tadlees)  that  cannot be  approved  or  overlooked,  because  the  name  of  a  narrator  who  is  accused  of  fabricating  and  telling  lies  was  dropped  from  the  isnaad,  namely  Isma’eel  ibn  Yahya  ibn  ‘Ubayd-Allah.  Hence  the  scholars  of  hadeeth  determined  that  this report  is  weak  and  stated  that  it  is  a  false  report,  when  they  discussed  the  biography  of Muhammad  ibn  ‘Eesa  ibn  Samee’,  the  one  who  narrated  this report  from  Ibn Abi  Dhi’b.  Imam  al-Bukhaari  said  concerning  Ibn  Samee’:  It  was  said  that  he  did  not  hear  this hadeeth  from  Ibn  Abi Dhi’b,  meaning  this  hadeeth  from  al-Zuhri  about  the  murder  of ‘Uthman  Ibn Hibbaan  said: Ibn  Samee’  did  not  hear  this  hadeeth from  Ibn  Abi  Dhi’b,  rather  he  heard  it  from  Ismaa’eel  ibn  Yahya, so  he  resorted  to  tadlees  (deception)  by  dropping  the  name  of Ismaa’eel].  Al-Haakim  said:  Abu  Muhammad  –  meaning  Ibn Samee’  –  narrated  a  weird  (munkar)  hadeeth  from  Ibn  Abi  Dhi’b,  which  is  the  hadeeth  about  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman.  It  was  said  in his  book:  From  Ismaa’eel  ibn  Yahya  from  Ibn  Abi  Dhi’b,  but  he  dropped  the  name  of  Ismaa’eel  ibn  Yahya,  and  Ismaa’eel  is  worthless  when  it  comes  to  hadeeth. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah,  2/16-18]

Dr  Yoosuf  al-‘Ishsh  said:  The  report  that  is  attributed  to  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyab  must  be ignored,  because  upon  examination  it  is  obviously  fabricated. Al- Haakim  al-Nisaboori  stated  that  one  of  the  men  in  its  isnaad  dropped  the  name  of  another  man  who  was  worthless,  and  it  is  odd  (munkar).  The  fact  of  the  matter  is  that  this  report  does  not  show  any  of  the  respect  that  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyab  showed  to  the  Sahabah  in  his  other,  sound  reports. [al-Dawlah  al-Umawiyyah, 39 ]

‘Ammaar’s  innocence  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)
The  report  about  Masrooq  and  Abu  Moosa  (radhiyallahu anhu) accusing  ‘Ammaar  of  that  when  he  came  with  al-Hasan  to  incite  the  people  of  Kufah  is  regarded  as  weak  because  of  Shu’ayb,  who  is  unknown,  and  Sayf  who  is  very  weak.  The  report  in  Saheeh  al- Bukhaari  does  not  say  anything  about  that,  so  this  extra  material cannot  be  accepted,  especially  since  it  casts  aspersions  upon  a  Sahaabi  such  as  ‘Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir,  whom  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  prayed  would  be  protected  against  the  shaytaan [Al-Bukhaari, no. 3743]  and  who  was  filled  to  the  brim  with  faith. [Ammaar  ibn  Yaasir, p.  147]

The  scholars  explained  that  this  accusation,  which  is  not  limited  only  to  ‘Ammaar  but  also  included  other  Sahabah,  is  false.  Ibn  Katheer  said:  As  for  what  was  said  by  some  people,  that  some  of  the  Sahabah  let  ‘Uthman  down  and  were  pleased  when  he  was  killed,  this  is  not  narrated  in  any  sound  report  from  any  of  the Sahabah,  rather  all  of  them  objected  to  it  and  cursed  the  ones  who did  it. [al-Bidaayah  wa’n-Nihaayah,  7/207]

al-Qaadi Abu  Bakr  ibn  al-‘Arabi  said:  This  is  the  best  that  was  narrated  concerning  this  issue,  thus  it  becomes  clear  –  and  in order  to  reach  the  right  conclusion  we  must  follow  the  people  of  truth  –  that  none  of  the  Sahabah  ever  incited  anyone  against  ‘Uthman  or  forsook  him.  If  ‘Uthman  had  sought  the  help  of  others,  one  thousand  or  four  thousand  strangers  would  not  have  been  able  to  overwhelm  twenty  thousand  or  more  locals,  but  he  let  himself  into  this  calamity.[al-‘Awaasim  min  al-Qawaasim,  p. 129]

And  he  said:  The  evildoers  and the  ignorant  started  saying  that  the  virtuous  Sahabah  had  caused  trouble  to  him  and  had  incited  people  against  him,  and  that  they  were  pleased  about  what  had  happened  to  him. These  evildoers  and  ignorant  people  fabricated  in  their  books  letters  in  which  there  was  some  eloquence  and  which  were  supposedly  written  by  ‘Uthman,  which  show  him  seeking  the  support  of  ‘Ali.  But  this  is  all  a  fabrication,  aimed  at  damaging  the  image  of  the  salaf  and  the  Rightly-Guided  Caliphs  in  the  minds  of  the  Muslims.  The  conclusion  we  may  reach  is  that  ‘Uthman  was  killed  unlawfully  and  was  accused  with  no  evidence,  and  that  all  of  the  Sahabah  are innocent  of  shedding  his  blood,  because  they  did  what  he  wanted  them  to  do  and  they  fulfilled  his  wish  to  be  left  to  face  his  fate.[ibid]

‘Amr’s  innocence  of  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman
When  ‘Uthman  was  surrounded,  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  left  Madinah  and  headed  for  Syria.  He  said:  By  Allah  O  people  of  Madinah,  no  one  will  stay  in  Madinah  until  the  time  when  this  man  is  killed,  but  Allah  will  humiliate  him.  Whoever  cannot support  him,  let  him  flee.  So  he  left  and  his  two  sons  ‘Abd-Allah  and  Muhammad  left  with  him.  Hassaan  ibn  Thabit  left  after  him,  and  they  were  followed  by  others  whom  Allah  willed  should  go. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  quoting  from  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  by  al-Ghadbaan,  p. 464] 

When  the  news  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  and  the  people’s swearing  allegiance  to  ‘Ali  came  to  him,  ‘Amr  said:  I  am  Abu ‘Abd-Allah  (i.e.,  I  know  what  is  going  on);  there  will  be  war  and  whoever  takes  part  in  it  will  make  it  worse.  May  Allah  have  mercy  on  ‘Uthman  and  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him  and  forgive  him.  Salaamah ibn  Zanbaagh al-Judhaami  said:  O Arabs,  there  was  a  door  between  you  and  the  Arabs;  now  set  up  a  new  door  if  the  first  door  is  broken.  ‘Amr  said: That  is  what  we  want,  a  ruler  who  deals  with  the  people  on  the  basis  of  equality. 

Then  he  started  weeping  and  saying:  O  ‘Uthman,  true  modesty  and  religious  commitment  have  departed  with  him,  until  he  reached  Damascus. [Tareekh  at-Tabari,  quoting  from  ‘Amr ibn  al-‘Aas  by  al-Ghadbaan,  p. 481]

This  is  the  true  image  of  ‘Amr  (radhiyallahu anhu),  which  is  in harmony  with  his  character,  attitudes  and  closeness  to  ‘Uthman.  As  for  the  distorted  image  that  was  presented  of  him  as  an  ambitious opportunist  and  seeker  of  worldly  gains,  this  is  a  report  which  is  weak  and  is  to  be  rejected,  the  report  of  al-Waaqidi  from  Moosa ibn  Ya’qoob.

A  number  of  writers  and  historians  were  influenced  by  these  weak  reports,  so  they  presented  ‘Amr  in  a  very  negative  manner,  such  as  that  which  was  written  by  Mahmoud  Sheet  Khattaab,  ‘Abd  al-Khaaliq  Sayyid  Abu  Raadiyah  and  ‘Abbaas  Mahmoud  al-‘Aqqaad  who  refuses  to  look  at  the  isnaad  and  thinks  little  of  his  readers’  intelligence,  and presents  an  image  of  Mu’awiyah  and  ‘Amr  as  opportunists  and seekers  of  worldly  gains.  The  fact  that  all  the  historical  critics  agreed  that  all  the  reports  that  he  used  to  reach this  conclusion  are  false  means  nothing  to  al-‘Aqqaad.  After  quoting  these  weak  reports  on  which  no  conclusion  can  be  based,  he  said:  Let  the historical  critics  say  what  they  like  with  regard  to  how  true  this  debate  was  and  how  sound  these  words  are  and  what  is  proven  and  not  proven  with  regard  to  the  isnaad  and  text.  What  we  have  no  doubt  about,  even  if  all  the  books  of  history  come  together  to  reject  it,  is  that  the  agreement between  the  two  men  was  based  on  an  agreement  that  each  of  them  would  have  his  share  and  would  cooperate  to  attain  the  position  of  rulers  and  governors,  otherwise  there  would  be  no  deal  at  all. [Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  by  al-‘Aqqaad,  p.  231,  232]

The  true  character  of  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  that  he  was  a  man  of  principle who  left  Madinah  when  he  felt  unable  to  defend  ‘Uthman,  and  he  wept  bitterly  for  him  when  he  was  killed.  He  was  one  of  the  closest  of  his  companions, friends  and  consultants  and  he  was  included  in  the  shoora  council  at  the  time  of  ‘Uthman even  though  he  was  not  the  governor  of  any  province.  He went  to  Mu’awiyah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  cooperate  with  him  in  fighting  the  murderers  of ‘Uthman  Ibn  ‘Affan  and  avenging  the  slain  caliph. [‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  by  al-Ghadbaan,  p.  489, 490] 

The  murder  of  ‘Uthman  was  sufficient  to  create  anger  in  the  hearts  of  both  men  against the  criminals  who  had  shed  blood  and  they  had  no  option but  to  select  a  place  other  than  Madinah  to  take  revenge  on  those  who  had  violated  the  sanctity  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and  slain  his  caliph  in  front  of  the  people.  What  is  so  strange  about  ‘Amr  being  angry  for  the  sake  of  ‘Uthman?  If  anyone  has  any  doubt  about  this  matter,  this  doubt  is  based  on  false reports  which  depict  ‘Amr  as  a  man  whose  main  aim  was  power  and  authority. [Ibid]

Comments  of  the  Sahabah  about  the  fitnah

Anas  ibn  Maalik  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  said  to  Anas  ibn  Maalik:  No  one  can  love  both  ‘Ali  and ‘Uthman.  Anas  said:  They  are  lying.  We  love  both  of  them. [Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  by  al-Ghadbaan,  p.  489, 490]

Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yamaan  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  Khaalid  ibn  al-Rabee’  said:  We  heard  that  Hudhayfah  was  sick,  so  Abu  Mas’ood  al-Ansari  (radhiyallahu anhu)  went  to  him with  a  number  of  people  in  al-Madaa’in.  Then  mention  was  made  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  and  he  said: I  was  not  present  and  I  did  not  kill  him  or  approve  of  that. [Ibid] 

Ahmad  ibn  Hanbal  narrated  from  Ibn  Sireen  that  Hudhayfah said,  when  news  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  reached  him:  O  Allah,  You  know  that  I  am  innocent  of  the  blood  of  ‘Uthman.  Even  if  those  who  killed  him  did  the  right  thing,  I  have  nothing  to  do  with  them,  and  if  they  did  the  wrong  thing,  You  know  that  I  am  innocent  of  his  blood,  and  the  Arabs  will  know  that  if  his  murder  was  the  right  thing  things  would  improve  and  if  it  was  the  wrong  thing  there  would  be  bloodshed.  But  all  they  got  was  bloodshed,  and  war  and  killing  have  not  stopped  since  then. [Tahqeeq  Mawaaqif  al-Sahabah, 2/28] 

Ibn  ‘Asaakir  narrated  from Jundub  ibn ‘Abd-Allah  –  who  met  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) – that  he  met  Hudhayfah  and  mentioned  the  case  of  the  caliph  ‘Uthman  to  him,  and  he  said:  They  will  kill him. I  said: Where  will  he  be? He  said:  In  Paradise.  I  said: Where  will  his  killers  be?  He  said:  In  hell.  [Ibid]

Umm  Sulaym  al-Ansariyyah  (radhiyallahu anha)
Umm Sulaym al-Ansariyyah  (radhiyallahu anha)  said,  when  she  heard  of  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman;  they  will  not  get  anything  after  this  but bloodshed.”‘ [al-Bidaayah  wan-Nihaayah, 7/195]

Abu  Hurayrah  (radhiyallahu anhu) It  was  narrated  that  Abu  Maryam  said:  I  saw  Abu  Hurayrah  on  the  day  when  ‘Uthman  was  killed,  with  two  braids,  and  he  was  holding  onto  them  and  saying:  By  Allah,  ‘Uthman  was  killed  unlawfully. [Tahqeeq Mawaaqif al-Sahabah,  2/31]

Abu  Bakrah  (radhiyallahu anhu) Ibn  Katheer  narrated  in al-Bidaayah  wa’l-Nihayah  that  Abu Bakrah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  To  be  thrown  from  heaven  to  earth  would  be  dearer  to  me  than  having  any  part  in  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman. [Tahqeeq Mawaaqif al-Sahabah,  2/31]

Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  from  Abu  ‘Uthman al-Nahdi  that  Abu  Moosa al-Ash’ari  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  If  the  killing  of  ‘Uthman  was  guided,  then sincerity  would  have  brought  something  good  out  of  this  action,  but  it  was  misguided  so  it  brought  bloodshed. [Tareeq  al-Madinah,  4/1245]

Samurah  ibn  Jundub  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Ibn  ‘Asaakir  narrated  with  his  isnaad  that  Samurah  ibn Jundub (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  Islam was  in  a  strong  fortress,  but  they  breached  this  defence  by  killing  ‘Uthman  and  damaged  it  in  many  places,  and  they  will  not  be  able  to  repair  the  gaps  or  fill  them  until  the  Day  of  Resurrection.  The  caliphate  was  among  the  people  of  Madinah  but  it  was  taken  out  and  it  is  no  longer  among them. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabuh,  2/31]

Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Abu  Nu’aym  narrated  in  Ma’rifat  al-Sahabah  with  his  isnaad  that  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Amr  ibn  al-‘Aas  said:  ‘Uthman  ibn  ‘Affan  Dhu’n-Noorayn  was  killed  unlawfully  and  he  will  be  given  a double  reward. [Ma’rifat  al-Sahabah,  1/245]

‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Salaam  (radhiyallahu anhu)
He  said:  Do  not  kill  ‘Uthman,  for  if  you  kill  him  you  will never  pray  together  again. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif al-Sahabah,  2/34] 

According  to  another  report:  By Allah,  you  will  not  shed  even  a  little  of  his  (‘Uthman’s)  blood  but  that  will  push  you  further  away  from  Allah. [Al-Tabaqaat,  3/81]

al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  Talq  ibn  Khashshaaf  said:  We  went  to Madinah  and  Qart  ibn  Khaythamah  was  with  us.  We  met  al- Hasan  ibn  ‘Ali  and  Qart  said  to  him:  Why  was  the  ameer  al- mu’mineen  ‘Uthman  killed?  He  said:  He  was  killed  unlawfully. [Tareekh  al-Madinah,  4/145 ]

Salamah  ibn  al-Akwa’  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  Yazeed  ibn  Abi  ‘Ubaydah  said:  When ‘Uthman  was  killed,  Salamah  ibn  al-Akwa’  –  who  had  been present  at  Badr  –  left  Madinah and  headed  for  al-Ribdhah,  and  he  stayed  there  until  just  before  he  died. [Ibid]

‘Abdullaah  ibn  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)
It  was  narrated  that  Abu  Haazim  said:  I  was  with  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  and  he  mentioned  ‘Uthman  and  his  virtues,  his  attributes  and  his  relationship  through  marriage  to  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) so  that  he  depicted  him  as  purer  than  glass.  Then  he  mentioned  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  and  mentioned  his  virtues,  his seniority  in  Islam  and  his  relationship  through  marriage  to  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  until  he  depicted  him  as  purer  than  glass.  Then  he said:  Whoever  wants  to  talk  about  these  two,  let  him  talk  about  them  in  this  manner  or  else  not  speak  at  all. [Tahqeeq  Mawaaqif  al-Sahabah, 1/379] 

Ibn  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  also  said:  Do  not  revile  ‘Uthman,  for  we  used  to  regard  him  as  one  of  the  best  of  us. [ibid]

The  effect  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  in  creating  further  turmoil  and  division
The  turmoil  of  ‘Uthman’s  murder  was  the  cause  of  a  great  deal  of  further  turmoil  and  it  cast  its  shadow  on  the  events  that  followed  it.  People’s  hearts  changed  and  lying  became  widespread,  and  deviation  from  the  laws  and  teachings  of  Islam  began  from  that  point. [Op. cit., p. 590] 

The  murder  of  ‘Uthman  was  one  of  the  greatest  causes of  fitnah  among  people;  because  of  it  the  ummah  became  divided  and  has  remained  so  until  today. [Majmoo’  al-Fataawa,  25/162]

Hatred  was  created  against  one  another  and  there  were  many calamities;  evildoers  prevailed  and  the  righteous  were humiliated,  those  who  had  previously  been  unable  to  create  division  now  became  active  and  those  who  loved  good  were  unable  to  do  good.  They  swore  allegiance  to  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Taalib  (radhiyallahu anhu),  who  was  the  most  entitled  to  become  caliph  at   that  point,  and  was  the  best  of  those  who  remained,  but  people  were  divided  and  the  fire  of  fitnah  had  been  lit. There  was  no  unity  and  no  discipline,  and  the  caliph  and  the  best  of  the  ummah  were not  able to  achieve  all  they  wanted  of  goodness,  and  many  people  took  part  in spreading  fitnah  and  division. [op. cit.,  25/163]

The  conquest  movement  grew  gradually  weaker  in  the  last  few  years  of  ‘Uthman’s  caliphate,  when  the  turmoil  began  in  the Muslim  lands  and  the  centre  of  the  caliphate.  Then  it  ceased when  ‘Uthman  was  killed.  That  continued  to  be  the  case,  and  there  was  even  some  loss  of  conquered  lands,  until  the  beginning  of  Mu’awiyah’s  reign,  when  the  Muslims’  affairs  stabilized  and  the  conquests  began  in  the  east,  west  and  north. [Ahdaath  wa  Ahaadeeth  Fitnat  al-Haraj,  p.  591]

Wronging  and  transgressing  against  others  are  causes  of doom  in  this  world  and  in  the  Hereafter
Wronging  and  transgressing  against  others  unlawfully  are causes  of  doom  in  this  world  and  in  the  Hereafter,  as  Allah  says:

“And  these  towns  (population,  ‘Aad,  Thamood)  We  destroyed them  when  they  did  wrong.  And  We  appointed  a  fixed  time for  their  destruction”   [Al-Kahf 18:59].

The  one  who  researches  what  happened  to  those  who  rebelled  against  ‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  transgressed  against  him  will find  that  Allah  did  not  give  them  respite  rather  He  humiliated  them  and  wreaked  vengeance  on  them,  and  none  was  spared. [Tahqeeq  Mawaaqif al-Sahabah  fil-Fitnah, 1/483]

Khaleefah ibn Khayyaat narrated  in  his  Tareekh  with  a  saheeh isnaad  that  ‘Imraan  ibn  al-Hudayr  said:  ‘Abd-Allah  ibn  Shaqeeq  told  me  that  the  first  drop  of  ‘Uthman’s  blood  fell  on  the  words

“So  Allah  will  suffice  for  you  against  them”  [Al-Baqarah 2:137],

As  Abu  Hurayth  mentioned  that  he  and  Suhayl  al-Numayri  went and  took  out  the  Mus-haf,  and the  drop  of  blood  on  (the words)

“So  Allah  will  suffice  for  you  against  them”   [Al-Baqarah  2:137]

is  still  in  the  Mus-haf  and  has  not  been  erased.  In  Tareekh  ibn ‘Asaakir  it  is  narrated  that  Muhammad  ibn  Sireen  said:  I  was  circumambulating  the   Ka’bah  and  I  saw  a  man  saying:  O  Allah,  forgive  me,  but  I  don’t  think  You  will  forgive  me.  I  said:  O  slave  of  Allah,  I  have  never  heard  anyone  saying  what  you  are  saying.  He  said:  I  promised  Allah  that  if  I  could  slap  ‘Uthman  on  the  face  I would  do  so.  When  he  was  killed  and  placed  on  the  bier  in  the  house,  and  the  people  were  coming  to  pay  their  last  respects,  I  entered  as  if  I  wanted  to  pay  my  last  respects,  and  I  found  myself alone  with  him.  I  lifted  the  cloth  from  his  face  and  slapped  his  face,  then  I  covered  him  again.  Now  my  right  arm  is  paralyzed.  Muhammad  ibn  Sireen  said:  I  saw  it,  like  a  piece  of  wood. [Siyar  al-Shuhada’,  Duroos  wa  Ibar  by  al-Suhaybaani,  p.  67] 

Were  it  the  case  that  nothing  resulted  from  the  wrongdoing  of  these  haters  except  the  Muslims  unsheathing  their  swords  against  them  until  the  Day  of  Resurrection,  that  would  be  a  sufficient  deterrent  to  them  and  everyone  who  joined  them.  al-Qaasim  ibn Muhammad  said:  ‘Ali  passed  by  two  men  in  Madinah,  after  ‘Uthman  had  been  killed  and  before  allegiance  was  sworn  to  him, and  they  were  saying:  Ibn  al-Bayda’  (i.e.,  ‘Uthman)  has  been killed  and  his  seniority  in  Islam  and  position  among  the  Arabs was  well  known,  but  by  Allah  no  one  is  seeking  to  avenge  him.  ‘Ali  said:  What  did  you  say?  He  repeated  it  and  ‘Ali  said:  No,  by Allah,  a  lot  of  men  will  be  killed  and  there  will  be  a  great  deal  of  fighting,  until  the  son  of  Maryam  appears. [Tahqeeq  Mawaqif  al-Sahabah,  1/48]

The  Muslims’ sorrow  at  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman
The  calamity  had  a  great  impact  on  the  believers;  they  were overwhelmed  with  grief  and  their  eyes  filled  with  tears;  they  spoke  in  praise  of  ‘Uthman  and  prayed  for  mercy  for  him.  Hassaan  ibn  Thabit  (radhiyallahu anhu)  eulogized  the  caliph  and  lamented  his  killing  a  great  deal,  condemning  the  murderers  and  their  actions. [Siyar al-Shuhada, p. 62]

Ka’b  ibn  Maalik  also  lamented  the  murder  of  ‘Uthman  in  verse:

Then  he  restrained  his  hands  and  closed  his  door,

And  he  was  certain  that  Allah  is  not  forgetful,

He  said  to  the  people  of  the  house,  Do  not  kill  them! May  Allah  pardon  every  man  who  does  not  fight.

So  how  have  you  seen  Allah  pour  out  upon  them  Enmity  and  hatred  after  harmony  with  each  other!

And  how  you  have  seen  the  good  turning  back  from  people

After  him,  the  way  the  driving winds  turn  (the clouds)  back!

And  the close  of  our  request  is:  All  praise  be  to  Allah  the  Lord of  the  Worlds.


How the Hajj Rituals Got Distorted During the Post-Ibraheemic & Pre-Islamic Era??

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam). However, with the passage of time both the form and goal of Hajj rites were changed. The process of distortion reached its peak with the introduction of idols to the Kaaba. Many major tribes with their allies and slaves used to come to Makkah and encamp there separately. Competitions in generosity were staged. In order to assert his superiority, the chief of every tribe set up huge cauldrons, slaughtered numerous camels and cooked the flesh which was then freely distributed for the “pilgrims.” The sole objective of this extreme generosity was for their name to be exalted in the whole of Arabia and for it to be publicized that this person slaughtered so many camels and gave food to so many people. Singing, drinking, adultery and various kinds of immorality were indulged in, and the thought of God scarcely occurred to anybody.

The religious rites of Tawaaf (circling of the Kaaba) was reduced to a circus. Women and men went round and round the Kaaba performing Tawaaf stark naked. They said: “We shall go before God in the same condition in which our mothers gave birth to us.”

Prayer in the Masjid of Ibraheem was accompanied by hand-clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. The name of God was pronounced in the prayer of intent known as Talbiyah (Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk: “Here I am present, My Lord, I am present.”) However, even this expression of reverence was distorted with the following additions: “No one is your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his master and the master of what he possesses.”

Sacrifices were also made in the name of God; however, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured on the walls of the Kaaba in the belief that Allah demanded flesh and blood. Doing business or working for one’s livelihood during the Hajj journey were considered unlawful. Others used to give up food and water during Hajj and regarded this abstention as part of worship, while others stopped talking from the beginning of Hajj until its end.

These distorted Hajj rites continued to be practiced for nearly two and a half thousand years. Ultimately, however, the time arrived for granting the Du’a (prayer) of the Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam), which he had invoked while raising the walls of the Kaaba:

“Oh Lord! Raise up in their midst a Messenger from among them who will recite to them your revelations and instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and who will reform their morals. [Qur’an, 2:129]

Consequently, a man arose from the progeny of Ibrahim whose name was Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) revived the same genuine and pure religion which was taught by Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam). In the course of 23 years he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) completed the mission of purifying the Kaaba and establishing Allah’s religion as the law of the land, and he again declared the Kaaba as the universal center for worshippers of the one True God.

Along with the revival of Hajj, all the deviant and idolatrous customs of the period of ignorance which had become rampant since the time of Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) were completely eliminated. All the idols in Kaaba were smashed and removed, and the worshipping of other than Allah that was being done there was stopped. All invented rituals were wiped out and all fairs and carnivals were stopped. Furthermore, it was ordered that Allah’s worship should only be carried out in the prescribed manner. Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and clansmen’s achievements were all stopped. Instead Allah told them:

“And when you have completed your rites (of Hajj), then remember Allah as you used to remember your fathers, nay with a more vigorous remembrance.”   [Qur’an, 2:200]

All competitions in generosity which were meant solely for pride and fame were terminated and in their place was revived the system which existed in Ibraheem’s (alayhissalaam) day, whereby animals would be slaughtered exclusively in the name of Allah in order that poor pilgrims may be fed during Hajj. Allah said: “Eat and drink but do not be excessive. Verily He does not love the wasteful.” [Qur’an, 7:31]

The practice of spattering the blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of Kaaba and throwing of their flesh there was also stopped. Allah informed them that: “Their flesh and their blood do not reach Allah, but it is the devotion from you that reaches Him.” [Qur’an, 22:37]

Circling the Kaaba in a state of nudity was strictly prohibited by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on Allah’s command. And Allah further explained:

“Say, who has forbidden the adornment (dress) given by Allah which he has bought forth for his servants.” [Qur’an, 7:32]

It was also prohibited to start for Hajj without taking provision; and Allah said:

“You must take provision for the journey because (not to take provision for a journey in the world does not mean taking provision for the Hereafter) the best provision for the Hereafter is piety.” [Qur’an, 2:197]

It was formerly considered an act of piety not to trade during Hajj because it was regarded as being unlawful in this condition to utilize sources of livelihood. This concept was also rejected by Allah who said:

“It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading).” [Qur’an, 2:198]

After abolishing all other pre-Islamic customs. Hajj was made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. When the pilgrims set out from their homes, they were ordered to purify themselves of all worldly pollution, abandon sexual relations with their wives and abstain from filthy language and indecent acts.

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said the following about a neat, clean, selfless and sincere Hajj: “Whoever performs Hajj solely for Allah and in the course of it abstains from sensual and sinful acts, he will return as pure as a new-born child.”

Related Reading: How Idols found place in the Ka’aba during Pre-Islamic Era??

Response to the Moronic Claim that the Black Stone is an Idol Pilgrimage & a Pagan Rite